Recently at Tokyo Comic Con, former Tsuburaya Productions director and producer Takeshi Yagi announced a new tokusatsu project. Titled, AKARI, the production is a proof-of-concept that is in association with the online video service, Narō. For those unaware, Narō is an on-demand video service that creates programs on Japanese culture, and veterans from its professions. Whereas, the programs are filmed as a hybrid between a documentary, and a master class course on the profession featured.
Now, the service is expected to release a course on tokusatsu hosted by Takeshi Yagi in early 2023. However, in the meantime, Takeshi Yagi and Narō are looking to further crowdfund the project featured within the upcoming course. As mentioned earlier, AKARI is the production that they are hoping to expand upon. The titular character is like Ultraman, as the heroine enlarges herself to combat menacing kaiju and invading extraterrestrials threatening Earth. Currently, actress Kanon Miyahara is set to portray Akari, who people may recognize from the film High Kick Angels. Whereas, longtime tokusatsu fans should recognize her from appearances in Kamen Rider Amazons the Movie, and Ultraman Z episode 8. Also, starring as the antagonist, Pythagodon, is stuntman Kazuki Hamatani, who did motion capture in the Yakuza spin-off, Lost Judgement.
Furthermore, for those interested, the following is the official summary for Akari as provided by Narō:
A mysterious alien species known as the CHI’SORA barely avoided a collapse of their civilization due to a revolution by a sentient AI. In order to survive that AI revolution, the CHI’SORA created a special “locked down” mind-machine technology that could transform the user into a giant warrior with enhanced physical and mental powers.
Aware of the universal danger such AIs represent, whenever the CHI’SORA discover a species (like humans on Earth) about to cross the point of AI singularity, they find a worthy being to bestow their henshin power on so that this person can protect their species against the perils of artificial intelligence.
In AKARI, the newest bearer of the henshin power will prove to be a young woman from Earth…
Then as for staff members, it spans internationally between Mr. Yagi’s longtime associates and the Narō team. Starting with character designs, Hero-Club’s friend, tokusatsu illustrator Matt Frank created Akari, while veteran kaiju designer Akihiko Iguchi tackled Pythagodon. For those unaware, Iguchi-san previously worked for Tsuburaya Productions beginning with Mighty Jack, and worked on both Showa Mechagodzilla films. Whereas, the directorial team features Yuichi Kikuchi as assistant director, action director Tatsuro Koike, and practical effects by Yoshinori Muraishi.
First, while having worked on Gamera 3 and Godzilla’s Millennium Era, Yuichi Kikuchi also collaborated with Mr. Yagi on Ultraman. Specifically, the pair worked together extensively on Ultraman Nexus (2004) and Ultraman Max (2005). Next, Power Rangers fans should recognize Tatsuro Koike for his stunts and suit-acting throughout the franchise during the Saban Era. Coincidentally, we recently learned that Mr. Koike is currently the president of Alpha Stunts too, which oversees Power Rangers’ stunts. Then Yoshinori Muraishi’s best known work by tokusatsu fans would be for the Gamera trilogy, and Rebirth of Mothra II. Finally, the directorial team also includes Alexandre Bartholo (Amazon’s Bake Off Japan) as director of photography.
Additionally, the producers/ writers consist of Todd Silverstein (Silicon Valley), and Jordan A. Y. Smith, a former BBC Radio writer. Also, alongside Mr. Smith is another former BBC Radio member, Darin Dahlinger who will compose Akari’s score. Whereas, additional visual designs for Akari are provided by artist Mad Dog Jones who recently assisted the Mercedes F1 Team. Furthermore, all the miniatures and sets have been produced by Marbling Fine Arts, who have been established for nearly 50 years. So, as mentioned before, the entire production team features a wide-range of talents from across the Pacific.
Anyway, Akari’s crowdfunding campaign features six different tiers that people can choose from to support its production. Surprisingly, the lowest tier is $10, while the most expensive pledge that a fan can make is at $5000. However, the $5000 pledge titled, Director’s Circle Package includes all the previous perks, plus meeting the team in Tokyo. Unfortunately, travel plans are not included with that tier, so for international backers please be aware of that situation. Additionally, we are unsure how long the campaign will run for, so fans please support Akari immediately if possible. So, for fans wanting to learn more about Narō and Akari, we insist visiting Narō’s site for more details. Meanwhile, we hope fans look forward to this upcoming Narō course, Akari’s production, and our interview with Mr. Takeshi Yagi. Nevertheless, to keep up to date with Hero-Club, we suggest that people should follow us across social media using @HeroClubLife!