Ken Watanabe’s presence is memorable

By: Izumi Hasegawa   October 9, 2023

If you ask ten American movie buffs, there will be no one who doesn’t know Ken Watanabe. No matter what movie he appears in, no matter how short his scene is, his presence gives off a strong aura from the screen.

Watanabe plays the AI warrior Harun in the new movie “The Creator.” He is a loyal and brave AI who protects the main character’s wife Maya. He appears in a battle scene with a human army that views the AI as an enemy, filling the scene with a tense atmosphere and enveloping the viewer with a sense of suspense. At times, he may come off as exaggerated, but his dramatic acting is very realistic and transports us into that world. The yoroi armor-like costumes and samurai-like movements made it feel as if I were watching a historical drama. As expected, the director, Gareth Edwards, is a big Japanese movie fan. One of the works he used as a reference is “Lone Wolf and cub”, and the story of him betraying military orders and escaping with the child appears to be a rehash of that story.


Although Japanese language appears here and there in this movie, most text are odd Japanese which will look very strange in Japanese. Just because it’s a big production doesn’t mean it should’t have a budget to have proper Japanese. If you like Japanese movies, I hope you also like to see proper Japanese on the screen. I’m appalled at the continued lack of authenticity from Hollywood.

The theme of this film is the relationship between AI and humans. The timing of this movie comes at a time when debate over AI is heating up. The film depicts the deep bond between AI and humanity. It depicts not only the bonds between humans, but also the bonds between humans and animals. Do humans only have friendship and love for those made of flesh and blood? Shinto, the foundation of Japanese culture, believes that everything has a soul. Therefore, we can naturally accept the idea that machines also have souls. When I was interviewed on the History Channel, we talked about, “Western culture has a tendency to think of machines as attacking humans, but in Japan they think of machines as helping humans”. Japan, the country that gave birth to Astro Boy and Doraemon, also developed the helper robots Aibo, Pepper, and Asimo. Western people, however, tend to worry about machines trying to exterminate humanity, as exemplified by the movie “Terminator”. It is interesting that this film also depicts how the West (mainly Americans) views AI as enemies, while Asian people love AI and coexist with it. Unfortunately, perhaps because too much effort has been put into special visual effects, there are not enough parts that question what makes humans human, and what humanity is through an AI that treats humans with compassion. It was missing a lot. No one could top the TV drama “Battlestar Galactica”, a work which depicts the relationship between robots and humans and makes the audience think deeply about humanity.

The Creator

Joshua, a former Special Forces member, accepts a mission to infiltrate an area occupied by AI in order to find out the whereabouts of his wife Maya. In the place where the creator of the AI was supposed to be, there was an AI in the form of a young child. The AI seems know whereabout of Maya, so Joshua takes the AI  with him on a journey to find Maya…

Translated from Japanese to English by Jerry Jorgenson