Tokusatsu Actors Star in Anime Film SAMPO SHOJO
Author: Daisuke Ishizuka
Official Site: sampo-shojo.oops.jp
The Japanese screening schedule of the Japanese animation movie SAMPO SHOJO (算法少女, 2016) has been announced.
The film’s title translates as “Algorithm Girl”, with sampo referring to classic Japanese mathematics also known as wazan, san-gaku, san-jutsu and san-do, etc. They were mainly used during the Edo-period (1600 – 1868). Sampo Shojo is also the title of a book about wazan that was originally published in 1775. The original edition of the book can be found in the National Diet Library.
The anime SAMPO SHOJO is a drama about a thirteen year old girl who lives during the Edo-period. The story was written by Ms. Hiroko Endo as a novel based on the original Sampo Shojo book.
The producer of the movie is Mr. Wataru Mimura who is well known as the screenwriter of GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II (ゴジラvsメカゴジラ, Gojira Tai Mekagojira, 1993), GODZILLA 2000 (ゴジラ2000 ミレニアム, Gojira Nisen: Mireniamu, 1999), GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS (ゴジラ × メガギラス G消滅作戦, Gojira x Megagirasu: Jii Shometsu Sakusen, 2000), GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (ゴジラ×メカゴジラ, Gojira x Mekagojira, 2002), GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (ゴジラ ファイナルウォーズ. Gojira Fainaru Uoozu, 2004) and OROCHI THE EIGHT-HEADED DRAGON (ヤマトタケル, Yamato Takeru, 1994). Mr. Mimura is also one of the screenwriters of SAMPO SHOJO, along with Ms. Fuko Takano.
In 2013, the website of Mr. Mimura’s office, Red Queen, put out a call for voice actors for the movie. Approximately 140 people responded, but all were young people.* The director, Mr. Shiro Tomura, also wanted senior performers for some roles, and some professional actors accepted his offer. These include three who are well known yo Tokusatsu fans…
1. Mr. Shigeo Kato is a legendary actor. His first work was in Akira Kurosawa’s IKIRU (1952) and he played many roles in Toho movies for directors Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda, Mikio Naruse, Kihachi Okamoto, Kon Ichikawa and Jun Fukuda. He is 91 years old and still an active performer… one reason why he is called a legend.
In 2000, he had a cameo in Masaaki Tezuka’s GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS. I spoke with Mr. Kato at a SAMPO SHOJO recording session and he still has fond memories of his role in that movie.
2. Mr. Satoshi Furuya was the suit actor of the original Ultraman. In SAMPO SHOJO he played the father of the title character; the first voice performance in his career.
Through Celebrity ICONS, Mr. Furuya has made personal appearances at events in the U.S. In 2016, the 50th anniversary of Ultraman, he attended Spooky Empire (Orlando, FL), G-Fest (Chicago, IL), Fandom Fest (Louisville, KY) and New York Comic Con. He enjoys seeing western Tokusatsu fans and he will continue to attend events in foreign countries.
3. Mr. Kyusaku Shimada is also a veteran actor. Tokusatsu fan may remember that the phantom Yasunori Kato was played by him in Akio Jissoji’s TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS (帝都物語, Teito Monogatari, 1988).
Mr. Shimada often acted in Tsuburaya Productions’ works, including as a guest star in ULTRAMAN TIGA (ルトラマンティガ, Urutoraman Tiga, 1996-97), ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY (ウルトラQ dark fantasy, Urutora Kyuu: Daaku Fantajii, 2004) and KAIKI DAISAKUSEN: MYSTERY FILE (怪奇大作戦 ミステリー・ファイル, Kaiki Daisakusen Misuteroo Fairu, 2013), etc. He also played a regular role in the original video series ULTRAMAN NEOS (ウルトラマンネオス, Urutoraman Neosu, 2000-01). Recently, he could be seen in SHIN GODZILLA (シン・ゴジラ, Shin Gojira, 2016).
SAMPO SHOJO will be screened at Euro Live, Shibuya in Tokyo, from December 24 to 28. And it will continue to be screened at movie theaters/halls in various cities across Japan.
Original Story: Hiroko Endo
Producer: Wataru Mimura
Director: Shiro Tomura
Screenwriters: Wataru Mimura, Fuko Takano
Production Office: Red Queen
*Director Shiro Tomura and original novelist Hiroko Endo also played roles in the movie.