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The recent boom in live-action movie, TV, and stage adaptations of hit anime has to be a headache for producers. Most anime start out as manga, where the only limits on outlandish character and costume design is the imagination of the original artist, and we imagine it’s an exhaustive search to find real-life actors and actresses who look the part.

But Japan’s casting directors are proving themselves up to the challenge. Hot on the heels of the recently revealed Prison School TV drama come photos of the cast of the stage adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, and not only are there some uncanny resemblances, we now know why there won’t be a DVD or live streaming of the performance.

Starting off with the star herself, here’s Kaede Aono as Motoko Kusanagi, who should have fans incensed over the rumors of Scarlett Johansson playing the cybernetic major in a Hollywood version of the franchise nodding their heads in approval.

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Similarly spot-on is Ikkyu Juku as Daisuke Aramaki, the heroes’ cagey leader.

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A bit less convincing is Ren Yagami’s Batou, which doesn’t capture the same sense of hulking brute strength as the anime version.

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Somewhere between now and the near-future in which the Ghost in the Shell stage play takes place, pronounced shoulder pads in men’s suits apparently make a comeback, if Kentaro Kanesaki’s Togusa is anything to go by.

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Tatsuya Isaka, ready for action as Ishikawa

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Katsuhiko Ibuka’s Pazu looks like he’s about to get into a debate with Crocodile Dundee over what does and doesn’t constitute a knife.

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If the name Asana Mamoru sounds familiar to you, it’s because in addition to playing Ghost in the Shell’s Kurutsu, she’s also dominatrix Meiko in the Prison School drama.

▼ Or maybe you’ve just got an encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese swimwear models.

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Sniper Saito’s cybernetic eye now belongs to actor Ryunosuke Matsumura.

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Asami Yoshikawa as Thied

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Before you cry foul at how close Yutaka Matsuzaki’s Boma is to Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus, remember that the Wachowskis borrowed heavily from Ghost in the Shell’s imagery when making the Matrix trilogy.

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▼It looks like Shungo Takasaki/Ibachi’s mustache isn’t quite fully grown out yet.

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Momose Misaki as Emi Tsuda

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▼ Finally, Keisuke Minami rounds out the cast as Hose, which is pronounced like the Spanish name “Jose” and not the water-conveying apparatus.

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The producers of Ghost in the Shell Arise: Ghost is Alive (as the play is officially known) have reiterated that the only way to see it will be by attending one of the live performances being held next month in Tokyo. That’s because the show will include 3-D elements that they say won’t translate effectively onto a conventional TV or monitor.

If you want to get this sneak peek at our cybernetic-enhanced future, tickets run from 6,900 to 9,900 yen (US$58 to $83). Ghost in the Shell Arise: Ghost is Alive opens in Tokyo on November 11, and runs until November 15.

Related: Ghost in the Shell Arise: Ghost is Alive official website, ticket reservations (E Plus, Confetti, Lawson Ticket, BN Ticket, Ticket Pia, CN Playguide
Source: PR Times
Top image: Ghost in the Shell Arise: Ghost is Alive (edited by RocketNews24
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