Live-Action Tiger Mask Film's Trailer, Commercial Streamed

posted on by Sarah Nelkin
Update of Ikki Kajiwara's classic manga to premiere in Japanese theaters on November 9

The official website for the live-action adaptation of Ikki Kajiwara's Tiger Mask manga began streaming a trailer and television commercial on Friday. Both videos feature the film's main theme song “MASK” by AAA (Inuyasha: The Final Act's ending theme). In the promotional video, when a young Tiger Mask is asked, ''If you could have one wish come true, what would you wish for?,” the boy answers, “I would want to become strong.”

Singer/actor Eiji Wentz (Gegege no Kitarō, Brave Story) plays 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 Shonen 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 on November 9.

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