Actor GACKT (45) and actress Masuwaka Tsubasa (33), attended the big-hit celebration stage greeting part 2 on the 18th with director Takeuchi for the movie Tonde Saitama (directed by Takeuchi Hideki, distributed by Toei) at Shinjuku Wald 9 in Tokyo.
This is a live-action adaptation of an original work by mangaka Maya Mineo, known for writing works like Patalliro! and more! It is set in an absurd world where Tokyo persecutes Saitama, requires waybills for travel from Saitama to Tokyo and includes thorough disses of Saitama citizens sprinkled all over the place. The story revolves around a member of the Saitama Liberation Front, which seeks to abolish waybills, returning from America and transferring into a prestigious Tokyo school, Asami Rei (GACKT) and the student council president of that school, Dannoura Momomi (Nikaido Fumi). Their encounter thrusts them into the frontline, and there, Akutsu Sho (Iseya Yusuke), the leader of the Chiba Liberation Front, and the legendary Saitama citizen, Saitama Duke (Kyomoto Masaki) enters the fray, turning the story into chaos……
Before the event began, there were shouts from men dressed in weird outfits echoing in the hall. These men were armed security personnel of the SAT (Saitama Attack Team) from the movie who crack down on Saitama citizens. Laughter could be heard as they interacted with the audience.
Next, GACKT weaved through the audience seats as he entered and was welcomed by cheers. GACKT, who returned from overseas for this stage greeting, smiled behind his sunglasses as he said, “I took an unreasonable flight and ended up getting a fever. I was just getting a drip just now. It’s an ‘absurd’ movie (smiles). I’ve been saved by everyone’s smiles”.
On the 4th week of its release, it has become a breakout hit with total box office revenue reaching 2 billion yen and 1.5million tickets sold, and so, to celebrate this, a second stage greeting was held.
Regarding the overwhelming response, Masuwaka spoke of the positive response, saying, “The people around me have said to me that it’s amazing, and recently, whenever I attend fashion shows, I’d be asked to do the Saitama pose”. GACKT was grateful as he said, “Perhaps director Takeuchi is the most surprised one about this, don’t you think? It was accepted by Saitama, accepted by the whole country. It was filmed with a lovely cast of people. All of us are truly grateful that it is this well received. Thank you”.
Laughing, director Takeuchi said, “Lots of municipalities were proposing to me, ‘Do one for us too!’…… But I think that this is only possible for Saitama”.
GACKT drew a big laugh from the audience when he spoke of an episode after the movie was released. “After the opening day stage greeting, we had a greeting among the staff and cast. During that, director Takeuchi was tearing up as he said ‘I met with so many setbacks and frustrations to make my way here’. The conception apparently took 2 years, and it was put on hold twice. Despite all of that, this movie was made and it was finally released. And watching him tearing as he spoke…… was Kyomoto-san who was smiling (smiles). He was grinning away and I thought, what a man”.
At the stage of this event commemorating a huge success, the audience was asked how many times they watched this movie and seeing that there were quite a number of stalwarts who have watched it more than 5 times, GACKT teased, “Honestly, you’re crazy”. In the end, a gift was to be given to a lady who watched the movie 16 times and GACKT presented Sayama tea to her.
Perhaps affected by such a passionate fan, GACKT said, “Maybe I’ll try filming myself watching the movie in a cinema in Tokyo”. Keen to head to a cinema in “incognito”, he added, “You won’t know if I go dressed up as Rei-sama, right”, uttering a comment that left fans expectant.
Lastly, GACKT also brought up a scene where he got so into character that he was overwhelmed with emotion, appealing, “Everyone, please do come and watch multiple times. There are more tiny details and particularities that are in it that you would’ve expected. There are also scenes where I acted with tears in my eyes, and I think if you look closely, you’d think ‘Isn’t he crying!’”.
The movie Tonde Saitama is now being screened in cinemas!
Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team
Translation © GACKT ITALIA