Interview with GACKT, Fumi Nikaido, and Anzu, who are the main cast of the movie “Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~”. About four and a half years have passed since the release of the legendary “Saitama diss” movie “Fly to Saitama,” and we spoke to him about his feelings when he received the offer for the sequel, and the behind-the-scenes stories behind filming with the star-studded cast.

The movie “Fly to Saitama” is the first live-action movie made in 2019, starring GACKT and Fumi Nikaido. Contrary to its shocking content, which thoroughly disparages the fictional Saitama Prefecture, the farce that etched deep love for the local area in the hearts of Saitama residents became a hot topic, sparking a “Saitama boom” unprecedented in history.

“Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~” to be released on Thursday, November 23, 2023 (holiday) is the long-awaited sequel to “Fly to Saitama”. The stage will be expanded from Kanto to Kansai, and a “East-West diss showdown that will divide the world” will take place.

The previous work “Fly to Saitama” was a hit, and the sequel “Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~” has been decided to be released. Please tell me honestly how you felt when you received the offer for the sequel.

GACKT: I refused once, saying, “Let’s not do a sequel.”

In the first place, even when I was working on the first film, I was worried whether I should accept the offer or not, thinking that “Fly to Saitama” would be a stain on my career, and that it was such a risky work. But I tried it and luckily it was a hit, so I said I didn’t need to take any more risks since I had hit it once again.

Nikaido: Keep your memories beautiful. (lol)

GACKT: Yeah. Also, it is difficult to make the second work of any work interesting. It’s difficult to make “Fly to Saitama” even more exciting with a sequel, which was already a mess from the first movie.

Was Mr. Nikaido also “against sequels”?

Nikaido: I thought it would be better not to make a sequel. (Laughs) During the filming of the first film, the director said, “We’ll continue to do this until the third film.” He said, “It would be great if we could do it~” and we talked about it as adults, but I had no idea that he would actually be doing a sequel. Honestly, I was pretty nervous about the first one because I thought it was just a coincidence.

GACKT: No, that was definitely a coincidence.

Nikaido: Well, it just so happened. (lol)

“A group of gorgeous actors” gather together

What were your thoughts after actually reading the script?

Nikaido: That was really interesting. Above all, I was surprised at how gorgeous the cast members were. I wonder if it’s okay not only for An, but also for Ainosuke Kataoka and Norika Fujiwara to co-star as a married couple? That’s it. I felt like, “I don’t know anymore!”

GACKT: It was a spectacular moment when the entire cast gathered together to read the lines. I was amazed at how such a gorgeous cast was assembled.

Certainly, the appeal of this work was the “extraordinary cast” that was suitable for a grand farce. Have you been influenced by other actors while filming?

GACKT: The person who made me think, “This person is amazing…!” was Ai-san (Ainosuke Kataoka). This was my first time meeting him, but he was very good at delivering his lines, deciding how to decide, and closing the scene. Not only her acting but also her personality is really wonderful, and when she’s on a team with Ai, the whole thing comes together in a really good way. We remained friends even after filming, and we still go out for dinner about once a month.

Nikaido: This is my first time hearing it! ! Before we knew it, we had such a relationship!

GACKT: It’s lovey-dovey.

Nikaido: What do you two talk about?

GACKT: A lot of things, from acting to my favorite food. What was particularly impressive to me when I heard it on set was that in Kabuki, there are only two days from memorizing the script to rehearsals to the actual performance. While working in the demanding world of Kabuki, he also shoots dramas all year round, so I thought, “Oh, I can’t compete with this person.”

New cast member Anzu plays “Oscar of Shiga”

Ms. Anne started participating in this work, but was she ever confused by the unique world view of “Fly to Saitama”?

An: More than the confusion, I was more excited to become engrossed in the worldview of the work. In “Fly to Saitama,” the details that go into establishing this worldview, such as the various behind-the-scenes settings, costumes, and makeup, are extremely detailed. I personally went through many costume matching and makeup tests, and I was also managing all the extras’ costumes, so I was excited and felt like I was in another world.

Kikyo Kai, played by An, is on his way back from Paris and plays the role of the leader of the Shiga Liberation Front. He had an overwhelming presence with his unique character, but what were your impressions after playing him?

An: First of all, I’m not from Shiga, so I’ve always been worried about whether I can represent Shiga or whether I’ll be properly accepted by the people of Shiga. Honestly, I’m still a little nervous.

I also had a hard time distinguishing between the Shiga dialect and standard Japanese. The script I originally received was all in the Shiga dialect, but about 10 days before filming, it was decided that I should change to standard Japanese except when I was talking to my Shiga relatives. It was quite difficult, like adding the dialect once and then taking it out again.

The secret story of filming a “farcical scene” that is played in a serious manner

Compared to the previous work, I think that not only the area has expanded, but the character of the characters has also become more powerful. Are there any scenes or highlights that particularly left an impression on you?

Nikaido: The scene between Kikyo and Rei was so beautiful and so suspicious that it really left an impression on me. As an audience member, I fell in love with the two of them, as they seemed to reflect Maya-sensei’s aesthetic world view.

An: The scene that left an impression on me is the scene where Rei becomes addicted to powdered foods after eating takoyaki and is taken in by Osaka. His face was so amazing that I couldn’t help but ask, “How did you take that photo?” It was a bit shockingly interesting. (lol)

Nikaido: The “powder poisoning scene” was bound to make you laugh out loud.

Among the farcical scenes where you put your body on the line, were there any ideas that you came up with on set?

GACKT: There’s a scene in which Akira Kashoji, played by Ai, gropes my breasts, but we discussed it on set and decided on it to make it “more erotic.” The two men were talking seriously, saying things like, “Let’s pet him more,” and “I’m going to put takoyaki sauce on your face, so why don’t you lick it?”

What did the director say about the farce scene?

GACKT: That being said, acting to get laughs is not required at all. So it’s a strange feeling. The director’s order was, “If we try to make people laugh, the people watching will be confused, so I want the actors to act seriously, and I want them to be serious.”

So I don’t know. Is it interesting?

Were there any scenes where you couldn’t help but laugh even during such a serious performance?

An: Kukki! This is the scene of Mr. (lol)

Nikaido: When I was dubbing, I was like, “Kukki!” I laughed at your place. I wonder why.

An: The appearance is already interesting.

GACKT: Kukki! He also takes it seriously, but I think the more seriously he takes it, the more he’s joking around. Then, the director came and said, “Please be a little more serious.” That was also really interesting. Even though he was established as a character in the movie, the character who was the least established on set was Kukki! I think it’s Mr.

GACKT: But I think it’s precisely because the characters are so strong that the strength of their drawing skills can be seen on screen. I think Director Takeuchi’s ability to select people with strong drawing skills is very high.

“I have nothing but anxiety” ahead of the movie’s release

Lastly, please tell us how you feel now before the movie’s release.

Nikaido: From the time I heard about the sequel until now, I have been more anxious than ever. However, even though it’s been a long time since the first film was released, I still get many people saying, “I saw ‘Fly to Saitama!'” and I think that’s how much the film is loved. Then, I had a mysterious sense of mission that I had to do the Kansai edition properly as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it after you watch it.

An: Even though I’m not a citizen of Shiga Prefecture, my role is to represent Shiga Prefecture, so I was worried about whether I would be accepted. I think we’ll be able to decide whether we’ll be relieved or not until we see everyone’s reactions once the movie is released.

GACKT: I still have nothing but anxiety. I wonder if this movie will be a stain on my career.

Far from being a blemish, the content was such that I immediately looked forward to the next work!

GACKT: Third work? I’ll stop it no matter what.


Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA