The press conference opened with threats of violence upon the press if we tried to take any still shots of Takashi Miike and Sho Sakurai during the conference. Then we were tretaed to a full trailer for Yatterman, the live-action movie adaptation of the classic '70s series, which I was already really excited about, and now I'm doubly so; that trailer looked awesome (and was much longer than the one on the official site).
Excuse me while I have a fangirly squeeing moment about sitting this close to Sho Sakurai. Eeeeee! Not to mention Miike-sensei, of course.
Miike speaks in Japanese with a translator; Sakurai actually speaks in firm English.
The first press question: Yatterman was never brought to the US; was that a hindrance for international familiarity? Miike-sensei responds that the show has aired in Japan for years and re-aired, as well as the recent anime remake, so he's more interested in sharing something the Japanese already love with the world with this film.
Are there scenes Miike-sensei wants American audiences to pay particular attention to? As a director, he wants people to pay attention to the quality of Japanese acting and the strength and force of the actors-- he says they're essentially doing cosplay but that they are also really embodying these cartoon roles.
Sakurai switches to Japanese and says he wants people to notice the sadness of the scenes that feature machines versus machines. A question about the casting-- was Sakurai familiar with Miike's work, and who did Miike cast first and how did the rest of it come about?
Sakurai says that he loved Miike's film Django (Sukiyaki Western Django, that is), he loved how it featured Japanese actors and English dialogue and was excited to see what Miike-sensei did with Yatterman.
Miike-sensei says that Sakurai was the only person in Japan who could carry off the purity of the lead role, and that the film might not have happened had Sakurai been unavailable.
Sakurai is looking at the difference between American and Japanese comics at the convention, and says that the main difference is that Japan's manga audience is much broader than America's.
Next question: how was it to work with each other? Miike-sensei says he loves shooting films more than anything else about the process, and says that he had a lot of fun on the set for this film, more than in most recent years. He thinks that the fun that they had really translates to a more enjoyable experience for the audience, too. He's also grateful that he could say to his younger relatives “I'm working with Sho Sakurai!” and they thought it was really cool.
Sakurai has two favorite things about working with Miike-sensei: the set was like a real life full-size copy of the film, and everyone was having a lot of fun, especially Miike-sensei, which made a great atmosphere for the shoot. The second thing was that there were a lot of on-the-spot acting challenges throughout the films.
Do they have any opinion on the recent American live-action versions of manga, like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball Evolution? Miike says that the anime that Japan loves gets enjoyed by other cultures is a great honor, especially when films are made by America which is especially an honor since we're renowned for film making. But he thinks they can do it better and that we'll see that when we see Yatterman.
Sakurai offers that he's really started to think about how Japanese media translates across the oceans in other countries, and he's excited to see how Yatterman manages to do.
That's the end. Whew! The only other panel I'm attending today is Vertical's this evening, but tomorrow will be jam-packed and you'll see other con-related posts from me too, so stick around!