The movie “Fly to Saitama” was released in 2019 to great acclaim and became a smash hit with box office revenue of 3.76 billion yen. The sequel, “Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~” is finally ready for release. As with the previous work, GACKT will continue to play the main character Asami Rei, and Nikaido Fumi will continue to play Dannoura Momomi. In this work that involves the Kansai region, An plays the role of Kai Kikyo, the leader of the Shiga Liberation Front. All three of them responded to an interview and once again discussed the appeal of this work.

■GACKT and Fumi Nikaido, who strongly opposed the filming of this work

――This is the long-awaited second installment of “Fly to Saitama.” How did you feel when you were approached?

GACKT: I refused and said, “Let’s not do it.” Isn’t that enough?

Nikaido: When director Hideki Takeuchi was filming the previous movie, he said, “We’ll do up to Part 3,” but I thought it was a complete joke, so we just added it as a conversation, “It would be great if we could do it.” However, when I was actually approached, I said, “Maybe I should stop doing it?” (laughs)

――Even though it was a huge hit, why did GACKT-san decide not to make a sequel?

GACKT: Even with the first movie, I was like, “Is this really okay?” I’m glad it turned out to be a hit, but there’s no need to take any more risks (lol).

–Why did Mr. Nikaido say, “You should stop”?

Nikaido: I had a strong feeling that the first movie was a hit by chance (lol).

GACKT: That was definitely a coincidence (lol). Also, historically speaking, the second film often performs poorly. Making it even more exciting is a difficult task, and since we’ve succeeded, wouldn’t it be more beautiful to end it here? and.

— Did you still participate?

Nikaido: The script was really interesting. Also, there are still so many people who say, “I saw Tonde Saitama.” So there was a bit of a sense of mission. However, when I looked at the cast and learned that many of the cast members, including Anzu and Ainosuke Kataoka, were extremely talented, I became nervous again. I was like “I don’t know, I don’t know” (lol).

――Did An know about your feelings like that?

An: It’s my first time hearing that (lol). However, I felt that it would be difficult just to imagine having to create this unconventional worldview and then take some time off to perform it again. I feel like if I were to be told, “We’re going to do a third movie,” after it’s released, I’d be like, “Are you really going to do it?” (lol).

– Ms. An played the role of Kai Kikyo, the leader of the Shiga Liberation Front. How did she feel when she received the offer?

An: I’m not from Shiga Prefecture, so I was worried about whether I could represent Shiga. Honestly, I’m still scared, or rather, I’m nervous until it’s released and I see the reaction.

–Why did you participate in this work?

An: I had previously worked with Director Takeuchi on the monthly drama “Date ~ What Kind of Love Is It?” (Fuji TV), and I was hoping that we could work together again someday. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried, but I thought that if Director Takeuchi said so, I couldn’t be wrong.

■GACKT and Ainosuke Kataoka are in love

–From your point of view, what do you think is more powerful than the first work?

Nikaido: The two-shot of Rei and Kikyo Kai, played by An, is so beautiful that I fall in love with it when I watch it. I was so moved that I thought the worldview of Mineo Maya, the author of the original work, came out exactly as it was. Also, although there were some people who couldn’t perform this time, it was good to see that everyone hasn’t forgotten. Is there really love? This is “Fly to Saitama”! I tought. Also, Ainosuke Kataoka and Norika Fujiwara co-star, and that scene was really interesting. I wonder if it was really good in this form… (lol).

GACKT: I co-starred with Ai-san (Ainosuke) in the second half of the shoot. It was my first time meeting him, but his lines were very strong, his acting was convincing, and he was good at closing the scene. Not only do I love his acting, but I also love his personality, and we get along very well even after filming. I still go there for dinner about once a month.

Nikaido: When did…!?

GACKT: It’s lovey-dovey.

Nikaido: What kind of things do you two talk about?

GACKT: We talk a lot about movies and Kabuki. When I heard that Kabuki only takes two days from memorizing the script and starting rehearsals to the actual performance, I thought it was an amazing world. I thought it was amazing that he was active in such a world. Also, talk about the delicious local food. There are restaurants like this in Tokyo and delicious places like this in Fukuoka, so I think I’ll go there next time.

Nikaido: Please take me too (lol).

An: I would like you to invite me too.

――Do you have any memorable scenes, Anzu?

An: The scene where Rei-sama is poisoned by a certain powder and her face changes was so impactful that I wondered how they filmed it. Moreover, I was even more surprised to hear that this scene was not originally planned. I would like you to pay attention to it.

■It’s interesting because you seriously risk your life to do something stupid.

–What do you think is the reason why this work is so loved?

GACKT: The atmosphere of movie theaters in Japan and overseas is completely different. Overseas, it’s easy to laugh when you want to laugh or jeer, but in Japan there is a strong sense of “not getting in the way of other people.” I saw the first movie in theaters several times, and the audience was laughing and clapping. After seeing that, I realized that this movie has the power to share the work with all the audience. I would be happy if this work inspired people to think, “Movie theaters are great.”

Nikaido: I think this work depicts how things like discrimination, division, and conflict can be so ridiculous if you take a step back. I think that’s why it moves people’s hearts. As GACKT-san said earlier, this work is completed through the audience’s laughter, so I think the biggest appeal is that the audience can connect through the screen.

An: It’s funny how grown-up adults do something stupid with all their heart and soul. You’re really pushing the limits. There are some expressions that may be on the verge of going out, but combined with the suspense that makes you think your foot is on the line, it really makes me laugh.

GACKT: We never act in a way that makes us laugh. The director controls everything, so we don’t think of anything strange and are very serious. That’s why it’s so interesting. The shooting was mostly on location and everyone was exhausted, but there was no compromise. During a very serious scene, Sohei Tanikawa, the photographer, tripped while moving, but I was moved to see him still holding the camera and trying his best to take pictures. He ended up getting cut, but at that time I was like, “Damn! I’m so frustrated!”

An: It was really cool, wasn’t it?

GACKT: They really put their lives on the line to take pictures. I felt the love for the work. But what you’re doing is so stupid. That’s the best. I’m sure everyone will be able to hear what everyone is seriously dedicating their lives to. The work place is hard and demanding, but it is full of love. I think this work definitely conveys that feeling.


Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA