Wrestling Hero Film Tiger Mask's 1st Trailer, Visuals Unveiled

posted on by Egan Loo
Kitaro's Eiji Wentz, Gantz's Natsuna, Zebraman's Aikawa in update of Ikki Kajiwara's classic manga

The first special trailer video for the live-action film adaptation of Ikki Kajiwara's classic wresting hero manga Tiger Mask debuted on Saturday. The website also unveiled the first visual images of singer/actor Eiji Wentz (GeGeGe no Kitarō, Brave Story) as the titular hero. Natsuna Watanabe (Kimi ni Todoke, Gantz) co-stars as the heroine Ruriko, and Show Aikawa (Tokyo Zombie, Zebraman) plays Mister X.

"Tiger Mask" is the alter ego of the character Naoto Date, a pro wrestler who goes against an evil wrestling organization and fights for children in an orphanage. In the new setup for the film, Date dons a special suit and "transforms" into Tiger Mask with enhanced mobility and muscle strength. His mask has also been redesigned with a nod to American comic action heroes such as Spider-Man and Batman.

As an origin story for children who have never read the manga, the film will devote about one-third of its screen time to Date's roots in the evil wrestling training organization Tora no Ana (before he turned his back on the organization). Wentz acknowledged that he himself had not read the original manga at first, and added that the film is creating a new Tiger Mask with a new Naoto Date.

The film was announced in November of 2011, and director Ken Ochiai shot principal photography in December of that year.

The original manga ran from 1968 to 1971 in Kodansha's Bokura magazine, Weekly Shōnen Magazine, and other magazines. Along with the baseball manga Kyojin no Hoshi, Tiger Mask is considered Kajiwara's life work. The 1969 television anime series recorded 31.9% as its highest rating. There are even real-life wrestlers who have been inspired by the manga and anime to compete under the Tiger Mask persona.

The manga became a popular topic in the national news in Japan in recent years after an anonymous donation of backpacks at a child guidance center sparked a charity movement. The "Tiger Mask movement" spread to almost every corner of Japan.

The film will open in Japan this November.

Image © 2012 Tiger Mask the Movie Production Committee

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