‘Tokyo Ghoul 2’ Movie Sequel, Anime Discussed By Live-Action Director Kentaro Hagiwara In New Interview

A Tokyo Ghoul 2 movie sequel may have accidentally been confirmed during a casting mishap earlier this year and now director Kentaro Hagiwara is talking about his hopes for the Tokyo Ghoul live action series. The film has been widely regarded as a good adaptation of Sui Ishida’s ongoing manga series, while the second part of the anime was hated by many fans of the manga since it thematically departed from the plot of the source material. Kentaro believes the trick to ending the curse of the bad live-action anime adaptation is finding “balance” in the artistic direction.

The director says that belief was what landed him the job in the first place. Kentaro was recommended by the producer of an ad commercial production company because the goal of the Tokyo Ghoul movie was to “balance the cool visuals and dramatic elements.”

“I figured that there were two features that unsuccessful live-action versions up to this point have shared. The first is that the visuals in the original comic were not updated very well for live action,” Kentaro told Comic Book in a new interview. “The other is that they lacked a sense of reality. In other words, the performance as a whole seemed fake, and that spoiled the picture. This is why I thought extremely hard about finding just the right balance.”

Kentaro was not familiar with the Tokyo Ghoul manga or anime before becoming the director, but he enjoyed reading the series so he created a presentation to pitch to the producer. The difficult part was finding a realistic way to present the kagune, a ghoul’s predatory organ that’s used as an organic weapon. Kentaro wanted to balance the beauty of Sui Ishida’s artwork against the “more grotesque content” by creating a ratio of 70 percent beauty to 30 percent ugliness.

“Kaneki’s kagune may be disgusting at first glance, but by giving the surface a shiny quality, and having the light sparkle when reflecting off of it, we can let it strike viewers as beautiful, too,” he explained.

Hardcore fans of the anime and manga art probably would have been outraged at the initial visual designs for the live-action Tokyo Ghoul movie. Kentaro tried having the kagune appear luminous in an attempt to make the appendages look as if they were growing out of a person’s body for real. Thankfully, the director realized there was not any justification for including glow-in-the-dark ghouls since “there is no need for the kagunes to give off light.”

Kentaro was also concerned about the weight and size of the kagune, going so far as to change the sounds they made moving through the air depending on the mass. The director did not want the appendages to be portrayed as unwieldy on the slender builds of the Japanese Tokyo Ghoul cast, which would appear as if their bodies could not support their weight. In the case of Hinami’s kagune, the team tried to make it appear as if the kagune had a “will of their own,” and could “support and balance” the physically small female character.

The director believes the resulting movie can be enjoyed by fans of the Tokyo Ghoul anime and even those who are not familiar with the manga series or anime. The main character Kaneki is “suddenly driven into a situation which forces him to confront the essentials of what it means to be human.” Because of this central theme, Kentaro considers the genre to be “going native,” which is when a character is lifted out of his comfort zone and thrust into a new environment, only to become a part of that new world.

Still, Kentaro hopes readers of the manga will pick up on the “fine details” that only “fans of the original comic will pick up on.” The director of the movie also has a message for those who watched the Tokyo Ghoul U.S. release.

“I went to the world premiere in America and felt the enthusiasm of the fans there. To be honest, I had no earthly idea what kind of reaction to expect, so I was relieved by how thrilled everyone was,” he said. “I made it with love toward the original comic, so I believe that fans of the comic are sure to be delighted… I think you will enjoy even the fine details.”

Tokyo Ghoul 2 Movie Plans Leaked Ahead Of U.S. Release By Touka Actress

Months before the July release date in Japan, plans for the Tokyo Ghoul 2 movie sequel were apparently leaked by accident. According to Japan’s Daily Sport, actress Fumika Shimizu was negotiating her contract for her role as Touka Kirishima in Tokyo Ghoul 2 when the actress abruptly announced her retirement, which shed light on the fact that the producers were already planning out the Tokyo Ghoul sequel even though this news was supposed to remain a secret.

On Twitter, the studio responded to the accidental announcement of the live-action Tokyo Ghoul 2 by avoiding the main issue. They said they were investigating the situation and apologized for any anxiety caused by news reports about Fumika. They promised to provide a later announcement on the official website on this page, but as of this article’s publishing, it’s a non-existent web page.

According to Anime News Network, the actress ended her contract with her agency LesPros Entertainment and has joined the Happy Science religious organization. As for her reasons, she cited health concerns from doctors and overall dissatisfaction with work, although none of her complaints were in direct relation to the Tokyo Ghoul film. Unfortunately, that probably means Fumika will not be returning as Touka, so the main Tokyo Ghoul 2 cast will need to be revised.

Tokyo Ghoul 2017 Movie Poster
[Image by Shochiku/Tokyo Ghoul Movie Promo]

Kentaro Hagiwara Wants Tokyo Ghoul 2, But Will The Box Office Numbers Support His Hopes?

Before the release of the first film, director Kentaro was asked about making Tokyo Ghoul 2 in the future. While he would “really like” to see more live-action Tokyo Ghoul movies, he only teased fans by saying that “more interesting characters are going to be introduced” and would not elaborate any further.

During the summer of 2017, the first Tokyo Ghoul movie landed in the top 5 for box office ticket sales in Japan, generating 232 million yen, or about $2 million, during its debut. According to Box Office Mojo, the Japanese release grossed about $5 million in total, landing the movie at number 65 in total sales for all movies shown in Japan theaters this year.

That may not sound like much, but keep in mind that only 38 movies topped $10 million in Japan so far in 2017. Although the Tokyo Ghoul budget was never officially announced, the director clearly stated in interviews that he “didn’t have a Hollywood budget for this movie.” The film opened in United States theaters in mid-October but only for limited screenings during one week.

A comparable movie is the live-action Gintama film, which was also released in July in Japan. Similarly, Gintama is based on a manga series that has an ongoing anime adaptation. The Gintama movie managed about $33.3 million in box office sales, is currently number 10 on the charts for 2017, and is only one of two non-Hollywood movies to find such top 10 success in Japanese theaters. In the past, live-action anime adaptations like the 2006 Death Note managed to get $19.6 million and that film was given a sequel.

Perhaps because of box office numbers like these, director Kentaro continues to play coy when asked about a live-action Tokyo Ghoul 2. While not confirming anything directly, he recently said, “I hope that things work out that way.”

[Featured Image by Shochiku/Tokyo Ghoul Movie Still]