Inside Move: Japanese thesp lives on in vidgame

Never say die

Longtime, and long-dead, Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda is still performing, only now it’s as star of a hit vidgame.

Japanese publisher Capcom is using Matsuda’s image for the hero in its fighting game “Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny.”

Using thesp likenesses for vidgames isn’t new — Capcom turned Takeshi Kaneshiro (“Chungking Express”) into the character of Samonosuke in “Onimusha 1” — but reviving a deceased star was a new twist.

Matsuda starred in 19 films in 16 years before his death in 1989 of cancer. He’s best known in the U.S. for his role as a crime boss in 1989’s “Black Rain.”

When Matsuda died, vidgames were far from the photorealistic adventures that are now commonplace, but apparently even then he wanted to be in a game. And he finally is.

A Capcom spokesperson says the company sought his wife’s permission and input to put him in the game. The company created his digital likeness from pictures, working around his post-mortem inability to be directly digitized.

Nor has Matsuda’s absence from this mortal coil dampened enthusiasm for the game, which sold 1 million units in less than two weeks in Japan. It was released Aug. 27 in the United States.

The legend lives on.

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