The Japan premiere of Tonde Saitama was held on Monday, 28 January in Tokyo, and it was attended by Nikaido Fumi, GACKT, Iseya Yusuke, Brother Tom, Shimazaki Haruka, Kato Ryo, Masuwaka Tsubasa, Nakao Akira, Kyomoto Masaki, and director Takeuchi Hideki.
Right from the start, this exciting event began with words like “I want to settle the score of whether Chiba prefecture or Saitama prefecture is better” from director Takeuchi who is a Chiba native. GACKT, who plays the role of a transfer student returning to Japan from America who is secretly a Saitama native, recalled, “When I first heard that the role was that of a high school student, I immediately declined”, and when he heard more about the role, he became more interested, saying “They said, ‘He’s a special high schooler’ and I began to wonder what kind of high school student is that (smiles)”.
Nakao, a Chiba native who plays the role of the governor of Tokyo in the movie, commented, “I didn’t want to do it at the start”. Speaking of his discomfort, he said the reason for that is because “Is it really okay to insult Saitama to this extent?”. But despite that, he said, “While doing it, I began to hate Saitama, it was fun”, drawing laughter from the audience.
Also, Saitama native Shimazaki said, “I do feel embarrassed (to say that I come from Saitama) but something for us to be proud of has been made (smiles)”. Masuwaka, who knew of the original work and is also a Saitama native, revealed, “When I received the offer, I was really troubled”, but she added, “Everyone is tolerant anyway. People from Saitama are used to being teased, so no one would get upset”, making the audience laugh.
In addition, Nikaido spoke of filming, saying that “a lot of individualistic people were gathered”, and then declared, “I think I was the most decent one”. To this, GACKT commented, “I kept feeling like that throughout though, that I was the decent one”. Their exchange brought laughter to the audience too.
Because of this movie, Kyomoto and GACKT finally got to meet each other after 15 years too. Kyomoto revealed, “We shared the same makeup artist. I kept hearing about him so I was looking forward to it”. Speaking of how he was greeted with a smile when they met, GACKT said, “When I went into (Kyomoto’s) dressing room, he said, ‘We finally get to meet!’.
Finally, appealing for the movie, GACKT said, “I think this might be the closest thing to being called to the greatest farce in this century. The director told us he doesn’t want to make a movie that aims to make people laugh, but instead wants to make a movie that makes the audience giggle, so we acted seriously from start to end. Attention was given to even the smallest of details, so I do think that there are things that you might only notice the 2nd or 3rd time you watch it”. Closing off the event at the end was a call and response involving Nikaido and GACKT’s “I love” and the audience’s “Saitama!”.
This movie is one where the absolute dissing of Saitama citizens unleashes a crushing impact. Dannoura Momomi (Nikaido Fumi-san); the son of the governor of Tokyo and the student council president of the most prestigious school in Tokyo, and Asami Rei (GACKT-san); the transfer student from America who has returned to Japan. Rei, who looks like a Tokyo native at a glance, is actually a member of the Saitama Liberation Front who seeks to abolish waybills. To obtain freedom and pride for Saitama citizens, a battle involving the Kanto area includes the leader of Chiba Liberation Front, Akutsu Sho (Iseya Yusuke) who opposes Saitama, and the Legendary Saitama Citizen, Saitama Duke (Kyomoto Masaki). The greatest farce in the history of Japanese film will finally unfold in theatres.
Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team
Translation © GACKT ITALIA