Tokyo Ghoul Live-Action Movie World Premiere at Anime Expo 2017
On July 3, 2017, Funimation hosted the world premiere of the live action movie, Tokyo Ghoul, from the hit manga at Anime Expo. Special guest appearances included lead actor Masataka Kubota who plays the role of Ken Kaneki, Director Kentarou Hagiwara, and Producer Tomohiro Nagae. The movie is set to release in Japanese theaters on July 29th, but Anime Expo fans had the exclusive chance to watch the movie before anyone else around the world.
Directing his first feature length film, Hagiwara challenged himself to blend traditional Japanese horror movie elements and superhero-like action to create the live-action Tokyo Ghoul. The film covers the first few volumes of the original manga, following the struggles of Keni Kaneki suffering a freak accident that transforms him from a timid college student to a ghoul that must eat humans to survive. While three quarters of the film is full of drama, suspense, horror, and jump scares, the latter portion of the film shifts gear into a spectacular display of action. This abrupt change is a bit jarring and felt unbalanced which is understandable when trying to adapt manga into a two-hour long movie.
Fans of the original manga’s storyline might be upset by the fact that the movie left out important background details, such as why Kaneki became a ghoul, his relationship with his human friend, and the reasons for some of the characters’ hatred for ghouls. Overall, the visual effects in the film are better than some of the recent live-action adaptations, but they could have been improved when compared to Hollywood movies. The more graphic scenes, including beheadings and dismemberments, appeared a bit unrealistic.
The redeeming point of the movie was the faithful representation of the characters by the cast. Fumika Shimizu, who plays Touka Kirishima, had almost a foot of her hair cut off and restyled into the iconic long bangs that covers half of her face. As Touka, Shimizu nails her emotional struggles of having to hide her existence as a ghoul from her best friend. Kubota grew out his bangs and, combined with the ghoul mask and red eye, became the living embodiment of Kaneki. His amazing facial expressions and fighting stance mirrors scenes from the manga pages exactly. Another standout performance is by Yo Ooizumi. He plays the antagonist, Kurso Mado, as a member of the Ghoul Countermeasures Office. Ooizumi’s acting is downright creepy and audiences can expect to feel goosebumps watching him on screen. Female fans of Mado’s partner, Koutarou Amon; played by Nobuyuki Suzuki, will be pleased to hear the film features a shirtless scene.
Overall, the film was somewhat disappointing since it cut out many important details from the original manga, but for true hardcore fans, it’s worth watching to see your favorite characters come to life.
After the screening, the special guests came back out and the fans roared when they saw Kubota wearing the same costume and mask as in the film. They expressed their gratitude for the fans’ support, And Nagae said he was surprised to hear the audience laughing at Kaneki’s mental anguish during a scene in the movie. Hagiwara joked about this and stated how he had originally made to be a half serious/half comical part of the movie. However, Kubota laid it down that the scene was absolutely serious.
Kubota also jokingly added a public service announcement that while he has real canine fangs, he is a pure human and not a ghoul. He also advised that it is wrong to eat human, so please don’t try it at home.
At the end of the panel, fans were asked to put on their Kaneki masks that were given out earlier for a group photo with Kubota.
The movie opens in Japanese theaters on July 29, 2017.