ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

2017 promises to be a big year for manga adaptations, and anyone who is a fan of the colorful Japanese characters will definitely have heard of Netflix's upcoming Death Note adaptation. If having Willem Dafoe voice the titular Ryuk wasn't enough, prepare to head back Japan — Heroes star Masi Oka has joined Adam Wingard’s cast.

Oka was already announced as producer of the series back in May and promised that he would "push" for Japanese actors to be front and center of the show, but we didn't know he meant himself. When the cast of Dafoe, Nat Wolff, and Margaret Qualley were announced it looked like just another Americanization of the source and Japanese culture once again shrugged its shoulders — until now.

'Heroes' [Credit: NBC]
'Heroes' [Credit: NBC]

Given recent controversies surround the likes of Scarlett Johansson's casting in Ghost in the Shell, Oka joining the cast as the first Japanese actor is sure to quiet down the haters (for now).

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'Heroes Reborn' [Credit: NBC]
'Heroes Reborn' [Credit: NBC]

Oka famously played the aptly named Hiro Nakamura in all four main series of Heroes, as well as miniseries Reborn. Since then, he has gone on to serve a seven-season stint on Hawaii 5-O, but has left that behind to pursue other projects. As well as producing , he revealed to EW that there would also be a part for him:

"I’m very fortunate to be able to do things also behind-the-scenes, creating some TV shows and also producing a lot of movies. I recently finished producing Death Note for Netflix, which I have a part in as well...I consult for a lot of Japanese companies as well, including the Japanese government, so I’ve always been going back and forth to L.A. to Hawaii to Japan. I’ve literally been doing the shuttle run between those three cities."

'Death Note' [Credit: Nippon Television]
'Death Note' [Credit: Nippon Television]

While it was only a small piece of information, fans are already guessing that Oka could be playing Touta Matsuda, a rookie member of the Japanese Task Force, who are central to the story. Matsuda starts the and series as an inept officer who often hinders the team's investigations, while he is also described as being socially awkward. Hmmm, sounds familiar to Oka's part as Nakamura, the man for whom nothing would go right and the unwilling hero of Heroes.

An unusual R-rating will see and even darker take on the already grim tale of a young man who possesses a notebook which grants the power to kill. Wingard promises that given its rating, the series can go wherever it wants, and with Dafoe voicing Ryuk, expect it to get pretty spooky!

Death Note airs on sometime in 2017.

Interest piqued? Check out the opening titles for the anime series of Death Note, and don't forget our poll below.


What do you think of Oka's casting?

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)


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