Imagine a world where people from neighbouring prefectures are persecuted for entering Tokyo without a special visa – such is the premise of this extravagant, satirical film. Rei Asami (Gakt) is a transfer student from America and secret Saitama revolutionist who is on a mission to abolish the oppressive laws perpetuated against residents of Saitama. Upon entering Hakuhodo Academy, the alluringly handsome Rei becomes a favourite with the girls, melting their hearts with his charming good looks and mysterious background, much to the dismay of Momomi Dannoura (Fumi Nikaido; Himizu & JFF 2018’s River’s Edge), the overly-pampered son of the governor of Tokyo and the student council president.
It isn’t long before the two meet, and Momomi finds out the truth about Rei. In an unexpected turn of events, Momomi changes his tune and starts supporting Rei in his quest for equality. Together, they battle defence officers armed with hairdryer-shaped tasers, and cruel Chiba natives whose debauched torture methods leave little to the imagination.
Based on the 1980s manga by Mineo Maya, this action-packed historical fantasy plays on the universal rivalry between cool cities and uncool provinces in a cheesy blend of sci-fi, steampunk and renaissance swagger.
Off the Reel
Post-screening talk and Q&A with Dr Emerald L King, La Trobe University
Learn more about the manga behind Fly Me to the Saitama with our guest researcher Dr Emerald L King in a discussion about 1980s manga and forgotten classics.