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Rumor Mill – Does Joe Odagiri Hate Kuuga?

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Rumor Mill – Does Joe Odagiri Hate Kuuga?

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Team TokuNet debunks certain rumors that circulated around the tokusatsu community long enough to be considered as fact, in this new editorial article series.

For this debut post, we address whether or not Joe Odagiri “hated” his time while filming Kamen Rider Kuuga and tried to forget it.


This rumor first began when Odagiri’s agency website removed his role in Kamen Rider Kuuga from his actor profileKuuga was Odagiri’s first starring TV role.

Fans considered this to mean Odagiri’s agency or himself attempted to distance Odagiri from his tokusatsu roots, which many consider it to be “graduating” to more mainstream work. The profile has since relisted the role in his profile.

The rumor also expands further, stating that Odagiri hates toksuatsu in general, doesn’t like Kuuga itself, and doesn’t get along with his former cast members and staff from the show.  Lastly, rumor also stated Odagiri purposely flunked a Super Sentai audition.

But what is true, and what is false?

joeodagiri2

Odagiri was a guest on a recent radio show hosted by Shigenori Takatera, producer of Kamen Rider Kuuga, called Shigenori Takatera Kaiju Radio. He addressed the profile issue and firmly denied his agency attempted to “hide” his tokusatsu beginnings.

He simply explained, “I was doing a lot of things back then (acting roles) and not all of them were listed either.”

He went on to say, “(Kuuga) wasn’t my debut role, so we’re not able to give it any special preferential treatment.”

Producer Takatera addressed the issue head on and asked, “Is it something you want to pretend never happened?” Odagiri replied, laughing it off, “It’s not like that at all. I was happy to appear in it.”

Fans also speculated Odagiri hates both tokusatsu and Kuuga itself. This is partially true.

Odagiri has been fairly vocal about not liking tokusatsu as a genre. In what has now become an infamous quote from 2005 Pict-Up (April 2005)magazine, “Heroes who transform and fight are gross.” In addition, he also said, “I don’t like transforming and kaiju stuff.”

When he received the offer for Kuuga, he was tempted to “quit acting” altogether. However, after being “attracted” by Takatera’s charm, he accepted. In the May 2009 Tokusatsu Newtype magazine, he said, “looking back at Kuuga, I think it was a great show.”

Even in the recent “Kaiju Radio” show, he stated openly, “I don’t like tokusatsu.”

On King’s Brunch, a late morning news talk show on TBS on April 26th 2014, when questioned about Kuuga, he said

Odagiri: I really hated it while doing it back then.

Interviewer: You hated it?!

Odagiri: Yeah. It was not a project I liked but still had passed the audition. I really didn’t know what to do. It was either giving up acting by leaving my agency or just hang in there and do it. Those were the only options I had.

It’s also worth noting Odagiri also auditioned for Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoV prior to Kuuga, forced by his agency. However, during the audition, when asked to do a pose by the staff, he refused and ultimately failed to land the role.

Agencies have been known to push their actors into acting in tokusatsu as it’s considered a first step into the entertainment industry. In Hyper Hobby magazine’s August 2013 issue, Yutaka Kobayashi, Kamen Rider Gaim‘s Kaito, stated one of the reasons he wanted to get a role on the show was:

It’s commonly said that Kamen Rider can open up a path in your career for new actors. I wanted to seize that chance. Some of the hottest actors right now all started with Kamen Rider.

At the time, Kobayashi was most likely referring to Sota Fukushi and Takeru Satoh, who played Kamen Rider Fourze & Den-O and whose careers sky-rocketed after their respective runs.

Odagiri & co-star Katsurayama, DVD interview

Odagiri & co-star Katsurayama, DVD interview

After passing the audition, Odagiri did not leave his agency and decided to work on Kuuga after meeting and discussing the show with the producer, Shigenori Takatera. He stated that he wanted to change what Kamen Rider was.

Interviewer: While doing Kuuga, right?

Odagiri: Yes. However, the producer, who is a very interesting and funny person, said that they wanted to “destroy the image that Kamen Rider had until then.” I then thought that was something I was good at. And I guess that became my motivation.

Odagiri, however, goes on to state, “In spite of me not liking Kamen Rider or hero shows, I cannot deny that my destiny was to play Kuuga.”

What is clear, overall, is Odagiri remained friends with his co-actors and staff members from Kamen Rider Kuuga. In 2008, Odagiri attended an informal reunion party and Wakana Aoi (Minori Godai)’s wedding in 2009. Takatera produced a television remake of Daimajin Kanon in 2010, which Odagiri had a cameo appearance in the final episode.

Finally, Toei has announced that Odagiri has participated in bonus features for Kuuga‘s Blu-ray box release.

Given the evidence above we can confirm certain things:

  • Does Odagiri dislike tokusatsu – TRUE
  • Did Odagiri attend a Super Sentai audition – TRUE
  • Does Odagiri dislike KuugaFALSE
  • Does Odagiri get along with the other cast/crew – TRUE
  • Did they purposely remove Kuuga from his profile to pretend it didn’t happen – FALSE

I've been floating around doing various things in the fandom for the past decade. Now living in Japan, writing news articles and occasionally starring in a show as "Only white guy in the background".

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Zee

    March 17, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Nice article! I always find people discussing this for the sake of, I dunno, drama so tiring. In my opinion he’s been refreshingly honest on his feelings about the role, but also very clearly respectful to Kuuga as a show and to the rest of the creative team involved. It’s a non-issue (except maybe for the fact that his dislike of tokusatsu in general makes a reprisal of his role sadly unlikely 😛 but what can you do?)

  2. Magneto

    March 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    “Odagiri & Takatera on the set of Kuuga”

    That photo is Odagiri with Ishii Yuya, on the set of House of Sweets from last year.

  3. Paula Gaetos

    March 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for the correction!

  4. Magneto

    March 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    No worries! Didn’t want a minor mistake to take away from such an insightful article. Good stuff!

  5. dfw3k

    March 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

    should be souta fukushi, not sato

    • Paula Gaetos

      March 20, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Thank you for catching that!

  6. Bonobo Hunter

    July 3, 2018 at 1:49 am

    If I could get the chance to meet any of the tokusatsu actors, I would be happy. Right now I just finished “Kuuga” as of Tuesday July 3, 2018. I really loved the show, the casts were really awesome and cool and it teached me that we should all be concerned for each others as human beings of this vacant plant. Joe Odagiri, you have honestly repainted a very heroic image of Kuuga in a way that not many rider actors have ever done before. You are really talented and great and is also one of my greatest motivations to start trying to help others again. Because of your acting, I think that it was great and further all you honestly really hanged in there for yourself. You didn’t want to throw away any oppurtunities just to get into a show of your first debut. You may even think that right now the tokusatsu community is real childish, but it’s a really positive/negative community from my own perspective. You can hate tokusatsu all you want but it really is your own choice to decide what you want to do. All I want to say is that we have a evil within in each of us and it makes us do bad things, but we can also learn from that as a lesson for which we should not do again. Sometimes people will be cruel in their own ways of making people feeling down about themselves. Sometimes these peoples don’t even realize what they just did. On Sunday July 1st, there was a shooting at J4. A young teen died without hurting anybody, and these murderers continued to chased him with a gun… waiting until he died. I don’t know all of the information but this was too cruel… some people like my friends that have seen this and joked about getting shot but they were also very frightened and sad as well for a teen that die at such a young age. I feel as if people today aren’t even scared to die but of course all of us do… suicides and homicides are those things. A character from the Kuuga show named “Chouno” was like this and why I said this was because he lost faith in humanity and decided to want to become a grongi but then No.23 (Shark Grongi) backfired at him saying that, “You are the prey.” Scared for his life Blue Kuuga saved his life by defeating No.23 with his powerful dragon form and if that is what I remembered. After that fight Godai Yusuke(Joe Odagiri) revealed himself as one of the unidentified life forms. Chouno did not want to accept this and decided to leave without thanking him and was later trying to find a job for commercial artwork that he decided to make. He made a painting of a person in a grassfield and Godai Yusuke said that, “This painting makes me feel at peace.” Also on one of the last episodes I remembered that Chouno gave his thanks to the doctor and gave his knife as a goodbye gift to the doctor, Shuichi Tsubaki (Yoshitaka Otsuka). This makes me think that Chouno has finally found an answer and has decided for what he wants to do. Of course this was all in the show but it relates so much to real life and so then I cannot forget this at all… This was also a very good lesson to teach that we all should belive in ourselves. We should never give up, try to show no fear, and also show no pain. If we all work our hardest, we can acheive our own dreams any day, like how Joe Odagiri has obtained his goal of becoming a successful actor. Of course there will be hatings and dislikes but you just have to deal with that and hold yourself back as a positive person, and be a role model for others that might try to become actors in the future. I belived that Kamen Rider has made me know you and now I know that you exist. It was great to watch this show and I learned a lot from it. Learn from your own mistakes the wise ones says… One last thing… DO YOUR BEST!

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