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AKB48's Atsuko Maeda Stars in Moshidora Film Next June

posted on by Egan Loo

Atsuko Maeda, a 19-year-old member of the all-female idol group AKB48, will star in a film adaptation of Natsumi Iwasaki's Moshi Kōkō Yakyū no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no "Management" o Yondara (Moshidora) business novel next June. Makoto Tanaka is directing Maeda in her first starring role in a film.

The 2009 novel, whose title has been translated as What If a Female Manager of a High School Baseball Team Read Drucker's "Management"?, centers around a high school girl named Minami Kawashima (Maeda) who becomes the baseball team manager at Tokyo's Hodokubo High School. Minami accidentally buys Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices — a classic productivity guide by the Austrian-American management guru Peter Drucker — and uses it to rally her dispirited team.

The Minami Kawashima character was actually modeled after another AKB48 member, Minami Minegishi, but the role was given to Maeda because of her greater visibility and experience as an actress. Maeda acted in the recently concluded live-action television series Q10. Minegishi will play a kōhai (a student younger or with lesser status) to Maeda's character. 22-year-old Kōji Seto, 20-year-old Sōsuke Ikematsu, 15-year-old Haruna Kawaguchi, and 37-year-old Yō Ōizumi will also co-star.

Not coincidentally, the novelist Iwasaki once was a producer of AKB48 and worked as an assistant for Yasushi Akimoto, the "creator" of AKB48. Akimoto is serving as a producer of the film. ANN interviewed Maeda during her visit at Anime Expo with AKB48 this past July.

The novel has already inspired a television anime series from director Takayuki Hamana (The Prince of Tennis, The Beast Player Erin, Library War) and the anime studio Production I.G. The anime will premiere next March. A manga adaptation will launch in Shueisha's Super Jump magazine on December 22. The novel has 1.81 million copies in print since its debut last December, and it is this year's bestselling book in Japan. The Sankei Sports newspaper reports that over 30 companies bidded for the novel's movie rights.

Source: Sankei Sports

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