Funasshi's a Big Fan of Parasyte
posted on by Eric Stimson
To promote their live-action film Parasyte, director Takashi Yamazaki and actor Shōta Sometani (who plays Shinichi) appeared at a promotional event in Tokyo on November 20. They were accompanied on stage by Migi, the parasite who infects Shinichi, and Funasshi, a bizarre big yellow pear who represents the Tokyo suburb of Funabashi. Funasshi's manic energy and enthusiastic outbursts have earned him a nationwide fan following and set him apart from other, more staid mascots.
Left to right: Yamazaki, Migi, Funasshi, Sometani
Funasshi certainly struck a sharp contrast with Migi, who remained mute on stage and bobbed awkwardly while Funasshi jumped and screamed. He revealed himself to be a big fan of the original manga and heaped praise on the film for its faithfulness to the original story, its thrilling plot, and Sometani's performance, which "showed how Migi and Shinichi influence each other really well." He even appeared with a miniature Migi on his right arm — "Migisshi" — which supposedly grew when he watched the movie. Unfortunately, Yamazaki confirmed that filming of the Parasyte sequel had already completed, so Funasshi's dream of appearing in it was dashed.
Earlier, Yamazaki praised Sometani's performance as well, citing his skill at acting like he was being pulled by the arm by Migi. Sometani told the audience that he suffered from Migi withdrawals after shooting: within a minute of watching the trailer, he was crying uncontrollably, and was particularly moved by the scene in which Migi attaches to his hand. He compensated by buying Parasyte gachapon (toys dispensed in capsules) and estimated having collected 30 of them. As for Migi's appearance, Sometani said he considered him cute, "sweet" and attractive while Yamazaki leaned more towards creepy and unique. For his part, Funasshi thought Migi was "garish" at first, but later got used to him and enjoyed stroking his hairless skin.
At the end of the event, Funasshi led the other three in a cry of "Kiseijiru bushaa!!", which is adapted from his catchphrase, "Nashijiru bushaa!!". (The original refers to juice gushing out of a pear, while Kiseijiru is a play on Kiseijuu, the Japanese title of Parasyte.) Migi even tried to jump along despite his stubby legs.
Parasyte is based on a 1990 science-fiction/horror manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It is currently playing in Japanese theaters, with the sequel set for a release on April 25.