Excitement rose as 4:30 neared at Mann's Chinese yesterday evening. There was Kazunari Ninomiya surrounded by security. Ninomiya is called Nino among his fans. He is the member of the most famous Japanese pop group, Arashi. Their reputation is like the Backstreet Boys of Japan. But they are already gaining the same level of reputation here in Hollywood.
It was the Hollywood premiere of the Japanese movie Gantz. A sci-fi horror film based on the very successful Japanese manga (comics) of the same name. In addition to the Hollywood premiere, 333 theatres across the US was having simulteneous screenings followed by the telecast of 15min Q&A. No Japanese films were embrced like this before.
Nino wore black leather pants, black leather vest with vertical zipper trim, and a light grey suit jacket, and the most amazing black patent leather shiny, shiny and shiny pointy toed boots. Kenichi Matsuyama wore a charcoal suit and matching shirt, no tie. As they entered the building there was a deafening scream/squeal. And then, they were gone as quickly as they appeared. Apparently there is some cosmic force generated by N&K which causes ear splitting noise everywhere they go.
Shortly afterwards, we were given official Gantz T-shirts and entered the theater. The Editor of Otaku magazine, Macias, gave a short speel about "NO PICTUERS NO PICTURES NO PICTURES, and Nino will stand here and Kenichi will stand there etc, and again NO PICTURES".
FYI, Nino belongs to Johnny & Associates, a very successful talent agency known for managing male dance groups and celebrities. Upto now, they have been able to ban any online media to post their photography online. It seems that their fans are trying to respect the rules even in the US.
Then Macias welcomed "Lets welcome the stars of the movie, Nino and----", another deafening scream arose and we had no idea what was said after. Nino and Kenichi came down the stairs.
The building was full of joy and scream by fan girls. The Stars went up to stage with their interpreters, and each greeted us in English. Scream, screams, and more screams. Then Nino and Kenichi were escorted out of the theater.
The movie began. The plot closely followed the manga/anime. It was good, but the dubbing/voice-over detracted from the movie. Perhaps it was just a poor translation, but I would have preferred subtitles.
This movie is every boys dream come true. They are in a game. The special effects were effective, the costumes good, and the music was great. One would think that this movie was made for the stereotypical college male, but there were very few in attendance. I wondered what the demographics at the other venues were like.
After the movie, Nino and Kenichi fielded questions for 15 minutes with telecast to 333 theatres across the US, and for another fifteen minutes exclusively for Hollywood audience.
Nino was, at first, surprised to see so many fans at Los Angeles International Airport waiting for his arrival. He didn't think that there were so many fans already in the US.
In this movie, Nino is all of the stunts by himself (without any stunt double!). Everyday after the filming, they checked the footage (The daily). During the daily screening, Nino was, first, shocked by his own stunt. He couldn't believe that he was able to do such a "cool" stunt" by himself.
Nino was very surprised that the increasing popularity of a Japanese movie in the US. He was very happy to see that 333 theaters across the US was enjoying the movie at the same time, and watch the telecast of 15 minutes Q&A. He hopes that more people all over the world like Japanese films, and hope to come back for Gantz 2 premiere in the US. (This movie already has a sequal. Gantz 2 will be premiering in April.)
The movie was already a great success in the US. The plot and quality of action was great. I would come back for the sequal. But I personally hope for English subtitle rather than dubbing.
Gantz is currently playing throughout theatres in Japan and the US. Gantz 2 comes out in April throughout the theaters in Japan & the US.