Shuichiro Naito, who portrays Touma in the upcoming Kamen Rider Saber, shares his thoughts about becoming a Rider.
MyNavi interviews Naito after the announcement of the new season Kamen Rider Saber.
MyNavi: After Kamen Rider Saber was announced on July 29, 2020, we had our first look at the staff, world, and heroes. How do you feel after the press conference?
Naito: I was very nervous. I was the announced as the top candidate among an array of actors so I feel like I have to give it my all when leading everyone… I was so enthusiastic that I became nervous (laughs).
MyNavi: The press conference was broadcast on many platforms like YouTube, the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club, and not to mention TELASA. You looked very professional up there.
Naito: Thank you very much.
MyNavi: What was your favorite Kamen Rider series when you were a kid?
Naito: I don’t think I was old enough to be aware of it, but my parents told me that I really liked Kamen Rider Kuuga. I don’t remember much of the story, but I do have memories of playing with the transformation belt. But I do remember watching Kamen Rider Ryuki. I really liked Kamen Rider Knight and I for sure remember having his belt, his toy sword, and cards. I was yell “transform!” and do Knight’s pose.
MyNavi: So it’s possible that there’s a picture of you playing make believe as Kamen Rider.
Naito: I’ll have to ask my parents if they even have one. I just finished the press conference so I haven’t reached out to anyone just yet. I’ll see if there is one next time.
MyNavi: What was your impression of transforming for the first time? Considering you used to love Kamen Riders so much.
Naito: Nothing but awesome! He (Saber) is completely different from the previous Riders so far. I’m talking about how there’s a sword inserted into the belt. I really like how the sword is used as a transformation item before it becomes a combat item.
MyNavi: What kind of character is Touma Kamiyama?
Naito: He’s a novelist who really likes books. He believes that books can change the world. He also believes that promises should be kept, and during the show, you’ll see him making good on them. But at times only he’ll believe that he can keep that promise. I’m looking forward to seeing just how well he can keep promises that you would think be broken. I also like how he’s straight forward. He’ll never stop talking about books, and will smile when he hangs out with children.
MyNavi: What do you have in common with your character Touma?
Naito: We both love kids. We both can’t help ourselves when we talk to children. There was a boy on set and we talked about manga during break.
MyNavi: What about your thoughts on Naito’s chic style?
Naito: It’s very monotone and super cool. I wear a lot of monotone on the daily myself so I fit right in. But I wonder if it’s a bit too fancy on me. (laughs)
MyNavi: I think he has a fresh look, a novelist with a dandyism in fashion. Since you’re tall yourself I think it fits you well. How tall are you?
Naito: I’m 187 cm. If Touma looks good on TV then I’m fine with that.
MyNavi: What kinds of experiences have you had so far?
Naito: A lot of firsts. Like having my body in wires for stunt scenes. I’ve also had to film a scene with a greenscreen behind me when “entering Wonder World.” There was nothing around me to look at but I had to act like I was experiencing and seeing something miraculous.
MyNavi: What was your first impression when you transformed into Kamen Rider Saber for the first time?
Naito: I felt, like I really felt that “I’m a Kamen Rider!” I had the belt fit over my clothes and was like “oh man, I’m a Kamen Rider now!” My heart was filled with so much excitement. I had to put on my war face because I had to go head to head with an enemy, but inside I was just happy. (laughs) I had to hide my excitement beneath my serious face.
MyNavi: There’s a scene where Touma, Rintaro, and Mei are together. What’s the teamwork like between you and those two actors (Takaya Yamaguchi and Asuka Kawazu respectively)?
Naito: Takaya and I are the same age. We’re on the same wavelength and we play around set a lot. And Kawazu is kind of like our mom. And that’s what being on set is like with them. And sometimes Kawazu joins in on our shenanigans (laughs). There’s a balance to it and it helps me feel calm. I’m used to being the funny guy but Takaya is a natural airhead so I’m the straight man in our duo.
MyNavi: Can you share a little about the action scene before the transformation scene?
Naito: I like moving my body around a lot so I’d like to try out more action scenes in the future. I played soccer, baseball, gymnastics, and swimming when I was in Elementary. I was in the baseball club in Middle School, and the soccer club in High School. On days off, I played basketball. (laughs)