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The iDol
Directed by Norman England
Produced by Shinako Sudo
Norman England
Written by Story:
Norman England
Jiro Kaneko
Starring Jin Sasaki
Erina Hayase
Mitsu Katahira
Masayasu Nakanishi
Takako Fuji
Hirotaka Miyama
Shio Chino
Tomoo Haraguchi
Toshiyuki Watarai
Takashi Yamazaki
Yukijiro Hotaru
Music by Kō Ōtani
Cinematography Hiroo Takaoka
Editing by Rob Moreno
Yasu Inoue
Studio iMages from the iD
Running time 52 minutes
Country Japan Japan
Language Japanese

The iDol is a 2006 film from independent filmmaker Norman England. A science fiction satire filmed entirely in Japan, The iDol tells the story of a Japanese collector who comes into possession of a figure with origins not of this world.

The iDol premiered at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal on July 16, 2006[1] and has subsequently played at various festivals around the world. It was first broadcast on Japan's SKY Perfect satellite channel on March 3, 2008.



Ken is a mild-mannered man in his mid-twenties who like many his age has interests that stopped developing during adolescence. On a visit to a local toy collectors shop he acquires a rare alien action figure. Unexpectedly, Ken's world is turned inside out as the somewhat silly looking toy alters his life by benevolently giving him everything he has ever dreamed of, and then callously taking it all back.

Ken's immature desires and indecisive nature are pit against a collection of seemingly normal, yet equally misguided characters who are meant to illustrate how people are victims of a socially implanted drive for things not in their own best interests.


First time director Norman England felt the urge to direct his own film after a year spent as a reporter on the set of the 2001 movie Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. His idea for The iDol came in early 2002 while travelling on the subway in Tokyo, where he sketched a drawing of the alien figure and wrote a short synopsis.[2]

England wrote the first version of the script in English. The Japanese version, on which he worked closely with Japanese scriptwriter Jiro Kaneko, was initially written as a literal translation of the English, however readers responded saying it "came across like subtitles". This version of the script was abandoned, and England and Kaneko rewrote it from a purely Japanese perspective. Takashi Yamazaki also rewrote the script around the time he was directing Always Sanchōme no Yūhi. England produced the final shooting script combining elements from his and Kaneko's version and Yamazaki's.[3]

Casting began in 2004. Lead actor Jin Sasaki was recommended by director Shusuke Kaneko, with whom he worked with on the TV series Holy Land. Takako Fuji joined the production after director England saw her performance on the set of the 2004 movie The Grudge.[4]

Shooting took place over 10 days in August 2005, filming around Shimokitazawa, Shibuya, Shiba Park, Tamagawa River and at the Tokyo Film Centre School of Arts.[4]


The iDol first premiered at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal on July 16, 2006.

Other festival screenings have included The Festival of Fantastic Films (Manchester, England - Sep 2006), Lyon Asian Film Festival (Lyon, France - Sep 2006), Nipponbashi International Film Festival (Osaka, Japan - Nov 2006), Kansai International Film Festival (Osaka, Japan - Oct 2007), Club Bollywood (Osaka, Japan - Oct 2007), Vancouver Comicon (Vancouver, Canada - Oct 2007), Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival (Yubari, Japan - Mar 2008), Japanisches Filmfest Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany - May 2008), Lost Plus One (Tokyo, Japan - Apr 2009).

The iDol had its television premiere on March 22, 2008 on Japan's SKY Perfect satellite channel.[5]


  • Jin Sasaki as Ken
  • Erina Hayase as Mayuka
  • Mitsu Katahira as Yamada
  • Masayasu Nakanishi as Tanaka
  • Takako Fuji as Rika
  • Hirotaka Miyama as Taki
  • Tomoo Haraguchi as Boss Goro
  • Toshiyuki Watarai as Alien-Kun
  • Takashi Yamazaki as Cameraman
  • Yukijiro Hotaru as Homeless Man


  • Director/Writer/Producer: Norman England
  • Script: Jiro Kaneko
  • Producer: Shinako Sudo
  • Director of Photography: Hiroo Takaoka
  • Editor: Rob Moreno, Yasu Inoue
  • Lighting Director: Hiroaki Morikawa, Taichi Suzuki
  • Creature Creator: Kakusei Fujiwara
  • CGI: Takashi Yamazaki
  • Visual Effects: Hajime Matsumoto
  • Alien Figure Sculptor: Bill Gudmundson
  • Assistant Director: Takeru Emuta
  • Matte Painter: Bob Eggleton
  • Music: Kō Ōtani


  1. ^ "Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2006 - Films + Schedule - The iDol".  
  2. ^ "IDOL WORSHIP". Retrieved 2006-07-11.  
  3. ^ "Norman England interview". Retrieved 2006-11-02.  
  4. ^ a b "The iDol Press Kit". Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  5. ^ "The iDol Is Finally Getting The Attention It Deserves". Retrieved 2008-03-03.  

External links



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