Metropolis Magazine
Issue #805 - Friday, Aug 28th, 2009
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Past Issues

804: Rent, The original stars of the Broadway musical
803: Roland Emmerich, Director
802: Miss Universe Japan, Emiri Miyasaka
801: Dog days
800: Bolt
799: Actor, Hiroshi Mikami
798: Yuko Aoyama
797: Return of the bots
796: The Terminator cast
795: Actress Saki Takaoka
794: Okinawan actress Meisa Kuroki
793: J. J. Abrams and Star Trek cast
792: Zac Efron
791: Science Friction
790: Junichi Ishida
789: Daisuke Nakata, Trampolinist
788: Kazuaki Kiriya, Director
787: Nana Natsume, Former AV star
786: Eugene Otani, Newscaster
785: Love at first bite
784: Miki Mizuno
783: Tom Cruise
782: Jun Hasegawa, Model
781: Moe Oshikiri, Model attitude
780: Grace Park of Battlestar Galactica
779: Where there's a Will
778: Jolie good time
777: Age before beauty
776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolucin
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

By Sarah Cortina

Robin Hood, Samurai-style
Director Kazuaki Kiriya goes from robots to robbers with his latest epic

Director Kazuaki Kiriya isn’t shy about setting large goals for himself. “I wanted to make a movie that the whole world would see,” he said. “This film isn’t based on any other work. It isn’t based on an anime or a novel. We created a completely original story.” The movie is Goemon, the director’s second effort after 2004’s apocalyptic sci-fi flick Casshern. While his new film’s subject matter is about as far as you can get from genetically modified humans and killer robots, it is no less epic in scope.

Goemon tells the (fictionalized) story of legendary 16th-century robber bandit Ishikawa Goemon. Known popularly as the “Robin Hood of Japan,” he is famous for robbing from the rich, giving to the poor—and then being executed in a vat of boiling oil. Kiriya’s version takes place amid the civil war of the 1500s, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi came to power following the assassination of Oda Nobunaga. Goemon, played by Yosuke Eguchi, becomes a people’s hero as he robs from one warlord after another. But the past he tried to forget comes back to haunt him when he steals a box containing a secret that several powerful men—including future shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (Masato Ibu)—would do anything to recover.

As with Kiriya’s previous work, Goemon has a CGI-heavy visual style. In fact, the film spent nearly two years in post-production. At a recent press conference, the cast revealed that almost all of the filming was done in front of a green screen. “We never really knew where it was we were supposed to be fighting,” said Takao Osawa, who plays legendary ninja Kirigakure Saizo. “Then, when I finally saw the film, I kind of thought, ‘Oh, so that’s where we were!’ But that also made it more interesting.”

“We had to make the movie in a world we couldn’t see, inside our imaginations… It was very difficult,” said Ryoko Hirosue (Okuribito), the lone female member among the main cast. “When I saw the film for the first time, it was truly like nothing I’d ever seen before.” Hirosue plays Lady Chacha, one of Hideyoshi’s concubines. In the movie version, her character is also the daughter of Nobunaga and Goemon’s childhood sweetheart. Besides the technical hardships of filming, Hirosue said, “I had to wear a lot of really heavy, painful costumes.”

For Kiriya, Goemon provided an opportunity to utilize new technology that surpasses his previous work. “With this movie, I wanted to do what I couldn’t do with Casshern… At that time, if you were in front of a green screen, the cameras couldn’t move. If they moved, then all of the background CGI had to be made into 3D, but that was very time-consuming and expensive.”

The idea behind Goemon arose from the director’s love of 16th-century history. With the setting established, Kiriya realized he wanted to make a movie about a popular hero rather than a samurai. “Even regular people can change the world; even regular people can start a rebellion. That’s what I wanted to show.”

It remains to be seen whether Goemon will become the worldwide blockbuster that Kiriya is clearly hoping for. But with its premiere as the opening work at the Okinawa International Movie Festival in March, coupled with Kiriya’s cult status overseas, the film already appears to be well on its way.

Got something to say about this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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