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SMAP's Kusanagi to Play Osamu Tezuka in Manga-Based Show

posted on by Egan Loo
Sukiyaki Western Django's Satō to play manga pioneer's editor in story about Black Jack's creation

SMAP band member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta, The Diary of Anne Frank, Yume o Kanaeru Zō) will play manga and anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka in this fall's live-action television series Kami-sama no Beret Bō ~Tezuka Osamu no Black Jack Sōsaku Hiwa (God's Beret: The Untold Story of How Osamu Tezuka Created His Black Jack). Kōichi Satō (Sukiyaki Western Django, Kamui Gaiden) will play Taizō Kabemura, Tezuka's acclaimed editor-in-chief at Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine.

In the original nonfiction manga Black Jack Sōsaku Hiwa ~Tezuka Osamu no Shigoto-ba Kara~ (The Untold Story: How Tezuka created his "Black Jack"), Masaru Miyazaki and Kōji Yoshimoto recount the true story of how Tezuka (Astro Boy/Mighty Atom, Kimba the White Lion/Jungle Emperor, Phoenix) created Black Jack, his classic tale of a brilliant maverick doctor. Miyazaki and Yoshimoto used firsthand accounts from people who were actually at Tezuka's studio to give their behind-the-scenes account.

Fuji TV's television series will follow a modern-day rookie editor who travels back in time to Tezuka's lifetime. Kusanagi vowed to do his best to portray Tezuka, the man who everyone in Japan knows. While Kusanagi likes all of Tezuka's works, he singled out Black Jack as his favorite after he read the entire series about seven or eight years ago. He also enjoys Phoenix, Dororo, and Astro Boy, and even collects their figures.

Black Jack Sōsaku Hiwa ranked #1 among the "Top 10 Manga for Male Readers" in the 2012 edition of Takarajimasha's Kono Manga ga Sugoi! guidebook. The manga ran in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion (the very same magazine that serialized the original Black Jack manga from 1973 to 1978) and Bessatsu Shōnen Champion. Weekly Shōnen Champion has also run several revivals of Black Jack, including Yū-Go Ōkuma's 2011 Young Black Jack prequel and last year's version based on real-life medical stories.

Black Jack not only inspired several anime projects, but also live-action versions with Yūzō Kayama, Daisuke Ryū, and Masahiro Motoki as the titular doctor. Most recently, Masaki Okada (Hana Zakari no Kimi-tachi e, Boku no Hatsukoi o Kimi ni Sasagu, Space Brothers) starred as Young Black Jack in 2011. Anime Sols just reached its crowdfunding goal for a North American DVD release of the first Black Jack television anime series on Wednesday.

Vertical publishes the original Black Jack manga, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, in North America.

Source: Comic Natalie

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