"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New SF Crime Drama is More Than Meets the Eye


Miike (left), Shimatani (center) and Kubota (left). ©Mainichi News

Acclaimed director Takashi Miike (GREAT YOKAI WAR), is now hard at work as the Supervising Director on a new 51-episode science fiction television series for the TV Tokyo network, CELLPHONE INVESTIGATION 7 (Keitai Sousankan 7). Produced by WiZ and Production I.G., the series will feature episodes directed by such noted genre filmmakers as Mamoru Oshii (GHOST IN THE SHELL) and Shusuke Kaneko (DEATH NOTE).

The story of CELLPHONE INVESTIGATION 7 concerns the adventures of Kieta, a High School Freshman, played by 19 year-old actor Masataka Kubota, who becomes the seventh member of "Anchor," an organization formed to bring a hi-tech internet criminal organization to justice. He is bestowed with a special automaton, Phonebraver 7, which — shades of Transformers — morphs into a cellphone.

The supporting cast features Mickey Curtis (AGITATOR), Yuko Ito (BUBBLE FICTION), Kanji Tsuda (JAPAN SINKS), Natsuki Okamoto (ARCH ANGELS), Satoshi Matsuda (KAMEN RIDER RYUKI), and Nao Nagasawa (HURRICANGER). The opening theme song is sung by Hitomi Shimatani, who said, "If my schedule is open, I've told Director Miike that I'm interested in acting." Shimatani had previously acted in Yuichi Abe's PRINCE OF TENNIS (2006).

The series begins airing Wednesdays at 7:00 PM starting April 2nd. Later that month, SoftBank Mobile will launch a promotional tie-in with special cellphones modeled after the robots in the series.

SoftBank's prototypes for Phonebraver 7 (left) and Phonebraver 01 (right).

Mainichi News
Official Tokyo TV Page
Official Series Page


Flick said...

I'm not sure why this wasn't part of the announcement, but the ending theme for the drama is sung by the J-rock band BACK-ON. They've mainly done theme songs for anime so far, such as the OP for Air Gear, OP and EDs for Eyeshield 21 and also Murder Princess. They've also done the ED for Shinjuku Swan, which is less well known I believe as it's one for after the watershed.
Their official website is at http://www.back-on.com/

Thanks! :)

Back-on Online - Back-on Fansite

August Ragone said...

Thanks for the heads up! The reason why it wasn't mentioned, is because that information wasn't in the Japanese press stories at the time the news broke. It's importance is also subjective to the news of the production as a whole.

Flick said...

@august ragone: Thanks for your reply :) Just to clarify that I actually meant the announcement from the press conference, rather than your post. Apologies if I was rather confusing. I have been trawling through quite a few news posts on the Japanese news sites as well, but as you've pointed out about the lack of information, no one seems to mention BACK-ON at all (and there was me thinking that opening and ending themes are equally important! :p)
A photographer (freelance) who covered the press conference didn't even seem to remember the name of the band, even though he did take lots of pictures.
Am now really quite confused at how jdramas promote themselves :)

August Ragone said...

No worries! Yeah, it's rather perplexing trying to figure out the current approach of most film/television PR departments seem to take. I just had to stop thinking about why they do what they do, and how they miss very obvious opportunities to really exploit what they have.

My brain hurts.


Flick said...

Thanks for your reply, August :) Just thought you might be interested in knowing that the trailer has been released. The news was found at Ryuganji and the video was uploaded to youtube by tenmusu66.

Thanks! :)