During the event, four special guests came up on stage: Masataka Kubota who plays the movie’s protagonist Ken Kaneki; Kentarou Hagiwara, the movie’s director; Tadashi Osumi, the managing director and general manager of the Visual Division at Shochiku Co., Ltd.; and Tomohiro Nagae, the movie’s producer. Sui Ishida, the author of the original manga, joined the event online from Fukuoka Prefecture.
Kubota first held the microphone and commented, ‘It was about one year ago that the filming of this production started. And now, there are a lot of computer graphics that will be included so that this film will have a tremendously high degree of completion.’ Director Hagiwara said, ‘When it came to creating this film I understood that there were fans of the original comic throughout the world, so I strove to make something that people from around the world would be able to see and enjoy.’ Since this event was being shown in five cities in the world, Hagiwara also mentioned with a smile, ‘I welcome the opportunity for [overseas fans] to know further details about the film.’
When producer Nagae was asked about how the movie adaptation came about, he answered: ‘In regard to the Tokyo Ghoul manga, I was very much struck by it and I saw that there was a tremendous life-sized embodiment of the hero that made me a fan. Therefore, I was very much interested in creating a live action version of this work and that’s why we met with Ishida and the publishers. I believe the sentiment was very well conveyed to them.’
When asked about how he felt about the offer, Ishida commented, ‘I felt that if it were made into a film, then I would definitely want to see Mr Kubota play the hero, Kaneki. He may not have had the intention of playing the role of a ghoul, but when I first saw Mr Kubota, I felt that would be a very worthy person to portray that role in live action.’
Kubota responded, ‘It’s truly an honor to receive such an offer from the author, the parent of this work.’ He also mentioned with a smile, ‘It was truly intimidating at first, but because of the fact that such comments about me came from the author, this was something that acted as tremendous salvation for me.’ When asked about the movie’s story, Kubota commented, ‘Kaneki went through a tragedy, but tragedy in these kinds of comics can also be portrayed as comedy.’
Director Hagiwara spoke about his opinion of live-action film adaptations, and he mentioned, ‘I feel that it’s really difficult to portray characters that are from comic books. It’s necessary to maintain the original image. However, there must be some sense of reality that is portrayed that would make one believe that they exist in this world. However, all of the actors did a wonderful job here.’ He also praised Kubota by saying, ‘Especially went it comes to Mr. Kubota here, he really challenged the limit and tried to maintain a very good balance of what could be accomplished.’ Kubota blushed and smiled at Hagiwara’s comment.
Then Kubota was asked a question from a fan: ‘In regard to performing as Kaneki what were that things that you tried to do to portray the character?’ He answered, ‘At first, Kaneki is a person that is quite subdued compared to the rest of the cast members, both humans and ghouls who have very strong personalities. Kaneki is a person that gradually grows and changes his personality, so what I did was I tried to keep a neutral perspective.’
In addition, there was a question to Ishida from a Tokyo Ghoul fan from the United States, who asked ‘There are so many Tokyo Ghoul fans all over the world. Why do you think it’s so popular?’ Ishida answered with ‘This is because of the anime. I’m also looking forward to the efforts that will be made on behalf of the work by the film version,’ and everyone laughed at his answer.
At the end, Kubota commented, ‘This original work started as a comic book and then went onto the stage and then adapted to an anime. Now it has become a live action film. I understand and am fully aware that there are many fans that love this work so therefore I will be fully committed to promoting the film so that as many people throughout the world will be able to enjoy Tokyo Ghoul‘ He also mentioned, ‘It was a major role for me so of course there were all types of pressure on me, but the staff got together and created this 2-hour work, which we hope will be enjoyed by as many people as possible so we hope that you will look forward to the release of this film.’
The kickoff event was a great success. The live action Tokyo Ghoul movie is to be shown in theaters throughout Japan starting from 29 July 2017.
Released in Japan 29 July 2017
Original Work: Tokyo Ghoul written by Sui Ishida
Director: Kentarou Hagiwara
Screenplay: Ichirou Kusuno
Distribution: Shochiku Films