Masataka Kubota gets ghoulish in Tokyo Ghoul; Fumika Shimizu co-stars as Touka Kirishima!

tokyo ghoul masataka kubota

Live action casting continues to rock the manga/anime scene, and this time, it’s all about Tokyo Ghoul! Here’s a backgrounder first:

Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種トーキョーグール, Tōkyō Gūru) is a media franchise based on the manga series by the same name written and illustrated by Sui Ishida. It was later adapted into an anime produced by Studio Pierrot.

Strange murders are happening in Tokyo. Due to liquid evidence at the scene, the police conclude the attacks are the results of ‘eater’ type ghouls. College buddies Kaneki and Hide come up with the idea that ghouls are imitating humans so that’s why they haven’t ever seen one. Little did they know that their theory may very well become a reality. [ backgrounder @Wikia ]

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Now, a recent article discussing the cast – in my humble opinion, has selected some rather “old” Japanese actors. I mean, Eita and Hikari Mitsushima are not exactly teens. So, seeing that the actual cast took in Fumika Shimizu for one of the major roles is – definitely – perfect for me. 

Now for the more ‘complicated’ part. There was some discussion on twitter as to whether Masataka Kubota is the right actor for the role of the main protagonist – Ken Kaneki. So let’s look at the character first…

Ken Kaneki (金木 研, Kaneki Ken) is the protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re.

Formerly, he was a human studying Japanese Literature at Kamii University and living a normal life. However, everything soon changed after he had Rize Kamishiro’s kakuhou transplanted into him and became a one-eyed ghoul. After joining Anteiku as a part-time waiter, he learned how to live as a ghoul and became known as Eyepatch (眼帯, Gantai).

After being captured by Aogiri Tree, he underwent a drastic personality change, forming a team with the goal of protecting the ones precious to him and exterminating people who threatened the place he belonged to… [ read more ]

What appeals to me about the character is that Kaneki attempts to reconcile his ghoulish tendencies with his remaining humanity. Such emotional and physical conflicts can really offer an interesting character study – especially so for the live action adaptation since this involves an actual personification of Kaneki. 

And before you shout “over-acting” actor! Masataka Kubota is far from being the wrong/imperfect choice. On second thought, I would rather have Kanata Hongo do Kaneki. Or do you think Ryuu Kamiki can do the role some justice? On third, fourth reflection, perhaps it’s the over-acting by Kubota in Death Note drama that made the producers/casting agent realize he’s ‘perfect’ for the role? [ this particular video offers a glimpse into the lunacy of Kaneki as a ghoul ]

While there may be some issues with Masataka’s age – he’s a man and Ken Kaneki is more of a “boy”, as the twitter discussion suggests, which I agree – perhaps it’s his intensity as an actor that gave him that ‘leap’ of faith, so to speak… BUT then again, Kubota’s body is a bit on the muscular side while Kaneki is just thin and young and vulnerable until those “things” come out… [ watch video for understanding the concerns ]

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tokyo ghoul fumika shimizu

While we don’t have the complete line up of cast yet, Fumika Shimizu’s selection to play Touka Kirishima is – I think – a top notch choice! The promising actress who started playing supporting parts in Kame Rider productions has graduated from being just a teaser to being one of the major players – she’s in Mare (asadora) as Tao Tsuchiya’s rival, and then as the heroine in the sex-comedy Hentai Kamen and a single episode in Gou Ayano’s drama Kounodori (as the unwed, unregistered pregnant single Mom) convinced me she has the acting chops – whether in light comedy, romance or heavy drama.

Let’s see the character she’s playing:

Touka Kirishima (霧嶋 董香, Kirishima Tōka) is a ghoul and an ex-waitress at Anteiku.

While hunting, she wears a rabbit mask and her alias is Rabbit (ラビット). In Tokyo Ghoul, she was a second-year student at Kiyomi High School in the beginning and a third-year student after the post-Aogiri time skip. Touka is a slender teenage girl noted for being attractive. She has a dark straight hair cut into a bob and long bangs that reach her chin, covering the right side of her face. On the outside, she is considered a cute, normal girl that one wouldn’t suspect to be a ghoul. [ source ]

Shimizu can certainly do the role!

Well, the casting sounds just fine to me if you think about it. What bothers me is how they’ll do the special effects – most especially the deadly battles? Do they have the budget to employ highly-qualified CGI specialists? And can these local CGI specialists have what it takes? The live action Parasyte for me is fine, but Tokyo Ghoul has more complicated action sequences that involve more than just a “parasite attacking from a boy’s arm”…