Actress, fashion model and subculture-girl Rio Uchida is head-over-heels for the latest theatrical film
Since she was very young, she has loved drawing pictures. When she was in elementary school, her grandfather bought her the shōjo manga magazine Ribon. She explains that initially, the series Gals! by Mihona Fujii-san, which ran in that magazine, was her favorite and, “From there I gradually got into comics. In the beginning, I started with shōjo manga.”
She first encountered the Dragon Ball animated TV series through rebroadcasts, and during middle school, she had become so much of a fan that she bought every volume of the comics. “It was then that I was the most fanatical, and I’d collect merchandise and figures, along with — I don’t know what you call them; Fanbooks? Visual dictionaries? — character-book-type things.”
■ Getting teary-eyed at the human drama
The latest movie has reached the 20th-film milestone. “There’s a human drama there that’s depicted very thoughtfully, and it completely grabbed my heart. I never expected to get teary-eyed,” she confides. Then, her tone of voice spontaneously picking up, “I’ve seen the other recent movies too, but this Broly is my favorite!”
“I wasn’t aware of things like the story of when Goku was little, so I was able to watch it this time, like, ‘So he had that kind of past.’ Also, even with obvious information input like, ‘The planet they used to live on is gone,’ and ‘All the Saiyans are gone,’ I was able to learn that there was this drama behind it, and I really sympathized with each of the characters.”
■ “The sense of fear at the battle came across, and I felt like I understood Bulma’s feelings”
She also says, matter-of-factly, that she even felt fear at the next-level action. “There was a speed and scale on a level I’d never seen before. The sense of fear and immediacy of the battle came across really well, almost like I felt I was in danger myself…. I felt like I understood Bulma’s feelings.”
In particular, she says she felt shock at Broli’s destructive power. “The battle scenes don’t follow any fighting style in existing martial arts, so I think the people watching will be a bit surprised. Broli this time is just too wild. I was made to feel like ‘There’s absolutely nothing I can do,’ as though I’d just run across a bear in the street,” she relates, using a unique simile.
Standing against such an overwhelmingly powerful enemy also increased the sense of Goku’s and Vegeta’s strength, making their presence seem on another level entirely. “It’s not the transformation from Saiyan to Super Saiyan, but the power-ups are no slouch. The level just keeps going up and up. People of my mom and dad’s generation, who haven’t seen Heisei-era Dragon Ball1, as well as those who read Shōnen Jump and watched the anime at the time it came out, when they see this work, I think they’ll be truly surprised.”
■ “There’s lots of the Dragon Ball I know, too”
Both delicate and dynamic visuals. The marked progress of technology has allowed the expressive style to pack a powerful punch. She stresses the point: “In previous works, there were scenes that made me want to fire a Kamehameha too, but it’s gone beyond that level. I think it’s as if all the voice actors shaved a bit off their own lifespans to imbue the characters with a soul.”
Even so, she says she is glad that the very root elements running through all of Dragon Ball remain unshaken. “There are scenes that will make you chuckle, banter between Goku and Vegeta, and surprises like Fusion, which made my heart flutter. It’s packed with the kind of Dragon Ball I know as well, which left me deeply satisfied. It’s a work that kids to adults, and even people who knew nothing about Dragon Ball going in, will be able to enjoy. By all means, I’d like you to see it in cinemas,” she emphasizes.
❤ Rio Uchida: Born 27 September 1991 in Tokyo; age 27. In 2010, she made her debut on NTV’s Idol no Ana: Search for Miss Nittelegenic! In June of the same year, she was selected as Miss Nittelegenic 2010. In October 2014, she attracted attention playing the heroine of Kamen Rider Drive. Since then, she has made her presence known in the TBS drama Running Away is Shameful, but Comes in Handy, among others. Since 2015, she has modeled exclusively for the fashion magazine MORE.