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The Boys' Karen Fukuhara on Beating the Shit Out of Nazis and Hopes for Season 3

Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko in The Boys.
Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko in The Boys.
Image: Amazon Studios

The Boys’s second season ended with a bang—or should we say a barrage of fists. Now, actor Karen Fukuhara is looking back on her time beating up a fictional Nazi and how giving Kimiko a voice in season two addressed a problem she said she hadn’t noticed before.

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Illustration for article titled iThe Boys/i Karen Fukuhara on Beating the Shit Out of Nazis and Hopes for Season 3
Graphic: Jim Cooke

While speaking with io9 about season three of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (more on that to come), Fukuhara shared her thoughts on the season two finale of Amazon Studio’s The Boys, which aired on Friday. The season ended with Kimiko, Maeve, and Starlight beating up the Seven’s seemingly immortal Nazi, Stormfront, before she was ultimately blown to (survivable) bits. For Fukuhara, it was a very cathartic moment—not just because of current events, but because it’s always rewarding to punch a Nazi.

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“Even if we didn’t have our current political climate, I think it would be very satisfying to beat up a Nazi. I think when that happened, it was really—it’s satisfying to see onscreen. I was watching it with my boyfriend yesterday and he was like, ‘Yeah, it’s so good. It’s so satisfying, I’ve been wanting this all season.’ But obviously, me as Kimiko, I’ve always wanted to do that,” she said.

According to Fukuhara, showrunner Eric Kripke wanted the scene to feel visceral and “nitty-gritty,” so it was done without a lot of CGI or superpowers. Just a lot of fists-to-face action, something Fukuhara called “a true beatdown.” However, it wasn’t the moment that surprised her the most about season two; that honor goes to learning that Kimiko could speak sign language. She said it was really rewarding for Kimiko to be able to express herself. In The Boys panel at New York Comic Con, Fukuhara shared that she worked with her sign language coach to create an original language for Kimiko—it’s based in English, although it isn’t American Sign Language.

The move came after Kripke faced criticism for season one’s portrayal of Kimiko, who didn’t speak at all. He told Digital Spy last month that he regretting having the character play into the stereotype of the “quiet Asian woman,” despite his attempts to actually avoid that. When asked about it, Fukuhara told io9 she appreciated Kripke’s attempts to expand Kimiko’s character in season one and didn’t notice it playing into stereotypes at the time. But looking back, she recognized that maybe she’d “conditioned” herself into not recognizing it in the first place.

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“Maybe this is just the conditioned Asian in me, but I didn’t. When we started season one, Eric said that he wanted to give Kimiko a true storyline. I mean, she doesn’t even have a name in the comics. Her name is ‘The Female’ in the comic books. And then for our show, he said, “No, she’s gonna have a name,’” Fukuhara said. “And so that, in itself—and given her backstory—that was already a lot more than the comic books. So I was very thankful. There was not a thought in my mind about, ‘Oh, I want more.’

She added, “But looking back on it, maybe that was just me being this Asian actor who’s used to not being given a story of her own. A lot of times, you’re right, the trope of silent Asian characters is very much a thing. And so I guess a part of me didn’t want to ask for too much, or I didn’t even think about asking for more because she was already given so much. But perhaps that it is the conditioning—that I have been conditioned to think in that way, if you get my drift.”

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The series has already been renewed for season three, but Fukuhara said she has “no idea” where the series is heading next. She hopes to see Kimiko getting to have a bit of fun—although knowing this show, that seems like a tall order.

“In one of the quarantine interviews that we did, that same question was brought up and Eric Kripke said, “‘Oh well, Kimiko’s favorite music—she’s really into musicals. So we’ll see that in season three.’ And I had no idea that that was a thing until then,” she said. “I really hope that we get to see a little bit of Kimiko enjoying life because we haven’t seen much of that in the first two seasons.”

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The Boys is currently available to watch on Amazon Prime.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

niceneasy29
Niceneasy29

So dumb question. Is The Boys worth watching if I usually don’t care for things with a lot of gore? Like is it worth dealing with the gore to experience the story?