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Live-Action Akagi Show Casts Kanata Hongou, Masahiko Tsugawa

posted on by Egan Loo
Star of live-action Prince of Tennis/Attack on Titan & Btooom! anime

24-year-old Kanata Hongou will play the title character Shigeru Akagi, and 75-year-old veteran actor Masahiko Tsugawa will play Akagi's enemy Iwao Washizu in the live-action television series of Nobuyuki Fukumoto's mahjong gambling manga Akagi in July.

Hongou played Ryoma in the live-action film of The Prince of Tennis manga, Shin in the live-action NANA 2 film, Jōichirō Nishi in the live-action Gantz films, Ryōta Sakamoto in the Btooom! anime, Makoto Naegi in the Danganronpa stage play, and Armin in the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan films. Tsugawa's numerous projects include Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out!! Attack, Tampopo, and Mamoru Hosoda's upcoming anime film The Boy and The Beast.

The Akagi manga series begins on one stormy night, when Nangō is playing a game of Mahjong with the local yakuza. Soon, he finds himself on a losing streak. If Nangō loses, he will have to pay with his life. Suddenly, a young teenaged boy, Shigeru Akagi, barges in, drenched from the rain. After watching a couple of games, he offers to replace the struggling Nangō. At that moment, a new legend is born.

The 10-episode television series will premiere on July 17 on the BS Sukapaa! station, and the one-hour episodes will air on Friday nights at 9 p.m. The series will use CG to recreate Fukumoto's signature vivid depictions of psychological moments and mahjong moves.

Hitoshi Iwamoto (MW film, Nobuta wo Produce TV series) and Mutsuru Kubota (Saito San, Family Complex) is directing and producing the series. Mitsuru Tanabe (GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, GTO: The Movie) wrote the scripts. The Shōnan no Kaze reggae band is performing the show's theme song "Don't Be Afraid."

Fukumoto launched the ongoing manga series in Takeshobo's Kindai Mahjong magazine in 1992. Takeshobo published the 29th compiled book volume on March 2, and the volumes collectively have 10 million copies in circulation. The manga inspired a 2005 television adaptation by anime Studio Madhouse, and Crunchyroll streamed the anime starting in 2013. Fukumoto's gambling manga Kaiji also inspired two television anime and two live-action films.

Sources: Eiga.com, Sports Nippon

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