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New Live-Action GTO Returns in October TV Special

posted on by Egan Loo
EXILE band's Akira returns as unorthodox teacher trying to protect youth home

The new live-action GTO television series starring EXILE dance/vocal group member Akira just ended on Tuesday, but a 150-minute special will air on October 2 at 9:00 p.m. In the tentatively titled "GTO 2-Jikan-Han Special" (GTO 2.5-Hour Special), Akira will reprise his role as Onizuka, a former gang member who becomes an unorthodox teacher. Several months after the story in the television series, Onizuka will confront a corrupt politician to protect a youth home in danger of being shut down.

Miori Takimoto (Higanjima) will return as the heroine Azusa Fuyutsuki along with Hitomi Kuroki (20th Century Boys, Dark Water) as the principal Ryoko Sakurai, Yuu Shirota (The Prince of Tennis) as Onizuka's friend Ryuji Danma, Yūsuke Yamamoto as Toshiyuki Saejima, and Haruna Kawaguchi as one of Onizuka's students.

The special will feature new characters inspired by Tohru Fujisawa's original manga stories such as Shinomi Fujisaki, a woman who works in the youth home; Mayu Wakui, an attractive transfer student talented in school and sports; Jirō Makita, a political candidate who pulls Mayu from the youth home to live with him as a guardian; and Ageha, a student at the youth home who will do anything to protect Mayu. The casting for the new characters will be announced in the future.

The original manga has 45 million copies in print, and it previously inspired a 1998 live-action television series with Takashi Sorimachi in the title role. The earlier live-action version garnered an average rating of 28.5% and a series-high rating of 35.7% for the finale. As of its 10th episode, the new live-action series has earned a average of 13.0%, the highest rating among live-action drama television series in the July television season.

Tokyopop published the first GTO manga in North America. In 2009, Fujisawa returned to the character of Onizuka with the manga Shonan 14 DAYS. Vertical licensed both GTO: Shonan 14 Days and Shōnan Junai-gumi (the predecessor to Great Teacher Onizuka) for North America. Fujisawa just finished Shonan 14 DAYS last year, but he launched a three-chapter spinoff in November.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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