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Crunchyroll to Stream Champion Joe 2, Live-Action GTO Taiwan

posted on by Egan Loo
Ashita no Joe boxing sequel to start streaming on Monday, Taiwan-set GTO mini-series starts Saturday

Media distribution service Crunchyroll announced at Anime Boston on Saturday that it will stream the television anime Champion Joe 2 (Ashita no Joe 2) and the live-action television series GTO Taiwan.

Champion Joe 2 will begin streaming on Monday, March 24 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Premium subscription members will be able to stream all episodes from the start, while free members receive seven new episodes at a time every week. The streams will be available in North America, Central and South America including the Caribbean, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Crunchyroll describes this classic 1980-1981 television series based on the boxing manga by Asao Takamori (Ikki Kajiwara) and Tetsuya Chiba:

Joe, one of the top ranked boxers in the world, no longer has the yearning or desire to enter the ring again after killing his previous opponent by landing a wicked left jab to his temple. His confidence and competitive spirit is restored when he decides to overcome his fear by facing the uncrowned king from Venezuela, Carlos Rivera. 

However, the many years of boxing begin to take a toll on Joe as he gradually becomes weaker with each match. Although symptoms of his decline become evident to those around him, Joe is unaware of his conditions until his final match. 

Joe's girlfriend becomes worried that his continued bouts in the ring will further destroy the health of this fighting legend and she tries to persuade him to quit boxing. Being a stubborn and determined man, Joe rejects the notion of retiring even from the love of his life. 

Joe has it set in his mind to become the champion of the world and he decides to face the reigning champ, Jose Mendosa in what becomes the fight of the century.

In GTO Taiwan, EXILE dance/vocal group member Akira (pictured in center) is returning with a four-episode mini-series shot on location in Taiwan. Akira reprises his role as Onizuka, a former gang member who becomes a "legendary" unorthodox teacher. Joining Akira are 28-year-old Yuu Shirota as Onizuka's old friend Ryūji Danma and 26-year-old Yūsuke Yamamoto as Onizuka's policeman friend Toshiyuki Saejima. Taiwanese actors such as Genie Chuo (as a female teacher and heroine), SpeXial band members Hong Zheng and Wei Jin, Lele Cheng, and Han round out the cast.

In the brand-new story by returning scriptwriter Junpei Yamaoka, the blond instructor is invited to teach at a Taiwanese high school for a one-week training program. While there, Onizuka saves a student who is suffering from bullying. The screenplay features dialogue in both Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. Kazuhisa Imai is returning from Akira's first 2012-2013 GTO television series and specials to direct the new project.

Crunchyroll will begin streaming GTO Taiwan's first episode at 10:30 p.m. ET to premium members, followed by the second episode at 11:00 p.m. ET. The streams will be available in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Central and South America (including the Caribbean), Europe (including French-speaking and German-speaking world, but excluding Russia), Australia, and New Zealand.

Tohru Fujisawa's original GTO manga has over 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. The 11-episode remake live-action series starring Akira aired from July to September 2012. Akira already reprised the role in three specials in October 2012, January 2013, and April 2013.

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