テラフォーマーズで世界に挑む三池崇史監督のパワーとクリエイティブの源 An interview with the don of Japanese cinema directors, Takashi Miike



Highly prolific and controversial director Takashi Miike’s recent challenge is a live action take on the 15-million-copy-selling manga Terra Formers. We quizzed him on where he gets his non-stop creativity from and what he thinks of the worldwide Japanese manga boom.

Q.原作との出会いはどのようなものでしたか?How did you come across the original Terra Formers manga?


During the break at a photoshoot, I happened to overhear Shun Oguri and Takayuki Yamada talking about Terra Formers. Their generation of actors are pretty strong-willed when it comes to choosing what kind of jobs they want to do. In order to keep their fame, they’ve gotta be careful about what kind of scripts they’ll take on. Even if they give a strong performance, if they themselves aren’t interested in the project then it won’t do well. They need to put their heart and soul into stuff they sincerely back themselves. That’s why I chose it. Every guy in that age range dreams of living out their manga fantasies.

Turning a manga into a live action movie isn’t an easy job. You must really believe in the power of Japan’s manga boom...


In some ways manga is anti-society, so turning it into a movie you can use the excuse “it’s because it’s a manga” to do some crazy ass stuff. I think the reason that novels are going out of fashion isn’t because it’s a drag to read words on a page, but because kids want to reach a more extreme level of fantasy. When I was in high school, we used to think we were cool by saying we read Yukio Mishima, but nowadays it’s Terra Formers that gets the main mention.

Q.「テラフォーマーズ」のどんな点に魅力を感じましたか?What aspect of Terra Formers was it that drew you to it?


The people you never expect to die end up dying, yet somehow the story still continues. That’s the beauty of it. Of course with losing somebody, there’s that sense of loss and sadness. But Terra Formers turns that around and shows that death doesn’t necessarily mean the end for the people left behind – life goes on, and in fact it may even create more incentive to power forward positively. People reading the manga are often feel inspired to be brave and it gives them that extra bit of pressure to live up to their best abilities.

There are loads of live action adaptations of manga, comics and anime around. What do you think the differences are between those heroes and the heroes in Terra Formers?


I think the heroes of other movies are actually suffering quite a bit. Take Superman for example. He’s living a lie. He has to go from the euphoria of saving lives to hiding his identity and pretending he’s an average Joe. I reckon behind the scenes he’s probably crying alone in the toilet (laughs). Terra Formers heroes are used to being treated like sh*t – they’re poor and looked down on by society. But they use that as their motivation to get stronger. Even the worst people have their shining moments; that’s what the story is trying to capture.

Q.ジャンルを問わない上に、超多作の三池監督。そのパワーの源はなんですか?Your work covers many different genres. Where do you get so much creativity from?


I’m so focused on the filming process that it’s fun. It’s like asking kids why they enjoy playing – it’s just second nature. When time is of the essence and quick solutions are needed, there’s a whole world of ideas you can see just by standing at that super tense flashpoint. I love getting in that zone of urgency and seeing what I come up with. Once you get really and truly deeply involved with something to the point where you’re unaware of your actions, that’s when your individuality and creativity just comes flowing out as a natural instinct.

Those are some inspiring words for any young creators out there. But don’t you ever get tired?


Never. I may be middle aged, but I know if I slacked off I’d regret it later. The famous Japanese rock musician Kiyoshiro Imawano sang his heart out right up until his death, and I’m sure from his hospital bed he was still thinking “I want to continue singing”. I’m his biggest fan. Whenever I can’t sleep thinking about work, whenever I loose concentration, whenever I’m getting pissed about things not going to plan, I stick his photo at the top of the script and look at it.

Q.本作は国外からも注目されていると思いますが、メッセージはありますか?Terra Formers is looking to be a global hit; do you have a message for any international fans?


If people could still somehow look upon with Japan with the expectation of something good or feel respect for our actors and film makers, that would make me really happy. Actually I wish I could just spread loads of my own work’s data throughout the world. If people could freely download and edit it in their own way, it might end up being better than the original. That’s global teamwork for you.


三池崇史Takashi Miike

映画監督。1960年生まれ。大阪府八尾市出身。Vシネマの監督を経て、1995年に『新宿黒社会 チャイナ・マフィア戦争』で劇場用 長編映画の監督デビューを果たす。以来、バイオレンス・アクションからコメディ、時代劇やウエスタンまで、様々なジャンルの作品を世に送り出す。さらに近年では、『十三人の刺客』(10)がヴェネチア国際映画祭に、『一命』(11)と『藁の楯 わらのたて』(13)がカンヌ国際映画祭コンペティション部門に出品されるなど国際的にも活躍、日本を代表する監督として、海外でも高く評価されている。

Born in 1960 in Yao, Osaka. From beginnings as director of V Cinema, his first feature film ‘Shinjuku Triad Society’ was released in 1995. Covering a wide range of genres, from violent action, to comedy, to historical dramas and Westerns, his wide repertoire of films has earned him several awards. ‘13 Assasins’ was a winner at the Venitian International Film Festival, and ‘Hara-kiri: The Death of a Samurai’ and Shield of Straw both featured at Cannes.





Movie information ‘Terra Formers’

In cinemas in Japan nationwide from 29th April.

Takashi Miike
Hideaki Ito, Emi Takei, Tomohisa Yamashita,
Takayuki Yamada, Kane Kosugi and more.
Adapted from the manga
Terra Formers’ by Yu Sasuga, published in Weekly Young Jump
Distributed by
Warner Bros.