Takashi Miike’s FOR LOVE’S SAKE Press Notes
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details and images from an upcoming Japanese movie.
“And then I’m going to take revenge on the guy who messed up my life…”
“Even though I’ve lost everything, I love him…”
On Saturday, June 16th, FOR LOVE’S SAKE (愛と誠, Ai to Makoto) opens in theaters across Japan. Based on the popular 1970s manga Ai to Makoto is a wild high school musical entertainment from the director of 13 ASSASSINS, HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI and the cult classics AUDITION and ICHI THE KILLER.
SciFi Japan is pleased to present an advance look at FOR LOVE’S SAKE with press notes and images courtesy of the film’s distributor and international sales agent, Kadokawa Pictures. These English notes were translated and written by Jason Gray of Loaded Films.
13 ASSASSINS director Takashi Miike returns to his genre-bending best, transforming Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Nagayasu’s legendary manga into Japan’s outrageously entertaining answer to WEST SIDE STORY!
A tale of undying love between a bad-to-the-bone kid from the wrong side of the tracks and the angelic girl he saved as a child.
Starring one of Japan’s hottest acting prodigies — Satoshi Tsumabuki — and co-starring irresistible new talent — Emi Takei.
Featuring infectious musical numbers, hyper-melodrama, touching animated sequences and skull-crushing guy & girl gang battles.
You may need to see FOR LOVE’S SAKE twice just to believe your eyes!
In the snowy mountains of the Japanese alps, little Ai’s affluent parents allow her to go skiing alone for the first time. She loses control on the slopes but is saved at the last second by a brash little boy named Makoto. His forehead drips with blood — his scar, and their bond, is for life…
11 years later — the apocalyptic underground passageways of Shinjuku. Now in high school, Ai (Emi Takei) witnesses a gang rumble. A boy she’s never seen takes them all on single-handedly and wipes them out. The scar on his forehead… It’s Makoto (Satoshi Tsumabuki). Fate has reunited them. Hardened from years of rage, he sings from a heart already made of stone. Soon after arriving in Tokyo he’s shipped off to juvenile detention.
Believing Makoto’s troubled life was caused by their childhood incident, Ai is wracked with guilt. She pleads with her parents to rescue Makoto and have him transferred to elite Aobadai High School, where she attends. Ai dances and sings of her love for Makoto on the immaculate lawn of the school, but he remains unmoved. Ai’s bespectacled classmate Hiroshi looks on, his burning love for her always unrequited.
Unable to push her parents to cover Makoto’s tuition and housing costs, Ai ends up working at a sleazy “cafe” with a catwalk to earn money. Always pure of heart, Ai exclaims “It’s my duty to help Makoto put his life back together. I love him!” But her efforts are in vain and Makoto is kicked out of Aobadai and transferred to the notorious gang-ridden wasteland of Hanazono High. Ever-devoted, Ai follows him into the midst of danger and Hiroshi in turn follows Ai.
Almost immediately, Makoto draws the ire and lust of two members of Hanazono’s vicious girl gang, simultaneously infuriating the school’s rapid aging disease-afflicted delinquent leader. With Ai caught in the middle, Hanazono is thrown into a whirlwind of jealousy and violence, punctuated by dynamic and engaging musical numbers. The truth of who holds the power at Hanazono and the reason for Makoto’s journey to Tokyo are gradually revealed. Hurtling toward their destiny, Makoto is pulled into rescuing Ai once again…
Satoshi Tsumabuki as Makoto Taiga
Versatile actor Satoshi Tsumabuki is a rare example of an actor comfortable and successful in both mainstream entertainment and challenging roles. As Makoto in FOR LOVE’S SAKE he effortlessly expresses inner emotional turmoil, cocksure attitude, latent sensitivity and convincing physical power in the film’s furious fight scenes.
Born in 1980 in Fukuoka, Satoshi Tsumabuki made his acting debut in 1998. His first lead role was in 2001 hit WATERBOYS, which won him the best newcomer award at the 25th Japan Academy Awards. Focusing on movies, Tsumabuki is also active in TV and live theater. His major film roles include 2003′s JOSSE, THE TIGER AND THE FISH for which he won a best actor prize, 69 (2004), SPRING SNOW (2005), NADA SOU SOU – TEARS FOR YOU (2006), DORORO (2007), THE MAGIC HOUR, SCHOOL DAYS WITH A PIG (2008), PANDEMIC, VILLON’S WIFE, Japan-Korea co-production NO BOYS, NO CRY (2009), MY BACK PAGE, SMUGGLER (2011). For his role in 2010′s VILLAIN Tsumabuki won best actor at the Japan Academy Awards, gaining deeper respect for his talent. He will star in Yoji Yamada’s upcoming Yasujiro Ozu homage TOKYO FAMILY, released in 2013.
Emi Takei as Ai Saotome
18-year-old Emi Takei makes a huge impression in FOR LOVE’S SAKE — her first major feature film role. In the role of Ai, Takei personifies the innocent, unconditional love of the massive “jun’ai” (“pure love”) sub-genre wholly inspired by Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Nagayasu’s original manga.
Born in 1993 in Aichi Prefecture, Emi Takei first gained notice after winning two prizes at the 11th Japan Bishojo national beauty contest. She soon began appearing in popular TV dramas on the major networks including LIAR GAME Season 2. Multi-talented Takei recorded her first single in 2011, with her singing ability strongly evident in FOR LOVE’S SAKE. Currently one of the most in-demand young actresses in Japan, Takei has upcoming lead roles in “Kyo, Koi wo Hajimemasu” and Warner Brothers samurai action epic RUROUNI KENSHIN, released in August 2012.
Other members of the impressive ensemble supporting cast include Takumi Saitoh as Ai’s fiercely loyal suitor and classmate Hiroshi, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA star Tsuyoshi Ihara as Hanazono High boss Gonta, Sakura Ando as gum-chewing female gang member Gamuko, 16-year-old Ito Ono as enigmatic queen of Hanazono High Yuki, Masachika Ichimura as Ai’s father and DEPARTURES star Yo Kimiko as Makoto’s wayward mother.
Director: Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike draws on his prolific directing experience to create a vivid, generation-spanning love story filled with emotional pain, humour, violence and tenderness. Soliciting unforgettable performances from his talented cast, Miike imbues FOR LOVE’S SAKE with an indomitable spirit.
Born in 1960 in Osaka, Miike graduated from film school in Yokohama. He apprenticed under directors Shohei Imamura and Hideo Onchi before making his directorial debut in 1991. Miike quickly became one of Japan’s busiest film makers, directing over 80 works across all genres. His unmatched energy, skill and in some cases boundary-pushing explicitness in adapting the various source material behind his films became his signature. In recent years his work has gained a high international profile, with 13 ASSASSINS screening as world premiere in Venice in 2010 and HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI as the first 3D film to compete for the Palme d’Or last year in Cannes. Among his other films are ONE MISSED CALL ZEBRAMAN (2004), THE GREAT YOKAI WAR (2005), LIKE A DRAGON (2007), CROWS ZERO series (2007, 2009), SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO (2007), YATTERMAN (2009), NINJA KIDS!!! (2011), ACE ATTORNEY (2012). His most recent film LESSON OF THE EVIL is released in November 2012.
An impressive creative team was assembled to realize FOR LOVE’S SAKE’s ambitiously cinematic and musical world. Crafting the memorable story and striking visuals are screenwriter Takayuki Takuma (BOYS OVER FLOWERS THE MOVIE), cinematographer Nobuyasu Kita (HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI, 13 ASSASSINS) and production designer Yuji Hayashida (13 ASSASSINS, GOEMON). Overseeing the diverse soundtrack is Takeshi Kobayashi (ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU) while dancer and actor Papaya Suzuki provides the film’s indelible choreography.
Based on the manga Ai to Makoto by Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Kenji Shibasaki Nagayasu, originally published by Kodansha, Ltd.
Running Time: 134 Minutes
World Premiere: May 21, 2012 (Cannes Film Festival)
Japanese Theatrical Release: June 16, 2012
Makoto Taiga: Satoshi Tsumabuki
Ai Saotome: Emi Takei
Hiroshi Iwashimizu: Takumi Saitoh
Yuki Takahara: Ito Ono
Gamuko: Sakura Ando
Mr. Aota: Ken Maeda
Young Makoto Taiga: Seishiro Kato
Miyako Saotome: Yo Hitoto
Toyo Taiga: Kimiko Yo
Gonta Zao: Tsuyoshi Ihara
Shogo Saotome: Masachika Ichimura
Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Takayuki Takuma
Executive Producers: Shinichiro Inoue, Yasushi Shiina
Executives in Charge of Production: Hiroyuki Ikeda, Osamu Fujioka, Shigeyuki Endo, Takashi Hirajo, Toshiaki Okuno, Hiroyasu Asami, Naoya Kinoshita, Hidehiro Ito, Yoshitaka Hori
Produced by: Tsutomu Tsuchikawa, Hidehiro Ito
Producers: Takayuki Sugisaki, Masamitsu Washizu, Misako Saka, Miharu Yamazaki
Planning Cooperation: Atsuko Takamori, Fukuko Nagayasu
Music: Takeshi Kobayashi
Choreographer: Papaya Suzuki
Director of Photography: Nobuyasu Kita (J.S.C.)
Lighting Director: Yoshimi Watabe
Sound Recording: Jun Nakamura
Production Designer: Yuji Hayashida
Set Decorator: Akira Sakamoto
Editor: Kenji Yamashita
Sound Effects: Kenji Shibasaki
Assistant Director: Fumiaki Kato
Special Cooperation: Hisao Maki
Production Companies: Concept Film, Excellent Film, OLM Production
Sales Agent: Kadokawa Pictures
© 2012 “Ai to Motoko” Film Partners