Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian who is best known for his manzai under the name of the comedian duo Beat Takeshi. In Indonesia, the millennial generation will be more familiar with this comedian through the reality show “Takeshi’s Castle” or ‘Benteng Takeshi’ in the 2000s era.

In addition to having the talent to appear as a comedian, he is also a film actor, presenter, director, and book writer. “Asakusa Kid” is a film based on Takeshi Kitano‘s autobiography of the same name.

With a past life full of twists and turns, “Asakusa Kid” focuses more on the time when Takeshi worked in the Asakusa district, as a janitor at a theater called France-za. The theater is owned by a comedian who eventually becomes Takeshi’s mentor, Senzaburo Fukami (played by Yo Oizumi). Yuya Yagira is the actor who plays the young Takeshi.

Takeshi Kitano’s Story During His Time at the France-za Theatre, Asakusa
In 1965, young Takeshi Kitano was still working as an elevator clerk at the France-za theatre. He is not even sure that he has the ability as a comedian or entertainer. Until finally Senzaburo Fukami, the legendary comedian in Asakusa and the owner of the theater, is willing to teach Take some dance tricks and give him the opportunity to appear on stage as a comedian. Focusing the script of this biopic on France-za is the right choice, we can also see how this phase became the most important point for Takeshi in his life.

Instead of presenting the chronology of his childhood, his teenage years where he left university, everything that happened to Take di France-za is more interesting to be explored to the fullest. More than just an inspiring story, “Asakusa Kid” is a film that exposes the sweat and tears of the art workers behind the stage and the laughter of the audience.

For those of us who don’t enjoy slow-paced dramas and minimal background music, “Asakusa Kid” might feel too quiet and boring. We may also find it difficult to understand the Japanese comedy style presented in this film. However, the humor material presented is not the main object in the script, it is only a small part of the overall Takeshi story.

The Interaction of Takeshi and His Mentor, Fukami That’s Fun to Watch
Based on a book written by Takeshi Kitano himself, we can see that he wanted to pay tribute to Senzaburo Fukami. Without Fukami, Take would probably never have discovered the great potential within him. Fukami has the persona of ‘The Greatest Showman’, like a circus leader who keeps the theater going.

Always looking dapper and charismatic, there are many quotes from him that are very meaningful for a comedian. Not a mentor full of frontal affection, Fukami has an attitude that trades between being tough and caring for Take.

Meanwhile, Take, starting from a janitor who could only obey, slowly began to form his character and courage in dreaming. The interaction and the development of the relationship between Take and his mentor are the main stories that are fun to watch.

Quite reminiscent of the mentor-student interaction as in “Whiplash” (2014). Yuya Yagira and Yo Oizumi also have good chemistry as the two main characters. Like a comedian duo who are on one frequency, each dialogue that occurs is capable of producing certain emotions. We will be made to laugh, be inspired, to be touched.

Sentimental, Material-Intensive, and Personal Biopic
“Asakusa Kid” not only focuses on the story of Takeshi Kitano building his career as a comedian, but also explores the world of entertainment in general. More specifically, in the transitional era of theater entertainment, which was unable to compete with television programs. Then according to the principles of Fukami and Take which turned out to be different.

While Fukami was extremely talented, charismatic, and idealistic, Take had a comedian spirit that was more free as a young man, and open to new opportunities. But the two of them still have a good relationship and friendly jokes that make us smile. Not only the figure of Fukami, France-za theater also has a special place in Takeshi’s heart and memories.

There is one scene that has the concept of one long shot, executed with smooth cinematography, we can see the personal sentimental memories of Take.

Rather than making us laugh, “Asakusa Kid” explores the struggles of a comedian who is not laughed at, but makes people laugh. There are sweat and tears that they shed behind the stage, hidden from us as spectators who only accept laughter.