Four years have passed since the movie “Fly to Saitama” (2019), which was a live-action adaptation of the original comic released in 1982 by the genius Mineo Maya, and became a huge hit that far exceeded initial expectations. In response to the voices of fans who have been looking forward to a sequel, director Hideki Takeuchi and the staff and cast of the previous film reunited to create the forbidden second chapter, “Fly to Saitama ~From Lake Biwa with Love~”, which will be released in November. It will finally be released from the 23rd (Thursday/Holiday)!

This work is about Momomi Dannoura, the son of the governor of Tokyo and the student council president of Hakuhodo Gakuin, a prestigious private high school, who meets Rei Asami, a transfer student who is a returnee who leads the Saitama Liberation Front, and after struggling to get to Tokyo, she is able to get to Tokyo. A sequel to the previous work that was abolished. Rei heads to Shirahama in Wakayama with her friends in order to “create a sea in Saitama”, which is a Saitama Prefecture’s fervent wish, and throws herself into an East-West confrontation that involves the whole country.

In addition to the continued cast of the two main characters, GACKT who plays Rei Asami and Fumi Nikaido who plays Momomi Dannoura, this time Anzu joins the cast as Kai Kikyo, the leader of the Shiga Liberation Front and also known as “Oscar of Shiga.” The three people who took on the challenge of making this work, which has been enhanced in all aspects, including story and scale, talked about their experiences during filming and their thoughts on this work.

“I refused, saying I couldn’t do it any more. But he was persistent (lol)” (GACKT)

–When did you hear about the sequel?

Nikaido: “At the time of the Japan Academy Awards announcement in January 2020 (Fly to Saitama won the Excellence Award in 12 categories, including Best Picture at the 43rd Japan Academy Awards), the director, producer, and Toei… You said, “Please make a sequel!”

GACKT: “When I got the offer to actually make a second work, I said, “Let’s not do this anymore,” and declined. But I was persistent (lol).

――How did you feel when you heard about the offer?

An: “I previously worked with Director Takeuchi on the drama “Date ~ What Kind of Love Is It?” that aired on Monday, and I was thinking that I would like to work with him again, so I was happy. However, I was very surprised as I had never imagined that it would be “Fly to Saitama”.The role of Kikyo, who I played this time, is the leader of the Shiga Liberation Front, but I am not from Shiga Prefecture, so I didn’t have much involvement with her. So I was wondering if it was okay for me to do it, if it would be okay.”

— Mr. An, you also appeared in “Kingdom: Flames of Fate,” but when you participate in a sequel work where the world view has already been established, how do you approach it?

An: If it’s a work that has visuals from the original work, I’d like to recreate it as much as possible.If it’s a character like this, who isn’t in the original work, I’ll be very conscious of the setting and how it will fit into the world of the work. I’m really trying to fit in. I watched the previous films, “Fly to Saitama” and “Kingdom,” as an ordinary audience member, so of course there was some pressure, but I thought, “I can appear in this movie!” That was a great joy.When I first met Rei Asami, played by GACKT, I thought to myself, “Ah, it’s Rei!”

“The way his face was distorted made me wonder if he had done something to it.” (An)

――GACKT-san will be co-starring with Nikaido-san again in this work, and this will be his first time co-starring with An-san.

GACKT: “In the first half of the shoot, I was An-chan, and in the second half, I was Fumi-chan.I started filming right after I recovered from illness, and my voice wasn’t back to 100%, so in the first half, I was filming myself. I was worried about how well I would be able to do it.It was my first time working with An-chan, so I didn’t know how we should work together.However, as the second half progressed, I started to get better and started shooting. I’m getting used to it. When Fumi-chan came, I felt relieved. I was so glad I finally got to meet her (lol).”

Nikaido: “GACKT-san was as beautiful as ever.”

GACKT: “My face was quite disfigured during the process.”

――This is the scene where Rei gradually becomes an Osaka person after eating okonomiyaki and takoyaki made with special flour, which was planned by Osaka Prefectural Governor Akira Kashoji (Ainosuke Kataoka).

An: “It was really amazing. The way her face was deformed…I wondered if she had done something to it. I can’t believe that just the muscles in her face could change so much…”

Nikaido: “The shape of his face has changed (lol). It’s even more interesting when he’s already cool. GACKT-san, you’ve done things like this…”

GACKT: “At first, we were planning to do it more normally.Then, the day before, I asked Director Takeuchi, “I have this kind of image in mind, what do you think?”, and he said, “Let’s try it out on set!” I wonder if we’re rehearsing this… (bitter smile)

Nikaido: “Oh no, that’s really embarrassing (lol)”

GACKT: “When we actually tried it, both Director Takeuchi and the staff on set said, “No, isn’t this better?” It was embarrassing to hear them say this in such a calm tone.”

An: “It wasn’t written in the script, so I was surprised when I saw the finished work.”

Nikaido: “I laughed so much that it was hard (lol). I feel like I got to see a new GACKT-san and a new Uri.”

GACKT “Thank you. It’s an honor…”

An: “Also, Kashoji, played by Ainosuke Kataoka, licked the sauce off his mouth (lol)”

GACKT: “When we were rehearsing on set, I suggested, “Ai-san, let’s make this part more erotic. I’m going to put a little more sauce on it, so please lick it.” I also said to Ai-san, “Is that okay? ?I’ll lick you all the time.”

An: “In that scene, he was licking the cut butt all the way.I was watching it thinking that it couldn’t be done just once.”

GACKT: “Ai-san, you’re a very serious person. Before you lick me, say “Excuse me.”

An: “Wow, you’re such a gentleman (lol)”

–The glittering costumes and hair and makeup of the cast members are also one of the charms of this series. Please tell us about the costumes during the shoot.

An: The character I played, Kikyo, was not in the original work, so I created the visuals from scratch.Costume designer Isao Tsuge thought Kikyo would have a collar and cape like a southern barbarian. That’s why I said I wanted to include a family crest. By including the famous family crests of the warlords who once fought to seize the land of Omi, I could show that Kikyo cherishes its past glory. That’s what I thought. After those discussions, the design was completed.”

Nikaido: “Momomi’s costume is very uncomfortable to wear (lol).It’s made of curtain-like material with little elasticity, so you can easily tell if she’s gained a little weight.This time, in the first movie, GACKT The cloak she was wearing looked so cool, so I asked her, “I want to wear that too!” That made it even harder to move (bitter smile).However, I wanted to show Momomi in a cloak. I’m glad I was able to do it.”

GACKT: “My pants often tear during filming. During scenes where I’m running or moving, my inner thighs tear apart. Same thing happened last time…I guess it’s something that can’t be fixed. I kept thinking that until the end, sewing the torn pants, putting them on, tearing them up, over and over again.”

“Discrimination and division are actually so ridiculous” (Nikaido)

–Although this work disses various regions, it is filled with a deep love for the local area. GACKT-san and Nikaido-san are from Okinawa, and An is from Tokyo. What do you think about your hometowns?

GACKT: “My hometown is a very rural area. There are more goats than people. There was a time when many of our staff members were from Fukuoka, and they said, “I’m from Fukuoka.” But when I actually went there, I thought, “It’s not like a city at all!” I thought, “Why don’t I show them the real countryside?” After that, I told them that it was the place where I grew up. When I showed it to them, they said, “That’s crazy!” Sometimes when I talk to people from Okinawa about their hometowns, I get laughed at because it’s too rural. .

But I like the countryside. When I leave my house, the sea is right in front of me. Are there any places in Japan today that still have a landscape like this? That’s what I think. I guess you could call it my pride. It’s true that the typhoon is severe. By the way, the image of a typhoon in Tokyo and Okinawa is completely different. Okinawa was hit directly. When I wake up in the morning, I usually see a boat stuck in a tree. A tree might break through the shutters and come into the house. Including that, it’s Okinawa. All of them remain as good memories in my mind.”

Nikaido: “I’m also from Okinawa, but our hometowns are completely different.This movie also depicts the battle between Omiya and Urawa in Saitama.Okinawa was once one country, so maybe that’s why. I felt like I couldn’t do it.”

GACKT: “Okinawa is a very small place, isn’t it? But within that small space, there were many castles, and everyone was fighting. It made me wonder what they were fighting for in such a small place. Even now, the language used is completely different depending on the region.I have no idea what people say in Miyakojima or Ishigakijima.”

Nikaido: “Even though it’s called Okinawa, the north and south may be completely different.”

――Even in the previous work, there was a description that at the high school that Rei and Momomi attend, even though they are in the same Tokyo, the students who live in Akasaka and Aoyama are in Class A, and the classes are divided according to the level of the “urban index”.

An: “Also, I hear some people are particular about what the car number should be.”

Nikaido: “I’m currently driving a loaner car with an Omiya license plate number. I feel like I’m carrying Saitama on my back (lol)”

An: I think people sometimes say that Tokyo is a big city and that the people there are cold, but in reality, it’s surprisingly friendly and there are places where the nostalgic lifestyle of the past is still alive.There are parks full of greenery. In terms of culture, there are many exhibitions of foreign art, and you can eat a variety of foods… I think Tokyo is a great place.”

–What do you personally find appealing about the “Fly to Saitama” series?

GACKT: “Even if people from other prefectures watch it, or people who live in that prefecture watch it, it’s a place where you can discover something like this…!Even if you study geography, it’s hard to wrap your head around it.” I think it’s a good opportunity to gain knowledge through entertainment.As you watch while laughing and dissing, you’ll naturally learn things.”

An: “There were a lot of unique local stories, and it was really interesting to ask people from their hometowns, “Does something like this really exist?” and learn a lot from famous people. It was a surprise to see so many of them appearing in unexpected places.On set, the attention to detail was such that all of the extras’ costumes were carefully made, and each flag had a message written on it. I was very impressed.I wanted to talk to people who had seen the show about the various tricks and small plot points in the play and compare their answers.After watching it once, I immediately wanted to see it again.”

Nikaido: “It’s a movie that makes you feel relaxed while watching it.When GACKT-san said about the previous movie, it was a “movie that’s needed in today’s era,” and I really feel that’s true.This movie… I think it’s a work that uses a clear diss to depict how things like discrimination and division are actually so ridiculous.At the same time, it’s also a work that genuinely makes you laugh. I laughed so much that I was cringing, and my diaphragm hurt a little after watching it (lol).

GACKT: “I think this is a work that will make you feel strongly about the meaning of going to the movie theater.When I laugh, the person next to me is laughing as well, and that in itself gives me an impression of the movie. It changes things. When you share laughter and emotion with many people, it becomes mysteriously multilayered. I want many people to watch it and laugh a lot. I want that laughter to come in. This work will be completed.”


Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA