‘Fly Me to the Saitama’ Sequel Gathers Original Cast for Another Affectionate Poke at Tokyo’s New Jersey 

Fly Me to the Saitama
Fuji IG Laboratory for Movies

A sequel to the 2019 hit comedy “Fly Me to the Saitama” has been announced. Stars Nikaido Fumi and Gackt will return, as will director Takeuchi Hideki.

Details about the production start date and story are sparce, though Takeuchi earlier told “Variety” that he was thinking of setting the sequel in the Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe) region. Release is set for 2022.

The first film, distributed by Toei, made $34 million at the Japanese box office and received 12 Japan Academy Prize nominations. It won three awards, including best script and best director honors.

Based on a 1980s comic series of the same name by Maya Mineo, the story begins in the present as a family from Saitama, a much-mocked prefecture adjacent to Tokyo, listen to a radio drama as they drive to a ceremony marking the daughter’s engagement to another Saitama native.

The drama is set in alterative Japan where the humble Saitama-ese are treated as second-class citizens by the arrogant and privileged Tokyo-ites. The foppish son (Nikado) of the corrupt Tokyo governor sees a rival in a dashing new student (Gackt) at his elite high school, who threatens his supremacy as a student leader. But he soon falls under his rival’s spell and, when the rival is revealed to be the son of a Saitama rebel leader, follows him to join the fight for Saitama’s independence.

The “rebellion” is strictly played for laughs. But the film also struck a chord with Saitama citizens, who sensed an affection beneath the many jabs at their home prefecture, which stands in the approximately same cultural and social relation to Tokyo that New Jersey does to New York City, and made it a long-running hit on Saitama screens.