The Tokusatsu Network interviews a team of Malaysian filmmakers aiming to produce their own tokusatsu series.
How did you decide on the name of the show and what does it mean in English?
First and foremost, before we go a little detail on that, allow me to do some basic introduction about the Production. Zirah Pendekar, Adiperkasa is a tokusatsu project run by Heroes Art Studio (HAS) from Malaysia. We at Heroes Art Studio have a vision to one day create a localized tokusatsu production which symbolizes the Malaysian culture and shares the beautiful heritage that we have with the world. If Japan has Kamen Rider, Space Sheriff Gavan and Super Sentai to be proud of, we from Heroes Art Studio hoped that Malaysian will have Zirah Pendekar Adiperkasa to be proud of and be able to stand on par with the Japanese franchise one day.
Zirah Pendekar in English is known as Armored Warrior. Adiperkasa is the name of the main character and the meaning of Adiperkasa is “mighty”. So if you translated it into English, the meaning of Zirah Pendekar Adiperkasa could lead to Mighty Armored Warrior. We at HAS are trying to create a brand, for example, let’s look at Kamen Rider for instance. Zirah Pendekar is the name of the brand like Kamen Rider, while Adiperkasa is like Kuuga, the name of the hero of that particular series. We hope to create more Heroes in the upcoming future ahead with Zirah Pendekar as its brand. Each year will bring in a different Hero to lead the series just like what Kamen Rider and the rest of the Japanese tokusatsu are currently doing. As a start, we will start off with ZIRAH PENDEKAR, ADIPERKASA.
Can you tell us a bit about the story?
The story is about a war between humans and Barra, a clan of evil elves who derived from the underworld. They feed on human negativity, which end up sucking their life force along with it. The war runs for a century. As humans were at the edge of defeat, they finally discover a winning chance. They have obtained Power Gems, which contain power so strong they can help turn the table of this long forsaken war. The Power Gems gives them a power upon their armor, weapons, and ability. The Power Gems were derived from a meteor, which was shattered into a million pieces. Each with its own unique ability. Using the power gems, the humans have won the war and the evil elves lurk back to wherever they came from, and sworn to return and will try to concur the world once again. The humans then created an organization called ‘Laksmana’ (Admiral) which will keep the power gems from falling into the wrong hands, and use its power to fight against evil behind the shadows.
A century has passed by, the power gems were passed down from one generation to another. In this new era of civilization, Laksmana organization has managed to create a device, which can tap into the power gems fullest potential. Led by a scientist named Dr. Kumar, he has created a device called the Tiger gadget, and with it, the user can summon a powerful armor and transform to become the new generation Armored warrior, and the code name which was given to the new warrior is Adiperkasa.
Can you tell us a bit about your cast?
Adiperkasa is played by Mr Soeradzi Katni, a big fan of Kamen Rider. He was thrilled to be a part of a Malaysian tokusatsu production. He wishes that this project can be successful so that Malaysian can also have a tokusatsu product which can be proud of.
Adijagad is Adiperkasa’s father, he was the first Zirah Pendekar who used the proto Tiger Gadget before it was perfected by Dr. Kumar. Adijagad was cast by Mr. Akmal Razak, a Malaysian professional martial art choreographer. He has appeared in a number of Malaysian action movies which includes Abang Long Fadhil and Tombiruo.
Dr. Kumar is played by Mr. Hassan Shah. A fulltime working lawyer in real life who wants to help to make this project a success
Joey, Laksmana Artificial Intelligence was played by Joey Sheon, a famous Malaysian cosplayer. You can check her work on Facebook at Jo’s Cosplay Gallery.
How long did it take to make this specific pilot and how long has the idea as a whole been in the works?
It took us a month to come up with the pilot episode. The one-month duration includes script writing, story-boarding concept, shooting, and editing the CGI effects. Before we came up with the pilot episode, we did a crowdfunding session for 3 months before the actual production occurs. At the end of the crowdfunding session, we have managed to collect a total amount of MYR 5173 (USD 1$299) to help cover for the entire production which includes costume design, props, renting the equipment, food, travel allocation, and merchandise for the crowdfunding supporters. We utilize all we can with the amount we collected, and with that, comes the pilot episode which you see today.
What served as the inspiration for the hero design?
The hero design was inspired from Malayan Tiger (Harimau Malaya). A tiger which can be found in Peninsular Malaysia, and also a ubiquitous national icon for Malaysia as it is used for Malaysia’s first national car icon, the icon for the leading bank in Malaysia Maybank among other things.
Have you taken influence from any tokusatsu for this production?
The production was designed to represent Malaysia culture. Therefore pieces of the tokusatsu influences, we try to adapt the Kamen Rider concept onto this original tokusatsu. The concept design of the character actually symbolizes the Malaysian Malay traditional wear. The helmets were based on Tanjak / Tengkolok, a traditional Malay headgear. It is made from a songket cloth folded and tied in a particular style, usually worn in ceremonies, function and even wedding ceremony in Malaysia. That idea was then innovated and changed it as the hero’s headgear. Apart than the Tanjak, one of the heroes also wore a Sampin on his costume. Sampin is a loose tunic, which is worn over trousers and usually accompanied with a Sarong called Sampin, which is wrapped around the hip. It is commonly accompanied with a Tanjak. Last but not least, Adiperkasa primary weapon is Keris. A weapon, which symbolizes heroism, martial prowess, and authority. This weapon is strongly associated with the Malay culture from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore.
How can fans support this production?
We are trying to bring and educate fans around the world about the unique and beautiful culture that we Malaysian have throughout the concept story. Right now we ain on the midst of discussing with the Television panel on how this project can be brought forward. As a start, one of the requirements they have set for us is that we must first produce a pilot episode for them to evaluate. For now, we would need the support from all tokusatsu fans around the world to help increase the number of viewers on our Youtube page channel under the name Heroes Art studio. With your help, this project can be develop into a full TV series.