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Takuya Kimura Injures Knee While Filming Blade of the Immortal Live-Action Film

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Takashi Miike is directing film slated to open in 2017

The website for the Sports Nippon newspaper is reporting on Saturday that SMAP member Takuya Kimura (pictured seated second from right in image at right) "seriously injured" his right knee on January 9 while filming in Kyoto for the live-action film adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal manga. Kimura is playing the protagonist Manji, a rōnin warrior cursed with an immortal body.

Sports Nippon added that Kimura currently can't walk and is getting injections of pain killers. The newspaper reported that Takuya slipped and fell while filming, and his knee bent in an unnatural direction. Sports Nippon additionally stated that Kimura damaged his ligament and that it will take one month to recover.

SMAP has currently been in the news due to a rumored breakup of the band after 25 years. The other four group members aside from Kimura are in talks to leave Johnny & Associates talent agency, with only Kimura planning to stay in the company. Newspaper Sankei Sports reported on Thursday that Kimura is planning to stay with the agency because his wife — singer and pop idol Shizuka Kudou — asked him to.

Kimura has enjoyed over two decades of entertainment success as a member of the boy band SMAP, with such popular roles as the star of the television series I'm Home. The actor, who is often nicknamed "Kimutaku," also voiced Howl in Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle film and JP in Takeshi Koike and MADHOUSE's Redline film. He then starred in the live-action film of the space opera anime classic Space Battleship Yamato (adapted as Star Blazers in English).

Prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike is directing the Blade of the Immortal film, which is slated to open in 2017. Miike's numerous projects include live-action films of Ichi the Killer, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Yatterman, As the Gods Will, Crows, and Mogura no Uta.

Samura launched the Blade of the Immortal manga in Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon magazine in December of 1993, and he completed the series in 2012. The manga's 30 volumes have 5 million copies in print, and it has been published in 22 countries and territories. The manga earned an Excellence Prize in the manga category of the 1st Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 1997, and it won the Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material in 2000.

Dark Horse Comics published the manga in North America, and plans to rerelease it in omnibus form. The manga already inspired a television anime in 2008, and Media Blasters released it in English. The manga is also inspiring a stage play next month starring voice actor Tomokazu Seki, who played Manji in the anime.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

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