Photo: YouTube/新しい地図
entertainment

World’s longest trailer shows former SMAP star play transgender role in new film

24 Comments
By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

Eiji Uchida’s new film "Midnight Swan" released its latest trailer on Sept 9, and the internet has rapidly lit up with passionate discussions about not only the movie but the trailer itself. The cinematic trailer, clocking in at well over 15 minutes and billed as “the world’s longest”, has plenty of room with which to paint the story in rich detail and introduce the two leading ladies, as well as the actor and actress portraying them.

The movie’s story follows Nagisa, played by former SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi. Initially from Hiroshima, Nagisa now lives in Shinjuku in Tokyo and has transitioned to living as a woman…but her day-to-day life is shaken up when a distant relative, neglected teenager Ichika, comes to stay with her.

“I’m not taking you in because I like you. I hate kids,” she says curtly to Ichika when they meet. After Ichika offers a photograph, presumably of Nagisa before she transitioned, Nagisa tears it up and throws it on the ground. “Mention the stuff that happened back out in the country and you’re dead.”

The shots that follow show Ichika getting used to life in Nagisa’s apartment, being introduced to her friends — many of whom are other trans women — and learning her way around the neighborhood. When she happens upon a dance studio, Ichika is instantly captivated…and despite rocky relations with Nagisa both at home and when she brings her to meet her teachers, Ichika finds the courage to borrow the older woman’s tutu and practice some dance steps at the apartment.

▼ Ichika meets Nagisa’s friends.

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The trailer guides us through the story as the two main characters become close — Nagisa convinces Ichika to eat her vegetables by dousing them in dressing, and Ichika cleans the apartment despite never being asked. The whole time, Ichika is getting more and more serious about dancing, and in one sentimental scene she even tries to teach Nagisa a few dance steps.

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Nagisa, for her part, is surprised by how pleased she is when the one of the characters erroneously refers to her as Ichika’s mother. Meanwhile, Ichika throws a chair at another student who insults Nagisa to her face. In what looks to be one of the movie’s pivotal scenes, Nagisa goes to Ichika’s familial home to take her back with her so she can dance at the club’s performance. And at the end, accompanied by the haunting subtitle “I really wanted to be your mother”, we see Ichika and Nagisa hugging…but in this scene, Nagisa’s hair has been cut, and she is no longer wearing her dresses or accessories, instead clad in a man’s shirt and slacks.

The full extent of the plot won’t be clear until the film’s cinematic release on September 25, but SMAP fans and cinema buffs alike are drawn in by the movie’s premise and Kusanagi’s sympathetic performance as its lead.

“It’s been a long time since I wanted to see a film this much.”

“I want to see this film because I, myself, am transgender…but I also just plain want to see it.”

“I cried just from the trailer! I really want to see this. Kusanagi is an incredible actor.”

“I’m a member of the LGBT community too so I really want to see it. It’s like I wasn’t seeing Kusanagi at all, just a woman telling her story.”

The movie seems to follow a gradual but steady trend of increased support for LGBT individuals in Japanese society, and the star power of an established talent like Kusanagi is bound to draw plenty of interested audiences.

Source, images: YouTube/新しい地図

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© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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Not only was that the longest trailer, this was also the longest description and spoiler of a movie! Felt like I've already seen it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Kids in Japan will see this as a “trendy fashion” or some subset of cosplay. It’s criminal.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Yean, Speed is right, and I kind of feel like I've seen the movie. BUT I will go see it. There are lots of stories about people who are completely different and don't like each other becoming attached and loving each other, but the context of this one makes it look interesting. And I miss SMAP.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

True story. He actually easily passes as a woman with the blank stare into the void.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

sounds interesting.

I’d definitely watch it.

Love anything based on true stories.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

but in this scene, Nagisa’s hair has been cut, and she is no longer wearing her dresses or accessories, instead clad in a man’s shirt and slacks.

Could this possibly be true?

Has the film industry finally become brave enough?

Have they actually had the courage to create a film where a gender confused man is shown healed of his gender confusion!?! This is wonderful.

People who have left the LGBTQP lifestyle are seriously under represented in the media despite their large numbers. Maybe more films like these can offer help to those who wish to identify as themselves rather than as a member of a lifestyle or part of a sexual political agenda.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@Rolf We can't say anything about why he is dressed as a man at the end of the trailer. We have to see the entire movie. We don't even know if that scene is at the end of the movie.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese actors can't act. If this was a Korean movie, this would be phenomenal.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

blocked

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

looks like solid acting

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I’m shocked that they didn’t get a real trans to play this role. It’s an affront to the LBGT acting community!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If you had asked me 15 yrs ago which SMAP member transitioned, I'd have said Kusanagi. Thanks for the preview and plot summary. I'll pass.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It’s a big “no no” to have a non trans person play a trans role.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Ummm really?? Transgender been around for ages here in Japan they are called New Halfs I can name a couple of Japanese celebreties on Japanese National TV. Nothing new here. Just they are promoting the LGBT movement.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One more I can recall...

Queer as Folk is an American-Canadian serial drama television series that ran from December 3, 2000 to August 7, 2005. The series was produced for Showtime and Showcase by Cowlip Productions, Tony Jonas Productions, Temple Street Productions, and Showtime Networks, in association with Crowe Entertainment.

Taken from google wiki site.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s a big “no no” to have a non trans person play a trans role.

And that's why there is no problem here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Trans performers have always been part of Japanese entertainment. Look up the two most famous, Mikawa Kenji and Miwa Akihiro, on YouTube. Their audience is from young to old. Everyone enjoys them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kusanagi always was good for a laugh.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Running time must be over 3 hours, otherwise it's also a 15min short film.

Actually, looking for another Japanese movie 'Under the Open Sky' starring Koji Yakusho. You got that.

Btw, Japanese actors can act. Without Japanese actor in the Korean movie 'The Wailing', it'd be just plain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've always thought he looked anorexic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wasn't he the member who always thought he could speak Korean as well? I always thought he looked like a woman. I guess he finally found his calling. Good for him.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trans performers have always been part of Japanese entertainment. Look up the two most famous, Mikawa Kenji and Miwa Akihiro, on YouTube. Their audience is from young to old. Everyone enjoys them.

For a Japanese trans entertainer, being trans is part of their act, rather than being an entertainer who just happens to be trans. It is an important distinction.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I’m shocked that they didn’t get a real trans to play this role. It’s an affront to the LBGT acting community!

and

It’s a big “no no” to have a non trans person play a trans role.

It is good to see two of JT's most conservative and reactionary posters considering these issues. We've come a long way since Lawrence Olivier blacked-up to play Othello.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s a big “no no” to have a non trans person play a trans role.

No it's not, unless you then want no trans to ever play cis. It's how it's done not who does it.

That kind of feeble woke statement does more harm than help. Are gay actors not allowed to play straight anymore either?

Good way to censor gay and trans voices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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