From FiRST Apr 2008 issue
Sweet Symphony of Death
We’ve seen Death himself – and may we say, he looks pretty good up close. We didn’t get to touch him of course, because that would have resulted in a fatal ending? We merely gawked like mere mortals, fighting the crowds of journalists who were also scrambling to take his picture. We’re talking about Takeshiro Kaneshiro, who plays a death god with a heart of gold in his latest Japanese movie, Accuracy of Death.
Surrounded by a flurry of Tokyo media reps and a throng of screaming fans, it was clear that all eyes were on Kaneshiro, who hasn’t made a movie in Japan since 2002’s The Returners. “It feels good to be back in Japan,” he says. “I’ve been busy with Chinese projects. I haven’t been offered a Japanese script that interested me for a while. When I read the script for Accuracy of Death, I was very impressed. That’s how I came to join the cast, and take on this very unique role.”
Based on Kotaro Isaka’s novel of the same name, Accuracy of Death tells the story of Chiba, a death god whose mission is to track down certain individuals who are on the brink of death. Through careful observation, he must then decide whether the preordained death should “proceed” or be “passed over”. As he looks into the lives of a depressed young girl, a middle-aged yakuza and an elderly hairdresser, Chiba eventually learns something about love, humanity and the meaning of life for those fortunate enough to experience it.
Much of Accuracy of Death is shrouded in cloudy darkness, as it always seems to rain while Chiba crosses over into the human world. As he watches people scurry by with umbrellas in the heavy downpour, he always wonders out loud why he has never seen sunshine. Cutting a dark, brooding figure, Kaneshiro, 35, seems tailor-made for his role as the serious, cool and occasionally clueless Chiba. Certainly, Chiba is unlike other death god incarnations we’ve seen, like the recent Death Note series which will draw obvious comparisons. Dressed in a smart suit reminiscent of Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black, with matching white gloves, Kaneshiro is a far cry from the CGI-animated monster shinigami (or god of death) we tend to associate with death. And while he’s not human, Chiba enjoys certain human pursuits like music, which he calls “mankind’s greatest invention”.
More of Takeshi Kaneshiro’s Accuracy of Death can be found in the April issue of FiRST.