For Ayame Goriki, each day feels like a dream.
Last year, the rising star's schedule was full as she played a leading role in a prime-time TV series for the first time, as well as debuting as a singer. This time around, she will portray the heroine in a live-action adaptation of "L-DK," the popular comic by Ayu Watanabe.
"Thinking back to my early days when I didn't know if I'd even get any work in a month, I really do feel happy," she said with brilliant smile that emphasised her satisfaction.
In her latest film, "L-DK," she portrays Aoi Nishimori, a high school girl who has no experience with love.
Aoi hates Shusei Kugayama, played by Kento Yamazaki, a handsome boy in her school who coldly turned down Aoi's best friend. But the two somehow end up living together after an unexpected incident, and as the love story unfolds they grow closer together.
"The film is chock-full of the fantasies adolescent girls may have at least once, like living with someone she has fallen for without telling anybody about it," Goriki said.
Goriki's high school days, when she served as a class representative, seem to tell a different tale.
"I just played around with my friends and lost myself in dancing day after day," she recalled. "So I thought it would be nice to have a high school life like Aoi's, too."
The emotional gap between Aoi and Shusei can be felt through Aoi's facial expressions. "She starts off hating him, but gradually she begins to care about him. But even after they go through lots of things together, there are no lines that can explain her feelings toward him," Goriki said.
"When a girl falls in love, her feelings are reflected on her face. I was very conscious of that," she added.
The main character's hair serves as a symbolic theme in the film. Aoi, who at first has longish hair, cuts her hair short after experiencing love for the first time in her life-a style that also happens to be Goriki's.
Aoi's actions are in stark contrast with the stereotypical women who cut their hair when heartbroken, an expression not found in the original comic.
"For someone that had no interest in girlish things, Aoi found herself wanting to get all dolled up for the first time," Goriki said, as she explained why the character cuts her hair short. "We came up with this idea to symbolize her inner change."