Otaku USA Magazine
Rina Kawaei from AKB48 Cast as Chihiro in Spirited Away Play

Spirited Away

So far the very successful Spirited Away play in Japan has had two actresses rotating in the role of Chihiro, the main character. Next year, however, two more actresses will be added to the rotation, both of whom already have impressive credentials: Rina Kawaei and Momoko Fukuchi.

Kawaei used to be a member of the idol group AKB48. After her idol days (which included one terrifying attack where she was hurt but thankfully survived) she moved into the acting realm and played Sakura Aoi in Death Note: Light Up the New World and Death Note: New Generation.

“I never expected that I would be chosen to play Chihiro” she remarked in a statement. “I’m already feeling nervous, but I’ll do my best to keep up with all the other talented members of the company and deliver the best viewing experience possible!”

Fukuchi is not a former idol, but she’s the daughter of two actors (Show Aikawa and Kumi Aochi) and has been acting professionally for almost a decade, in both Japanese movies and TV.

“I remember my older brother and I, when we were four and three years old, pestering our mom to take us to see the Spirited Away anime movie on opening day at a theater in Shibuya, and lining up to get in,” she remarked. “Spirited Away felt to mysterious to me, but even as a child I remember feeling how strong of a movie it was.”

While both women have acted before, this is the first time either will act professionally on stage.

The Spirited Away play will be making its international debut next year when it opens in London. Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, the two actresses who have been playing Chihiro, will continue their performances in England, but it’s not known where yet where Rina Kawaei and Momoko Fukuchi will be playing Chihiro.

Source: SoraNews24


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.