Netflix Confirms “Last Samurai Standing” Featuring Epic Battle Royale In Historic Japan

Delving into the rich history of the samurai era, the upcoming Netflix series Last Samurai Standing presents an intriguing tale of survival and honor.

Based on the novel “Ikusagami” by Shogo Imamura, winner of the 166th Naoki Prize in 2021, the series features the multi-talented Junichi Okada in the lead role. He is also serving as producer and action choreographer, with Michito Fujii (The Journalist) in the director’s chair.

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Set in the late 19th century during the Meiji period, Last Samurai Standing takes place at the Tenryuji Temple in Kyoto. Come nightfall, 292 skilled warriors gather, lured by the promise of a grand prize of 100 billion yen. Among them is our protagonist, Shujiro Saga (Junichi Okada), who enters this dangerous game with one goal: to save his ailing wife and child.

Okada, taking on multiple roles in this project, shares his enthusiasm for the show. “When Netflix executive producer Mr. Takahashi reached out to me, I was still acting in historical dramas. Back then, I was already thinking of ways to make this genre a hit, not just in Japan, but all over the world. I saw their potential for action, drama, social commentary, and entertainment, but I knew they could be taken further. That’s when I came across Imamura’s manga. It was written in a way that modern audiences could enjoy, and I was excited about the idea of adapting it” he shares. “I was also adamant about having Michihito Fujii as the director — if he hadn’t agreed, I was ready to step back from the project.”

Imamura echoes the excitement for the adaptation. “I wrote ‘Ikusagami’ with the intention of making a historical novel that could be enjoyed worldwide. When Netflix approached me, I was overjoyed. And having Junichi Okada in the lead role was a dream come true, as I had envisioned him as Shujiro while writing,” he reveals.

The adaptation process was not without its own set of challenges, particularly in transitioning the novel into a multi-episode drama series, which was likened to producing three films. Fujii and Okada worked meticulously on the script, ensuring it stayed true to the essence of the original work while also adding cinematic elements. With nearly 300 actors, each requiring their own costume, production demanded unwavering dedication from the entire team.

Despite the scope of the project, the team remains undeterred. “We’re creating a unique world with an ensemble cast. We feel a responsibility to deliver something unprecedented. I’m glad for this opportunity to take an amazing story, cast and visuals, and create a work for Japan and the world to see,” Fujii shares.

Last Samurai Standing reflects the timeless allure of samurai tales and the enduring spirit of those who lived through those times. Prepare to witness a battle royale like no other, only on Netflix.

*Press Release