by Chris MaGee
Word came down from Tokyograph yesterday that "Always: Sunset on Third Street" helmer Takashi Yamazaki will be following up those massively successful nostalgic dramas with a time travel/ samurai epic budgeted at ¥ 2 billion titled "Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta". The plot will revolve around an 11-year-old boy, Shinichi (Akashi Takei) who is magically transported back to 16th-century Japan and smack dab into the middle of a war between the general of a small state, played by SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and a daimyo lord over the love of a beautiful princess played by model and actress Yui Aragaki.
Now here's where this story gets a bit weird. This is in fact a live-action version of a 2002 Crayon Shin-chan film called "Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen". For those of you unfamiliar with Shin-chan (and frankly I'm one of you) he's the creation of manga artist Yoshihito Usui. 5-years-old and living in Saitama Prefecture Shin-chan gets involved in various adventures with his family. Apparently "Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen" won quite a few awards and made a lot of money, thus the live-action reworking.
It seems like Yamazaki's background as a special effects wiz will come to good use on this project as it did with the CGI recreations of 1950s and 602 Tokyo in "Always". The battle sequences will prominently feature CG technology I'm assuming to bring it up to par with the likes of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" and other Hollywood fantasy epics.
"Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta" is slated for a September 2009 release.