That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.
- Commander Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11
(Translator’s Note: This is a translation of the final episode blog post on Toei’s official Fourze blog, which is kind of the auxiliary, adult-aimed site that dealt with production talk and behind-the-scenes information. This post offers a final farewell from the cast and staff that worked on the show, and I’ve preserved the format and imagery of it intact, merely translating the text. Please enjoy!)
“It’s set in space!”
“We’re turning Kamen Rider into a high school drama!”
“The protagonist’s some delinquent punk with a pompadour!”
“And the main rider’s got a big white pointy rocket head!”
Fourze was a work that, from the start, had to face many challenges.
The problem with challenges is always taking that first step – a nerve-wracking proposition if ever there was one. After all, it’d be so much easier to just do things the same way we always have been, right?
And yet, here we are, having finished work on Fourze. Why did we, the staff and cast, go to all the bother of facing that challenge, of taking that first step? It was because we wanted Kamen Rider Fourze to be a hero that’d put a smile back on everyone’s faces.
Let’s jump back to 11th March, 2011, the day the earthquake hit and caused chaos throughout the nation. We were in the planning stages for the next Rider show then, and the aftermath of the earthquake brought that to a screeching halt. As we eventually recomposed ourselves and returned to work, we were struck with a certain realization: Fourze would be the first new hero to hit the screens after the earthquake. Our response was obvious. ”We want to make sure we cheer those kids up, give them something to smile about. Let’s make sure Fourze is that kind of show.” And together with our screenwriter, Nakashima Kazuki, our lead director, Sakamoto Kouichi, the Zodiart designer, Asamiya Kia, and all the rest of the team, we worked as one to make that a reality.
Fourze’s concept was set: a hero who’d bring smiles back to people. And I truly believe that the sense of responsibility we felt in making that happen was what drove the cast and crew to such heights over the course of this year. No-one embodied this better than Fukushi Souta, who played Gentarou. Every time we held an event for the press on the runup to the show, he was always there saying “I want to be a hero who’ll make people smile again.”
Which, I feel, led to the Fourze we know and love. Did you all enjoy it? I certainly hope so. Did it get your heart pumping, get you laughing, and not bogging itself down too much in overcomplicated plot threads? Most importantly, did the story of Gentarou and his allies at the Rider Club, and the cosmic energy that fills them, reach your hearts?
I hope a few shouts of “Blast off!” (TL: or “It’s space time!” or “Space is awesome!” or, hell, “Uchuu kita!”) filled your Sunday mornings. And I hope that whenever you face the prospect of taking that challenging first step, as we did, your memories of the show will be part of what spurs you onwards. Nothing would make us happier.
To my cast and crew: As a producer, it’s been an honor to see the giant steps you’ve all taken to make this show a reality.
And to everyone who’s been watching and supporting the show, I guess all I can do is paraphase Kengo’s letter: You’re all Fourze’s best friends. And even now the show has ended, that will never change. I’m not sure if these simple words can ever be enough, but… thank you all so much.
And so, alas, the TV series has come to a close, but the summer movie “We Blast Off Together!” is still airing in theatres. If you haven’t seen it already, then get on it! If you have, go watch it again! Go on, scoot!
And, of course, Fourze will return in the new Movie Wars this December. We’ll have some fun developments there that’ll hopefully get a few shocked reactions out of you all. Something to look forward to, I think.
Well, I guess all that remains is to say: We’ll see you again in the theatres!
Now, switch on your youth!
-Tsukada Hideaki, Producer
It was a little over a year ago, on the 4th June 2011, that we began filming on Kamen Rider Fourze, under the supervision of our director, Sakamoto.
The first scene we shot was that early part of episode 1, where Gentarou first appears on the bridge on the road to Ama High.
And for episode 48, we find ourselves back on the very same bridge.
Still under Sakamoto’s supervision, of course.
It’s been a year since then.
The seven young men and women who got through the auditions, just like the characters they portrayed in the Rider Club, have had their share of worries, yet of smiles, of arguments, and of companionship. The friendship that built among them gave rise to a real enthusiasm for their performances and that, I think, was what really laid the foundations for this show.
Of course, another member was added to their mix, which did its bit to shake things up. And after a year – a year that seemed to just fly by – it’s come to an end.
So, let’s run through the final farewells as each of our cast members finishes filming.
First, Kazama Tooru, who played Utahoshi Rokurou. Honestly, I wish we’d had more time to explore the working relationship between him, Chairman Gamou, and Professor Emoto. Thanks for providing Kengo with one awesome dad, anyway.
We had a nostalgic reunion of all the old teachers in the staff room during the finale. Playing Satake Takashi was Jinbo Satoshi, playing Miss Haruka was Nagasawa Nao, and playing Mr. Morota was one of our directors, Morota Satoshi! Actually, we always had to film the staff room scenes pretty early in the morning. So, uh, thanks to all these guys for turning up so early, I guess! Morota gave out the flowers here, even though this wasn’t his scene, nor were they under his wing, haha.
And so, Tatsugami Kou meets his end at Ryuusei’s hands.
This final fight scene was the last one Yokoyama Kazutoshi filmed for the show. He’s a very talented martial artist, and as such he was able to hold his own with the protagonists even in his human form. His expertise wasn’t just invaluable in his role as Tatsugami, but also in assisting many of our regulars – especially Fukushi (Gentarou) and Yoshizawa (Ryuusei) – and younger suit actors with their action scenes. A great part of Fourze’s explosive action owes itself to his advice and guidance.
And so Takushi Tanaka from Ungirls, who played Mr. Oosugi, and the two first-years wrap up their final scenes. Even as he left the role, Takushi still had us laughing, with a parting quip of “Thanks for putting up with this B-list, acting-impaired git for the last year.” The actors playing the two first years – Honoka Rin and Araki Shigen (especially Shigen!) were both wiping tears from their eyes as the director handed them their bouquets.
We shift our attention to a moonlit park, where we’re filming the final scene involving Chairman Gamou. As such, this is where Tsurumi Shingo wraps up his role in the show.
For a year now, he’s been playing our shady last boss, with his glowing red eyes. He smiles a wry smile, happily commenting on how he doesn’t really get to deliver this kind of dialogue in other TV shows, and from that I feel he probably enjoyed playing the menacing big bad and delivering the cliched evil villain speeches.
So thank you, for everything. We too shall join in a bow of admiration, as we have to watch you leave our ranks.
Now, alas, we must cut to Sakamoto’s group again, for their last day. The very last scene we filmed was the classroom scene in episode 48., the scene where Yuuki read out Kengo’s letter to the Rider Club.
Now, let’s state this: This scene is one that takes place after Kengo’s death, so there’s no actual need for Takahashi Ryuuki to be here…
And yet Ryuuki came along to the actual classroom set, and read his part of the letter aloud for the relevant scenes, turning an already touching scene into one where the tears just wouldn’t stop. I don’t think words can really do justice to what his presence there upon the set, reading that letter, did to draw real emotion of all the characters in the Rider Club.
And so, finally, this moment is upon us. Would that it were that it never came, but we are faced with the realization that the end is upon us: Sakamoto’s team has filmed their final scene, which means that we have filmed the very last scene of Kamen Rider Fourze.
Sakamoto himself presented each member of the main cast with their farewell bouquets, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. As each of them in turn broke down into tears, they each said a few parting words to their fellow members of cast and crew.
Tsuchiya Shion (JK)
“I know that even now the show’s all over, the members of the Rider Club will live on in childrens’ hearts.
So everything I learned here, and all the confidence I gained, I’m gonna make sure it keeps me in good stead.”
“Working with these guys, this entire team, on Fourze has been an incredible experience.
This last year isn’t just a highlight of my career as an actress, but a highlight of my entire life.”
Tomimori Justin (Daimonji Shun)
“It’s difficult to even describe how much I’ve learned from you all over this last year,
But hopefully I’ve got a long time ahead of me to put it all to good use.”
Sakata Rikako (Kazashiro Miu)
“Every day the eight of us – and all the other staff – have spent on Fourze has been an absolute joy.
And I’m glad I get to finish working on this show surrounded by so many amazing people.”
Yoshizawa Ryo (Sakuta Ryuusei)
“When I came into the show part-way through, I really did feel like an exchange student, and I was always worrying about one thing or another,
but I’ve had an amazing group of people here to show me the ropes. All I can hope is that people will always fondly remember this show we’ve made together.”
Shimizu Fumika (Joujima Yuuki)
“I was really considering fluffing one of my lines back there just so this wouldn’t have to end…
I think we’re all really just wondering where we go from here, where we put what we’ve learnt to good use.
I guess I’ll just do my best, try and show people what I can do, and I hope everyone else out there does the same.”
Takahashi Ryuuki (Utahoshi Kengo)
“I kinda wish our last scene was one we were all in, but I’m glad we all got to wrap up together, at least.
I’ve learned so much working on this show over the last year, and I’m going to make sure none of that goes to waste.
Thank you, everyone, for letting me be part of this show for the last year.”
Fukushi Souta (Kisaragi Gentarou)
“I was so worried, a year ago, about whether or not my acting skills would be up to the job.
And I feel like I was only any good in the lead role because I had this amazing staff and cast here to always encourage and support me.
I think this last year’s taught me more than any other in my life.
And, you know, I’m really curious about Gentarou’s story, so hopefully the new Movie Wars will help shine some light on that, haha.
Anyway, I hope I’ll still have this kind of support and guidance in my future career.”
And this also means we must say goodbye to our lead director, Sakamoto. Tsukada, the main producer, was on hand to sum up and applaud the work Sakamoto put into the show, which seemed to get the man on the verge of tears! (Possibly!) According to Sakamoto, the kids here in the Rider Club are like his own children, so watching them all saying goodbye must be like having to watch his own sons and daughters leave him. Hardly surprising he was having to fight back the tears, then.
A final photo together. Say cheese!
So, that was Kamen Rider Fourze. A show that we’ve adored beyond any other, and has brought us all such happiness. To everyone who’s tuned in week after week, thank you very much for watching our show. We’ll see you again in the theaters this winter!
(Edited by: Takahashi Yuuki)