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Otomo Keishi×Sato Takeru Cross Talk


To Make ‘Rurouni Kenshin’


It took half a year just to film ‘Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno / the Legend Ends’. How was this huge movie created? Dir Otomo Keishi and the lead actor Sato Takeru will tell us enough of behind-the-scenes.


We both felt expectation and anxiety about making the sequels


They encountered each other in ‘Ryoma-Den’, a long-running historical drama series on NHK TV broadcast ten years ago, where Otomo Keishi worked as a chief director and Sato Takeru acted as the legendary assassin at the end of Edo Period, Okada Izo. They, who have been sworn allies and fellow soldiers since ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ in 2012, will look back on the sequels.

Otomo: Takeru-kun is already the expert of Kenshin, so I was able to trust him (in playing Kenshin). I really think he supported this huge movie. We’re glad we finished shooting safely, right?

Sato: Exactly. To be precise, we may not call it ‘safely’. (lol) I was perfectly all right but it was much harder for the staffs. Team Otomo is really awesome. They want no compromise at all in giving us the OK. Especially, concerning actions, I thought, ‘won’t you give the OK even to this performance!? I see.’ (lol) Particularly this time, they were more relentless than before. ‘The goal our action team aims at has come this far’, I thought, ‘After all, it’s special’.

Otomo: All of them have a strong desire for the chance to do their work as much as they please. All the staffs that gathered wanted to make a serious effort, so we were more and more driven into a corner. (lol)

Sato: Few sites and films allow us to make a serious effort like this. (Action Director) Tanigaki (Kenji)-san was one of those who were itching for a chance, I guess.

Otomo: More than half of the director’s work is done before starting shooting. What matters is whether I can make a container to fill with what all of us are imagining, like ‘I want to do it this way’. The invisible exciting struggle and preparation is my big job and once we start shooting, the game is ours. If I can offer a proper environment, everyone will rush in a good sense. The major point this time was how to make the container to accept it. But including the preparation, I managed to complete it decisively, I feel. We’ve got an enthusiastic response at this stage.


Were Otomo and Sato already talking about sequels when the last film was released? When I asked the question, an unexpected but convincing response came back.

Sato: We didn’t talk about the sequel so much. It was made just as a result, I should say. Of course I had a desire to make it, say, ‘If I do it at all, I want to reach Shishio (Makoto)’, I thought. But we made the first film without expecting the sequels in particular. Thankfully, however, many people saw the last film and valued it, and then it was decided to make the sequel, I suppose.

Otomo: Also, part of me wanted it, but somehow, part of me didn’t want it, you know. (lol)

Sato: I understand you. (lol) It would require quite a lot of preparation and resolution, right?

Otomo: When I do that out, I’ll have to do a hard task. As for this sequel, Shishio’s visual was the first thing to challenge. ‘Wow! The sword is on fire!’, for example. (lol) In the frame of Japanese cinema now, how far I could do was the problem. I had both feelings: ‘I want to do it’ and ‘I’m not sure I can do it’. So I think both Takeru-kun and I were testing each other’s feelings.

Sato: Wondering how he will move.

Otomo: I was just happy many people saw the first film and enjoyed it.

Sato: Very happy indeed.

Otomo: Hearing what viewers had to say, and given a supportive push little by little, I said, ‘Takeru-kun agreed to do it, right? He nodded his head, right? OK, let’s do it!!’ Then immediately I called to the staffs, but I was afraid to make a move before I got the OK one by one and the stage was set for the next step.

Sato: As things turned out, it was good we did it. But we had really not been sure. Some sequels make you feel it would have been better if it had not been made, right? Ours might have been one of them. So we had been really nervous until we started shooting. During the period when even Shishio’s visual had been taking a long time to decide, there was nothing but anxiety. This might turn out to be a crap, I thought. But everything went well and I can say it was good we made it. It’s a miracle.

Otomo: Just like a role playing game, a variety of troubles and problems came out one after another, you know. No, is it easier to understand if I call it a whack-a-mole game? (lol) We cleared them away one by one. The most awful thing is to make it at the same level as the last one. Since it is the sequel, the battles were scaled up and the character of Kenshin became more complicated than the last one, as well. So what I required of everyone was a little higher level. The problem was how we could create something improved. I didn’t want to regret what I created, I mean. Only I had a sense of having taken terrific scenes I had never seen before.

Sato: It was substantial, wasn’t it?

Otomo: Amount of heat was terrific. Every day I actually felt we had taken something terrific. These days we can watch rushes on iPad, so (while we were on location) the staffs remaining in Tokyo saw them and got excited, you know. We got kind of stuporous at the shooting site, but what we had taken was surely something that could make those who saw it objectively, away from the shooting site, think it to be ‘terrific’, I realized.

(Source: Yahoo! Japan)



Crossroad - Keishi Otomo - Rurouni Kenshin - Kyoto Taikahen & Densetsu no Saigohen

Director Otomo talks about the making of Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Taika Hen and Densetsu no Saigo Hen on TV Tokyo’s Crossroad. Contains behind the scene footages and spoilers. ^^x

This TV program was really terrific!!! 

All the RK fans (who don’t mind spoilers), YOU MUST watch it!!!


Sato Takeru interview



Sato Takeru as Himura Kenshin


‘If Kenshin steps over his limits, Sato Takeru also should have to.’


Sato Takeru admirably acted as Kenshin, exceeding the last film. What does he say?

The two-parter, the sequels and the last of the series, reaches beyond the bounds of the films.


‘Kenshin would run on the roof’.

What his cutaneous feeling seeks for.


He is on the screen with more fierceness. Himura Kenshin is there with even more depth. It’s very obvious if you see the movie, but just listening to Sato Takeru, who acted as Kenshin to the last, will make you realize it.


‘Two years have passed and I’ve got older by two years, so Kenshin may have grown up, too. I did my best in the last film and there must be something I could do only at that time. But when I see it now, including actions, I can’t help noticing flaws and faults. I had an intention to get rid of them. Kenshin this time is especially carrying the burdens. I wanted to depict not only his force, but his strength, righteousness, and awesomeness as a human being. So if he appears to you as such, I’ll be happy.’

As for actions, for example, as Sato Takeru said, he went to practice and training quite a lot and ‘went to the gym for physical preparation’. Those efforts led to his words: ‘I’d like to dash on the roof’ —-

‘While thinking of a plan with our action team, I said so. Then they let me dash (lol). Unexpectedly, it was not so scary. Well, I don’t remember anymore … might have been scary (lol)’.

He playfully said, ‘Actually I wanted to run on the water, but it was really impossible (lol)’. But dashing on the roof is just as extraordinary, I should say. It is not so easy to carry off.

Giving out such words abruptly, and making it a reality shows ‘the strength, righteousness, and awesomeness’ of Sato Takeru himself. And that, his idea is not a passing whim. It is based on physiology of an actor, or even physiology of Kenshin, Sato says. ‘Kenshin would most likely to dash on the roof, you know’. That conviction drives his body. On the other hand, he never rushes recklessly following his sense.

‘I’m relieved no one was so seriously injured that we had to stop shooting. Getting injured was nothing special at the shooting site. Injury was just a matter of odds. In order to reduce the possibility of injury, we had no choice but to decrease the numbers of moving seriously, do the test as slowly as we could, and did the action only once as the actual filming. All we could do to take measures against injury was to stay sharp without losing our concentration. But I’m glad we managed to complete the shooting without stopping. It is itself a miracle.’

He is excellent at a sense of balance. It can also be said about his action, and he is excellent at it as a performer, freeing himself and taking personal responsibility as an actor. It’s because he has a good sense of balance that he was able to decide objectively that Kenshin would dash on the roof, and put it into action subjectively.

Strength can mean coolness. Instant judgment and scrupulous ability to overcome difficulties: in addition to them, taking a calm look-around, he actually shows his talent. There certainly is something that can be noticed only when you draw back. Kenshin’s strength belongs to that kind and Sato Takeru, who embodied the strength, is also calm. The fusion of action and acting is an important factor in this film. It can’t be realized unless you put emotion on both action and acting, while you follow the procedure and comply with the sequence. That work also requires calmness, and is a challenge.

‘Actually it was the most important part and we did it after thorough calculation. As you said, action is a sequence. Something like ‘He comes this way, so I fight back this way’, just like a mathematical formula. We did it first. After finishing it, we considered how to fuse the acting to that action, doing the action with other actors in practice. We calculated all, say, ‘This character must say this line at this timing’, tried it in that pattern, considered again, ‘I got the feeling like this, so I’d like to change my action in this way’, and went on with fine-tuning. For any action scene, they gave us two days before the shooting to do this kind of work. So when the shooting started, my emotion went along with my action because it had been constructed after full calculation. That was the flow. We took a long time to fuse acting to action. It was really important work.’

Today’s Tanigaki-san on twitter


2014.07.18 08:03

Editing the last battle of Shishio vs. Kenshin. It took me three days to extract OK materials! We did take enormous volume. In a certain magazine, I said that OK materials amounted to 6 hours 50 minutes, but I went through it a little while ago and found it to be 7 hours 22 minutes lol  I compressed it into 14 minutes! That’s our team Otomo. That’s our RuroKen.

*note by steph: The magazine he refers to is this one.


佐藤健×Taka(ONE OK ROCK)が2ショットでCUT表紙!

I don’t know if someone has already translated it, but here’s my translation :)


Sato Takeru×Taka (ONE OK ROCK) appears on the cover of CUT magazine!


It’s these two guys who will appear on the cover of CUT magazine to be released on August 18th!

They talked a lot about forbidden ‘Boys’ Talk’, telling you their real feelings frankly and earnestly, which you could expect only from the closest friends.

Of course, they talked enthusiastically without ceasing about ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ movie series starred by Sato Takeru, whose title tune is created by ONE OK ROCK.



Today’s Tanigaki-san on twitter:


2014.07.15 18:45

Action team members, who Takei-san called ‘scary’.

At first they said, ‘Please make your team within about 300 stuntmen for the two films’, but it amounted to 1,500 at last _;)

Well, ‘about 300’, right!?

It’s within the margin of error, of course lol


2014.07.15 18:59

Approaching the end of the shooting, when we came to a deadlock, Dr Otomo texted me;

‘We’ll do to the last. Action, revolution!! I believe in your ability!’

… It was so simple and he never, ever told me to do this and that, but it made me think, ‘WTF, I have to give it my all!’, right?

Tanigaki Kenji’s tweet, yesterday and today


2014.07.13 17:54

The greatest feature of the actions in RuroKen is, of course, to capture actor’s movement alive, just like a live broadcast. In technical terms of screen technology, POV, jump cut, and shutter angle are the key words, I suppose. If you don’t understand them, please look them up~. The rest is industrial secret lol

2014.07.13 18:09

Tanaka Min-san is obviously cool. His way of life is deeply entrenched in his appearance and expression. He said about extremely complicated action sequences, ‘Difficult! Damn it all! But exciting!!’ And at the mention of ‘Action Award’, he said, ‘If they give me, I want ‘New Face Award’!’ Terrific, and terrific.

2014.07.14 10:53

To the ‘RuroKen 1’, there was a great public reaction and some of my friends aboard praised it. I’m now directing a Chinese film in Shanghai but I got that job because a certain director contacted me as he felt, ‘Action and drama are blended well to make a wonderful film’, when he watched RuroKen, I heard. It’s all thanks to RuroKen lol

2014.07.14 11:59

Takei Emi-chan fights with naginata this time. How gallant she is in hakama raising a naginata! We had her practice hard, and she must have been struggling desperately, I suppose, when I teased her a little, she replied, ‘But I can’t do it!’ in Nagoya accent. And that was also cute lol

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