Softbank's iconic commercial series featuring the Shirato family headed by Otosan, a man in a dog's body as father, wife Masako (Kanako Higuchi) daughter Aya (Aya Ueto), and son Kojiro (Dante Carver) has been running for the past 13 years and has gone through many story arcs in the process. The current story arc advertising Softank's 5G products is a tie-up with Doraemon, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Newly joining the family as regular members in this arc are 15-year-old Nobita (Fuku Suzuki) and 45-year-old Nobita from the future (Masato Sakai). The "Shirato family" commercials have welcomed Hollywood actors before such as Tommy Lee Jones and Quentin Tarrantino, but in this new series, Bruce Willis plays the titular blue robot cat.

Now, in the latest commercial, which will begin airing on Japanese TV from November 28th and is already available on YouTube, NBA Wizards forward Rui Hachimura joins the set in his first-ever acting role. If Hachimura's 2-meter height wasn't already a sufficient giveaway, he plays the role of Takeshi Gouda, more commonly known as "Gian" in the Doraemon series.


Junior high school students Nobita (Fuku Suzuki) and Shizuka (Rina Komiyama) have traveled to the future in Doraemon's time machine. It's a city full of self-driving cars and drones in a world where Softbank's 5G technology has developed and made life easier for everyone. 15-year-old Suneo (Takeru Narahara) begins to look through a pair of binoculars he brought with him but 15-year-old Gian (Nozomi Terazawa) immediately snatches them from him, saying: "Your things are my things." But then, a big hand reaches down from above and takes the binoculars, along with a deep voice saying: "People's things are their things". The two look up to see a big man spinning a basketball on his finger. Future Nobita (Masato Sakai) then appears through a time portal and introduces him as "Future Gian."

Future Nobita is about to introduce another man (Noritoshi Furuichi) but before he can do so, the four kids recognize him from his tell-tale hairdo and exclaim: "Suneo!" to which an annoyed Suneo replies "It's Suneo-san to you."

Then, the members of the Shirato family come through the time portal and, after briefly marveling about their new surroundings, quickly recognize the newcomer and point their fingers, and much to his annoyance, blurt out: "Future Suneo!" without using "san." Meanwhile, Doraemon (Bruce Willis), looks at the family and says: "This family is crazy." Meanwhile, mother and daughter approach Future Gian, who is dribbling a basketball between his legs. "So, is this Gian?" "He's different from what I would have expected", they say. But a suspicious Otosan blurts out: "Show us proof!" Happy to comply, Future Gian takes out a microphone and says: "I'll sing for you." But before he can begin to inflict his awful singing on everyone, Nobita and his friends, along with Doraemon, shut their ears with their hands while yelling "No!" and "Stop!"


Behind-the-scenes and interview

In this behind-the-scenes video, you can see how Hachimura recorded his scenes in the studio and from around 4:56, Hachimura answers a few questions about his performance, his childhood memories and his impressions of the Doraemon manga and anime.

Q: Can you share an episode from your past relating to Doraemon or your feelings on getting the offer to play this role?

[Hachimura]: First of all, when I heard the news I was very happy. It was one of the anime series I watched together with my brothers and sisters when I was a small kid. Also, I heard that the author was born in Toyama just like I am, so I was happy about that too.

Q: This was your first acting role in a TV commercial. How did it feel to play the role of future Gian?

[Hachimura]: I knew a little about what Gian was like from watching the anime, so I immediately got an image of the role, and it was easy for me to act thanks to the efforts of all the creative people involved in the production. I also enjoyed shooting so I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work.

Q: If you had to rate your performance, how many points out of 100 would you give yourself?

[Hachimura]: I think it's about "110 points." The director was happy too, so I think that score is just about right.

Q: If you could use one of Doraemon's secret tools, which one would it be?

[Hachimura]: Of course, the most famous and popular Bamboo Copter would be nice, but for me, since I often go back and forth between Japan and the United States, I think it would be very convenient to have an Everywhere Door. I could definitely use one of those. After that, it would be the "Pass Through Hoop" or some kind of transportation tool.

By - Ben K.