Cult anime series 'Gatchaman' to get a live-action adaptation
On October 12, it was announced that movie studio Nikkatsu and distributor Toho are going to create a live-action movie of Tatsunoko's cult anime series 'Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman' (English title: 'Science Ninja Team Gatchaman').
Director Sato Toya ('Kaiji', 'Gokusen The Movie') will tackle the adaptation and the filming is scheduled to begin on the 15th of this month. Team leader and protagonist 'Owashi no Ken' will be portrayed by actor Matsuzaka Tori. The remaining four superhero ninjas are played by Ayano Go, Gouriki Ayame, Hamada Tatsuomi, and Suzuki Ryohei.
'Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman' is set in Tokyo in the near future. The world gets threatened by a new kind of terrorist group known as the Galactor, who have already taken over half of the globe. Scientist Nambu Kouzaburou decides to step up against them and forms the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It's a team of five young heroes skilled in the art of ninjutsu, who dress in unique bird-like costumes.
The anime premiered in 1972 and recorded viewership ratings as high as 21% right from the beginning. Tatsunoko only planned to air two seasons at first, but in the end, a total of eight seasons, that amount to as many as 105 episodes, were aired. Fans were quick to sign petitions to continue the series, which resulted in a movie and multiple spin-offs. The highest rating that was achieved by the anime was 27.1%. Moreover, it was an exceptional success for an original anime that is not based on a manga to dominate the scene for four long years.
Now that Nikkatsu is celebrating its 100th anniversary and Tatsunoko is celebrating its 50th, they decided to gather some of the best people in order to create a live-action adaptation of this cult series. The script is written by Watanabe Yusuke ('GANTZ'), the action scenes are supervised by action director and Hollywood stunt man Koike Tatsuro ('Kamen Rider', 'The Last Samurai'), and the character design is done by Aramaki Shinji ('APPLESEED').
The visual effects, which will play a huge part in this movie, are all handled by the "SHIROGUMI INC.". It's said that the amount of CG used for this movie is going to exceed that of the live-action 'Yatterman' (1300 CG cuts) and the two live-action 'GANTZ' movies (1000 CG cuts each).
Director Sato explained that he aims to surpass American comic book live-action adaptations about superheros in all aspects. He said, "With the talented young actors and the great staff, I want to create a distinctive Japanese hero movie that can give our current generation hope and will be enjoyed by all fans of the original as well as those who are not familiar with it, while showing the respect to the world of the original anime."
Matsuzaka commented, "This is such a famous anime series, and I'm getting goosebumps as I'm looking forward to participate in its live-action adaptation. I started my career with a Super Sentai series, and I want to make the best use of my experience as 'Red' to create a completely new hero."
Ayano will be playing 'Condor no Joe', a cool, bold character who is the rival of 'Ken (Matsuzaka)'. Ayano said, "What is justice? What is evil? While facing a beast inside of myself, I will be portraying the man from team Gatchaman, 'Condor no Joe.' I will try my hardest so that people in the 'Gatchaman generation' and others who were never in the 'Gatchaman generation' can sympathize."
Gouriki's role will be 'Shiratori no Jun', the heroine who falls in love with 'Ken'. "Since it's an anime that everybody knows, I hope I will be able to show new Jun in cool and Gatchaman-like style without falling short of their expectations. I'm very much looking forward to is since this will be my first time in an action movie!!"
Hamada will be playing 'Tsubakuro no Jinpei'. Though it is different from the original anime, his role is set as the younger bother of 'Jun (Gouriki)'. Lastly, Suzuki will be 'Mimizuku no Ryu', the mood-maker of the team who has overwhelming power yet is very kind at heart.
The anime features many more unique characters, and it will be interesting to find out who else is participating in this live-action adaptation. The filming is scheduled to last until the end of December.
'Gatchaman' is slated for release in summer 2013.
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