Nao Oikawa talks about her time as Kegalesia as well as how the ten-years after film was produced.
Nao Oikawa was recently interviewed by Weekly Playboy after her appearance in the Super Sentai heroine issue of the magazine. where she recounted her time as Kegalesia in 2008’s Engine Sentai Go-Onger.
(NOTE: This interview was originally published on April 14, 2022.)
Tell us about how you got the part of Kegalesia.
Apparently Yasushi Torisawa, the person in charge of character design in Ultraseven X, a production appeared in before Go-Onger, created Kegalesia based on myself. And that’s how I got my part. I’ve enjoyed tokusatsu shows ever since I was little. I went with my younger brother to a Hikari Sentai Maskman hero show, and got to do the hand-shakes with them. I was happy to have gotten the part.
Water Pollution Minister Kegalesia is an evil mechanical lifeform that loves polluted environments. Together with the other Banki Clan Gaiark leaders: Land Pollution Minister Yogostein, Air Pollution Minister Kitaneidas, they pollute Earth and fight the Go-Ongers. What kind of enthusiasm did you have during filming?
At first, the producer told me that my character would be ruthless and that I should play the part knowing that rocks would be thrown at me. But that soon changed.
In episode four, Engine Trouble, Kegalesia was calleda an “old lady” by one of the rangers. In order to get kids to understand Kegalesia’s reaction, her face turned red and steam was blowing from her head. It was well received among the viewers. She also adds ~ojaru (a very archaic and polite linking verb) to the end of her sentences and she’s just a very comical character. I had hoped I could one day be a part of something similar to the Doronjo Gang from Yatterman (a Tatsunoko series from the late 70s) with Yogostein and Kitaneidas, so it became a very fun role to play.
I hear that the Super Sentai filming process is very hard in terms of content, time, and so on. Did you run into any kind of difficulties?
I feel guilty for saying this, but I enjoyed every bit of it. I had the privilege of trying different things. Like in that one scene where I was drowning my sorrows not in alcohol (yakezake) but in oil (yake-oil). There were other scenes like where I became a female gangster and participated in a game of chō-han bakuchi (a gambling dice game) or when I dressed up as a school nurse. Even when I went to a hot spring. The staff did a lot with the character. I think the only difficulty I had was my body shape.
Your body shape?
That’s right. Kegalesia is a mechanical life-form, so I was told not to lose or gain any weight. I never drowned myself in alcohol but I do love sake, so I was always worried about the shape of my stomach.
Do you have any memorable episodes?
That episode where Kegalesia became a human named Rena Kageishi (episode 14). In order to learn the secret of human strength, she infiltrates a dojo. It was embarassing saying ~ojaru in normal make-up (laughs). I also really liked that episode where I formed an idol group with Rina Aizawa (Go-On Yellow) and Yumi Sugimoto (Go-On Silver).
Right. In episode 31, Idol Debut, you three created the idol group called G3 Princess. You sang a beautiful song to fight a monster that grew huge absorbing sound.
I wanted to drop out at first because I was embarrassed being so much older than the other two. But I had a lot of fun after going through it. I actually styled my hair into a Showa-era idol, and during the choreography I suggested doing a handsign spelling out “love”. I probably had the most fun out of everyone (laughs).
I won’t go into too much detail for those who haven’t seen it, but Kegalesia meets her end at the end of the series.
At first, the director actually talked to me about it. He asked me how I wanted things to end. He said that so many people loved my character that it’s hard to kill her off. I told him that because Kegalesia should not have a happy end because she’s a villain, and she should die a resolute death. During filming, I was told that Kegalesia must never cry. But I cried anyway. I kept crying even through the set changes.
Ten years after the series ended, Engine Sentai Go-Onger: 10 Years Grand Prix was produced, taking place ten years after the series’ finale. I hear the movie was made when the cast members reached out.
We talked about how we wanted to make the movie in our LINE group. I wrote down everything that everyone wanted to do on A4 paper, then myself, Blue (Shinwa Kataoka), and Silver (Hidenori Tokuyama) went to present our ideas. In the conference room, in front of all the producers, we said, “we stand united in our desire to do this.” It was very nerve-wracking (laughs).
Kegalesia transformed into Go-On Yellow. Was that something you wanted to do?
Not at all. When I looked at the script, one of my lines said “‘Met on de ojaru” (a Go-Onger transformation phrase). I was surprised when i saw that. We were all very young back then, but ten years later, we all grew up and became very reliable people. We still keep in touch from time to time.
Before you joined Go-Onger, you had this cool and allure impression. But now you’ve changed.
That’s true. I’m amazed I got to play a comical character. Until then, I had only played mature roles and even in my private life I had a very chill demeanor. Thanks to the roles I’ve played, I’ve become more bright and cheerful and I smile more often now. Kegalesia, no matter how many times she is beaten by the Go-ongers, she’d always says, “I’ll get you next time!” She never gives up. I was drawn to her unyielding spirit. She helped me discover a forward-looking side of myself.
Even after Go-Onger finished, you appeared as Kegalesia in other Super Sentai related projects. She may come back again.
I really hope so. I really hope I get to do a spin-off with the other ministers of Gaiark. Maybe I’ll bring another proposal (laughs). And I’m hoping there’s a chance Kegalesia could appear in the latest series Avataro Sentai Donbrothers (laughs).
I’m sure fans would love it if both actually happened.
If it is possible, then I hope it happens sooner than later. Kegalesia’s a mechanical life-form so she can’t grow old. That’s a bit of a problem for me. I will do my best to keep up with my beauty and health in the hopes that day will come.
Source: Weekly Playboy