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The official Japanese website for Mamoru Oshii's next film, The Sky Crawlers, has revamped itself and announced the main cast. Rinko Kikuchi, who was nominated for a Supporting Actress Academy Award for her Chieko role in 2006's Babel, will voice Suito Kusanagi. Kusanagi is a commander of a base in an alternate-history aerial war and one of the two leads in this Production I.G adaptation of Hiroshi Mori's hit manga. This will be Kikuchi's second anime role, after a part in the Studio 4°C anime anthology Genius Party.
She will be joined by another prominent Japanese film actor, Ryo Kase, as the voice actor for the protagonist Yūichi Kannami. Kase, known to Western audiences for playing Shimizu in Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, was also Todoroki in Hideaki Anno's live-action Cutey Honey and Mayama in the live-action adaptation of the Honey and Clover manga. In the story, Kannami has been transfered to Kusanagi's base after he lost all of his memories. Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale's Takako, Kill Bill's Gogo) and Shosuke Tanihara (Vexille's Leon, Lovely Complex's Maitake, Fudoh: The New Generation's Fudoh) will voice two supporting characters, Midori Mitsuya and Naofumi Tokino, respectively.
The website has also announced that theaters will start selling advance tickets on Saturday with three different mobile phone straps as a free gift. Each buyer can choose a strap with a super-deformed figurine of Suito, Yūichi, or Sanka (the story's retro aerial fighter). Finally, the website has unveiled the new poster (PDF format) that lists the four main castmembers. When it opens on August 2, the project will be Mamoru Oshii's first fully animated film since his 2004 Ghost in the Shell sequel, Innocence.
Thank you to Brian Ruh for the news tip.