Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 24-10-2010, 10:16 PM   #1   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
Post Fear and Loathing on Inuyasha

Five years after the original series Inuyasha completed it’s Japanese run, production began on a second series. That series has finished it’s first run in Japan, and will soon be made available to Inuyasha fans all over the world. Yet the making of Inuyasha - The Final Chapter did not exactly go forward without conflict. Many of the original cast were reluctant to have a part in the new series. And once they did sign on, there were tensions between the cast and the producers.

“I had mixed feelings from the start,” admits series star Inuyasha. “On the one hand, all of us in the cast felt we cheated the fans who sat through over 160 episodes of the original series. We didn’t give them a resolution. But on the other hand, we were all glad when the show ended. After episode 80 or 90, we just got into a rut doing the same thing over and over again.”

Series villain Naraku agrees. “We would get the scripts delivered to us Saturday morning so we could study them and be ready for our story conference on Monday. Then we’d shoot the rest of the week. I remember one Saturday reading the script while eating breakfast with my wife. I suddenly blurted out, ‘Not those goddamn poison insects again! Give me something new!’ The wife thought I’d gone crazy.” Naraku has made a career out of playing villains and considers Inuyasha to be his best work. “But get real,” he told us, “do I really want to re-do what I did several times over?” Still Naraku proudly states, “Through it all, even though we were tired of the same-old same-old, we put out our best efforts. Both for the original show and the new episodes.”

Inuyasha has been busy since the series ended. He has left anime acting to pursue a career as a writer. He has published a book of short stories and two novels, one of which was made into an anime move. He has also written an anime script. He married his publicist and the two are the proud parents of a little girl. “I’m was happy with the way my life was going,” he said. “The last thing I wanted to do was to wake up at three in the morning to make a 5 A.M. makeup call.” But Inuyasha did feel a responsibility to the shows fans. The series left everyone in limbo and he initially hoped for a movie to complete the story. “But they waited five years! You kind of lose interest after five years. I haven’t acted all that time and now they want me to re-discover a character I have totally put out of my mind!”

Inuyasha was also concerned that the material would not be up to the standards he felt the fans deserved. “The second half of the original series was almost a repeat of the first half. We were doing nothing new and the dialog we were given was third rate. So I told the producers I would only do the new show if I had final script approval.” The producers agreed. But what constituted final approval was a matter of opinion.

Series heroine Kagome Higurashi has also been busy over the past several years. After the series ended, she enrolled in the University of Tokyo to earn a degree in Foreign Literature. One day she was asked by an instructor from the Theater Department to speak to his class on anime acting. His name is Rokurota Makabe, A month later, Kagome moved into Makabe’s home. It cause quite a stir in the tabloids that she was now living with a man who had a son from a previous marriage two years older than Kagome. “It was quite a surprise to me as well,” Kagome laughs. “I always went with guys my own age. But Roku and I connected on so many levels. He is a great confidant, friend, advisor and lover.”

During a summer break, Kagome made her first movie. “I wanted to get away from my Inuyasha image,” she stated. “I didn’t want to be the strong, clean girl-next-door.” In Empty Mirror, Kagome played an amnesiac who, aided by a private detective, discovers that she may be a murder victim returned from the dead. The film included a very explicit love scene. “People overreacted to that scene. I was naked in Inuyasha. In fact, I regret they stopped doing those nude scenes in the first series. They were so well done. As for the movie sex, I want my art to imitate live and in real life people have sex.”

At the end of shooting, Kagome learned she was pregnant. She and Makabe immediately got married. “I loved being pregnant,” Kagome says. “I never felt so beautify as when I had my child growing inside me.” To prove her point, she poised for a series of nude photos taken when she was in her sixth month. “They were taken by a friend of Roku’s in the art department. They were just what I asked for. Nothing dirty. Nothing sexual. They were very artistic. I was very proud of them. There is nothing as beautiful as a pregnant woman.” Although Kagome added with a laugh, “Then again afterwards I did have to put in hours at the gym to get my body back.”

Kagome went to class while carrying her unborn son. After his birth, she would drop him off at Makabe’s office prior to going to class. “We are both equal partners. We both have an equal hand in raising our child.”

Soon there was another summer break and another movie. This time Kagome went even further from her good girl image. “Naraku always told me it’s more fun playing the villain,” she said. “So I wanted to be the bad guy for a change.” In Blood Destiny, Kagome played a prostitute who steals from the mob and kills anyone who gets in her way. The very first scene was a sex scene as explicit as in her previous film. “Again, people over-reacted,” she says. “I played a prostitute. What do prostitutes do? They f---. So what else would I be doing in the movie?” Kagome was a bit surprised when people began identifying with her character. “There was nothing redeeming about her. That’s why I wanted to play that part. After the release I had fans tell me they did not think my character really dies in the end. I told them she gets her brains blown out. How could she survive that? They come up with some interesting answers.”

Kagome then planned to return to school and finish her degree. Looking ahead, she told her agent what she wanted for her next movie after she graduated. “I wanted to change my Inuyasha image, but I don’t want to go too far in the other direction. I have nothing against sex, nudity and violence in movies. But I don’t want people to just assume that when they go to a Kagome Higurashi film they will automatically see me get naked, f--- and die.”

But she was not prepared for the news her agent was about to give her. A new Inuyasha series was in the works and the producers wanted her back. “First of all, they wanted me right away and that would mean taking a year off school. Second, it was a step backwards for me. I did all that before.” But in the end, Kagome signed the contract. Why? “I just couldn’t say no to the money,” she replies. All cast members would make more for the 26 new episodes than they made for the previous 167. Plus in accordance with the current union contract, they would get royalties from DVD sales, something they did not receive from the original show.

To be continued. . . .
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-10-2010, 06:16 PM   #2   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
Both Inuhasha and Kegome were initially reluctant to sign on to the new series. But for members of the supporting cast, the decision was not so hard. Not only did it mean more money, but it meant work.

Following the original series, Miroku was signed to host a weekday late afternoon talk show. “It was a hit at first,” Miroku reports. “We were really big with women in the 30-50 age group.” But after four years, he began to run out of things to talk about. “We were entering a rut. The ratings started to fall. Before they fell any further, we decided to go out when we could still hold our heads high.” So Miroku kept his head high, but he was now out of a job. The offer for The Final Chapter came at the right time.

Sango had hoped that her exposure on Inuyasha would win her a lead in her own series. “I got a lot of auditions,” she recalls. “They were all, ‘Oh, we loved your work in Inuyasha. We love your reading.’ But outside of a few bit parts, I was never called back.” Sango started to work as a photo fashion model. “I wasn’t making top dollar,” she says. “But I did get to keep the clothes. I could dress well in the latest styles and not spend a yen.” But Sango was not happy. “I am still an actress first. That’s what I want to do.” So when the offer for the new series came, Sango signed on.

Kikyo also hoped for more major roles. She was reunited with Naraku for a supporting role in a movie, but outside of that only an occasional bit part. “The most I could get was appearance money for an anime convention, paid mistress-of-ceremonies for some industrial convention, or some s--- job.” A realist, Kikyo doesn’t expect any long-term benefits to her career this time around. “But it is good money, more royalties, and who knows? Maybe someone will want me for something.”

Kaede had completely retired from acting. She got married, for the sixth time, to a retired businessman. “We are devoting our remaining years to spending as much of our children’s inheritance as we can,” she joked. Kaede took a minute to tell us of her latest nuptials. “Three of my ex-husbands were at the wedding as guests. The fourth was the caterer. Number five died about a year and a half ago. Pity. He was my favorite.” Kaede had no interest in returning to her role -- until she saw the money. “It’s more cash for us to blow in our final years!,” she explained.

Sesshomaru had spent his years after the original show both acting and directing for the stage, as well as working as a drama coach. He was abroad when this article was written and was unavailable for comment. He was said to not be too interested in The Final Chapter, until the others had signed on.

One member of the original cast who is certainly was not coming back was Kagura. Just beginning her second term as president of the Anime Actors’ Guild, when she first ran Kagura promised to put her acting career on hold and be a full time president. “Best damn president our union ever had,” said Naraku. “Past presidents only showed up to sign papers and have a photo op.” Kagura has been known to put in 10-12 hour workdays, including an occasional weekend. The Guild’s Board of Directors actually had to vote to force her to take a vacation.

“Kagura has done so much for us,” Kagome added. “She improved our health benefits, got us royalties for DVD sales, and improved our relations with the other unions in the industry.” Miroku added his own opinion: “She’s actually tackling the drug problem in the anime business. Considering how much opposition there is to addressing that problem, it takes guts.”

But there are those who say that Kagura’s interests and ambitions go far beyond the AAG. During the last Japanese election cycle, she campaigned for candidates of the now ruling Democratic Party. There are those who say she may be a candidate for the Diet come the next election cycle. “That’s why she is really pushing to address the drug issue,” Inuyasha stated. “If she can make good on that promise, her political career is set in stone.” “I’d support her,” Naraku said. “With all she’s done for the Guild, she’d do just as much for the country if she gets elected to the Diet.”

But without Kagura, there was a gapping hole in The Final Chapter. A replacement had to be found. And that is where the first problems developed.

Her name is Yukie Yagihara. She’s took over the role of Kagura. She looked the part, but there seemed to be a problem with her fitting in on a personal level. Those connected with The Final Chapter say she was often combative and accusing others of working against her. Yagihara refused to be interviewed for this article, but Inuyasha did offer some sympathetic comments. “She was an outsider coming in. This was her first big role. So she was nervous enough as it was. She did seem a bit paranoid, but looking back I don’t think we really gave her a chance. We did nothing intentionally to hurt her, but those from the original show already had a close relationship. We just neglected to bring her into our click. No wonder she felt so isolated in this big, major production. In hindsight, I think we could have reached out to her.”

Yagihara would argue about her role during story conferences. She refused to do scenes as written often trying to change the direction of the story. She accused others of stealing her scenes. “Maybe Inuyasha is right,” said Sango when told of his comments. “We didn’t reach out to her. But she was a bit full of herself. Even Inuyasha and Kagome, our two main stars, never acted like it was all about them.”

Replacement actors also had to be found for Shippo, Ren and Kohaku. The originals had grown and were just too big to assume their old roles. There was only one holdout left. Naraku was still not totally convinced he should return to his best known character.

To be continued. . . .

Last edited by MeMyself; 18-11-2010 at 12:18 AM.
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-10-2010, 10:48 PM   #3   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
Naraku has made a career out of playing villains -- the more evil the better. Most critics agree that his role in Inuyasha was his best. So what is this on-screen personification like in real life? “He’s really a sweetheart,” says Kagome. “He’s a soft touch,” laughs Miroku before adding, “He’s the most giving person I know.”

It was during the original run, about the third season, that Naraku and his wife discovered that their infant son had autism. “It was a shock,” Naraku told us. “You have all these dreams for your kid, then with one statement from the doctor they all go up in smoke.” “I remember he didn’t seem to think twice,” Inuyasha recalls. “Before anyone knew it, Naraku formed his own foundation to raise money for autism research. It was quite impressive.”

There were other causes Naraku took up as well. “I remember when those tsunamis hit the Indian Ocean,” Kagura recollects. “As Guild president, I was getting calls from members asking if there was anything we can do to help. Naraku comes into my office with a plan all laid out to get donations from our members to the aid organizations who could put our money to immediate use.”

Naraku is known in the industry as a humanitarian, quite the opposite of his on-screen image. And it is not just his charity work. “When the series first started, I was quite green,” says Kagome. “While everyone else in the cast would encourage me, I always found Naraku’s words the most comforting.”

Through it all, Naraku is an actor who is proud of his work. “Taking on a different persona is what acting is all about,” he told us. “But it is harder than it sounds. I don’t like to gloat, but I do take pride in my ability to do just that.”

But surprisingly, Naraku’s favorite role was the one time he played a hero. Two years after the original Inuyasha, Naraku did a movie playing Chiune Sugihara, a World War II era Japanese diplomat who saved 6000 Lithuanian Jews from the Nazi death camps. “Sugihara was always a hero of mine,” Naraku said. “When I heard a movie about his life was in the making, I had to have the part.” He was later surprised when Kikyo was casted in the same movie as his wife. “Mine was not a big part,” said Kikyo. “But it was the best role I had since the series. And it was great being reunited with an old friend.”

Naraku had split feelings about The Final Chapter. As with Inuyasha and Kagome, he felt the ending of the original series had let the fans down. He was eager to do right by those who followed the 167 episodes. “But I wasn’t eager to redo what we had done five years ago,” he added. Naraku repeated what everyone else had said. “The last third of the original episodes was just a rehash of what we did before. They were stale and stagnant. I didn’t want to do the new series unless the material was fresh.”

Naraku called Kagome. “We spoke on the phone for two hours. I wanted to get her take. She had her reservations, but the money was too good to turn down. She was going to use it to start a college fund for her kid and any future kids she may have.” Naraku then called Inuyasha. “We met over lunch. Inuyasha said he had final script approval written into his contract. He was going to make sure that the scripts were of a high quality and that we would not be running in the same circles as before.” That was all Naraku needed to sign onto the project. “I trusted Inuyasha’s judgment. I knew he wouldn’t let us down.”

But when the first script was delivered on a Saturday morning, Naraku had a disappointing surprise. “I took it into my study to read. The dialog was terrible. The storyline was first grade level. I called Inuyasha to find out what was going on. He told me, ‘I know. I just got it myself. Don’t worry. I have final approval. This thing will be rewritten.’”

“I wasn’t prepared for what happened next,” Inuyasha says as he picks up the story. “First thing Monday morning, I am in the office of the production committee head. He tells me the script stays as is. I said, ‘I have final approval. It’s in my contract.’ He then tells me that final approval means that my suggestions will be considered. I told him no, final approval means final approval. Before I left the office we were shouting in each other’s face.”

Inuyasha announced he would not show up for work until the script was fixed. He was not alone. Naraku also stayed away. “I wasn’t about to say those crappy lines,” says Kagome. “Doing a bad show from a bad script can really hurt your career.” “I thought the script was a joke,” Sango stated. “I really mean it. I thought someone was playing a joke.”

Inuyasha asked Kagura to moderate the dispute. “It really was not within my jurisdiction, so to speak,” said Kagura. “Inuyasha is a member of the Anime Actors’ Guild, but this was not a dispute as him as an actor. This was a dispute over the script.” Inuyasha is also a member of the Anime Screenwriters’ Association. “The ASA would have to resolve this,” Kagura said. “But this was a disagreement between two writers, and they were afraid they would have to take sides. So I unofficially volunteered my services.”

“I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out,” Inuyasha reported. “I had to back off some of my final approval rights. I was under pressure because we were almost a month into production and nothing had been shot.” An arraignment was made where all scripts would be reviewed by Inuyasha. He would recommend changes, which the writing team would work into the script. “But then they pulled a fast one. We always have re-writes during the shooting. Its standard procedure. Lines that look good on paper often don’t sound so good when spoken. But during the re-writes, they wrote out all of my changes.” The fight over the scripts continued throughout the entire shooting schedule. “I did get enough changes to make the script passable,” Inuyasha stated. “We actors managed to raise it to the next level.”

To be continued. . . .
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-10-2010, 05:55 PM   #4   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
In the Japanese method, everything is done by committee -- and that means lots of meetings. Before a single scene is shot, one such meeting is held between the production team, the writers and the cast. As The Final Chapter team met for the first time early one Monday morning, the first order of business was for the cast to pick their union representative. Under the AAG contract, a cast member would serve as the representative being present on the set at all times, even when their character was not needed. It would be the “union rep’s” job to ensure that all cast members, including bit players and extras, were treated properly and fairly, and that their rights were respected.

For the first Inuyasha series, Kagura served as the union rep. “If all goes well, it can be a pretty boring job,” she relates. “That’s why many reps do not take it seriously. I did. A good union rep can spot problems and rectify them before they occur resulting in a harmonious workplace.”

No one was really interested in taking the union rep position. Just to keep the meeting moving, Susshomaru volunteered. He was voted in by acclimation.

Next came the review of the scripts for the first three episodes. Inuyasha was ready to assert his right of final script approval. “The scripts were really lacking,” Naraku recalls. “I had this one line, something like, ‘Now you will die, Inuyasha.’ I put down the script and said, ‘Oh, come on! We can have better than that! I must have used that same line dozens of times in the old series.’”

At that point, Inuyasha reached for Naraku’s script, scribble something and handed it back. “I don’t remember what I wrote,” Inuyasha tells us. “I know it was a better, more original line. I asked Nuraku, ‘Is this any better?’” That’s when the head writer grabbed the script and reportedly said that he was not going to have his work altered by a “hack writer.”

“Oh, he shouldn’t have said that!,” Kikyo remembers. “Inuyasha is proud of his writing, and rightfully so.” Inuyasha admits to losing his cool. “I asked the head writer, ‘How many novels have your written?’ Then we got into a shouting match.”

Eventually, Inuyasha stormed out of the room. “I felt like I was on the spot,” Nuraku said. “Inuyasha pretty much stood up for me. I figured I had better walk out as well.” Kagome was the next to rise. “I was getting pretty sick of things and we haven’t even filmed anything yet,” she recalls. “I remember saying, ‘I’ve didn't sign on for this s---.’ Then I walked out.”

“The rest of us were sitting there dumbfounded,” recalls Miroku. “The series’ three main protagonists had just gone south. What were the rest of us to do?”

“I really felt sorry for Sesshomaru,” Kikyo relates. “He just took on the role of our union rep thinking it would be an easy job. Now he was just sitting there with this lost look on his face. He knew he had to do something, but didn’t know what!”

“In my four years as the Guild president,” Kagura told us, “I never had anyone call with a problem during the first cast meeting. When I got a call from Sesshomaru and heard what had happened, the only thing going through my mind was ‘What the f---!’” Sesshomaru was in a panic. Kagura calmed him down by assuring him that everything was fixable. “Basically, all it took was a day or two for everyone to calm down. Then we offered the Guild’s services as a moderator.” But little did Kagura know that the new series would take up so much of her time. “I joked that I spent more time on the sequel than the original series, and I wasn’t even in the sequel.”

Eventually, the writing team agreed to several of Inuyasha’s script changes. A new meeting was set, although tensions were still running high. Already the series was a week behind schedule. That’s when Kagura got the first in a series of calls from her replacement, Yukie Yagihara. “She calls me saying that everyone on the series is trying to force her off,” Kagura recalls. “I told her that there are proper channels for filing complaints. The first is to go to her union rep, Sesshomaru. She says that Sesshomaru is one of the people out to get her.”

“Of course there was nothing to her accusations,” Inuyasha said. “I think she just wanted a bit more attention from the rest of us, but at the time we just considered her to be some crazy. . . . Well, you know.”

Sesshomaru was ready to give up being the union representative, but it was clear that no one else wanted the responsibility. It was clear that this was going to be a production plagued with problems. Plus the union contract stated that with no union representative, there could be no work on the production. Inuyasha noted that working as a director, Sesshomaru was used to pressure. “But this was different. He’d go home at night physically ill.”

To be continued. . . .
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-10-2010, 11:55 PM   #5   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
When she is working on a series or movie, Kagome prefers to sleep late on Saturdays. But on one Saturday, she had to wake up early. She and her husband were planning to host a dinner that evening to celebrate the engagement of one of Makabe’s colleagues. Kagome planned to prepare the meal with the aid of her housekeeper. But some last minute items were needed. So she packed up her toddler and went down to the local market. It was at the checkout stand that Kagome spotted the headlines on one of the tabloids -- "Kagome’s On-Set Sexcapades."

“I was frozen for a moment,” Kagome recalls. “I suddenly felt like I was rapped in public.” Looking around the mostly empty store, Kagome saw that she was unnoticed. “Fortunately, my hair wasn’t done and I had no makeup on. So no one recognized me.” She grabbed one of the tabloids and went to one of the self-service registers. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” she said.

The story purported to tell of alleged sexual exploits of Kagome’s during the shooting of the original series. One anonymous source reported coming back early from lunch and seeing Kagome with a stage hand. “He was sitting on a chair with his pants down to his ankles. I could see Kagome’s panties on the floor. She was riding him like a horse.” Another unidentified source said that the crew had a running joke: “What did you eat for lunch today? Kagome.”

“I never claimed to be a virgin,” Kagome stated, “but I’m no whore either. I did briefly date three or four of the younger crew members during the original series run. But I never behaved like that on the set. I certainly wasn’t chasing down every man I could. And I couldn‘t believe any of the guys I dated would be telling stories like this to the press.”

Needless to say, Kagome and her husband did not enjoy the dinner that night. They were able to meet with their lawyer the next day. “There was nothing we could really do,” Kagome stated. “The way the article was written, it was always an ’unverified’ source. It was always something I was ’alleged’ to have done. Basically what the paper said was, ’We can’t prove it and we don’t really believe it, but Kagome has been said to have sucked and f---ed every guy who ever worked on the production.’”

Soon other tabloids began running similar stories. Television also picked up on it. “It was causing me and my husband quite a bit of pain,” Kagome said. “And all this time I had to do my job and act.” It was then that she heard rumors on the set that the stories had been planted by The Final Chapter’s production committee. She took the rumors to Sesshomaru, who acting as the AAG’s production representative took it to the attention of AAG president Kagura. “It was the most kafkaesque thing I ever heard of from an anime production,” she said. “A production committee was actually trying to destroy the reputation of one of their stars.” But Kagura was not totally surprised. Many of the committee members also worked on Inuyasha, and with all the other tensions associated with the production, it seemed a perfect time for payback on an old score.

A few months before this article was written, Kagome gave an interview where she spoke of her childhood: “I sort of raised myself. My father died before I was two, and my mother often worked two, three or even four menial jobs, counting part time, to keep me fed, clothed and a roof over our heads. Mom would work 12-15 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week. When she came home, she was too tired to have much time for me. I know she loved me, but all her time and strength were spent on working low paying jobs just to keep us alive.”

When Kagome won her role in Inuyasha, it looked like her mother’s life would change for the better. “Now I was the breadwinner,” Kagome said. “Now Mom could take it easy. She now had time to be a mother to me.” But it did not last long. Towards the end of shooting for the first season, Kagome’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. During the summer break, Kagome cared for her mom, but a week before she was scheduled to go back to work on the second season, Kogome’s mother died.

“She put up a brave front,” remembers Sango. “But we could tell that Kagome was devastated.” The cast rallied around Kagome giving her moral support. “It was then that they became like a family to me,” Kagome recalls. “I guess I was sort of like a sister to her,” Sango remembers.

But Inuyasha added, “Looking back we may have not been the best influence on Kagome. We often had impromptu beer parties after work, and several of us were smoking marijuana a bit. We’ve all given that up now -- I think.”

Kagome’s mourning eventually ended, and she would join in her cast mates’ partying. “Only she liked to party a bit more than the rest of us,” Miroku recalled. “She was a free spirit,” Kaede said. “Nothing wrong with that. I was a bit of the same myself. But I tried telling Kagome, there is such a thing as moderation.”

Kagome now admits to the error of her ways. “I was drinking, smoking s---. I even tried cocaine once, but I didn’t like it. I knew of other anime stars who ruined their lives through drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t think I would end up like them.” It took one incident towards the end of shooting for the second season to turn Kagome’s live around. It also almost cost her a career and made her enemies among the production committee. “There are three rules about drug use in the anime industry,” Inuyasha told us. “First, don’t let it effect your work. Second, don’t get caught. And third, if you do get caught, don’t let it effect the production. Kagome violated rules two and three.”

To be continued. . . .
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-10-2010, 05:01 PM   #6   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
Shooting on The Final Chapter was falling well behind schedule. Cast members were complaining about their lines and the plot. They were all relying on Inuyasha to exercise his right of script approval. Inuyasha would argue on the set with the writers, director and producers. The arguments would often take up most of the shooting day. With all this going on, Kagome had to face down the stories in the media on her alleged sexual past. If the production committee was planting these stories, the question has to be asked: Why would they risk damaging their own project?

During the original series, Kagome made friends with one of the makeup assistants. She was a girl about four years older than Kagome. Eventually, Kagome requested that this girl be the only one to do her makeup. Kagome remembers what happened. “One Monday, late in the second season, I come in for the makeup call. She tells me she brought a new car over the weekend and wanted to show it off. So I agreed to let her drive me home after work.” The friend had a cooler with beer in her car. When the two girls got in, she took out two cans giving one to Kagome. Kagome relates, “I had a joint in my bag. I brought it off one of the technicians who was doing a little business on the side. I lit it up and we both shared it. So there we went speeding down the road, drinking beer and smoking.”

The girls were enjoying themselves until they were pulled over by a police car. “He came over to the car. It was like something out of a comedy. I had a can of beer in one hand and the joint in another, and I asked, ‘Is there a problem, officer?’ Sounds real funny, but I guess I was so stoned I thought I was serious.” Kagome was arrested for underaged drinking and possession. “The cop who arrested me is named Kiichi Kakajima,” Kagome tells us. “I want to mention him because he is a hero to me. As far as I am concerned, he saved my life.” Looking back, Kagome can well imagine where her life would have ended up had she not been arrested. “It was a wake up call. I guess you can say I was scared straight. Now I don‘t smoke at all, and I only drink wine or something on special occasions.” Every year on the anniversary of her arrest, Kagome sends flowers and a thank you note to Kakajima.

“It was a wakeup call for all of us,” Inuyasha said. “We realized we were being a bad influence on Kagome. Even back then, Kagura was on her anti-drug kick. We used to laugh about it and light up just out of her sight so she could smell it, but not see us. Turns out she was right. We were wrong.”

Being a first time offender and expressing remorse, Kagome received a suspended sentence and was ordered to do 100 hours of community service with an anti-drug program. She ended up volunteering to do more than the 100 hours. The incident should have ended there, but it didn’t. Kagome had soiled her good-girl image, and that the producers could not forgive. “So much of the shows marketing was around Kagome being the perfect girl-next-door,” Kikyo recalls. “The production bosses were certainly not going to let that go. We could all feel the tension in the air.”

Suspecting something was up, Kagome on her own issued a public apology to the fans, her cast mates, the support crew, and the studio bosses and producers. “It was a heartfelt apology,” Kagome says. “I really meant what I said. I behaved stupidly and irresponsibly. I felt that I had betrayed the trust put in me, and I deeply regretted my actions.”

But that did not satisfy the production committed. “It was about two days after the apology,” Naraku recalls. “A member of the writing team I was friends with came to me and said they were writing a scene where I kill Kagome. I thought he meant a cliffhanger where I appear to kill Kagome, but he said, ‘No, you actually kill her. We’re writing her out of the show because of her arrest.’” As this went against his sense of fair play, Naraku first mentioned what he was told to Inuyasha. They both went to Kagura in her role as the union representative. Kagura recalls that even though she was opposed to any type of drug use, she did feel that Kagome was being treated unfairly and in violation of the union contract. “If they took action against one,” she stated, “they would have to take action against all. Of course, that would mean no more series.”

Kagura scheduled a meeting with the production committee. Inuyasha, Naraku, Sango, Miroku, Kaede, Kikyo and even little Shippo accompanied her. “Kagome knew nothing about it at the time,” Inuyasha states. “She had no idea how close she came to being fired.” Kagura told the committee that if Kagome was forced out of the series, the rest of the cast would walk out. “They warned us that we all had contracts and that they would sue the lot of us,” Inuyasha recalls. “I told them to go ahead. They still would have to produce a show without any actors.”

In the end the chair of the production committee backed down. Kagome’s job was safe. “But as far as the producers were concerned, they all lost face,” Kagura says. “They all blamed Kagome. Somehow, in their twisted minds, they saw the chaos over The Final Chapter as being their chance for payback.”

Kagura marshaled the AAG’s resources to protect her former cast mate. “We did not have hard evidence, but I decided to send our lawyers out to bluff the producers. We told them that if one more bad story about Kagome appeared anywhere, we would drag them into court. We said we had witnesses to back up our case. The producers practically threw our legal team out of their office, but the stories in the press immediately stopped.”

But it was not time to forgive and forget. If the production team was behind those stories, they soon found another target for their revenge. It was the union rep for The Final Chapter -- Sesshomaru.

To be continued. . . .
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2010, 10:22 PM   #7   [permalink]
MeMyself
Forum Junkie
 
MeMyself's Avatar
 
Join Date: 4 Jun 2006
Posts: 848
Many Inuyasha fans are surprised to learn that like in the series, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru really are half-brothers. “There are two differences though,” Inuyasha explains. “In real life we share the same mother. Also, unlike the series we are actually very close.” Inuyasha was even a character witness in a landmark court case brought by Sesshomaru.

Sesshomaru had been living with his partner, Denkichi Akama, for about two years when Akama’s ex-wife died suddenly. Akama thus gained custody of the daughter he fathered while married. Sesshomaru also drew close to the girl. He and Akama decided that it would solidify their family if Sesshomaru would adopt the girl and be a co-father. When adoption officials denied the request, Sesshomaru sued and won.

After the controversy over the Kagome sex stories began to cool, other controversies developed. Arguments over the quality of the scripts caused several small delays in shooting, but these small delays began to add up. A month into production, the series was a week behind schedule. Two weeks later, it was 10 days behind. A week later, thirteen days behind schedule. The decision was made to extend the work days by an extra two to three hours. Under the various union contracts, that could only be done if all the unions agreed, meaning the Anime Actors’ Guild and four other unions representing electricians, carpenters, sound men, the camera and lighting crews, the makeup artists, wardrobe and costume seamstresses, etc. All did agree. For the major cast members, the extra hours meant no extra money. They were working for fee set by their individual contracts. But all others worked for an hourly wage and were entitled to time and a half.

Oddly, producers told bit players and extras that they would not be able to pay them time and a half. Faulting other costs associated with the delays, the producers blamed Inuyasha and the other main cast members. “They were obviously trying to cause a break in the bond between the main actors and the rest of the cast,” Sango stated. “Fortunately, no one was born yesterday. Everyone knew their rights.”

“One Friday I got a call from Sesshomaru,” Kagura recalled. “My first reaction was ‘What now?’,” she laughed. “I had no idea! Sesshomaru said he wanted to stop by my office and drop off some formal complaints for our lawyers to pursue. I asked how many, and he said, ‘About fifty.’”

With AAG lawyers at his side, Sesshomaru insisted that all bit players and extras get paid the overtime they deserved. Their bluff called, the production committee backed down -- then plotted their revenge on Sesshomaru. Stories began to appear in tabloids, again quoting “unnamed” and “unverified” sources. The claim this time was that Sesshomaru and Akama were holding gay sex orgies in their home with Akama’s young daughter present.

“It was the most idiotic thing I ever heard,” Inuyasha said. “Sesshomaru and Denkichi are responsible parents. They are raising their daughter in a healthy, loving environment. They would never expose her to anything like what those articles said.” Sesshomaru decided to face down the stories head on. He personally requested that the local child welfare agency investigate the story. The agency refused , but did issue a statement saying that there is no reasonable evidence that the stories were true.

The Sesshamoru controversy passed. But then a series of stories appeared in the press comparing the various salaries of cast members. The way it was presented, Inuyasha and Kagome were making a small fortune while the other cast members were getting barely over the minimum. “It was a clumsy attempt to divide us,” Sango explained. “Inuyasha and Kagome are the two stars, so of course they get paid more. As for the rest of us, well I can tell you the article understated my salary by quite a bit. I’m making more money on The Final Chapter than I did on the original series.”

“Talk about irrational behavior!,” Kogome said. “If the production committee hated us so much, why call us back for a new series? Don’t answer. I know. It’s money.” Despite the tensions created on and off the set, Kagome and her cast mates decided to take the high road. “I’m a professional,” Kagome said. “Regardless of the s--- thrown our way, I was going to do the best job I could possibly do.” Indeed, the efforts of the cast were reflected in the final product. When it ran in Japan, Inuyasha: The Final Chapter was enthusiastically welcomed by fans. “Although it was a pain, I am quite proud of my work,” Kagome continued. “If I can act under those conditions, I can do anything!”

At the end of every anime productions, there is a wrap party. Cake, champaign and other treats are served as producers, staff, crew and actors toast their success. For The Final Chapter, no cast member showed up for the official wrap party. “We had our own celebration,” Naraku said. “Everybody gathered at my home for a cookout. The entire cast, their spouses or significant others, their kids. We had a great time. The paranoia was over.”

It has been a year since The Final Chapter aired in Japan. Plans are in the work for distribution deals to bring the series to other countries. So in that year what has happened to the cast?

Inuyasha is working on a new novel. He is secretive about its contents, but does confirm it take place within the anime industry. “It’s not really a kiss and tell,” he explains. “It is not based on The Final Chapter, although I did add in a few things inspired by my experience there. I actually had the idea for this book before we began work in the series.”

Kagome returned to college and graduated with her BA in Foreign Literature. “That one is for my Mom,” Kagome tells us. “She always wanted me to go to college. She always felt education would lead to the success in life she never had.”

Kagome also says that she would like to have another baby. But first, she has just started filming her third movie -- a romantic comedy. “It’s totally different from my first two films,” she said. “It is more of a feel good movie. It’s also quite different than my role in Inuyasha.” But what has Kagome really excited is that the cast includes some of her friends from Inuyasha. “Sango and I play two sisters in love with each other’s boyfriend. Miroku plays one of the boyfriends.”

Also appearing in the movie is Naraku playing Kagome’s boss. “I am the villain again,” Naraku explains. “But this time it is a comic villain. I don’t get much of a chance to do comedy, so I am really exited about this.”

Kaede has again retired from acting. At the time we interviewed her, she told us she and her husband were planning an artic cruise.

Kikyo has been making personal appearances promoting the show. “It’s a paycheck,” she says. Recently, the Japanese edition of Playboy had a pictorial feature on Kikyo shot at a hot springs resort in the northern mountain region. “It was fund to do,” said Kikyo. “Plus the photos are really beautiful.”

Kagura is in the middle of her second term as president of the Anime Actors Guild. There is no word yet as to if she will be running for a third term or seek a political career. But there are rumors.

And so the saga of Inuyasha comes to an end, and for cast members life goes on.

End

Last edited by MeMyself; 19-11-2010 at 10:23 PM.
MeMyself is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.