Interview: The Heroes and Production Staff of Dogengers
In an exclusive interview, the Tokusatsu Network sat down with the heroes and production staff of Dogengers to talk about what inspires the heroes, memorable moments on set, and more.
Dogengers aired from April 12, 2020, to June 28, 2020, and focused on the local tokusatsu heroes and villains of Fukuoka. Directed by Fumie Arakawa, the first female tokusatsu director from Toei Productions, the story starts when Aku no Himitsu Kesha, under the command of president Yabai Kamen, take over Fukuoka. With help from Ogaman, Takeru Tanaka gathers the heroes of Kyushu and unite them against the forces of evil.
What inspired the Dogengers show?
The show started from the breakout of Ogaman. Debuting last year with his catchphrase “Take medicine and go to sleep,” he instantly became popular on Twitter and the news. Shaberiman from Aku no Himitsukesha saw that and said, “let’s make a show about this!” That was how the project started.
What inspired everyone to come together for the show?
Each of the heroes who joined in the show have all fought Aku no Himitsukesha in hero shows across Japan for the last 4 years. Ogaman was the base of the show, but we wanted all of those colleagues to be a part of the project, so we asked them and they agreed.
Why was Fukuoka chosen as the setting for this show?
Because Fukuoka is where we are all living and working. That being said, we did not want to make a project that was a promotional video for Fukuoka tourism and culture, but rather we filmed in a way that showed Fukuoka as an appealing backdrop.
For the Dogengers heroes: What inspired all of you to become heroes?
Kita-Qman: Kita-Kyushu City isn’t really that famous in Japan. So I decided to become a hero, and make myself famous, in order to promote the city.
Yamashiron: Hello! The reason I became a hero was thanks to Commander Otsuka of Yamashiro Gas Co., Ltd. He ordered the creation of the hero department in the company, and then said this and that…and that’s how it started! We are currently focussing on food education shows in our activities.
Fukuocalibur: When I was living abroad (New Zealand), my friends sent me the information that “There are people making an original hero about the area in Japan!” along with the photos in an email. I thought “Wow! That is so cool! I want to be a hero too! When I get back to Japan I will become a hero for sure!” and I kept that determination when I returned to Japan.
El Brave: For me, heroes are a big brother, a goal, and a dream. I wanted to pass on the courage that I received from heroes to children, and so I became a hero.
Ogaman: There used to be a hero in Japan based on a doctor motif, but there has never been one based on a pharmacist. Furthermore, in Japan, there has been a big problem of “leftover medicine” from people who are prescribed medicine but don’t take them, or store them for self-medication. I became a hero in order to solve that problem.
For Kita-QMan: What inspired so many similar yet different concepts for your design?
In Kita-Kyushu City, I became my own motif. People often say to me “You are the Kita-Kyushu City hero, but nothing about your suit says Kita-Kyushu.” Protecting traditions is important, but we also need to create new traditions for the future. Among the young generation of Kita-Kyushu City, I am currently more famous than the mayor.
For Fukuo Calibur: You unveiled a new design with Dogengers. What was the reason for changing your look?
We have repaired my old suit numerous times, but it is falling apart. We believe that one of the conditions of being a hero is for children to look at us and go “that is cool” so we created a new and cool look.
For Yamashiron: How did it feel being part of a project with a lot more action than you usually have?
Normally I am battling every day as a salaryman at work, but this time there was a lot of action, so I could use Aku no Himitsukesha to let off some built-up stress (just to be clear, Yamashiro Gas is a great company!), and it was a lot of fun!
For El Brave: As far as fans are aware, this was your first tokusatsu series. Please tell us about that experience?
I felt my dream had come true, and I was able to be one of the tokusatsu heroes I idolized! My battle has only just started!
What is your favorite memory from filming Dogengers?
From Aku no Himitsukesha: Dogengers was filmed in about one month. It was an incredibly fast speed for filming, but the result was that many fans enjoyed the show, which is a relief.
If you could have another hero join the Dogengers in the future, who would you want to bring on?
If we could get a rich hero like Ironman onboard, we’d quickly be able to broadcast in America.
For Director Arakawa Fumie: What was it like working on this project?
From the moment I got the phone call that there would be a filming project, I had to reach out to filming crews, action crews, effects crews, and editing crews. It was a miraculous timing that we could get every we needed together, and I was very busy, but I can proudly say that the finished project is one of my best works! I want to say thank you to everyone. I love this project, from the world of the story to just everything!
I loved that the characters were a part of my normal life, and I had so much fun. I am glad I could be a part of it.
Each of the heroes and villains have their own stories. How did you go about bringing them together into one project?
From the Director Arakawa Fumie: To begin with, I only really knew Kita-Qman and Yabai Kamen, so I was pretty anxious and not sure what to do, but all of the characters had a pretty good stance of “leave it to me.” They communicated very frankly when on set, so I could have fun, and I am very glad that they were the characters who were part of this project. It is all thanks to Aku no Himitsukesha for keeping some good relationships with everyone.
We used the screenplay as a base, and added a little extra when on set, or included the opinions of the actors, or had everyone add a little more during after-recording…and that’s how it came about! It’s lucky we did not go overboard.
Pres. Yabai Kamen created quite a gap in my image of him and had a lot of edge in his scary and deep moments, but I enjoyed Mr. Imai’s deep performance and the evil voice of Yabai Kamen that I had never heard before.
What do you think about the overseas reaction to the show?
We are not really aware of how well done or popular Dogengers is overseas, but we receive a lot of fan art, and we are very glad when we get fan art from overseas. It makes use really happy when people say Dogengers is “popular” and “I like it,” regardless of the country!
What is the best way for fans to support Dogengers?
Firstly, please watch the show. It makes us happier than you would believe.
We are glad when people send fan art or post comments on twitter!
It may be irresponsible to say, but it would be great if people could email Aku no Himitsukesha and tell us what goods they want, if they want a dubbed version, if they want us to visit their country, etc.
To be more specific, if we could see how much support there is from abroad, we might be able to increase our activities.
Also, it is very encouraging when people support us by keeping us trending on Twitter and other social media platforms. There is still a lot more coming for Dogengers, not just on TV, so please support us!
What is the future of Dogengers?
Dogengers are real heroes. They actually live in Fukuoka and are active just like everyone else. Thanks to the popularity of this project, we have decided to make follow up projects, so not only will there be more videos, but we will also hold hero shows in front of everyone. People are still scared of the coronavirus, but we hope fans from abroad will come and see!
Photos shared by Dogengers production staff. Copyright Dogengers.