It was 11:30am when I got the call.
“I have 2 tickets left for my premiere in Roppongi…I know it’s last minute but are you free?”
30 minutes later, I was at Toho Cinema Roppongi Hills to attend the opening premiere of Tomohisa Yamashita’s new movie “Ashita no Joe”.
It’s been awhile since I hung out with Tomo so it was a pleasant surprise to get the invite from him.
Ashita no Joe is a boxing movie based on the famous comic book.
It’s almost a national treasure for comic books so there was a lot of pressure when making this movie. Tomo was getting a lot of flack because people didn’t think he could play the character properly. Tomo knew this so he worked twice as hard to keep it real.
I hung out with Tomo frequently during the filming so I know how hard he worked on the movie.
The results speak for themselves.
He went through crazy physical training, weight loss, and boxing lessons and it really showed on film.
Here’s Joe, the main character. He came from the poor side of town and was always getting into fights.
This is Tomo in “idol” mode. He had to shake this image and get into fight mode.
Here’s Joe boxing against his biggest rival Rikiishi.
So how did the “idol” do?
I’d say not bad at all.
Intense sparring and boxing scenes.
A lot of real punches in slow motion so you can see it’s not fake.
They worked out 24/7 and only had like 5% body fat.
Yusuke Iseya, a model, plays Rikiishi, Joe’s rival. Rikiishi is a pro boxer who kicks Joe’s ass while the two meet in jail.
He senses Joe’s potential as a boxer and decides he needs to fight Joe in the ring to determine who is the strongest.
Yusuke Iseya’s real life weight loss and training for the movie will almost shock you.
This guy went balls out.
This is Danpei, his coach. Danpei sees Joe’s potential early on and convinces Joe to become a boxer.
Teruyuki Kagawa plays Danpei with intense passion…and comedy.
Friendship, dreams, loyalty…all life lessons that Danpei tries to teach Joe.
Kagawa is actually a boxing fanatic and went to set to train Tomo even on his days off.
This just added even more reality to the movie.
The rich girl Yoko Shiraki is played by model Karina.
Karina usually looks like this…
or maybe even this…
but that has nothing to do with the movie…
Anyways, Ashita no Joe was a great movie and I enjoyed it a lot.
Guys and girls will enjoy it for different reasons…which is what’s cool about it.
I know this will change Tomo’s image again for sure.
Thanks for the invite and good job Tomo!!