Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk

Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor

The challenge of creating something that exceeds expectations.
In order to create something that exceeds expectations, it is essential to be passionate, to continue challenging yourself, and to be willing to learn from different disciplines.
"TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk" is a project in which two masters of different industries and professions have conversations with each other to gain new discoveries, ideas, and insights.

Girl Gun Lady starts airing on April 6, 2021 on the DORAMAiZM time slot on MBS/TBS.
Yusuke Taki, the director of this brand-new "special effects drama for adults in a new age" in which high school girls battle with plastic model guns called "Girl Guns," spoke with Takashi Kunita of the Hobby Products Division, who is in charge of product development, about the process of creation and how they approach their work.
What one-of-a-kind world is created when a master of visual entertainment combines his talents with a master of product development?

Profile

Yusuke Taki

Yusuke Taki

Director

Yusuke Taki worked as an assistant director for variety shows, dramas, and movies before working for director Yukihiko Tsutsumi. Since going independent, he has worked on directing and producing a wide variety of works including dramas, movies, music videos, and commercials. His notable works include the DVD bonus video for Arashi's single "Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari" from their album Japonism (2015), and Nile Perch Girls' Association (2021) on Saturday Drama 9.

Takashi Kunita

Takashi Kunita

Creation Department, Hobby Products Division
BANDAI SPIRITS CO., LTD.

After working for a sporting goods manufacturer and a design company, Takashi Kunita joined PLEX CO., LTD. in 2004, where he was in charge of planning and designing Super Sentai series. Since 2019, he has been working on the development of plastic models at BANDAI SPIRITS.

  • * The content, titles, product prices, etc. in this article are as of the time of the interview.

Girl Gun Lady, a drama that tells the story of students
who fight with plastic model guns

Kunita
I'm filled with emotion because Girl Gun Lady, a drama for adults in a new age in which high school girls battle for survival with plastic model guns, will finally be airing.
Taki
High school students who have obtained these plastic model guns are transported to a parallel world of an uninhabited school in the middle of the night, where they fight night after night. This is a very catchy drama that can be enjoyed by viewers of a variety of age groups. The cast members who play the high school girls are a group of seventeen splendid actresses including Sei Shiraishi, Anna Ishii, Yuno Ohara, Momoka Ito, and Natsuki Deguchi, and each of them play completely unique and fascinating characters.
We say the drama is about battles, but in reality, the battles are only one aspect of a work with many other complex elements. It's impossible to explain in a few words, but the drama is full of spectacular highlights.
Kunita
The key items in the drama, the plastic model guns called "Girl Guns," not only play a role in the story as a weapon, but the fact that they are plastic models is also important to the battles and the plot.
The "Girl Guns" used in filming are not just props. They are the same as the actual plastic models that customers will be able to hold in their hands. With scenes that depict the guns getting kicked away, for example, they were handled in quite a rough manner, but I am relieved that they were able to finish shooting without the models being damaged.
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Taki
I hope viewers will also pay attention to the "Lady Commanders" who also play key roles in the story as they appear in both live-action and plastic model form and command each team.
Kunita
BANDAI SPIRITS will also be making products based on the "Girl Gun" and "Lady Commander" kits used by the high school heroines in the drama, so we hope that fans will enjoy assembling the models in addition to watching the drama.
Girl Gun Lady

Girl Gun Lady

Girl Gun Lady

Girl Gun Lady

Koharu (Sei Shiraishi) is a reserved girl who feels like she doesn't belong at her school, and her only hobby is assembling plastic models. One day, on her way home from school, Koharu stops by a mysterious antique shop, where the store manager (Gaku Hamada) sells her a plastic model that will supposedly change her life. That night, while she was absorbed in the process of assembling the model, she suddenly found that she had been summoned to a mysterious parallel world! So begins the "Girl Gun Fight," a survival game with no escape...

Combining the foundations they have developed to translate them

Kunita
Girl Gun Lady was presented and realized by the project team of the 2019 new business creation project, KAITAKUSHA DAMASHII (Frontier Spirit). With original IP and the promotion of plastic models linked with the drama, the content embodied exactly what BANDAI SPIRITS should be aiming for, and there was considerable enthusiasm from the team members, including the originator and myself. I have been the main supervisor in charge of this project since 2020.
I worked as a designer for children's Super Sentai series at PLEX CO., LTD. for 15 years, but this is the first time I am faced with the challenge of supervising the entire production like this. There were a lot of things that I had to learn, and at first, I had a hard time managing the budget and coordinating with people from inside and outside the company. (Laughs)
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Taki
One of the most memorable moments was when we gathered at 6:00 a.m. to head out to the filming location, and you showed up with a bag full of Girl Guns. (Laughs) Knowing how busy he was, I assumed that he would have some kind of assistant, so I was surprised when the man himself showed up so early in the morning just to deliver the Girl Guns.
Kunita
I received a lot of support from everyone involved, including those outside of the company. It's just that I was the only one in direct contact with those on set, so I had a lot on my plate. (Laughs)
Taki
I could tell that he took a lot of responsibility for the work.
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Kunita
The part that I struggled with was the style of the visuals. Since Girl Gun Lady is a drama of a completely new genre, it was difficult for me to use my previous experience and apply the concept I had in mind in terms of special effects shows. When I was going around explaining the project to various people, I was worried that I wasn't conveying the concept accurately.
Taki
First hearing about the project was an exciting and uplifting experience, as it was of course my first time working on such a special battle drama. I usually direct dramas and movies for adults, and I was aware that that's why I was being asked to direct this series, so although I felt that I should follow the same route, I had an internal conflict about whether I should make a drama that would captivate just adults, or make it something that would also target teenagers, and I thought a lot about how to integrate elements from both these styles.
Kunita
I had a lot of discussions with you, and sometimes we even chatted while watching the shooting on the set. Because of my past experience, I tend to want viewers to see the action frozen at cool angles in bright and clear settings. You could say that kabuki is Japan's original hero genre, but in kabuki, characters are given a generous amount of time to introduce themselves using still scenes. But in dramas, using still shots to introduce characters would detract from the realism, and a more natural flow would be easier for viewers to relate to. I'm glad that I had the chance to hear what Director Taki had to say, as it allowed me to face the project with a sense of conviction.
Taki
I remember talking to you about that. Since Girl Gun Lady is a drama, the momentum of battle needs to build naturally within the flow of the scene, and I don't think we should resort to using kabuki styles of expression. I use theatrical quality cameras and lights because of my background in dramas and movies. Using this kind of touch, I wanted to portray a realistic world in which the characters and Girl Guns all fit together naturally as extensions of the story.

Watching footage on site and getting a feel for making visuals

Watching footage on site and getting a feel for making visuals

Watching footage on site and getting a feel for making visuals

The pursuit to answer the question,
"What is a plastic model?" has brought depth to expression

Kunita
The drama centers around plastic models called "Girl Guns." Many of BANDAI SPIRITS' tricks of the trade were used to make these.
This is because plastic models are generally perceived as something to be assembled and displayed. However, since they are used in gun battles in the drama, they require a certain amount of strength, and since they feature movable gimmicks, I would like people to hold them in their hands and play with them to some extent. Furthermore, since the products needed to be prepared in time for the start of the filming of the drama (August 2020), rather than in time for the broadcast date, the development schedule was considerably accelerated and tight. Having just the completed product was not enough. Since there are scenes that show the plastic models being assembled, they had to be in a state in which the cast members could piece them together. Because of this, we had to prepare something that was already close to the final product.

We had to make very difficult requests to the Bandai Hobby Center in Shizuoka, where the plastic models were manufactured. At first, we were asked why prototypes couldn't be made with a 3D printer, and we were told that it would be very difficult to make molds. I told them that I understood that our requests were difficult. I told them persistently that since we're shooting this kind of show, it's a difficult job, and the models won't be handled with care, so prototypes won't work. I visited the site many times to express my enthusiasm, or rather, I basically begged them to help me out. (Laughs)
Taki
It must have been very difficult. The models had to be able to withstand long takes, and there are even scenes where they fall to the floor.
Kunita
I also wanted to the guns to be able to have cartridges loaded and the grip folded for storage. I had many requests, but they managed to implement them all. The basic ATTACK GIRL GUN can be combined with the BLAST GIRL GUN and the CHANGE GIRL GUN, and the "Lady Commander" can also be placed onboard. I greatly admire the technical prowess that allowed them to achieve such a level of perfection in such a short period of time.
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Taki
It's my job to incorporate these elements into the story and to translate them into visual entertainment, but even in scenes that aren't real, such as the girl gun fights, the scripts are just stage directions. In other words, they just say something simple like "transferred to an empty school in the middle of the night," "they transform," and "they shoot Girl Guns."
At that point, the question is, "What kind of bullets are used for the Girl Guns, and how do they come out?" When we started filming, no one knew the answer to that question. There was also the question of what kind of attacks will be performed by the BLAST GIRL GUN and CHANGE GIRL GUN, which are transformations of the Girl Guns, and what happens when these attacks come into contact with the human body?
At that point, I thought it would be good to have some aspect to link with the world of the drama, so I asked you what raw material the plastic models are made of. You told me that they shoot out small pieces of resin called pellets. That was the clue I needed to create computer graphics based on what I imagined the pellets to be like.
Kunita
I felt that the process by which you created the world of the drama while thinking about the production of plastic models breathed life into the work and created a world with a solid foundation.
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Taki
My opinions concerned how the drama should look. The answer to how a plastic model should look was out of my area of expertise, and you had the correct perspective about that, so you advised me. However, when we try to have the guns used correctly or show them from a cool angle, the movements are usually impossible for the human body to perform. (Laughs)
Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Kunita
It works in manga and anime, but I was asked, "Isn't that angle a bit difficult for an actual person to pull off?" (Laughs) But I didn't back down, and I explained that I thought this was a better way to make the plastic models and manga-like expressions more appealing. Despite their bewilderment, the cast members took the challenge and showed themselves to be true actors.
Taki
There will be viewers who like the drama, those who like the battles, those who like the cast, and so on. Among these viewers, I'm sure there will be those who see it your way, which is fascinating to think about.
Kunita
Since I was a child, I loved robot anime, Super Sentai heroes, and games. After growing up, I got into survival games and motorcycles, and I like to tinker with things. For Girl Gun Lady, I was able to apply so much of what I learned from all of this, seeing as the drama is basically a fusion of all of my hobbies. (Laughs)
Taki
I also enjoy watching movies and dramas and spend a lot of my time doing so, but if you ask me if it's a hobby, I would say that it's half work, and that my hobby is my work, and that my work is my hobby, so I understand how you feel.
  • アタックガールガン Ver.アルファタンゴ

    アタックガールガン
    Ver.アルファタンゴ
    3,080円(税10%込)
    4月10日発売
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • アタックガールガン Ver.ブラボータンゴ

    アタックガールガン
    Ver.ブラボータンゴ
    3,080円(税10%込)
    4月10日発売
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • アタックガールガン Ver.チャーリータンゴ

    アタックガールガン
    Ver.チャーリータンゴ
    3,080円(税10%込)
    4月10日発売
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • アタックガールガン Ver.デルタタンゴ

    アタックガールガン
    Ver.デルタタンゴ
    3,080円(税10%込)
    4月10日発売
    対象年齢:15歳以上

Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk

The ATTACK GIRL GUN from the Girl Gun Lady plastic model series. Appearing in the assembly and battle scenes of the drama, the gun is carried by each team. Four versions are available for each team: ALPHA TANGO, BRAVO TANGO, CHARLIE TANGO, and DELTA TANGO. * First-time limited cards included.
Cartridges can be loaded in the bottom of the grip, and the included display base can be used to display the model as it would appear in the drama.

  • レディコマンダーアリス

    レディコマンダーアリス
    3,960円(税10%込)
    5月発売予定
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • レディコマンダービアンカ

    レディコマンダービアンカ
    3,960円(税10%込)
    5月発売予定
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • レディコマンダーシャーロット

    レディコマンダーシャーロット
    3,960円(税10%込)
    6月発売予定
    対象年齢:15歳以上

  • レディコマンダーデイジー

    レディコマンダーデイジー
    3,960円(税10%込)
    6月発売予定
    対象年齢:15歳以上

Director of the Drama Girl Gun Lady × Plastic Model Development Supervisor
 | TAKUMI(Master) × TAKUMI(Master) Cross Talk
Lady Commander Series
The Lady Commanders, who command each team in the drama and appear in both plastic model and live action form, are now available as plastic models.

When the first bullet is fired, that's the signal.
You won't be able to stop watching this intricate story unfold.

Kunita
There are so many highlights. The story will of course draw you in, and the battle scenes are a must-see. On the other hand, there are unusual scenes where they actually assemble the plastic models, so I hope people will pay attention to those as well. With scenes like these, I can say with confidence that this is a drama unlike any other, and I hope many people have the chance to watch it.
Taki
When I'm asked to explain the story for promotional materials, I usually say it's a story about high school girls battling for their lives night after night, but it's actually a lot more intricate and features many different elements woven into the plot, so I think viewers will be able to find themselves absorbed in it. In terms of highlights, in the first episode, the main character is forced to participate in the game, and the first bullet is fired. After that, I think it'll be hard to stop watching the story unfold.