It was announced on June 2nd that Shige will be appearing in “Sanzu no kawa Outlet Park” (The River Styx Outlet Park) story of the newest installment in the drama series “Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari”. “Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari'' first started as a regular drama series in 1990, and went on to become a drama SP which airs new installments twice a year. This year’s summer SP will air on June 26th (Sat) from 9pm - 11:10 pm JST.
The “Summer of ‘21 Yo nimo Kimyo na Monogatari SP” will have four stories, one of which will be “Sanzu no kawa Outlet park”. It will be both Shige’s first time appearing on the show, and his first lead role on the show.
Shige will be playing the role of Kimura Takashi, a man who often got wrapped up in trouble due to the “sinister look” of his eyes, leading to a less than happy life. Takashi dies and awakens to find himself at a shopping mall called “The River Styx Outlet Park”.
Shimazaki Haruka will play Oohara Mei, a patient at the hospital where Takashi worked at.
“Sanzu no kawa Outlet Park” is based on a manga serialization of the same name that ran in “Sunday Webry” written by Terada Hiroaki.
An interview with Shige about the series was also posted on Fuji’s website for the drama.
Q: How did you feel when you got the news (that you would be appearing)?
S: I was really happy. I always watch every episode of “Yo nimo Kimyo na Monogatari” and I’m a long time fan so to be able to appear in it myself feels like one of my dreams has come true.
Q: What are your thoughts after having read the script?
S: “Yo nimo Kimyo na Monogatari” has all kinds of stories, so I read it while wondering what kind of story it would be, and I was like, “Ah this is indeed ‘Extremely strange’ (Yo nimo Kimyo)” , it’s a short mystery that’s a bit humorous and I found the way the shocking truth gets gradually revealed to be really interesting. The setting of having a shopping mall in the afterlife is also a bit strange, but the story that is described there is so realistic and full of humanity, I was left with a mysterious feeling after I finished reading.
Q: Your thoughts after actually acting in it?
S: I felt sorry for Kimura and really empathised with him. I felt sad as I acted in the role, and that was something new for me.
Q: What do you think about the existence of the River Styx?
S: Since I was a kid, I’ve always found religious motifs like the River Styes etc. to be interesting. It’s a little mysterious, fantasy-like but also scary in some ways. I’ve always had an interest in stories about the afterlife, and I think most of us are the same. That there is an afterlife world like the River Styx that everyone knows about is interesting to me.
Q: Have you personally had any mysterious experiences that can’t be explained by our current society?
S: I don’t have a sixth sense at all. I’ve been to properties where accidents/death have occurred for programmes, but I didn’t feel anything so I never had any scary experiences. But it’s precisely because I’ve never had such experiences myself that I find stories like “Yo ni mo kimyou na monogatari” interesting. There are stories that are really scary, but I like those too and recommend them to my friends.
Q: Would you like to try writing stories that involve horror or unexplainable phenomena?
S: I do. I’ve written out of the world stories so far, but I haven’t written horror yet. “Yo ni mo kimyou na monogatari” isn’t something that is completely unrealistic, but the story unravels in lots of mysterious directions, and that’s something I want to try writing. I play online games in the middle of the night sometimes, and this person I got to know through an online game recently was named “zundokoberoncho” (the name of one of the characters in the 1991 instalment of “Yo ni mo kimyou na monogatari”). My friend was playing with us too, and that friend didn’t know about Zundokoberoncho, so I was like, “Eh? You don’t know Zundokoberoncho from the drama series?” So we watched it together after that (laugh). This was when I already knew I was going to appear in the drama, so this could be a mysterious experience that happened to me. Like, “mysterious happenings are starting to happen to me too” (laugh). I was happy to be able to have the experience of battling with this Zundokoberoncho from who-knows-where. “Yo ni mo kimyou na monogatari” has a lot of different angles, so I really learn a lot as an author too. There are times when I think, “Ah, this is one way of doing it,” and I feel this is a work that all authors will be interested in.
Q: Message for the viewers
S: The overall theme is time is “death”, but it’s not presented in a scary way. A work that involves a message after death, or how your way of living matters even after you are dead is not going to be a refreshing one, but there is this warmth of human feelings that will slowly grow within you after you finish watching it. So please definitely watch and experience these feelings. This is a story that evokes thoughts through making you think about your current life by showing you the life after death.
Official Announcement ・Shige Interview・Official Twitter
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On a separate note, it was also announced today that "Voice II", that Massu will be appearing in, will start airing from July 10, 10:00pm JST onwards.