“Fly to Saitama” (directed by Hideki Takeuchi/Toei) was a big hit with many shocking lines such as “Let the people of Saitama prefecture eat even grass!” and a gorgeous cast. After four years of silence, the even more powerful second work, “Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~” will be released on Thursday, November 23, 2023 (holiday).
We asked GACKT, who plays the lead role, Rei Asami, and An, who plays Kai Kikyo, aka “Oscar of Shiga,” to talk a lot about this grand farce.

What’s wrong with involving such amazing people!?

──The long-awaited second installment of “Fly to Saitama” will finally be released.

GACKT Do you have any questions?

──Of course! First of all, please tell us your impressions of Kikyokai, played by Anzu. It was her first male role, and she was quite beautiful…

GACKT: she is definitely tall and has strong drawing skills. This time, the scene where they run away together was quite long, but the balance was very good. I think it was a character that was very suitable for expressing the aesthetic world.

──Ms. An, was there anything you were conscious of when you played a male role for the first time?

Anzu: Maybe it’s your behavior. How it feels, like taking long strides or sitting down. Above all else, I was conscious of lowering my voice, and after playing Kikyo, it took a while for my voice to return to normal.

──Yes, it’s tough!

An: I kept having a very bitter voice as an aftereffect.

──Did GACKT-san also feel that your voice was bitter?

GACKT: It was her first time playing a male role, so I felt that the part of “playing a man” would be quite difficult.

──Ask GACKT-san for advice for beautiful male roles…

GACKT: I haven’t said anything…

An: I thought to myself, “He’s so cool,” and “I really want to join this world!” when I created the role.

──This time, the stage is Kansai, and there was a lot of excitement beforehand, with the line “Stop the water in Lake Biwa!” trending online. What did you two think when you found out that the sequel was in Kansai?

GACKT: “It’s here!”

An: I’ve been to Shiga before for filming, but since it’s not my hometown, I was a little concerned at first, thinking, “Will it be okay?” “Will the people of Shiga accept me?” It’s like, “Am I Shiga’s Oscar?”

──Since this is a sequel after the previous work was a big hit, not only An, who is entering the new world of “Fly to Saitama,” but also GACKT, are under pressure and are worried that “It’s going to be tough.” Was that the case?

GACKT: Rather than saying it was difficult, when I was approached, I refused once, saying, “Let’s not do it, it’s just a risk.” When the story came up again, I asked, “(Nikaido) What did Fumi-chan say?” and she said, “Let’s not do that,” so I said, “As expected.” That’s what I mean.

──In an age when compliance is so strict, things like this are often the case.

GACKT: Everyone may be thinking, “Since there’s Part 1, it’s probably okay,” but if you make people in Kansai your enemy, you can’t take it back.

──In Kansai, there are many people who are concerned about small details, such as the difference between this dialect and that dialect. Confronting them head-on may indeed be a high-risk job.

At the end, GACKT made a presentation with all the cast together. I thought it would be no good to involve people like this.

──As a result, I was persuaded by the gorgeous cast members and readily agreed to appear!

GACKT: I was in a situation where I had no choice but to accept it.

The annoying luxury is only possible if you have a serious worldview.

──It was a treat for the audience to see these two people, who can only be seen in this work. What kind of existence does the “Fly to Saitama” series mean to the two of you?

GACKT: Regarding sequels… To be honest, the first movie was a pretty risky start, so it was just luck that we got it right. Honestly, it’s just luck. It has nothing to do with the strength of the actor or anything like that, it’s all about luck. It just happened to sting me!


GACKT: Next up, I honestly feel like it’s such a nuisance that it’s a work that involves so many cast members, saying that miracles don’t happen.

──But I think there were some things that were possible because it was this series.

GACKT: Well, when I saw the set, I thought, “It must have cost too much, it’s been done too much”… There’s no limit to this prank! That was the case all the way to the end, and I was wondering what I had done.

──Drag An into that world…

GACKT I’m really sorry.

An (lol).

──How was An-san?

She even made the An costumes for all the extras, which I thought was amazing. It was fun on set.

–This is a worksite that requires a lot of time and money.

An: The Tsutenkaku scene is also very elaborate, with takoyaki being grilled, and the names of the actual companies are mentioned a lot, so I think everyone really has a deep sense of belonging.

GACKT: It’s probably done without permission.

All of us (lol).

An: Scenes that remind you of a certain famous movie make me nervous (lol). Everyone please watch it as soon as possible before it is canceled.

GACKT: There’s a high possibility that the footage will disappear over there. It may not be enough just to make the video shorter.

──I definitely recommend fans of “Fly to Saitama” to watch it in the first week of release.

GACKT: It’s a work where you don’t know when the release will be canceled.

All of us (lol).

──You’re attacking the safe place at the very last moment.

GACKT is out. Rather, it’s out.

──Is this a series that boldly takes on challenges that are out of the ordinary?

GACKT: I was given an explanation of how the scene I shot would be completed, but when I saw the finished scene, I thought, “This won’t work.” Please stop it before distribution. It is dangerous.

An: After I saw the completion of the movie, I started looking into which company was distributing that “certain famous movie”.

──A movie where the performers are worried about getting permission! But the expression on An’s face that you can only see in this work was so charming. Did you also feel like you were breaking new ground, saying things like, “It felt great to be able to say those lines”?

An: As expected, there was a rally, and everyone was hugging each other with tears in their eyes, saying things like, “Isn’t it the Kosei Line that stops right when the wind blows?”…The lines were a little strange, and everyone was acting seriously. It was even more strange to be there, and while I was playing it, I was thinking, “Fly to Saitama World.” Moreover, in this scene, I received salad bread as a gift.

──Bread filled with pickled radish, a Shiga specialty!

An: We were all eating salad bread in the back and talking about Shiga. And she was like, “Wow!”

──It was quite a special experience.

An: Well, it’s nothing short of special (lol).

GACKT: Please stop asking questions that are difficult to answer.

for All of us (lol).

An: Director Takeuchi is amazing. I wanted to work with Takeuchi again because we worked together on the Monthly 9 drama, and I found that his worldview and level of seriousness were outstanding.

Pay attention to the couple appearance of Ainosuke and Norika!

──This time, there are some great Kansai cast members such as Ainosuke Kataoka, Norika Fujiwara, and Mayo Kawasaki, but I would love to hear about your stories with the new cast members.

GACKT: I haven’t met them.

An: I wasn’t able to meet the cast members in Kyoto.

GACKT: That’s why we only met when we were reading the script. I just say, “It’s been a while!” and that’s it.

──There was a close scene with Ainosuke-san.

GACKT: I actually acted with Ainosuke-san, and we became good friends, and we even started hanging out in private, but as for the others… There were some people I knew from the beginning, like Norika-chan, but I was like “Huh?” when I realized that I had never really met her.

──That was a little disappointing.

GACKT: After reading the script, I was just talking to the director, but before I knew it, no one was there. I thought I would never see him again.

Anzu: There’s no launch event.

GACKT: That’s a terrible story.

──When you saw the finished video, was there a scene that made you think, “This is really amazing?”

GACKT There are many women. First, there were cast members who were decided upon reading the script, and others who were decided afterward. Of course, as a result, the cast expanded a lot.

──Unbeknownst to you, the number of co-stars was increasing rapidly.

GACKT: So when the staff roll was playing at the preview, I noticed that they were all famous people, weren’t they? ──When I saw the name, I was like, “Huh!? Where was it in!?” I asked the girl sitting next to me and she said, “No, in that scene,” but I was surprised and said, “You’re wasting your time like that!?” and “What the hell are you doing for me!?”

Anzu: Everyone did well in this job. Really.

GACKT: From my point of view, An-chan also received it well. I really thought it would be bad. I wonder what he will do.

Anzu: Regarding Ainosuke and Norika, their actual backgrounds and situations were all incorporated into the script. It is amazing that you and your husband were able to tolerate this and accept this job.

I was even more surprised by the casual appearance of the gorgeous cast!

──The scene where An-san, who plays the male role, is being spun around by GACKT-san and the two of them is really wonderful and memorable.

Anzu: It’s a waste…(lol).

GACKT It’s a waste. It’s nothing but a waste.

–Did a scene like that come together perfectly from the beginning?

An: But it was director Takeuchi who got me excited a bit…

GACKT: It’s a groove. This is just Mr. Takeuchi’s attitude.

──Aside from the character you played this time, were there any characters that left an impression on you?

GACKT: For me, the impact of Akira Kashoji, played by Ainosuke-san, was too strong. When I first met Ainosuke-san, he said, “No, I was looking forward to it!” and his reaction was “Are you sure?” and I wondered if he was lying. But…

──That’s right (lol).

GACKT Ainosuke-san is really good when we shoot videos together. When I saw the actual performance, I thought, “If this person plays this role, the video will definitely be great.” Anyway, his decisive acting is good. You can see that whenever Ai makes a decision, there will always be a cut. That’s actually true.

──Is the atmosphere different now?

GACKT: Also, when it comes to portraying Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, there are a lot of scenes in the story where the expressions are quite harsh.

──That’s a harsh expression.

GACKT: Isn’t he such a bad guy that I wonder if Osaka in particular is okay? But even though he had a bad image from the beginning to the end, in that one scene at the end, Ai-san – I don’t think I could have done it without him – said, “The people of Osaka are nice people.” I feel forced to solve it. Well, if it was anyone other than Ai, it would be a big problem.

──How do you like Anzu-san?

An: For me, Akira 100%, who appeared in the modern part, left an impression on me. I didn’t have an image of her wearing traditional clothes, so I thought, “I’ve seen this person before,” and then a tray came out (lol). I said, “That’s right, after all.”

──Akira is 100% fully clothed, and it certainly looks like he’s not recognizable for a moment.

An: Also, like GACKT-san, there were times when I would watch the end credits and think, “Yeah, where was this guy from?” So you’ll want to watch it again to check your answers, and I think it’s a really interesting movie that if you watch it with someone, you’ll definitely end up talking, “Hey, did you notice that?”

──Aside from Akira 100%, were there any other people who were surprised to see this person appear?

GACKT: To begin with, I can’t remember any scenes where Akira 100% appeared…

──After all, he wasn’t completely naked.

Anzu: The Hakuhodo Gakuin baseball team member was played by Junki Totsuka, who played the role of Toshiaki Kasuga, who played Audrey in the drama “Dagida But Passion wa Aru”, but he wore so much make-up that he almost retained his original form. I don’t have it. My manager and I got excited and said, “I’ve definitely seen that girl before, but who is she!?”

──I think the audience will be excited because of that.

An: I hope you enjoy watching it.

Thoughts on beauty and leadership

──When talking about “Fly to Saitama,” I think “beauty” is an inevitable theme. The two of you were really beautiful in the story, but first, may I ask GACKT-san what your definition of beauty is?

GACKT: I think it’s the constant effort that goes into it. It’s a result of pursuing it. It’s not something that can be completed in an instant, so I think it’s the result of a lot of work.

──It doesn’t happen in a day, does it?

GACKT: Also, it’s not a matter of appearance, is it? Of course, appearance has a lot to do with it, but there are also many other things involved, such as how you behave, what you say, and how you say it. Because “beauty” is the culmination of accumulation.

──GACKT-san looks exactly the same as before…

GACKT: No, I’m just getting older.

──Are there any beauty methods that you continue to use?

GACKT: About the past year and a half. I stopped using shampoo, soap, and facial cleansing foam, and started what is called a skin fast. After that, my skin became very beautiful.

──Is it because there are no chemicals?

GACKT: Originally, I didn’t use soap at all on my body. I used to only use it on my face and head, but I was wondering, “My skin on the rest of my body is beautiful, so why does my face get so rough?” so I decided to stop using it all at once. At first, I felt uncomfortable not using it, but eventually the quality of my scalp improved, the quality of my hair improved, I had more hair, and my whole head became beautiful.

──That’s amazing!

GACKT: That’s why I think everyone is overpainting it. I feel that I need to reset my skin by going to zero once.

──GACKT-san seems to be eating a lot of meat now. There is a theory that eating meat will make you fat, but the exact opposite is true.

GACKT: That’s something I always think about. If you do what many people, that is, the majority, do in the same way, it will probably end up the same way. The same goes for how you think and what you do. For example, many people believe that they gain weight because they eat meat or because they eat oil, but you can’t gain weight even if you only eat oil. In fact, oil makes you fat because it combines with carbohydrates. But everyone says that oil is bad and won’t stop eating carbohydrates. Don’t stop eating sugar, but stop eating fat. If you do that, you’ll end up with a misplaced result.

──It gives a fluffy impression and ends up doing unnecessary things.

GACKT: So, on the contrary, I mainly eat oil and don’t eat sugar. When you say that, people around the world will object by saying, “That can’t be true.” But that’s okay, you can do whatever you want with your body. I’m just saying that’s how I am.

──Please tell us about Anzu’s beauty methods.

Anzu: I guess you eat what’s in season.

──It’s food after all!

Anzu Yes. I believe that if you eat seasonal foods, you will naturally be able to get the nutrients your body needs.

──Now, this is the last question. Both Rei and Kikyo are charismatic, but are there things that you are conscious of when you work in central positions, such as starring in dramas or movies or as project leaders?

An: I guess it means smiling.

──Does that mean having some leeway?

An: For example, when I’m the main character or in a position where I’m placed in the center of things, I tend to be even more playful than usual. I try my best not to make people think it’s difficult to talk to them. I’m the type of person who is usually absent-minded and people say, “I don’t know what she’s thinking,” so I try to be a little more cheerful.

──What do you think about GACKT-san?

GACKT: When I take on a leadership position, I always have the mindset of “trying not to become the boss.” A boss wants to be above someone. On the other hand, the leader exists in the middle of everyone. I also think that a leader should support everyone from below. Inverting the pyramid, the leader is at the bottom of the pyramid.

–Rather than pulling you along, you’re more of a supporter.

GACKT: Rather than ordering everyone to “do this,” it’s important to show them how to do it. Being a leader is about showing everyone that you can do this much, and I think that’s why being a leader is so difficult.

–If you don’t show it clearly to those around you, they won’t be convinced.

GACKT: The quickest way is to show it. Having people think, “I can do it!” is the most likely to lead to success. I believe this, so when I become a leader, I try to show them what I can do.

Interview: Miki Fujisaka Composition: Tomoe Nakao Photography: Kohei Okuda

Hair and makeup: Kota Tanabe
Stylist: Rockey

Hair and makeup: Kyohei Sasamoto (ilumini)
Stylist: Ayako Nakai (crêpe)

Article: lp.p.pia.jp

Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA