Masahiro Inoue, known for playing the lead in Kamen Rider Decade, creates his own tokusatsu, PINK Tokusatsu.
Masahiro Inoue has often talked about Kamen Rider Decade’s color: magenta. This time, he’s creating a hero of his own that is pink as part of his project titled Pink no Tokusatsu Tsukuru, or “PINK Tokusatsu Creation”.
The project began in April of this year on his YouTube channel, GGE Channel. Inoue himself, and other veteran Kamen Rider actors like Toshiki Kashu (Kamen Rider Agito) and Satoshi Matsuda (Kamen Rider Ryuki) will also be making appearances.
Kei Taguchi and Ken Takahashi of GARO fame will be the scriptwriter and hero designer, respectively.
Below is an interview with Masahiro Inoue and channel manager Daisuke Sato.
Interviewer: Tell us how this project began.
Inoue: I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of tokusatsu. I’ve appeared in Kamen Rider, GARO, Zebraman, and others. When I look back on my life as an actor, I thought to myself, “I’d like to leave something behind in tokusatsu.” The catalyst for this was GARO: JINGA, and I was also involved in the production of the drama, and I directed one episode. I also supervised the scriptwriting for the series. Because of that, I wanted to create something from scratch. The Kamen Rider series is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and we wanted to do something… but the world is currently in a difficult situation because of COVID. We wanted to leave something behind so we decided to create a tokusatsu YouTube drama, but we wanted to create something that had never been done before. I’ve done a lot of work on Kamen Rider and GARO, so I wanted to create something completely different. Decade is magenta. Not pink. They are both totally different. That difference was why we set out to create something new: PINK Tokusatsu.
Sato: We’ve talked a lot about magenta before on our channel. But this time, we’ll focus on pink. Like a mood shift. That’s how it all started.
Inoue: Half the reason we started this was just for fun (laughs). Well, when creating something like a theater show, half the reason is for fun isn’t it? I was wondering if I could do something for the tokusatsu world which has been so good to me. That’s how I came to the decision to start this project. Daisuke was the first person I talked to about it.
Sato: He talked about something he wanted to do and that we should do it. Then from there we talked about how we should do it, who should direct. We decided to do a video and show off one-by-one the backside of things.
Interviewer: Has your thoughts on PINK Tokusatsu changed since the first YouTube broadcast?
Inoue: On the contrary, I’m more worried about how many people will be able to help me bring my thoughts to life. When you do a work, people tend to look at the cast, don’t they? The general audience tends to think that this work is good because of the cast, but that’s not true. The staff, producers, and production team are what make it good. It all starts at one.
Interviewer: I understand that there will be 12 episodes, and some of them will be scripted by the viewers.
Inoue: Yes, we were planning to accept scripts from the viewers for a few episodes out of the 12. I was a little worried about how many we would get, but we got a lot. After all, you never know what the fans want to see, right? Like what they’d like me to do. The fans are the audience so they know what they want. It helps give me affirmation to give what they want. Also, tokusatsu costs a lot of money to make. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into crowdfunding to see how many people will support me in such a situation. I feel like I’m getting a lot of encouragement and support from people.
Sato: The same goes for crowdfunding and the call for projects, but we are seeing great results in our numbers and it gives me a lot of courage knowing that it’s taking shape. It makes me feel like I have to work harder. It’s also great knowing that we’re creating something together with the audience.
Inoue: The main script is written by Mr. Taguchi (GARO), but I want to keep the sessions with the general public in mind. I don’t know if we’ll be able to utilize their script as it is, but we’ll incorporate their ideas into the writing. So when the show airs, there’ll be a double credit: for both you and Mr. Taguchi. This really is a project where we become one with the fans.
Interviewer: The videos on PINK Tokusatsu are mostly about going out to find cast members and others, but there are videos where your group is bowling.
Sato: While we were drafting the story, we ran into a major setback. (laughs)
Inoue: I was like “are you kidding me!”
Sato: I thought we were finished. It was a real shocker.
Inoue: We were working on PINK Toksuatsu, but in the later half of the year we saw another “pink” tokusatsu. And it was Kamen Rider. (In reference to Kamen Rider Revice’s color).
Sato: I was so shocked at that time. “Inoue, we’re in trouble. The next Kamen Rider is going to be pink.”
Inoue: What did you say!? I thought (laughs)
Sato: Sato: I heard a rumor that he (Revice) was going to appear in a movie, so I suggested we’d go see it. Then make a video about it.
Inoue: Also, don’t you think he resembles Decade a bit? I didn’t care that both of the characters were pink. It’s that pink is a problem for Decade.
Sato: You always say that (laughs).
Inoue: I always make it a point to say “Decade isn’t pink, he’s magenta!” The magenta Kamen Rider, which is also the basis of our project, is Decade. We wanted to create PINK Tokusatsu and add a new spin to the meaning of toku. Something in me crumbled.
Sato: Hence why we went bowling.
Inoue: I really wanted to quit (laughs).
Interviewer: Who is your target audience?
Inoue: I want everyone to watch. A lot of YouTube viewers are the kind of people who mainly stick to YouTube. They don’t watch TV. One of the first things I wanted to do was to create a tokusatsu that caters to this kind of audience. And then there are the international audiences. When we post videos now, we get a surprisingly large number of comments from Indonesia. There are also many people from China. It’s not just Japan, but tokusatsu is spreading in Asia in ways we don’t know.
Sato: I can’t believe the hype.
Inoue: It’s amazing. You can watch TV only at home but with YouTube, you’re able to view shows anywhere from outside the country. So I want to create a project aimed towards viewers in Japan and many others around the world who like tokusatsu.
Sato: It’s also interesting to see how differently each country views things. Like, you’ll find what kinds of things are popular to them.
Inoue: I’m looking forward to seeing how far people from overseas will go to see the show.
Sato: Toku can now be easily seen around the world on YouTube. I feel like this will open up a new world for tokusatsu. I hope people will find how great it is to discover toku through new platforms.
Inoue: I’ve learned just how difficult it really is to create a tokusatsu. For human drama, you can just shoot it most anywhere in the world, but the world of monsters and the world of heroes is very different.
Sato: We also use CG. This adds another layer of difficulty. In a normal drama, you can shoot a certain amount of scenes with people working on the camera. But in this case, I have to use CG because we need it. In addition to that, the theme of the work is “otherworldly reincarnation” and “multi-worlds” so we’ll be exploring more than one type of world. I had to do a lot of location scouting, and since there are 12 episodes, I had to unify the worldview of 12 different places, so that was another added layer of difficulty.
Inoue: I now feel the brilliance of Decade. This is something producer Shinichiro Shirakura once told me, something like “Decade as he is is perfect. It’s ingenious.” Since Decade, various forms of Kamen Rider abilities have been created. For example, Zi-O gets to obtain a Rider’s ability. He even has that armor thing. But Decade is set up so that he can become that Rider. The idea that you can become anyone with a belt. In addition to that, the gimmick of going to each Rider’s world is something done only with his story. Now that I’m in the position of thinking about the script and the project, I’m starting to think about the history of Kamen Rider and how it’s structured, and now that I’m on the production side, I can finally understand the brilliance behind Decade. I’m feeling the weight of the “50th Anniversary” behind the Kamen Rider series. I feel that the cast probably understands what I’m saying the most. It’s a system and an idea that can’t be done unless you’ve been doing it for 50 years, and something that will never be surpassed. But instead of creating Kamen Rider, I wanted to work in a completely different genre of tokusatsu. That’s why Decade, to me, is the commemorative work, and that the gimmicks behind him are genius. We’re going to make 12 episodes of PINK Tokusatsu, and I’m thinking about what kind of episodes they’ll be every day.
Sato: We put our work on video even before we create it. Normally, when you create something, there are a lot of things that might get rejected at the planning stage or end up being rejected before they can be released to the public. But it’s different in our case. We announce it in our videos when an idea pops up. So we have no choice but to do it without turning back.
Inoue: That’s the foundation of YouTube. You have to do what you say you’re going to do.
Sato: But there’s a huge advantage of doing things this way.
Interviewer: Can you give us one final message?
Sato: For those of you who are watching this, there are probably some of you who have never heard of the GGE channel, so I would like to take this opportunity to let you know about it and ask you to subscribe to it. We also have Silver and Gold membership levels. We also host live streams. Please check us out.
Inoue: I’m honored to be here. Really. The fact that I was invited to participate in this memorable Kodansha Web Magazine with PINK Tokusatsu, and not Kamen Rider or GARO, will live on as my news of fortune. We are creating this project with heart and we are not playing around. It’s a work that I would like to do with my life as an actor, dedicated to the tokusatsu genre that’s been so kind to me. I’d be happy if you could watch our project when it’s completed. The making-of is now on the GGE channel, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy many of our other videos. I’d like to show everyone how tokusatsu is made and I hope we can work on this together. Thank you very much for your time.