Suit actors Wataru Inaniwa and Hironari Okubo share their experiences on tokusatsu x para-sports drama Chousoku Parahero GandD and as well as points about suit acting.
High school student Daishi Morimiya (So Okuno, Kamen Rider Zi-O) dreams of becoming a wheelchair athlete, and Kei Fukai (Fuka Koshiba, Tokusatsu Gagaga), a former track-and-field athlete, becomes his coach. One day, a handsome alien, Goo, falls from the sky while Daishi is practicing with Kei. Having escaped from a mass genocide in Earth’s binary star, Goo warns Daishi and his friends that Earth is in danger. Then, a giant lizard-like monster attacks Daishi’s household. Goo’s Mode Shifter begins to emit light and covers Daishi. Still in his wheelchair and his body now transformed by a special protector, Daishi charges at the monster.
Alongside So Okuno and the other cast members, Wataru Inaniwa dons the suit of the hero GandD and Hironari Okubo the suit of the invading monster Lagert. Together, they share their experiences on Chousoku Parahero GandD as well as their thoughts with regards to suit acting.
To play this brand new wheelchair-riding superhero GandD, Inaniwa said, “I started by watching videos of wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby. I also read interviews with para-athletes and internalized what I observed.”
He reflects, “It’s a very different sensation, playing a role where you can’t move your legs. It’s very hard at first because we always use our legs to find our center of gravity. Things like the best way to express a hero riding a wheelchair and what to do with my hands was just the tip of my concerns. As I searched for my answers, I wondered if I was really up to this.
Movements of your fingers, however slight, can tell a lot. – Wataru Inaniwa
A key point is “expression”. It goes without saying that the face is hidden in suit acting. Therefore, expression or state of mind must be conveyed with a single movement. This is one of the best ways to show your skills as a suit actor. “How much of your body can you use to convey various emotions?” Inaniwa explains. “Of course you can use your whole body, but movements of your fingers, however slight, can tell a lot.” These small touches can increase the dynamics in your action.
“There are a lot of surprises surrounding GandD,” Inaniwa continues. “A key feature with the torso design is that it’s not symmetrical. On my right side, the image is that power is held in the red part, so I use my right side as much as possible to show that. This is the kind of fine detail I hope people will notice.
On the other side, Hironari Okubo, suit actor of the monster Lagert, says, “I felt something like his strength to live”. Lagert is drawn up as a 12-meter long monster that can both fly on its wings as well as walk on all fours. “Lagert’s costume is light and comfortable, and my field of vision is clear,” Okubo shares.
And this is the first time Okubo has played a monster. “I really wanted to challenge myself,” he explains. “The most interesting part of this role is walking on four legs. Lagert is lizard-like, and I wanted to show how unpleasant he seems like with the winding of his tail.”
Small changes can make big changes to your expression. – Hironari Okubo
Just like with Inaniwa, expression is a key point to Okubo too. “Small changes to the angle or direction you face can make big changes to your expression,” he says. “And you can’t break the character’s position. With a hero, for instance, your position can’t change before and after the transformation. Movements have to be traced precisely.”
“I entered this field because I’ve looked up to heroes since I was small,” Okubo continues. “On set, this is my stage, the place where I feel alive. I want to convey to people how seriously I live through my acting and that I enjoy what I do.”
Inaniwa ends by saying, “We can do our best because people’s voices reach us. It’s great if kids watch us and think, ‘Cool!’ or ‘I want to be like that!’, but what I really want is if they shout and cheer ‘You can do it!’ while watching GandD.”
Source: Yahoo News