Not only is Liveman a fan favorite Sentai series, but Daisuke Shima's character Yuusuke Amamiya (Red Falcon) is one of the most popular Sentai Reds. After returning to the role in Gaoranger VS Super Sentai, he was expected to return for Gokaiger and was one of the actors named in early rumored lists of those who would return. Once a super popular pop star, Shima became a fixture in television shows, movies, and variety shows after Liveman, and remains one of the franchise's most well known actors. (He is also still very fond of his Liveman days, frequently doing interviews and live fan events.) However, Shima gained weight as he entered his 40s and came under harsh critiques from reporters and (typical) internet posters. (Shima did himself no favors by poking fun at his weight, by starring in movies such as the big screen adaptation of Rock 'n Roll Diet -- the story of a fallen rock star who works to shed pounds -- for example.)
|Shima and Red Falcon suit actor Kazuo Niibori from a 2004 interview about Liveman.|
Now, this initially sounds to me like an urban legend -- more ridicule at Shima's expense. However, watching the movie closely, I happened to notice a few things.
First of all, the characters of all of the actors who had a cameo in the movie had extra footage for the Legend War filmed. For example, there's footage of Denji Blue and Goggle Black fighting together, a quick shot of Shinken Green and Shinken Gold fighting together, and new highlights of Ryuu Ranger, Bouken Red and Dyna Pink fighting grunts. Red Turbo's only shown in the same footage from Gokaiger's first episode, where he's fighting alongside Red Racer. However, Red Falcon is shown fighting in a newly filmed sequence alongside Red One, whose actor was another of the film's cameos:
Also, later in the movie, the treasure chest containing the Ranger Keys is arranged in a way that the Keys representing the cameo characters lay on top. In one scene, Red Falcon's Key lies amongst the others. (In a later scene, most likely a pick up shot filmed later, Red Turbo's Key is clearly seen instead, when it had been obscured in the previous shot.)
So, it now seems likely to me that Shima was meant to be in the movie. It's a shame that he was willing to do it and all of this focus and pressure about his weight ruined it. Sad thing is? Shima, who "fans" have described as a "pig" and "larger than a bus," IS NOT EVEN THAT FAT! Here are some stills of him from mid-2012, what he would have looked like on Gokaiger (and note the sideview):
He just doesn't look that fat to me, and I think it's ridiculous the way people act about him. He should have been in Gokaiger. The only positive is that, had he been in Sentai 199, the show itself might not have done the Liveman episode with Kazuhiko Nishimura and Jouji Nakata returning.