2nd smash hit appreciation stage greeting for Tonde Saitama, which was also well-received overseas
The 2nd smash hit appreciation stage greeting for the movie Tonde Saitama was held on 18 March at Shinjuku Wald 9. Lead actor GACKT, Masuwaka Tsubasa who plays the role of a housekeeper, and director Takeuchi Hideki attended the event. This movie reached number one on the weekend box office rankings, and was rated 93.5 points on the Pia movie first day satisfaction ranking.
GACKT: Foreigners took a lot of photos of me when I was dressed as Rei-sama while at a Starbucks
Regarding this movie’s success, GACKT, who acted as Asami Rei, began, “I suppose the director is the most surprised person out of everyone? That it is s well-received by Saitama natives. And then by the whole country”. Continuing, he drew laughter from the audience as he said, “Actually, after the opening day stage greeting, the director was talking to each one of us, and half crying, he said, ‘I met with so many setbacks and frustrations to make my way here. Things didn’t go all that smoothly ’. And Kyomoto-san (Kyomoto Masaki who acts as Saitama Duke) who was watching him talk and cry was laughing. This is where you should be moved. But Kyomoto-san was grinning”.
Masuwaka, who is a Saitama native herself, greeted, “It’s become a hit, hasn’t it? My friends are giving me updates, telling me things like, ‘Isn’t it amazing’, and ‘It’s gone viral’, and so on. Even when I’m at a fashion show or at other unrelated work, I’d be asked to do the Saitama pose, and they’re so happy when I do. As a Saitama native, it makes me happy to feel like it’s been accepted by Saitama. I’m a fan of the work myself”.
Director Takeuchi commented, “It’s a real surprise. I aimed for it to be a regional hit with the thought that as long as Saitama thinks its funny, it’s enough though. On the 3rd day, I went to the Chicago International Film Festival and for some reason, the Americans were guffawing away. They were laughing a lot in Shanghai too. I came to realise that it unexpectedly draws laughter overseas too. Now, I’m being inundated by cities and towns asking me to do one for them too, but I think that this is something that can only be done for Saitama”.
During the event, the person who has watched the movie the most times will receive an amount of Saitama’s local produce, Sayama tea, equivalent to the number of times they’ve watched it. When the audience member who has watched the movie 16 times took to the stage, GACKT made the audience laugh when he asked, “On the contrary, I’d like to ask you, watching it 16 times, is there something wrong in your head?”. She apparently found it interesting that the audience in the cinemas of different areas of Saitama had different reactions, and she said that the place with the best reaction was Ikebukuro, where there will be applause every time the movie ends.
As a closing message, GACKT said, “Now that (she’s) mentioned wanting to see the reactions of each location, I came to realise that such a method of enjoyment exists too. Maybe I, too, will visit a few different movie theatres, including Ikebukuro of course, to watch the movie while live streaming on Insta Live”. When he was told that he was bound to get his cover blown, he said, “Even if I go in disguise, I’d get found out. Once I was having tea at a Starbucks while dressed as Rei-sama. Foreigners took a lot of photos. Like, whoa, there’s this awesome person. Japanese on the other hand would definitely avert their eyes from me”.
Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team
Translation © GACKT ITALIA