Akari Takaishi, Saori Izawa Have to Battle to Survive in ‘Baby Assassins’ Sequel

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Akari Takaishi, left, and Saori Izawa

At first glance, they appear to be average women who don’t quite fit into the societal mold. However, what sets them apart is that they are actually professional killers.

“Baby Walkure 2 Baby” (“Baby Assassins 2 Babies”), which hit theaters on March 24, is the sequel to the 2021 hit “Baby Walkure” (“Baby Assassins”), an action comedy that gained fans through word of mouth.

In the first movie, Chisato Sugimoto, played by Akari Takaishi, and Mahiro Fukagawa, played by Saori Izawa, were high school students and members of the Kanto Koroshiya Kyokai (the Kanto region’s assassins association).

In the sequel, they have graduated high school and are now roommates. When not on the job, they are supposed to blend in and not attract any attention to themselves. However, they get caught up in a robbery and take the criminals down in a spectacular fashion, which leads to their suspension from the association. As a result, they are not allowed to take any jobs as hired guns and have to make ends meet by doing other part-time jobs.

Meanwhile, assassin brothers Yuri, played by Joey, and Makoto, played by Tatsuomi Hamada, are taking jobs they don’t like, as they are not official members of the association. To gain membership, the brothers come up with a plan to kill Chisato and Mahiro. After the brothers attack the two women, it sets into motion a brutal battle between the killers.

©2023 “BABY ASSASSINS 2” Film Partners
Mahiro (Saori Izawa), left, and Chisato (Akari Takaishi) in “Baby Walkure 2 Baby” (“Baby Assassins 2 Babies”)

Fans of the first movie enjoyed seeing the difference between Chisato and Mahiro’s leisurely life compared with their action scenes. The movie was a long-running hit and was shown for more than six months at Cinema Rosa film theater in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

Takaishi, a Miyazaki Prefecture native, was born in 2002. In 2020, she made headlines for her role as Nezuko in the stage adaption of the megahit manga “Kimetsu no Yaiba” (“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”). The rising star has also appeared in other films, including “Watashi no Shiawasena Kekkon” (“As Long as We Both Shall Live”), which came out in March.

Izawa was born in 1994 and is an actress and stunt performer from Saitama Prefecture. She was hired as a stunt woman in such major Hollywood movies as “Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” (2021) and “John Wick: Chapter 4” (2023). She has received high praise as an action star and won the award for new actress at the Japan Movie Critics Awards for her performance in “Baby Assassins.”

©2023 “BABY ASSASSINS 2” Film Partners
Mahiro, left, and Chisato relax in a room.

The Yomiuri Shimbun was able to sit down with the two actresses for an interview.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Chisato Sugimoto is a vibrant person who is easily able to make new friends, even with someone she just met. Meanwhile, Mahiro Fukagawa is an indecisive person who finds it difficult to talk to others. They are also professional assassins. How did you go about creating the character of Chisato, Ms. Takaishi?

Takaishi: When the first movie was in production, I always carried around a replica gun — even off-set — just to get used to it. This time, I practiced reloading a gun at home every day. I practiced really hard. I thought that that was the first step in getting closer to Chisato.

Yomiuri: Ms. Izawa, as you’re a stunt performer who specializes in action scenes, how did you go about creating Mahiro?

Izawa: I regularly head to work with a gun and knives in my bag, so in that sense, a professional killer and a stunt performer are very similar. I was easily able to slip into the role of a killer. I already have many guns and knives at home. They’re all fake, though.

Yomiuri: I heard that you have great chemistry because you two get along off-set, is that true?

Takaishi: I visited Ms. Izawa’s house on our day off. She met me at the station but was jumping around on one foot because one of her sandals broke. Ha ha ha. I probably won’t forget that for the rest of my life. We met up to run lines together, but we just ended up playing the dizzy bat game and watching movies, just like our characters in the movie.

Izawa: It was so fun every day on set. When I’m just doing stunts, I can hide my face and just focus on my body movements, but as an actress, I have to make facial expressions, too. It’s tough, but when Akari was with me, there were many moments when I could just become Mahiro without thinking. She leads me really well.

©2023 “BABY ASSASSINS 2” Film Partners
Assassin brothers Makoto (Tatsuomi Hamada), left, and Yuri (Joey)

Yomiuri: What are the must-see moments in the sequel?

Takaishi: Many people who saw the first film said they wanted to see more scenes of us just relaxing, so it’s great that we can show them that. Also, other characters in the movie are fascinating, too, not just ours. And I think the characters’ world has hugely expanded.

Yomiuri: The action scenes in this movie are more exciting compared to the first film.

Izawa: I was really honored to do a fight scene with Joey [who plays Yuri]. It was a hot day when we filmed the scene, so we competed to see which one of us could sweat more. We took off our shirts — he took off his tank top and I took off my T-shirt. We wrung them out, and our sweat came out like a waterfall. The amount was way more than just a competition, and it ended in a draw.