Characters like No Face, Yubaba and Haku are set to be played by some very famous faces.

It’s been a few months since Studio Ghibli first announced that its 2001 animated feature film Spirited Away would be adapted for the stage as a live-action play directed by Canadian-born English director John Caird.

The initial announcement came with the news that the title role of Chihiro would be shared by 22-year-old Kanna Hashimoto, a popular idol-singer-turned-actress, and 23-year-old Mone Kamishiraishi, a singer and actress who previously worked with Caird in his critically acclaimed musical Knight’s Tale, which had its worldwide debut in Tokyo in 2018.

▼ Hashimoto (left) and Kamishiraishi (right).

Now, Toho, the distributor of the Spirited Away anime who will also be producing the stage play as part of the company’s 90th anniversary celebrations, has revealed the rest of the main cast set to appear in the production, which is scheduled to premiere at Tokyo’s Imperial Theatre in February 2022.

As is often the case with a number of Japanese productions, each main role will be shared by multiple performers, known as a “W-cast” (“Double Cast”) system, which is different to an understudy as each actor performs the role an equal amount of times.

Stepping into the shoes of Haku will be Kotaro Daigo, who’s most famous for playing the title role of Hodaka Morishima in the 2019 movie Weathering with You, directed by Makoto Shinkai.

▼ Say hello to your new Haku, who can be seen here on a swing, announcing his appearance in the magazine A-blue The Stage.

Sharing the role of Haku is Hiroki Miura, who has played the role of Disney princes, and appeared in stage musicals like Little Shop of Horrors and Les Misérables.

The role of No Face will be played by two performers with a dance background, who will no doubt bring a beautiful sense of movement to the mysterious spirit on stage:

Japanese dancer, choreographer, and model Koharu Sugawara, who’s appeared in numerous commercials, including this one for Asahi’s Wilkinson sparkling water.

Choreographer Tomohiko Tsujimoto, a founding member of Niigata-based dance company Noism, who was also the first Japanese male dancer to appear in Cirque du Soleil.

Appearing as Lin will be Japanese actress and singer Miyu Sakihi, who’s also a former top member of the famous all-female musical theatre troupe Takarazuka Revue.

Also playing Lin will be Fu Hinami, another top member of the Takarazuka Revue Star Troupe, who has been appearing in stage plays since leaving the group in 2016.

This clip below gives you a sense of her playful nature and love of comedy, as she repeatedly says “Please stop, there’s nothing interesting here”, all while playing up to the camera.

Playing the role of Kamaji, the spider-like elderly man who operates the boiler room of the Bathhouse, will be:

Actor, film director, narrator, and musician Tomorowo Taguchi, who’s appeared in Fukushima 50, Midnight Swan, Tetsuo and Tetsuo II, and a number of Takashi Miike films. He even made a foray into the Tokyo underground music scene as the lead singer of punk band Bachikaburi in the ’80s and ’90s.

▼ You might want to turn the volume down for this.

Also stretching his spidey legs for the role will be Japanese actor Satoshi Hashimoto, who’s voiced the roles of Terry Bogard and Kim Kaphwan in the Fatal Fury game series. He’s also worked with Caird previously, in The Beggar’s Opera and Les Misérables.

▼ Here he is performing in Metal Macbeth, the first Shakespeare work by Japanese theatre company Gekidan Shinkansen.

Finally, in the role of Yubaba / Zeniba will be:

Romi Park, an award-winning Korean–Japanese actress and singer who’s voiced the characters of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, Temari in Naruto, Toshiro Hitsugaya in Bleach, and Attack on Titan‘s Zoë Hange, to name a few.

Also playing Yubaba / Zeniba is Mari Natsuki, who needs no introduction for Ghibli fans, as this famous actress voiced the character in the original film.

▼ Mari Natsuki gives us a taste of what to expect from her character in this clip shared by Studio Ghibli today.

▼ The full cast announced so far can be seen in this image below.

Powerhouse duo Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki would no doubt be pleased with the casting, given their approval of Caird’s stage vision for their film.

Last time the duo met Caird, they gave him a No-Face coin bank as a gesture of goodwill for taking care of their story during the stage adaptation. Now that a new No-Face coin bank has just recently been released, Caird might soon be adding another item to his Ghibli merchandise collection, especially if the production makes its way overseas, which Toho has said they’re hoping for.

Following the premiere at Tokyo’s Imperial Theater in February 2022, the Spirited Away stage play is set to open in Osaka in April, Fukuoka in March, Sapporo in early June, and Nagoya in late June and July.

Sources: Animage via Yahoo! News via Hachima Kikou 
Top image: Spirited Away stage play official website
Insert image: Spirited Away stage play official website

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