GATCHAMAN (2013) Production Notes
Nippon TV has provided SciFi Japan with production notes and high-res images from GATCHAMAN (ガッチャマン, 2013), the live-action feature film based on the classic Tatsunoko Production anime series. With the exception of international film festival screenings, the GATCHAMAN movie is currently unavailable outside of Asia.
They were chosen…to become the ultimate weapons.
The chosen five…Man’s last defense against evil.
At the beginning of the 21st Century mankind was under attack by invaders. Within 17 days half of the civilization was annihilated. On the verge of extinction humankind’s only hope against the invaders was the mysterious crystals called the Stones. These Stones empowered certain humans who were born Receptors. Statistically there’s only one Receptor in 8 million. After combing the land for Receptors, the chosen few gathered to train as special agents. They would be groomed as the ultimate weapon against the deadly invaders.
These modern day ninja empowered by extraordinary Stones were called Gatchaman.
The 40-year-old TV cartoon everybody loved is back in live-action!
GATCHAMAN, the summer movie of 2013!
The TV series GATCHAMAN, from which this movie is adapted, started in October 1972. Highly anticipated, it didn’t take 4 episodes to earn 25.5% ratings. Throughout the season it managed to grab 21% of the viewers resulting in an extension of its planned half-year season to 2 years. In the end it clocked up 105 episodes. The fans’ enthusiasm didn’t waver after the show’s finale. They organized a petition and begged the station to bring back the show. The station agreed and the TV series returned with 27.1% ratings plus a feature movie, earning GATCHAMAN a legendary status in Japanese TV history. GATCHAMAN continues on into 2013 with this live-action movie.
The story takes place in the near future. The backdrop for the GATCHAMAN universe was imaginatively reinvented to incorporate the GATCHAMAN characters into the reality of our world. The story explores the meaning of duty and responsibility when you have superhuman abilities. This movie boldly going beyond the boundaries of an escape movie in its exploration of the meaning of justice.
The 5 “chosen ones” who are destined to fight against their will are played by 5 popular young actors. They are Tori Matsuzaka, Go Ayano, Ayame Goriki, Tatsuomi Hamada and Ryohei Suzuki. Established veterans like Eriko Hatsune, Ken Mitsuishi, Shidou Nakamura and Goro Kishitani also star. At the helm is Director Touya Sato who demonstrated when he directed KAIJI (カイジ 人生逆転ゲーム, Kaiji Jinsei Gyakuten Geemu, 2009) his knack for turning a manga series into a fantastic live-action movie with dramatic depth.
Shirogumi Studio pushed the limits of VFX innovation in this movie just as they’d done in the ALWAYS -SUNSET ON THIRD STREET- franchise to create a period landscape from half a century ago. The gravity-free battle between the malicious Galactors led by Berg Katze (“Mountain Cat” in German) and the ultimate human-weapon Gatchaman fighters is simply breathtaking. In homage to the original TV series, some familiar mechas are modernized for the movie. They brought back Cata-Roller, the assault vehicle shaped like a rotating mill that demolishes its way across Tokyo. There’s Turtle King, the traveling fortress that emerges from the ocean and God Phoenix, the exclusive Gatchaman fighters’ airborne transport. Shirogumi Studio uses the latest special effects technology to bring all those elements together in never-seen-before action scenes.
When the credits roll, you can sing along with Bump of Chicken’s song which surpasses the much loved song from the original series.
The best possible cast and crew bring to the silver screen, GATCHAMAN, the original anime hero in Japan’s TV history!
Ken (played by Tori Matsuzaka)
He is the leader of the Gatchaman Unit, a group of special operatives working for the International Science Organization, Far East. Ken’s status as a Receptor of Stone power has meant that he has had to train since he was a boy. Responsible and serious, Ken believes that everything is secondary to duty. He carries Birdrang, a specialized boomerang. He had been together with George and Naomi, both Receptors, since childhood until a tragedy separated them…
George (played by Go Ayano)
A crack Gatchaman transferred from ISO Europe. He misses nothing with his trademark feather darts. He trained as a Receptor with Ken and Naomi since when they were young. A moment after Naomi accepted his marriage proposal, they were attacked by the Galactors. Since then George vowed to avenge Naomi’s death and lives for revenge.
Jun (played by Ayame Goriki)
The female member of the Gatchaman Unit. She has a crush on Ken and keeps flirting with him unsuccessfully. Her personal weapon is an electromagnetic yoyo. Her parents were abducted by the Galactors when she was nine. She is more receptive to the power of the Stone than Ken and George but her emotional instability hinders her ability.
Jinpei (played by Tatsuomi Hamada)
He’s Jun’s younger brother. A computer wiz-kid/hacker, Jinpei is skilled in data analysis. His personalized choice of weapon is specially fitted Crackers (also known as Click Clacks, Knockers or Ka-Bangers). Jinpei is actually quite mature but he deliberately acts like a kid to alleviate tension.
Ryu (played by Ryohei Suzuki)
Ryu is the gentle giant of the pack who speaks with a strong dialect. He pilots God Phoenix, the Gatchaman Unit’s air transport. He was fifteen and homeless when the ISO officers found that he was an eligible Receptor and took him away for training.
Naomi (played by Eriko Hatsune)
Since she was a child she was in training with Ken and George for the day that she would fight the Galactors. She accepted George’s marriage proposal right before being killed by a Galactor.
Doctor Kirkland (played by Ken Mitsuishi)
An ISO scientist, Kirkland developed an orbital weapons system that utilizes the Stone’s power which he names the Moscone. He is convinced that his invention will make the Gatchaman fighters obsolete as it will kill the Galactors.
Ilia (played by Shidou Nakamura)
He was Number 2 in the Galactor hierarchy. After attempting to usurp the reigning leader, Berg Katze, he is forced to seek asylum in Tokyo. He approaches the ISO with an offer to provide inside information.
Doctor Nambu (played by Goro Kishitani)
An ISO scientist and the organizer/commander of the Gatchaman fighters. He was the first to seek out countermeasures against the Galactor threat and train the Receptors as tactical agents.
The Galactors’ leader who has declared war against humankind. The evasive Berg Katze’s identity is a total mystery to humans.
Statement from Director Touya Sato
Stories with heroes saving the day have always fascinated me. And GATCHAMAN was a life-altering experience for me. TV cartoons pre-GATCHAMAN had been basically made for tiny kids featuring cartoony characters. GATCHAMAN changed it all. It looked so cool it was awesome. The story was set in a world so well designed it was the first time I thought it wasn’t just make believe. All GATCHAMAN characters left me with such strong impact that even after the show I’d enjoy imagining what villains they fight and what action stunts they perform.
When I adapted the animated series into a live-action movie I wanted to recreate what had excited me as a child. There are two ways to adapt stories into movies. One is to take liberties and depart from the original. Another method is to replicate the original as much as possible. In any case the fans will have their opinions about what works and what doesn’t. Since that is inevitable, I decided not to mess with the basic elements and just alter the story and setting. It is still like the original in that it’s about five young people fighting against evil to protect humans. Each of us probably has our own perception of GATCHAMAN because it stimulates your imagination. So I decided to make my version of it (laughs).
To realize my version of GATCHAMAN I wrote a grand saga that wouldn’t fit in one movie. I gave a background to the story. Beginning with the 18th Century discovery of the Stones to the Galactor’s declaration that they were at war with the humans. I wrote back stories to each character and described the relationships that they had together. I coined many words to express the fantastic world of GATCHAMAN. Then I picked up the elements that were best suited to this movie. George Lucas started the STAR WARS saga with Episode IV and it has prequels and sequels. With GATCHAMAN I could tell the story in the same manner and not put everything in one movie. What I wanted was for the audience to feel a whole world behind and beyond the story of 5 young fighters.
40 years have passed since the original broadcast so I had to make GATCHAMAN the Movie appropriate for today’s audiences. I didn’t want the characters in Superhero costumes but armored weapon/suits. I first conceived the suits as weapons and then I added GATCHAMAN elements to them.
I decided to keep the feel of the action scenes in the original anime. That’s where I’m most faithful to the original. I wanted the characters to move as if they defied the laws of gravity at superhuman speed. Japanese superheroes are associated with extremely stylized poses which I found too deliberate. I decided that natural and fluid movements would suit the GATCHAMAN characters better. So they subtly strike poses in naturalistically choreographed action sequences for impact. This minimal use of poses and gravity defying action is inspired by anime. The action sequences from the original TV series are really cool and I was pleased with the results that I achieved, too. The action scenes in GATCHAMAN are something not seen in Japanese and American superhero genre movies.
I felt that I could make the most of elements of the original GATCHAMAN by reconstructing the story. Meticulous attention went into making the GATCHAMAN story work in our reality. In order for the concept to work I took liberties with the story and incorporated aspects of the original show that I loved like the tech ninja tricks and the enemy mechas. These things matter a lot to me as a fan.
I loved GATCHAMAN as a child.
And this is GATCHAMAN as I imagine it today.
Director and Actors’ Profiles
Touya Sato, Director
Sato was born in April 11, 1959 in Tokyo. His father, Junya Sato was also a film director. Touya Sato joined Nippon Television Network Corporation in 1983 and directed many TV dramas since. Credits include THE STRAIGHT NEWS (ストレートニュース, Storeito Nyusu, 2000), THE GOKUSEN (ごくせん, Gokusen, 2002-08), WATERMELONS (すいか, Suika, 2003), WITH THE LIGHT (光とともに…, Hikari to Tomoni, 2004), THE GRAVE OF FIREFLIES (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka, 2005), MY BOSS IS MY HERO (マイ★ボス マイ★ヒーロー, Mai Bosu Mai Hiro, 2006), A 14-YEAR-OLD MOTHER (１４才の母 ～愛するために 生まれてきた～, Juyonsai no Haha, 2006), A TEMP WORKER’S PRIDE (ハケンの品格, Haken no Hinkaku, 2007) and THE GOLDEN PIG (黄金の豚 -会計検査庁 特別調査課-, Ogon no Buta, 2010). Other movies he directed are GOKUSEN THE MOVIE (ごくせん THE MOVIE, 2009), KAIJI (2009) and KAIJI 2 (カイジ2 人生奪回ゲーム, Kaiji 2: Jinsei Dakkai Geemu, 2011). GATCHAMAN is his fourth feature.
Matsuzaka was born in Kanagawa on October 17, 1988. He started his career modeling for a men’s fashion magazine Fineboys. His acting debut was in one of the Power Ranger series, SHINKENGER (侍戦隊シンケンジャー, Samurai Sentai Shinkenjaa, 2009-2010). 2 years later he starred in ROYALE THE THIEF (怪盗ロワイヤル, Kaito Rowaiyaru) on TV. In the same year Matsuzaka starred in 2 movies, WE CAN’T CHANGE THE WORLD. BUT WE WANNA BUILD A SCHOOL IN CAMBODIA (僕たちは世界を変えることができない。, Bokutachi wa Sekai wo Kaeru Koto ga Dekinai) by Kenta Fukasaku and LIFE BACK THEN (アントキノイノチ, Antoki no Inochi) by Takahisa Zeze. Kinema Jumpo magazine and the Yokohama Film Festival awarded him Best Newcomer awards.
In 2012 he starred in UMECHAN M.D. (梅ちゃん先生, Umechan Sensei), a popular morning soap on national TV which made him a household name. Other movies he starred in are Nobuhiro Doi’s THE WINGS OF THE KIRIN (麒麟の翼 ～劇場版・新参者～, Kirin no Tsubasa: Gekijoban Shinzanmono, 2012), Sho Tsukikawa’s TORU AND THE CAT/GOOD COMING (グッドカミング トオルとネコ、たまに猫, Guddo Kamingu Tooru to Neko, Tamani Neko, 2012), Tetsu Maeda’s THE KING AND I (王様とボク, Osama to Boku, 2012), Yuichiro Hirakawa’s UNTIL THE BREAK OF DAWN (ツナグ, Tsunagu, 2012), Takeshi Furusawa’s LOVE FOR BEGINNERS (今日、恋をはじめます, Kyo, Koi wo Hajimemasu, 2012) and more, all in the same year. His proven talent as an up-and-coming actor got him awards including the Best Actor award from the Japan Critics Awards, the Best Newcomer award from Daily Sports Film Awards and Japan Academy Awards.
Ayano was born in Gifu on January 26, 1982. He first acted on TV in MASKED RIDER FAIZ (仮面ライダー555（ファイズ）, Kamen Raidaa Faizu) in 2003 followed by a long list of TV dramas such as, CARNATION (カーネーション, Caneshon, 2011-2012), THE CLEOPATRA WOMEN (クレオパトラな女たち, Kureopatora na Onna Tachi, 2012), YAE THE GUNSLINGER (八重の桜, Yae no Sakura, 2013), THE HAPPIEST DIVORCE (最高の離婚, Saiko no Rikon, 2013) and THE FLYING PR ROOM (空飛ぶ広報室, Soratobu Kohoshitsu, 2013).
His first movie role was in Shin Sasaki’s LIFE (ライフ, Raifu) in 2007 and then his movie career took off. He has appeared in many independent and studio productions. His film credits include, Takashi Miike’s CROWS ZERO II (クローズZERO II, Kurozu Zero II, 2009), Jun Oguri’s SURELY SOMEDAY (シュアリー・サムデイ, Shuari Samudei, 2010), Shinsuke Sato’s GANTZ II: PERFECT ANSWER (前編 PERFECT ANSWER, Gantsu Pafekuto Ansaa, 2011), Mika Ninagawa’s HELTER SKELTER (ヘルタースケルター, Heruta Sukeruta, 2012), Keishi Otomo’s RUROUNI KENSHIN (るろうに剣心, 2012), Shuichi Okita’s A STORY OF YONOSUKE (横道世之介, Yokomichi Yonosuke, 2013), Gakuryu Ishii’s THE FLOWER OF SHANIDAR (シャニダールの花, Shanidaru no Hana, 2013), Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s THE END OF SUMMER (夏の終り, Natsu no Owari, 2013), Mipo O’s WHERE I SHINE (そこのみにて光輝く, Sokonominite Hikari Kagayaku, 2014) and Yoshihiro Nakamura’s THE SNOW WHITE MURDER CASE (白ゆき姫殺人事件, Shirayuki Hime Satsujin Jiken, 2014).
Goriki was born in Kanagawa on August 27 in 1992. She modeled for Seventeen magazine from 2008 to 2013 before appearing on TV and in advertisements. In 2011 she had her first acting job in I LEARNED EVERYTHING IMPORTANT IN LIFE FROM YOU (大切なことはすべて君が教えてくれた, Taisetsuna Kotowa Subete Kimiga Oshietekureta). In 2013 she starred in TV dramas such as YAE THE GUNSLINGER and THE CRIME FILES OF BIBLIA USED BOOK SHOP (ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖, Biburia Koshodo no Jikenbo, 2013) which made her nationally famous.
For her performance in Junichi Mimura’s movie QUARTET! (カルテット!, Karuteto!, 2012) Goriki received the Best Newcomer award at the Japan Critics Awards. She also starred in Koki Mitani’s THE KIYOSU CONFERENCE (清須会議, Kiyosu Kaigi, 2013), Kentaro Otani’s KUROSHITSUJI (黒執事, 2014) and Yasuhiro Kawamura’s L♡DK – LIVING TOGETHER (Ｌ・ＤＫ ラブ同居, Ｌ・ＤＫ Rabu Dookyo, 2014).
Hamada was born in Chiba on August 27, 2000, and had an early start at the age of 6 acting in TV and commercials. In 2010 he played the child Ryoma Sakamoto in the year-long period drama series. In 2011 he was in Yoshihiro Nakamura’s adaptation of the popular cartoon, KAIBUTSU-KUN: THE MOVIE (映画 怪物くん, Eiga Kaibutsu-kun , 2011). After being recognized with the Golden Egg Award in 2010, he appeared in Hideyuki Hirayama’s SWORD OF DESPERATION (必死剣 鳥刺し, Hisshiken Torisashi) with his first starring role.
His movie credits include Yuichi Abe’s ULTRAMAN ZERO: THE REVENGE OF BELIAL (ウルトラマンゼロ THE MOVIE 超決戦！ベリアル銀河帝国, Urutoraman Zero THE MOVIE Chou Kessen! Beriaru Ginga Teikoku, 2010), Shiro Tokiwa’s THE ECLIPSE’S SHADOW (皆既日食の午後に, Kaiki Nisshoku no Gogo Ni, 2011), THE HOUSE SPIRIT (HOME 愛しの座敷わらし, Home, Itoshino Zashikiwarashi, 2012), Eiichiro Hasumi’s BRAVES HEARTS, UMIZARU (BRAVE HEARTS 海猿, 2012), Shojiro Nakazawa’s KAZOKU SENTAI GOKAIGER VS SPACE SHERIFF GAVAN: THE MOVIE (海賊戦隊ゴーカイジャーＶＳ宇宙刑事ギャバン THE MOVIE, Kaizoku Sentai Gookaijaa Tai Uchuu Keiji Gyaban Za Muubii, 2012) and Ryuichi Hiroki’s YELLOW ELEPHANT (きいろいゾウ, Kiroi Jou, 2013).
Born in Hyogo on March 29, 1983, Suzuki started his career in 2006 when he appeared in a TV drama, REGATTA, WITH YOU IN ETERNITY (レガッタ 君といた永遠, Regatta Kimi to Ita Eien). A series of TV dramas followed such as THE WITCH TRIAL (魔女裁判, Majosaiban, 2009), THE UNCOMPROMISING GIRL (全開ガール, Zenkai Gaaru, 2011), A HAPPY DAY (本日は大安なり, Honjitsuwa Taiannari, 2012) and MY DADDY IS AN IDOL! (パパドル！, Papadoru, 2012).
In 2007 he made his first movie appearance in Yoshimitsu Morita’s TSUBAKI SANJURO (椿三十郎), followed by Jun Oguri’s SURELY SOMEDAY (シュアリー・サムデイ, Shuari Samudei, 2010), Yoshishige Miyake’s HANKYU RAILWAYS, A 15-MINUTE MIRACLE (阪急電車 片道15分の奇跡, Hankyu Densha, 2011) and Yuichi Fukuda’s THE PRETEEN POLICE (コドモ警察, Kodomo Keisatsu, 2013). On stage, the versatile Suzuki performed in Gregory Doran’s ANJIN (2009) and Isao Yukisada’s TAKING SIDES. HK / FORBIDDEN SUPER HERO (HK 変態仮面, HK Hentai Kamen, 2013) is Suzuki’s first starring movie.
Born in Tokyo on March 24, 1982, Hatsune made her acting debut in 1998 and since then has appeared in TV ads, TV dramas, movies and on the stage. In 2000 she starred in Higuchinsky’s UZUMAKI (うずまき), Tran Anh Hung’s NORWEGIAN WOOD (ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori) in 2010, and in 2011 in Kenji Yamauchi’s THE MITSUKO SENSIBILITY (ミツコ感覚, Mitsuko Kankaku). Her Hollywood debut was in 2013 in Peter Webber’s EMPEROR.
Born in Fukuoka on September 26, 1961, Mitsuishi made his acting debut in Chusei Sone’s movie THE HAKKATA BOY’S INNOCENCE (博多っ子純情, Hakatakko Junjo) in 1978. His unique presence adds a special quality to many movies and TV dramas. Some of his recent film appearances include, Takeshi Kitano’s OUTRAGE BEYOND (アウトレイジ ビヨンド, Autoreiji Biyondo, 2012), Sion Sono’s HIMIZU (ヒミズ, 2012), Tomoyuki Takimoto’s THE BRAIN MAN (脳男, No Otoko, 2013), Kenji Nakanishi’s TOEI HERO NEXT: LOVE GEAR (恋する歯車, Koisuru Haguruma, 2013), Keiichi Hara’s DAWN OF A FILMMAKER: THE KEISUKE KINOSHITA STORY (はじまりのみち, Hajimari no Michi, 2013) and Shinji Aoyama’s BACKWATER (共喰い, Tomogui, 2013). He’s one of the most prolific and important supporting character actors in Japan today.
Born Mikihiro Ogawa into the renowned Kabuki family in 1974, his first stage performance was at age 8 for the Kabukiza Theatre. With that performance he was appointed the name, Shidou Nakamura the Second. For his movie debut performance in Fumihiko Sori’s PING PONG (ピンポン, 2002), Nakamura won 5 Best Newcomer awards.
He has proved to be a worthy movie actor with appearances in multiple international movies such as Clint Eastwood’s LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA in 2006. Quickly becoming one of the most bankable character actors in Japan, his recent credits include Tomoyuki Takimoto’s STAR WATCHING DOG (星守る犬, Hoshi Mamoru Inu, 2011), Su Yeon Gu’s HARD ROMANTICKER (ハードロマンチッカー, Hadoromanchika, 2011) and Shohei Shiozaki’s A PROMISE AT DUSK (Akaneiro no Yakusoku, 2012). He also starred in Katsuya Matsumura’s TENSHIN (天心, 2013), a movie made to raise funds to aid the disaster-torn Tohoku region of Japan.
Kishitani was born in Tokyo on September 27, 1964. He received many awards for his performance in Yoichi Sai’s ALL UNDER THE MOON (月はどっちに出ている, Tsuki wa Dotchi Ni Dete Iru) in 1993. He appears on TV, in movies and is in demand in plays. He runs a theatre company called Chikyu Gojasu (meaning “The Earth Gorgeous”) as a writer/producer/director.
In 2009 he made his movie directorial debut with KILLER VIRGIN ROAD (キラーヴァージンロード, Kira Vajin Rodo). Recently he appeared in movies such as, Takashi Miike’s CROWS series, Setsuro Wakamatsu’s IN THE CITY OF DAWN (夜明けの街で, Yoake no Machide, 2011), Sadao Yukisada’s BEFORE THE VIGIL (つやのよる ある愛に関わった、女たちの物語, Tsuya no Yoru, 2013), Takashi Miike’s SHIELD OF STRAW (藁の楯, Wara no Tate, 2013), Yoshitaka Yamaguchi’s ARCANA (アルカナ, Arukana, 2013) and Kentaro Otani’s KUROSHITSUJI.
Japanese Theatrical Release: August 24, 2013
International Premiere: August 6, 2013 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Ken Washio: Tori Matsuzaka
George Asakura: Go Ayano
Jun Ohtsuki: Ayame Goriki
Jinpei Ohtsuki: Tatsuomi Hamada
Ryu Nakanishi: Ryohei Suzuki
Naomi: Eriko Hatsune
Iriya: Shido Nakamura
Doctor Kirkland: Ken Mitsuishi
Doctor Nambu: Goro Kishitani
Director: Touya Sato
Original Creator: Tatsuo Yoshida
Original Story: Tatsunoko Production
Screenplay: Yusuke Watanabe
Executive Producer: Seiji Okita
Producer: Akira Yamamoto, Naoto Fujimura, Tadashi Tanaka
Character Design: Shinji Aramaki
Chief Production Supervisor: Naoki Sato, Tomoko Jo
Production: Daisuke Kadoya, Kantaro Tomiyama, Shuichiro Tanaka, Yutaka Kashiwagi
Sound Designer: Hiroki Taniguchi
Recording: Hiroshi Yamagata
Editor: Yoichi Shibuya
VFX: Shirogumi Studio
Music: Nima Fakhrara
Theme Song: “Niji o Motsu Hito” by BUMP OF CHICKEN
Production: Django Film
2013 Gatchaman Film Partners: NTV, Nikkatsu Corporation, Toho, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, VAP, Takara Tomy, Tatsunoko Production, STV (Sapporo Television Broadcasting), MMT (Miyagi Television Broadcasting), SDT (Shizuoka Daiichi Television), CTV (Chukyo Television Broadcasting), HTV (Hiroshima Telecasting), Fukuoka Broadcasting Corporation
Theatrical Distribution: Toho
International Sales (Asia): Nippon TV
© Tatsunoko Production/2013 Gatchaman Film Partners