Donten ni Warau (Laughing Under the Clouds), the 2014 TV anime based on the popular manga series of the same name by Kemuri Karakara, is going to entertain you again as an anime theatrical film!! This new adaptation is the first of a trilogy of side stories that includes a prequel and a sequel to the television anime series. To celebrate the premiere on 2 December, a special talk event was held at Marunouchi Piccadilly in Tokyo on 25 November, to present the new film Donten ni Warau Gaiden: Ketsubetsu, Yamainu no Chikai (Laughing Under the Clouds Side Story: Parting, The Oath of the Yamainu). Cast members Yuichi Nakamura (Tenka Kumo) and Yuki Fujiwara (Mutsuki Ashiya), along with the director Tetsuya Wakano appeared as guests.
The manga Donten ni Warau Gaiden (Laughing Under the Clouds Side Story) features a prequel and sequel to the TV series in which the three Kumo brothers, Tenka (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura), Soramaru (voiced by Yuki Kaji), and Chutaro, (voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga) fight to seal the power of the monster serpent Orochi. The Orochi is said to resurrect every 300 years to cause disasters. The first theatrical film of this trilogy will focus on side stories about the Yamainu Squad formed to exterminate the Orochi, about an incident that caused Tenka to decide to leave the squad, and about how the squad got disbanded.
Having taken part in a Donten recording for the first time in three years, Nakamura said, ‘The story itself is about all three brothers, but this film focuses a lot more on Tenka. Kaji, as one of the two brothers, cheered me up at the studio so it was great. However, Yonaga, unfortunately, did his recording on a different day, without us. Very unfortunately!’ Nakamura kept on complaining about how the youngest brother was missing from the recording, ‘Later, I asked him what he was doing when we were recording at the studio. He said he was doing another stupid job on location, and that made me want to murder him. [laugh] We’re supposed to be brothers, though!’
Fujiwara, who voiced Yamainu squad member Mutsuki Ashiya, said, ‘I had a mental picture of the role and atmosphere. But when I heard Hiroshi Iwasaki do the voice for Chenran Shi, it took me right back to the anime of 3 years ago and I was amazed.’
When asked about their favorite scenes, Nakamura passionately answered, ‘The best scene for me was the one in front of the grave at the end. The anime version added more to the manga. I really like the scene in the manga, but I found it more impressive in the anime.’ Fujiwara agreed quietly, ‘The same for me. Completely.’ Nakamura hurriedly said, ‘Sorry! Then let me change mine. The best scene for me is when we did push-ups!’. The remark made everybody laugh. He then added, ‘I remember doing some ad-libs here and there at that scene. All the cast was there together, except for Yonaga of course. [laugh] So it was a great opportunity to do off-script stuff.’
Wakano, who is making his debut as a director with this trilogy, said, ‘I tried adding what I personally wanted to watch myself. I hope you like it too.’ He explained, ‘The most important aspect is the interactions between the characters. So in order to stage them well, I paid particular attention to the interaction and awkwardness that is distinctive to men, such as between Tenka and Sousei, or Ashiya and Taiko, and such.’ Fujiwara recollected the scene where Ashiya and Taiko are talking and told us with joy how he thought that ‘Yes! I know this from the manga!;, and at the same time how he enjoyed playing Ashiya becoming the way he was.
Nakamura also said, ‘The film is well-organized and you can understand the story in just fifty minutes, but I would like you to check the original manga from the start.’ He suggested, ‘As we’ve been playing these roles for long, we can always complement it with what we already know. So, maybe it is easier for you to share the sensation with us if you read the manga before watching the film.’ Director Wakano said that the opening footage was produced as an experiment and explained, ‘I have changed the picture designs a little bit and worked bits and pieces on them to change the flavor slightly.’ You can watch this footage for a limited time only until 15 December on YouTube, so don’t forget to check it out!
Nakamura closed the event saying, ‘This film is the first of the trilogy and two more are coming later. Moreover, a live-action film will be released next year too. I hope the first half of the next year will be all about Donten. We need your support to get this going, so please watch it at a theater. Like five times. [laugh]’
The first anime movie of the trilogy, Donten ni Warau Gaiden: Ketsubetsu, Yamainu no Chikai (Laughing Under the Clouds Side Story: Parting, The Oath of the Yamainu) will be running in theaters for a limited time of two weeks only, starting on 2 December. Exclusive Blu-ray discs will be sold at each theater during those two weeks. A live-action film adaptation, Donten ni Warau starring Souta Fukushi is scheduled for release on 21 March 2018 in Japan.
Donten ni Warau Gaiden: Ketsubetsu, Yamainu no Chikai