mayoraasei: (Gintama)
[personal profile] mayoraasei
To finish off the casting round, we have the Murata siblings and the Shinsengumi.

Gintama live action 2017 - Murata Tetsuya and Murata Testuko
Click for original size


Murata Tetsuya
Anime: Oonishi Takeharu / Movie: Yasuda Ken
Another one of those characters I can't remember and another one of those actors I have seen a hundred times elsewhere but can't pinpoint...I think I saw him in SPEC but for the life of me can't remember who as.

Murata Testuko
Anime: Nemoto Keiko / Movie: Hayami Akari
Another idol graduate with limited acting experience, fortunately playing a small (though pivotal) part. I know I sound prejudiced against idols, but a lot of the kids (boys and girls) who come through that sort of training in Japan tries too hard to sell it to the camera rather than portray their characters.

Gintama live action 2017 - Hijikata, Kondou, Okita
Click for original size


Hijikata Toshirou
Anime: Nakai Kazuya / Movie: Yagira Yuuya (Nobody Knows)
As I was saying to a friend, I don't usually go for the low baritones, but Nakai's voice really grows on you especially over the course of the anime where the Shinsengumi are frequently assembled for some of the most emotionally poignant arcs. He's also around for a lot of the silliest arcs, and his normal serious voice contrasted with his flustered/angry stutter adds to the comedy.

Like the rest of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata is a popular character and a popular romantic symbol of the Bakumatsu era, where intelligent and good people did terrible things to each other and then died for their vision of the country. During his normal arcs, Nakai's voice really oozes with the unflappable confidence and pragmatic manliness of the demon vice commander.

I don't think the Shinsengumi will feature greatly (at least they didn't have a big role in the original Benizakura arc), but they've nevertheless gone carefully with casting 2 characters that consistently come in the top 5 in character polls.

I haven't seen Yagira Yuuya's acting, but as a kid he won best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, he hasn't had many big projects, but I look forward to seeing his portrayal. Probably due to the popularity of Hijikata (the real guy) as a culture icon, I feel he has a bit more fluidity than the series' main cast.

Nevertheless, that mocking half-smirk on his face is already promising.

Kondou Isao
Anime: Chiba Susumu / Movie: Nakamura Kankurou
There's a saying that "Gintama ruins seiyuus" - and if you look at Ishida Akira screaming his heart out with "ELIZABESUU" or Kobayashi Yuu's psychotic screeching as Sacchan, you'll understand. But Chiba Susumu will always be the first voice Gintama ruined, eschewing his normal gentle tenor for a gravelly and burly voice.

I don't know much about Nakamura, but it appears he's an heir in a long line of Kabuki actors, and he'll bring an interesting traditional flavour to the samurai leader.

Okita Sougo
Anime: Suzumura Kenichi / Movie: Yoshizawa Ryou
I remember Gundam Seed Destiny made me so angry that I started disliking the actors involved in it too. Hoshi and Ishida were saved somewhat because I've seen them in a lot of other stuff that I liked, but Suzumura.........

Then he made the smart choice and did Okita, and he has the perfect shota voice for the shota-faced first captain who's really a Do-S prince. Suzumura's not necessary great at extremes of emoting, as I always found his crying and giggling a bit cringeworthy, but with Okita he only needed to sound poised and cool and dripping with disdain, and his voice was perfect for it.

I've never seen Yoshizawa Ryou in anything, but he's got the pretty face that got him cast in a number of tweenie movies. Again, for such an iconic character, I think he's paradoxically easier to portray because he's one of the few in Gintama who remains cool even when everyone else is being retarded, so any "idol bundle" won't affect his portrayal that much.

I think he looks the part (which, unfortunately for his character, is probably the main thing that's required to appease fans) and as long as he's not terrible in his interactions with Hijikata, he will be just about right.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


And that's a wrap!

I think it's a good mix of people who are reliable at acting, and a few unknowns cast in roles that won't require a huge amount of acting. Will that make it a success? Who knows. Japan has gone full steam with live adaptations of manga works in the past few years, and there's been a very small handful that's really struck gold with audiences (Rurouni Kenshin being the only one I can think of).

Just in the next few months, from the ones I've heard of, there's going to be Sangatsu no Lion, Blade of the Immortal, Full Metal Alchemist - not to mention at least another half a dozen romances coming to either the big or small screen. Generally Japan has better results with small screen adaptations of shoujo manga, but has traditionally struggled with shounen due to the scope, often the much darker themes, and the occasional leaps in suspension of belief required of the audience.

Possibly a good comparison will be the Oguri Shun-led Nobunaga Concerto, another historical fiction that has its comical and serious moments. It managed a respectable result at the box office and became the first film to squeeze Star Wars out of its top spot.

It will depend very much on the script and even at the best of times Gintama is not an easy material to convert into live action. Even just converting from manga to anime, given some of the crazy premises and the dependence on comedy, is no mean feat and speaks volumes about the professionalism of the writers and actors, and the maturity of the animation industry in Japan.

I have some carefully measured hopes, but given some recent failures in translation of popular manga onto the silver screen, I'm also carefully preparing myself for a disappointment.
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