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Takumi Saitoh was boosted to stardom by the kind of soft-featured good looks that inspire many a schoolgirl manga, but he has had a more diverse career than the typical ikemen (“handsome guy”) model-turned-actor. After playing a shy entomologist madly in love with a married woman (Aya Ueto) in the hit “Hirugao” TV series and 2017 film, Saitoh segued to a role as a space alien in the low-budget sci-fi splatterfest “Meatball Machine Kodoku.” I could go on, but you get the picture.

A film nerd from boyhood, Saitoh has also directed several shorts. Last year his first feature, the enigmatically titled “Blank 13,” premiered at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival, where it won the competition section’s grand prize. The movie later toured widely on the international festival circuit.

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