After a few supporting performances to begin her career, Japanese actress Ayumi Ito was cast as the main character in "Shallowtail Butterfly," a 1996 immigration drama written and directed by Shunji Iwai. Ito was 16 when she played Ageha, a young girl alone in the world who comes under the protection of a Chinese prostitute in Tokyo, and Ito won the Japanese Academy Award for Newcomer of the Year for her performance. Following this breakthrough, Ito explored different film genres in her roles: She played Kate in the romantic drama "Kyo no Dekigoto," starred as Kaoru in the 2004 comedy "Believer," and also teamed with Iwai again in 2001 for "All About Lily Chou-Chou," a film drama about teenagers finding their place in modern culture. Throughout her career, Ito has delivered acclaimed performances. In 2005, she entered the world of voice acting with a role in the anime film "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children," based on the characters from the hit role-playing video game "Final Fantasy VII." In this movie, Ito voiced Tifa Lockhart, a longtime friend and ally of hero Cloud Strife. Ito would reprise this role when she voiced Tifa for the game "Kingdom Hearts II." However, Ito has mostly explored live-action acting, including a role in "Interior Design," Michel Gondry's section of the 2008 anthology film "Tokyo!."