Okinawa’s homegrown hero ‘Ryujin Mabuyer’ hits big screen

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

CHATAN, Okinawa Prefecture–“Ryujin Mabuyer,” a live-action superhero TV series that has aired in the island prefecture since 2008, makes its big-screen debut this winter, its producers said April 19.

The weekly show is aired by Ryukyu Broadcasting Corp.

Directed by Tomoki Sano, “Ryujin Mabuyer The Movie: Nanatsu no Mabui” (The seven souls) was unveiled at the Mihama Media Station complex in Chatan.

The cast includes actor/singer Shintaro Yamada as the main character Uruma and his alter ego Mabuyer. Singer Issa will portray Saion/Ryujin Ganasea. Both Yamada and Issa are from Okinawa Prefecture.

“Unlike the TV series, both adults and children pay to see movies in theaters, so we’d like to make a heartwarming film that everyone will say was good or ‘It was worth watching,'” Sano said.

He said the film will be a bit different from the TV series, although the basic storyline will remain the same.

“Unlike other superhero series, the villains in ‘Ryujin Mabuyer,’ collectively known as Majimun, are not depicted as totally evil. They even bury the hatchet with Mabuyer in the end, which is unprecedented among superhero series,” Sano said. “And the film is being made in the same style.”

Yamada said he hopes audiences around the world have a chance to see the movie because it shows off the charm of Okinawa. Issa said it will lift everyone’s spirits because it features the region’s best qualities.

“Ryujin Mabuyer” is a community-based superhero TV production that was inspired by the “Super Sentai” (Super squad, aka Power Rangers) series. Such shows typically advertise the localities in which they are set.

In “Ryujin Mabuyer,” the characters speak in Okinawa’s local dialect and have Okinawan names. The stories aim to appeal to the local kids.
Unlike similar projects in other parts of Japan, the Mabuyer live-action TV series spanned two seasons. The popularity of the show’s characters continues to grow along with their appearances at local events.

With the film, all eyes will be on how the rest of the country reacts to the Okinawan heroes, amid the trend toward superhero dramas rich in special effects.

The film will feature other popular Okinawan faces, including Gori and Hiroki Kawata from the comedy duo Garage Sale, actress Sachiko Judy Fukumoto and singer Misako Koja.

The film will be shown across Okinawa this fall, ahead of its nationwide release.

Visit (http://www.mabuyer.com/).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.