Maverick comes to town, complete with fireworks and hand hearts.

Top Gun: Maverick is finally in cinemas around Japan today, 36 years after the original Top Gun left audiences swooning for Maverick, the naval pilot played by Tom Cruise in the movie.

Our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa never fell head-over heels for Tom Cruise as an actor, but he’s been a fan of Top Gun ever since he was in elementary school. So he snapped up the chance to attend the press conference in Japan this week, and despite his best intentions to resist Cruise’s charms, he ended up walking away as the star’s biggest fan.

▼ What have you been up to these past 36 years, Maverick?

The press conference was held at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi on 23 May, the day before the red carpet event at Osanbashi, the international passenger ship terminal at Yokohama. Cruise was due to speak at the press conference with Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer behind both Top Gun films, whom Cruise has referred to in the past as his “wingman“.

Egawa arrived early to secure a spot near the stage where the two Hollywood heavyweights would be appearing, and when they stepped into the spotlight, they were met with rapturous applause.

Withholding his desire to interrupt the press conference with a joke about cat and mouse characters characters Tom and Jerry, our reporter snapped a few photos of the pair, and he could’ve sworn that Cruise was staring right at him.

Egawa was here to learn more background details about the movie, though, and wasn’t interested in getting swept up by the Hollywood fanfare.

▼ So he listened intently to all they had to say.

Cruise’s passion for filmmaking and his constant consideration for the audience during production of Top Gun: Maverick was clear throughout the press conference.

When speaking of what he wanted for the audience when watching the movie, Cruise became animated, saying:

▼ “We’re hoping that when they have their seat in the movie theatre, that they only use the edge.”

Cruise’s audience-focussed approach to filmmaking began to stir something in Egawa’s movie-loving soul. And as the star laughed on stage, Egawa couldn’t help but feel like he was beginning to fall in love with the guy.

And then, Cruise turned and suddenly looked over at Egawa. As soon as those eyes locked in on his, it was over. Egawa was now a diehard Tom Cruise fan. 

At that moment, it was as if nobody else in the room existed. However, in reality, the room was crowded with press and photographers and it was time for Tom and Jerry to stand up and take their leave from the stage.

The two stopped to chat about something mid-photo shoot, perhaps thinking that their posing duties for the cameras were over, but they soon turned back to the sea of cameras for a final pose before leaving the stage.

Tom bowed, Egawa’s heart melted, as did the hearts of many in the room, and Cruise gave a final wave, which Egawa likes to think was aimed just at him.

▼ That hand-heart is obviously meant for Egawa too.

It’s been four years since Cruise last visited Japan, and Egawa now hopes it won’t be long before the star graces our shores again.

▼ A final wave from Cruise to our fan-boy Egawa.

Having fallen in love with Cruise at the press conference, Egawa wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to meet him at the red carpet event the following day. So he lined up early, camera in hand and waited for the star to arrive.

▼ Looks like Cruise suited up especially for Egawa.

Egawa’s heart skipped a beat as Cruise removed his sunglasses to reveal those baby blues. Or were they baby green? Whatever the colour, they were piercingly gorgeous.

Cruise was effervescent with fans as they expressed their love and adulation, and he was generous with his affections, stopping to cup his hand into one half of a love heart to match the hand of a fan taking a photo.

▼ He even doled out some cute finger hearts too.

It must feel strange for celebrities to be looking at the backs of people’s heads these days as they take selfies.

Egawa found himself feeling slightly jealous of the other fans who were close enough to touch the star, although many refrained from doing so, given the ongoing pandemic.

But then, Cruise headed over to the press area, and at one moment, it was as if the actor recognised our boy Egawa.

▼ Egawa, is that you?

Cruise’s star power was so strong that Egawa found himself involuntarily raising his hand to wave at the star. Egawa immediately felt embarrassed, but he decided to shake off his embarrassment to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime moment instead.

▼ “Tom, it’s Egawa, your biggest fan!”

Egawa wanted to call out to the actor and have a one-on-one moment with him, but decided to act professional by giving him some space and snapping photos from a distance instead.

There was some consolation, though, as Egawa managed to have a moment with these three Japanese celebrities, who were taking a break from their duties as Cruise walked the red carpet.

▼ Left to right: Voice actor Toshiyuki Morikawa, who dubs Cruise’s voice for Japanese versions of his films, Natsuko Toda, who has been interpreting for Tom for many years, and Japanese model, TV personality and MC Harry Sugiyama.

▼ The next best thing to Tom Cruise.

From start to finish, Cruise spent more than an hour and a half on the red carpet for his fans, proving why he’s known as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. By the time it came round to the finale, the sun had set as Tom and Jerry made their way to the stage.

Tom’s fantastic fan service meant the event was now running overtime, but nobody was complaining. In fact, the two overseas guests were on their way to watch a special screening of Top Gun: Maverick with fans at Toho Cinemas in Tokyo’s Hibiya, so Egawa was surprised to see they still had time to speak on stage.

Still, this is the guy for whom no mission is impossible, so Cruise had no problem packing so much into his schedule. After speaking to the crowd for a while, the event came to a close, but not before a fireworks display lit up the skies.

It was a memorable evening and a fitting way to celebrate the arrival of Top Gun: Maverick in Japan. During his appearance, Cruise revealed that he plans to return to Japan next summer for the premiere of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

▼ The trailer for that movie was shared on Cruise’s official Twitter account while he was in Japan.

And if you’d like to watch the full video for the press conference in Tokyo, where Cruise stole Egawa’s heart, take a look at the full hour-long clip below.

▼ Sayonara, Tom! And a big hand heart back to you from our reporter Egawa!


It might be sayonara for now, but Egawa is hoping that next time Cruise comes to Japan, he’ll be able to meet up for a one-on-one meeting with the handsome celebrity. So if you’re reading this, Tom, send us an email! We promise we won’t embarrass ourselves again, like we did when we sat down with Keanu Reeves.

References: Top Gun: Maverick, Twitter/@TomCruise , YouTube/Paramount Japan
Images ©SoraNews24

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