The first performance of the stage play Tokyo Ghoul ~Aruiwa, Chouetsuteki Bishokugaku wo Meguru Meisouroku~ was held on 29 June at Theatre1010 in Tokyo. On the same day, there was an open rehearsal for the press and an interview session, in which we got the opportunity to hear many things from the cast.
Among manga fans, there are both good and bad opinions, towards live-action films and stage play adaptations. However, I personally believe that it is a wonderful thing that the fans get to enjoy the manga from different perspectives via these performances.
This is the second stage play adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul. In the first play, which was shown in July 2015, the story was about how protagonist Ken Kaneki turns into a ghoul and how he suffers in accepting his new identity. In the new stage play, we can see the story of Kaneki’s encounter with Shuu Tsukiyama, the gourmet ghoul. By getting to know more about other ghouls, such as Touka Kirishima and Nishiki Nishio, Kaneki finds out that each ghoul has their own way of living. Thus, he starts to deeply think about the world in which humans and ghouls coexist.
For the interview session, five stellar cast members came up on the stage: Ryo Matsuda (Ken Kaneki), Shougo Suzuki (Nishiki Nishio), Aya Tabata (Touka Kirishima), Mitsuru Murata (Uta), and Yoshihide Sasaki (Shuu Tsukiyama).
Matsuda, who came back for his role as Kaneki, commented, ‘Even now, after finishing our last rehearsal, I still cannot come up with the right words to express my enthusiasm towards this show. I think this is because the performance is not yet completed, and it will be truly completed when the theater is filled with the audience.’
Suzuki, who returned to play Nishio, mentioned, ‘Tokyo Ghoul is originally a manga series and has received various adaptations. However, I hope that the audience would feel that “The stage play is the best adaptation.” We have tried our best to express the world of Tokyo Ghoul in a way that can only be possible on stage. Therefore, we hope to perform with all our might, and burn our souls on the stage. Please enjoy watching the difference between humans and ghouls’ ways of living, and the conflict between their beliefs.’
Tabata, who is playing Touka, commented with a smile, ‘The characters are all shedding blood, sweat, and tears to desperately live on the stage. Viewers can feel the characters’ breathing and smell the realistic atmosphere only in theaters. Therefore, we hope to pull the viewers into the world of Tokyo Ghoul from the stage.’
Murata, who is playing Uta, mentioned, ‘Since the original manga is so popular, I’m sure there would be fans who watch the performance with strict eyes. However, I would like to convert that pressure into power, and try my best to fully satisfy all viewers.’
Sasaki, who is a new member of the stage play adaptation and is playing Tsukiyama, commented, ‘I have always been a huge fan of Tokyo Ghoul, and I’ve read the manga and watched the anime. I have also gone to see the first version of the stage play, and I was fascinated by the performance. In the story, Tsukiyama is my favorite character, so it is an honor to play the role of my favorite character from my favorite manga.’
When the cast members were asked about what should the viewers keep an eye on, they all answered that they want the fans to pay special attention to the characters’ psychological depictions. Matsuda commented, ‘This new stage play deeply focuses on the border between humans and ghouls, so I’m sure the audience would be able to understand the difference of these two living species in their own unique way. I strongly believe that a huge universal theme of Tokyo Ghoul is hidden in our performance. Many aspects are combined together on the stage; our acting, the setting, music, video, and many more, so we hope we can leave a strong impact on the viewers’ hearts.’
Uta, Murata’s character, has tattoos all over his body, so Murata revealed that it always takes two hours for his body to get painted. He made the reporters laugh by complaining about how early he always needs to arrive. Tsukiyama, the character who will make his first appearance in this second stage play adaptation, will be the key character in the story. He is the only character who has singing and dancing parts, and he is featured in the performance in a gorgeous way. Sasaki, who is playing Tsukiyama, mentioned, ‘Usually, when I play a role in these so-called “2.5D stage plays,” I try to mimic the way the character speaks in the original manga. However, in this stage play, not only am I mimicking Tsukiyama, but I’m also trying to deeply understand and empathize with him, so I hope you look forward in watching the performance.’
During the open rehearsal, the cast members’ passion and energy were so strong that it completely filled the theater, just as they had mentioned in the interview. In its limited time, the performance focuses on each character’s feelings, so the viewers can understand the story from different perspectives. The story is deep and profound, and the performance is vivid and gorgeous. The battle scenes and Tsukiyama’s singing scenes are amazing.
There are scenes in which the fans of the anime’s first season would definitely get excited! Please look forward to watch the fabulously reproduced world of Tokyo Ghoul on stage!