Thursday, 3 August 2017

Gintama by Encore Films

With over 51 million copies sold in Japan alone, the long-awaited GINTAMA 银魂 live-action adaptation is finally arriving on the big screen. A classic on its own, GINTAMA is a unique and entertaining blend of science fiction, period action and comedy genres, mixed in with contemporary, parodic elements. Directed by comic-action specialist Yuichi Fukuda 福田雄一 of the HK FORBIDDEN SUPERHERO series, the film features a star-studded cast that includes Shun Oguri小栗旬, Masaki Suda 菅田将晖 and Kanna Hashimoto 桥本环奈.
When the character posters and trailer were revealed online earlier this year, fans raved over the actors' close resemblance to the manga characters. The costumes seen in the film were designed by Kazuhiro Sawataishi 泽田石和寛 who previously worked on the popular live-action adaptation of RUROUNI KENSHIN.

A classic on its own, GINTAMA is a unique and entertaining blend of science fiction, period action and comedy genres, mixed in with contemporary, parodic elements. The series often parody characters and settings from Shonen Jump works such as Dragon Ball, One Piece and Death Note. Created by Hideaki Sorachi 空知英秋, the manga was first published in December 2003 in Weekly Shonen Jump, and its popularity amongst readers slowly climbed.

The anime series began the following year, receiving similar praise as the manga, and was broadcasted for four seasons over 11 years. Creator Sorachi recommended Fukuda for the director's post, seeing similarities between Fukuda's television comedy series THE HERO YOSHIHIKO (2011-16) and GINTAMA. The director also proclaims to be a fan of the manga, and he wishes to retain as much of the manga's originality as possible to fulfil the hopes of its fans.

The key attraction of GINTAMA lies in its lead character Gintoki Sakata (Shun Oguri), a seemingly good-for-nothing former samurai with natural, wavy silver hair, who now runs a yorozuya (odd jobs house) with his friends Shinpachi Shimura (Masaki Suda) and Kagura (Kanna Hashimoto). Oguri was one of creator Sorachi's top choices for the role, having seen on television that the actor owned copies of the manga.

Oguri later recommended Korean action director Chang Jae-wook, with whom he has worked in LUPIN THE THIRD, for the film's action choreography. Besides comedy, action is also key to GINTAMA. While crafting the sword-fighting moments, director Fukuda drew inspiration from the fluid action sequences in Hollywood films such as KICK-ASS and KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, and added in a touch of his own style.
The interaction with the cast in-between scenes also became a source of inspiration for the director, and much impromptu dialogue in the film was thus born on set. According to the director, the cast bonded during the filming, which contributed to their chemistry on screen. Oguri would often wait for the other actors to finish their scenes, so they could go out for meals together. Even during meals, they talked about ideas that could make the film more interesting. During the Japan premiere, co-star Suda spoke of Oguri's hospitality on set, revealing that he often treated them to meals, and even created a special GINTAMA theme song that they all sang together.

The same song eventually ended up in the film's opening sequence. Suda was also full of praise for his co-star Kanna Hashimoto, who had cast aside her idol image to do actions like digging her nose, in order to realise her character Kagura on screen. GINTAMA also stars Masami Nagasawa 长泽雅美, Masaki Okada 冈田将生, Tsuyoshi Domoto 堂本刚, Hirofumi Arai 新井浩文, Kankuro Nakamura 中村勘九郎, Yuya Yagira 柳乐优弥, Ryo Yoshizawa 吉沢亮, Ken Yasuda 安田顕, Akari Hayami 早见朱莉, Jiro Sato 佐藤二朗, Nanao 菜菜绪 and Murotsuyoshi 室毅. The film will also be released in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Genre: Comedy, Action
Language: In Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles
Rating: PG13: SOME VIOLENCE 些许暴力画面
Runtime: 131mins

From beetle hunting to the search for the world's deadliest sword… Who said life as a yorozuya is easy? After the aliens, known as the Amanto 天人, invaded and conquered Edo Japan, a ban on swords is enforced and the samurai are treated with disdain. Gintoki Sakata (Shun Oguri 小栗旬), a former samurai once feared as the “White Demon” 白夜叉 in battle, now operates a yorozuya (odd jobs house) with his friends Shinpachi Shimura (Masaki Suda 菅田将晖) and Kagura (Kanna Hashimoto 桥本环奈). One day, Gintoki receives a job request from a swordsmith to find a cursed sword known as the Benizakura 红樱. During his search, Gintoki traces the cursed sword to a notorious killer, Nizo “The Butcher” Okada (Hirofumi Arai 新井浩文). He discovers that Nizo is affiliated to his old comrade, Shinsuke Takasugi (Tsuyoshi Domoto 堂本刚), who is leading the extremist group Kiheitai (鬼兵队) to plot a coup d'état in the shadows. Will Gintoki and his band of unlikely heroes be able to stop Takasugi and restore peace to their home?

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