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Real-life ‘Face/Off’: Japanese retailer makes hyper-realistic masks featuring strangers’ faces

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Dec 18, 2020 4:50 am

Remember the 1997 film Face/Off? 

The movie convinced most of us ‘90s kids that John Travolta is not an actor, but an FBI agent named Sean Archer and that Nicolas Cage is a terrorist called Castor Troy. And of course, who would forget the dramatic face swap? That, too,  got us into thinking it’s possible in the real world.

But guess what? Twenty-three years and a pandemic later, Japanese retailer Shuhei Okawara is bringing the film’s iconic premise to life (minus the gunfights).

Enter Kamenya Omote’s hyper-realistic masks.

The quirky 3D printed face gears will lend you the exact appearance of an unidentified Japanese adult whose facial features were replicated to them. 

Shuhei Okawara wearing his own 3D printed mask. Screenshot from South China Morning Post on YouTube.

In an interview with Reuters, Okawara said that he came up with the idea out of pure fun and art. “Mask shops in Venice probably do not buy or sell faces. But that is something that’s likely to happen in fantasy stories,” Okawara said. “I thought it would be fun to actually do that.”

Although the masks will not protect you from COVID-19, they are sure to entertain you, more so the people around you. They are uniquely found in Okawara’s shop, Kamaneya Omote, which is popular for selling accessories for parties and theatrical performances.

“As is often the case with the customers of my shop, there are not so many people who buy [face masks] for specific purposes. Most see them as art pieces,” Okawara told Reuters.

Like most of its products, Kamenya Omote will be selling its hyper-realistic face masks as an art piece. Screenshot from South China Morning Post on YouTube.
The masks are made by scanning the photos of the models then printing them in 3D by an artisan. Photo: Newsflash

There are also some who find the masks “unpleasant” and odd, but Okawara surely doesn’t mind. He received more than100 photos from people applying as models when he launched the project in October. He paid the ones selected ¥40,000 (P18,600) each. and is planning to include other nationalities in the lineup.

Okawara's masks are realistic down to the smalest details! Screenshot from South China Morning Post on YouTube.

Okawara will start selling the masks in his shop for ¥98,000 (P45,600) apiece. And with the numerous inquiries, he’s been getting so far, the retailer is positive that the demand for his avant-garde masks will be strong during its launch in early 2021.

Banner image from Reuters.