NEW YORK — After many years as one of Japans hidden gems, “Yatterman” finally finds it’s way onto US soil. “Yatterman” has been a long-time anime favorite in Japan, spawning two successful series and now a live action movie.
Brought to the screen by esteemed Japanese director Takashi Miike, “Yatterman” is the story of two heroes, Yatterman 1 and Yatterman 2, who use their specially designed toy weapons to stop the forces of evil lead by the mysterious God of Thieves. While the plot seems fairly standard fair, that characters are nothing but.
Takashi Miike said that if nothing else, he wants to portray the characters as real and authentic. Sure, they are dressed up in pink and white jumpsuits, but that’s merely the outside. He expressed his deep interest in showing that these characters mean things to Japan, and he hopes that they will soon mean things to some of us over in the US.
Also appearing at the panel was Yatterman’s star, Sho Sakurai. In his native land, Sakurai is about as big a celebrity as they come. He’s a pop star, an action hero, a news reporter, and a stage performer. He is the Japanese Swiss army knife of acting.
Sakurai showed he was a decent person in addition to a giant celebrity by taking the time to address everyone in English (his first language is Japanese), and thank them for showing up and trying to give this movie an American following.
Miike isn’t from this land, but he’s not foreign to having a cult classic. His movies, “Ichi the Killer” and “Audition” have become underground hits over here. Yatterman proves to be a departure from the suspense and blood, in favor of bright lights and giant robots, Miike assured everyone that it wasn’t going to just be a kid’s movie. He says he wanted to bring depth to everything.
When asked how they feel about the current American movie trend of making live-action movies out of successful animes, both said they couldn’t be prouder.
Sakuarai, who was in New York to write about differences in Japanese manga and American comic books, said that he is happy to see the things he grew up on entertaining a new audience.
Miike said it was an honor for Japan to have their work taken seriously by the biggest of American movies companies, but also subtly said that he thinks the Japanese can still do it better and that’s why he has chosen to bring “Yatterman” to the screen.