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The fourth volume of Mari Yamazaki's Thermae Romae comedy manga sold approximately 250,000 copies in its first week to top Oricon's comic rankings chart for the December 19-25 week. It is the first volume of the manga to top the chart, and the first to sell that many copies in one week. The most copies that any previous volume sold in one week was 194,612 (volume 3 during the April 25-May 1 week) and the highest position that any previous volume attained was #2 (volume 2 during the September 20-26, 2010 week).
The latest volume of the manga is the first to be released since a three-episode television anime adaptation was announced earlier this month. The television anime series will air on Fuji TV's late-night Noitamina programming block starting January 12. Azuma Tani (Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Mr. Lovecraft, Honto ni Atta! Reibai-Sensei) is directing the anime at DLE Inc. (Eagle Talon). Tani is also co-writing the anime with Mamoru Nakano, and Toshimitsu Takechi is serving as character designer and animation director. Koutarou Yamawaki is the Flash animation director. The all-female band chatmonchy is performing the theme song "Thermae Roman." FROGMAN will star in the anime as Lucius as well as serve as the show's executive director.
Hiroshi Abe (Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu Hokuto no Ken: Kenshirō-den, Trick, Godzilla 2000 Millenium) is starring as Lucius in a separate live-action film adaptation that will open on April 28, 2012.
Thermae Romae is a comedy about Lucius — an architect of public bath houses (thermae) in ancient Rome — who time-travels to various modern-day baths in Japan. Through manga and essay passages, Yamazaki explores the two cultures in the world "that have loved baths the most: the Japanese and the Romans!" Yamazaki launched the manga in 2008.
The manga won the Manga Taisho (Cartoon Grand Prize) award last year, followed by the Short Work Prize in the 14th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prizes. It has since sold over 5 million copies. Although Yamazaki was born in Tokyo, she now lives in Chicago.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web