The filming of the movie adaptation of Gintama, based on the manga of the same name by Hideaki Sorachi, took place during September 2016 in a studio in Tokyo. Our friends at Comic Natalie bring you an on-site report.
The scene filmed on the day of this report was the one where the Shinsengumi board the ship belonging to the Kiheitai, a Joi extremist group led by Shinsuke Takasugi. Toshiro Hijikata (Yuya Yagira) and Sogo Okita (Ryo Yoshizawa) cross swords with the expert at slashing and killing his opponents, Nizou Okada (Hirofumi Arai).
Inside the studio, where the ship was reconstructed, Yagira, playing the role of the Demonic Vice-Commander Hijikata, had a sword in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth when Yoshizawa, playing the role of the sadistic Okita who aims for Hijikata’s position at every tiny opportunity, entered toting a bazooka. When confronted by ‘Manslayer Nizou,’ Okita tries to use Hijikata as a shield to avoid danger, causing Hijikata to scream ‘You gotta be kidding!’ Then, you could hear Director Yuichi Fukuda instruct Yagira to let it all out, and without a moment’s hesitation, Yagira gave it everything he had. When the director yelled ‘CUT,’ there was laughter from the staff and Yagira showed a relieved expression.
When asked about the reason he participated in the movie, Yagira said, ‘I was invited to join a movie by Director Fukuda and the desire to participate was very strong. Then, when I heard it was Gintama and the role of Toshiro Hijikata, I was very happy to play such a great role.’ It seems that his younger sister, a huge fan of the original manga, told him ‘This is the most I have ever respected you.’ On playing the role, he said, ‘I have been working with the original manga for some time now but Hijikata is overwhelmingly popular, isn’t he?’, revealing the pressure he is under. With regards to preparing for the part, he explained, ‘I was told by Director Fukuda, “Instead of being overly conscious of the anime and manga versions and mimicking them, isn’t Yagira’s live-action Hijikata just fine?” So, of course I studied, but I tried not to be overly conscious of the anime and manga.’ He seemed satisfied, saying ‘I’m glad I was able to play a good guy. As an actor, that is what I am most happy about.’
Upon looking at the newspaper article announcing the cast list, Yoshizawa humbly said, ‘I was really apologetic for being included in the list of such stellar cast members.’ However, when he was told that the character visuals featuring him as Sogo Okita were well-received by fans, he smiled and said, ‘Really? I’m really happy! I wonder if my kendo experience is part of it after all?’ Yoshizawa is actually at second-dan level in kendo but in the movie, he mainly uses a bazooka. That day, Yoshizawa was receiving detailed instruction from Director Fukuda on how to hold the bazooka and how to position his hands. With regards to his preparation for the role, he said, ‘There probably isn’t a time when I was as conscious of the original work as I was this time. I’d hate for the hardcore fans of the manga to say that my Okita wasn’t anything like the character.’ He explained his attention to detail saying, ‘More than anything, I thought about his atmosphere. For his way of speaking and intonation, I read the manga and watched the anime, being sure to be conscious of them.’
Gintama, which will hit theaters across Japan on 14 July, is a comedy set in a parallel world where aliens called Amanto come from space and settle in Edo, where Gintoki Sakata runs an odd jobs service called Yorozuya. Shun Oguri plays Gintoki Sakata alongside Masaki Suda, Kanna Hashimoto, Kankuro Nakamura and Tsuyoshi Domoto.
Live-action Movie ‘Gintama’
Premiere: 14 July 2017
Screenplay, Director: Yuichi Fukuda
Original work: Gintama by Hideaki Sorachi (Currently being serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump)
Gintoki Sakata: Shun Oguri
Shinpachi Shimura: Masaki Suda
Kagura: Kanna Hashimoto
Toshiro Hijikata: Yuya Yagira
Nizou Okada: Hirofumi Arai
Sogo Okita: Ryo Yoshizawa
Tetsuko Murata: Akari Hayami
Gengai Hiraga: Murotsuyoshi
Tae Shimura: Masami Nagasawa
Kotaro Katsura: Masaki Okada
Henpeita Takechi: Jiro Sato
Matako Kirishima: Nanao
Tetuo Murata: Ken Yasuda
Isao Kondo: Kankuro Nakamura
Shinsuke Takasugi: Tsuyoshi Domoto
(c) 空知英秋／集英社 (c) 2017「銀魂」製作委員会