Nintama Rantarō/Ninja Kids Gets 2nd Live-Action Film
posted on by Egan Loo
Soubee Amako's long-running Rakudai Ninja Rantarō ninja gag manga is inspiring a second live-action film which will open next July. Child actor Seishirō Katō (Tenchijin, Friends: Mononoke Shima no Naki, You Are Umasou) will reprise his titular role as a ninja apprentice in Nintama Rantarō: Natsu Yasumi Shukudai Daisakusen! no Dan (Ninja Kids!! Summer Mission Impossible or literally, Ninja Apprentice Rantarō - Mission: Summer Vacation Homework!)
The original manga, the 1993 Nintama Rantaro television anime, the two anime films, and the two live-action films all center around Rantarō, a ninja apprentice at an elite ninjutsu academy in historical Japan. As elementary students, Rantarō and his ninja-in-training friends are called "Nintama" — a contraction of the words "ninja" and "tamago" ("egg").
The staff promises that the scale of the live-action film franchise will expand in the second film, as it will stage Nintama's largest battle ever. The kids have to reclaim Gokurakumaru — the mystical sword with which, it is said, the wielder shall rule the world. Various ninja all over Dokutake Castle and beyond are also manuevering for this sword of immense power. Rantarō "and his classmates are assigned to retrieve the stolen sword, their first real ninja mission! As an incentive, it's proposed that the kids will have no schoolwork during the winter holidays if they succeed in the mission AND finish their summer homework in time!"
Ryūta Tasaki — the director known for his work throughout the Kamen Rider franchise, the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, and the Gamera the Brave film — is helming the second film. Takashi Miike had directed the first live-action film. In addition to Katō, Roi Hayashi returns as fellow Nintama Kirimaru, although Juri Shingetsu replaces Fūta Kimura as the classmate Shinbei.
The original manga has sold 8.7 million copies, while the 1993 television anime is still ongoing after over 1,500 episodes. The second live-action film will open on the 20th anniversary of the television anime. The entertainment news source Oricon reported last year that a "major" American production company was in negotiations after expressing interest in remaking the first live-action film.
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