Nachi Sakuragi and Hiroe Igeta look back and discuss their experience on Kamen Rider Zero-One.
Kamen Rider Zero-One’s new movie, Kamen Rider Zero-One The Movie: REAL x TIME, directed by Teruaki Sugihara, premiered in theaters on December 18, 2020. Yua Yaiba/Kamen Rider Valkyrie’s Hiroe Igeta and Gai Amatsu/Kamen Rider Thouser’s Nachi Sakuragi, members of ZAIA Enterprise, discuss their mutual scenes and impressions as well as details of the “punch of resignation” seen in episode 33.
Creating a Sense of Distance Between Yua and Gai
When talking about the “ZAIA Pair”, it’s crucial to talk about the punch Yua throws to Gai in episode 33, “Yume Ga Sonna ni Taisetsu na no ka?” (translated: Are Dreams Really That Important). It was exciting that it was named “the punch of resignation” when it aired, but Igeta herself says, “This scene with Gai where Yua leaves ZAIA leaves an impression with multiple meanings.”
“I thought that Yua was rewarded for her actions and could move forward because of that. That episode left a lasting impression,” she continues, talking about how she embraced the emotions in her role. “After filming that episode, we couldn’t continue (because of the coronavirus), but later I thought that the timing was good. Because we couldn’t film, the emotional impact could linger.”
“After we first read the script, we met to discuss what kind of punch it’d be,” Sakuragi said, thinking back. Igeta continued, “We planned it out, though rather than a dialogue, it was more like releasing a lot of pent up feelings. Like an ‘I hate you!’ moment.”
“It’s not that I dislike Nachi,” Igeta quickly added, “but Yua has this moment of resentment, so I distanced myself a little.”
“That was a bit of a surprise,” Sakuragi laughed with relief.
Gai “Stealing” the Punch (of Resignation)
“I thought it was going to be a serious scene, but I didn’t think Nachi could make such great expressions that it would turn out comedic,” Igeta reflects regarding the scene where Yua punches Gai. “I thought ‘He stole the scene!’ We went home feeling very confused.”
“I also thought it was going to be serious,” Sakuragi adds. “But the director (Ryuta Tazaki) told me, ‘You can go all out’ and ‘I want to film you crying out to the setting sun,’ so getting punched in the sunset will be more interesting. I wasn’t trying to ‘steal the scene.’ I was just giving it my all,” he explains, inviting some laughter.
The name “the punch of resignation” came from people around them, Igeta explains. Sakuragi adds, “I’ve gotten names like ‘1000% old man,’ ‘the guy in white,’ and ‘underdog’ myself, but it’s part of the charm of Zero-One. It comes with fans being passionate about the show.” Igeta smiles in agreement and also expresses joy at the fans’ response. “Wherever the fans are watching, it’s been fun to defy their expectations at multiple points,” she says.
“In the beginning, I would ask things like ‘What should we do here?” Sakuragi said, referring to his scene with Igeta. “In particular, our characters didn’t exactly see eye to eye after the 5-round job competition,” he laughed. “At that time, Yua was in this awkward spot where she stood with ZAIA but wasn’t really on their side. It feels like we met to discuss our characters’ positions very often,” Igeta continued. “As we got through the second half of the show, it felt like we could just do scenes without saying a word. We had fewer scenes together, so it was a little lonely.”
Getting Too Into “Gai”: The Outcome
“This sense of loneliness stands out the most, but I really have to be grateful,” Sakuragi starts, looking back on his year on Zero-One. “It’s a little sad to think about the things we couldn’t do when everyone worked so hard, but we all grew as actors, and I’d like to work with everyone again.”
“As the TV broadcast ended and we were preparing for the movie,” Sakuragi continues, “I thought, ‘Is this really the end?’ but when we wrapped up the movie, then that feeling really hit me. That this was ‘the end.’ I didn’t think about it during the time we couldn’t film, but with all of the changes we went through, I’m relieved that we were able to safely finish Zero-One. That’s what I feel most strongly right now,” he finished quietly.
In the wake of the response to the final episode, Sakuragi recalls when he and Igeta were by a shooting location and encountered a parent and child. “The daughter shouted, ‘Yua!’ and gave her a high-five, but she said, ‘No thanks…’ when she turned to me,” he smiled wryly at the memory. “Her father tried to tell her that I really wasn’t so bad in person, but still, I thought, ‘She really doesn’t like me,’ and let it go. I kinda wished I could make others smile as if I was Aruto (Fumiya Takahashi),” Sakuragi mentioned, his smile widening.
Thoughts for Future Roles
The movie is out, and while they haven’t appeared together for a full year, both agree that it’s very different from performing on stage. “I entered the show as this cool, handsome character, but for a character I thought was more of a quiet-type, I ended up talking quite a bit,” Sakuragi laughs. Regarding his impression of Igeta over the course of filming, “Igeta’s great in how she built on her character and became this cool female Kamen Rider,” he praises.
From her side, Igeta says, “I think everyone is the same on this, but Nachi really values preparation. He’s the type who spends days committing his lines to memory and understanding his role. I can’t really explain this well,” she continues, “but by internalizing the character of Gai instead of ‘creating’ him, Nachi has been able to try various takes, and it’s surprising what ideas and arrangements he’s had.” She expects a lot from his acting in the movie.
Lastly, for roles they’d like to play after this, Igeta wants a character that values family. “Lots of people are involved in a family and there is a lot of room for different emotions, and I enjoy watching those kinds of movies.” Expanding on this, she says, “In a story about a loving family, I want to play the youngest daughter who’s going through a rebellious phase and going through some kind of issue.”
“A character living their life to the fullest,” Sakuragi starts. “I want to play that kind of role, something that you might see on an NHK morning drama of a high school student up to when they’re about to die and shows the depths of life.”