“The Last Cop 2”, NTV’s successful sequel to 2015’s “The Last Cop” has begun airing this month to positive fanfare and acclaim. The main cast consists of Toshiaki Karasawa, who plays the role of “Kyogoku Kosuke”, a detective who finally wakes up from a coma after 30 years. Kyogoku’s new partner is rookie detective “Mochizuki Ryota” played by Masataka Kubota. Rounding out the main cast is Nozomi Sasaki playing the role of “Suzuki Yui”, Kosuke’s daughter and love interest of Ryota.
The plot takes place 1 year after the events in “The Last Cop”, Ryota and Yui have been dating for nearly a year but Kyogoku still refuses to approve the relationship. Despite that small hindrance the two are still a perfect pair in helping the police solve many heinous crimes. The methods they use to solve these crimes might be a little usual, but their arrest rate and overall contributions are currently the highest in all of the Kanagawa Prefecture, so their “maverick” behavior is tolerated.
In the interview Toshiaki and Masataka talk about the evolution of their characters, funny moments that happened while filming, and of course gush about Nozomi Sasaki. Read the interview under the jump!
Q.Last Cop has now moved into its second season. Why do you think people continue to love the show?
A. Why people like the show? You probably need to ask them (laughs)! I guess maybe because it’s just good, simple entertainment. It’s not a show where you’re racking your brain and thinking “what did that guy (character) do again” There is no complex plot to follow. It’s very cut-and- dry. That it can make you belly laugh while at the same time cry a little is something else it has going for it.
Q. The show seems to be a popular drama that targets everyone from children to adults.
A. I have heard that many men my age are also watching it. Of course I also hope women are watching it, too (laughs).
Q.What’s it been like costarring with Masataka Kubota, who plays your junior colleague?
A. When we first worked together last year (in The Last Cop 2015), I thought he was pretty amazing. A good actor. He has said that he is just desperately fighting to keep up with me, but he puts a lot of thought into his acting. He’s very flexible and has extraordinary potential. He’s no doubt destined for great things. That’s something I really felt strongly. And it’s something I also feel this time around. This role seems a good fit for him. It showcases what a good actor he is.
Q.It’s pretty rare to see Masataka in a comedic role, wouldn’t you agree?
A. There are lots of good-looking actors. But I think there are very few who could have succeeded in this role. This is where I’d say he stands out.
Q.What was it like working with Nozomi Sasaki?
A. Nozomi is… well there aren’t many people as pretty as her. Anywhere in the world (laughs). There aren’t so many people who could be appreciated by just the way she is…That is also what makes this show interesting. Just being on the screen makes everyone just unconditionally say “wow, she’s pretty on top of being a good actress”
Q.Are there moments filming with Nozomi that you are just taken aback by her beauty?
A. Yeah, sure. But then, especially when I adlib a scene on purpose with her, she puts on such a charming reaction and you can see her natural self through the character. That’s the really interesting part!
Q.Do you guys ad-lib a lot?
A. Yeah, we do. And speaking of pretty faces, there’s also Naohito Fujiki. Those two are just exceptionally good-looking. I could stare at them forever (laughs).
Q.It’s a continuous stream of beautiful people on-screen.
A.It is! That’s why I’m so envious of people who are so beautiful.
Q.Were there any funny or memorable moments filming with Masataka?
A. Masataka is always eating sausages on set (laughs). He may look skinny at first glance, but he’s actually got some good muscle tone. Body fat in the single digits, I bet. Really good muscle. I take his shoulders and shake it in some scenes and just be shocked at how much muscle he has.
Q. Did Masataka do anything special to bulk up for the show?
A. No, he says he doesn’t exercise at all.
Q. Were there any interesting moments with Nozomi that you can recall?
A. Nozomi… it’s strange that while she says she’s allergic to dogs, she has one as a pet (laughs). It’s always making her sniffle on set. When I suggest that she give the dog away, she says, “no, I love dogs!” It doesn’t make any sense (laughs). But I suppose we can’t do anything about the things we like. She’s funny like that.
Q. What similarities or differences do you see between yourself and the character you play, Kosuke Kyogoku?
A. I’m not nearly as daring as Kyogoku is (laughs). Jumping from building to building is not in my skillset (laughs). The screenwriter often comes to the set and we’ll be talking about a lot of things and then, all of a sudden, some of that stuff will show up in the script. There’s a surprisingly fuzzy line between me and Kyogoku. There’s not really a thick, bold line between the two… it’s actually pretty fuzzy. People will see the person onscreen and think that’s how the actor really is, but there are some small differences. The show does a good job making viewers think that the actor and the character are the same person, even though they’re different.
Q.Which scene specifically is the one you said came about from you talking with the screenwriter?
A. One instance would be where I am imitating Mr. Kunie Tanaka, a very respected actor with a lot of character.
Q. Really (laughs)!? Was it like, you were doing an impersonation of him in front of the screenwriter, and he said, “oh that’s good” or something?
A. He didn’t say, “oh that’s good”, but the scene pops up in Season 2 again… (laughs). It’s right at the beginning, in the first episode (laughs) — a scene of me doing the impersonation in front of a bank robber. But the whole show’s kind of a bit unrealistic like that. It’s a drama where anything goes. But I don’t think anyone outside of Japan will know who I’m impersonating (laughs).
Q. If you, like Kosuke Kyogoku, fell into a coma and awoke after 30 years, what would you do after waking up?
A. If I had a family, I’d see if they were doing OK. I’d look into how my friends were and what happened to the house I was living in. Those are the things I’d think about.
Q. You’d sort of wake up and start wandering around town, calling different people on the phone?
A. Well there were no mobile phones 30 years ago, so I don’t know if I’d think to do that after waking up from a coma (laughs). They only had those phones that you’d sling over your shoulder, and they had those big batteries. And only a few people had those… that was back when people used car telephones. People used to have phones installed in their cars — you’d be able to be driving and pick up the receiver from its cradle and start talking.
Q. What would you do if you were unable to get ahold of friends or family members after waking up?
A. I’d probably panic. But I’d do whatever I could… probably walk all over and look for the houses of people I knew. Try to remember stuff. I wouldn’t be able to find them without some kind of starting point. I would have never even seen a smartphone (laughs).
Q. And nobody would know how to use one.
A. Yeah. The screen is completely black when you pick it up. If you showed him a smartphone and said it was a phone, he wouldn’t understand.