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On Tuesday, the Mainichi Shimbun paper's Mantan Web and Oricon sites provided more information about the upcoming live-action television special based on Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma ½ martial arts comedy manga. As a revival of the manga, the special tells an original story centering around Akane Tendō (played by Yui Aragaki). Kenta Kaku and Natsuna play the dual male/female roles of the title character.
As the third daughter of the Tendō family, Akane is determined to protect the family's legacy, its dōjō. However, her father Soun suddenly and arbitrarily announced one day that "only men can be heirs." Unfortunately, this puts Ranma in a bind, since he turns female when splashed with cold water after falling into a cursed hot spring in China. To return himself to a "full man," Ranma searches for the "secret hot spring" and gets caught up in a battle with a mysterious enemy. Now Akane holds the key to the story.
Kyōko Hasegawa (Angel Bank: Dragon Zakura Gaiden, Dragon Zakura) plays the oldest Tendō sister, Kasumi. Tōfū Ono, the man who has a crush on Kasumi even as Akane has a crush on him, is played by Shosuke Tanihara (Gekijōban Pocket Monster Best Wishes! Victini to Kuroki Eiyū Zekrom/Victini to Shiroki Eiyū Reshiram, The Sky Crawlers, Vexille - 2077 Isolation of Japan). Genma — Ranma's father who transforms into a panda when splashed with cold water — appears in the form of actor Arata Furuta (20th Century Boys, Ping Pong, Air Doll). Katsuhisa Namase (Gokusen, Trick, Yatterman) plays Akane and Kasumi's father Soun Tendō.
Yoshihiro Izumi scripted this first live-action version of the manga after having written the live-action television and film versions of the Rookies baseball manga. Takahashi herself said that she was surprised at first when she heard about the live-action adaptation — but with the interesting story scenario and all-star lineup, she added that she now thinks it is very amusing.
The special will air during NTV's 7:00 p.m. Friday Super Prime timeslot in December. The original manga ran in Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine from 1987 to 1996, and Shogakukan printed 53 million copies of the compiled book volumes.
Image © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan
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