Rookies Baseball Manga Adapted into Live-Action Drama
posted on by Egan Loo
This year's ninth issue of Shueisha's Young Jump magazine has announced on Thursday that Masanori Morita's Rookies baseball manga will be adapted into a live-action television drama series starting April 19. The story centers on Kōichi Kawatō, a high teacher who attempts to raise his baseball team of delinquents out of suspension and into Japan's Kōshien national championship. Morita drew the series from 1998 to 2003, and 12 million copies of the 24 compiled volumes have been sold.
27-year-old actor Ryūta Satō will take on his first starring role as Kawatō. The series will run in TBS station's Saturday 8:00 p.m slot, a slot that has been reserved for variety shows for 39 years. Given the open-ended nature of sports stories and the length of the original manga, the TBS staffers say that the story's finale has not been scheduled in advance, and the story can last as long as it needs to. The staffers also say that the story's baseball team allows for the casting of many ikemen (handsome young men), including Hayato Ichihara (Onmyoji II), Keisuke Koide (Gokusen, Nodame Cantabile), Yuu Shirota (Hana Zakari no Kimi-tachi e: Ikemen Paradise, The Prince of Tennis), Akiyoshi Nakao (H2: Kimi to Ita Hibi, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun), and Sōsuke Takao (Tetsujin 28-go, Crows Zero). The female lead will be casted from 15 candidates by Internet voting on the Yahoo! Japan website in February.