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2 Live-Action Chihayafuru Films Cast Suzu Hirose & Sonny Chiba's Son

posted on by Egan Loo
Kano-Uso's Norihiro Koizumi directs March/April films about girl competing in karuta game

Actress Suzu Hirose (Crows Explode, Umimachi Diary, Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and The Beast) will star as the heroine Chihaya Ayase in the live-action film project of Yuki Suetsugu's Chihayafuru manga. This will be her first headlining role in a film production.

There will actually be two films: Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku (Chihayafuru: Upper Phrase) in March 2016 and Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku (Chihayafuru: Lower Phrase) in April 2016. The film titles refer to the two halves of each poem that are key to the Japanese card game of karuta.

Auditions with over 800 applicants ran from the end of last year until casting was decided.

Shūhei Nomura (Taifū no Noruda, live-action Daily Lives of High School Boys, Hibi Rock: Puke Afro and the Pop Star) will play Chihaya's childhood friend Taichi Mashima (pictured center right in the image below).

Mackenyu (Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Feature) will play Arata Wataya (center left), the childhood friend who leads Chihaya and Taichi into the world of karuta. Mackenyu is the American-born son of internationally renowned actor Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter, Kill Bill).

The rest of the cast includes:

Mizusawa High School Competitive Karuta Club:

  • Mayu Matsuoka as the "karuta queen" Shinobu Wakamiya (bottom row, far left)
  • Miyuki Matsuda (Hot Road, ZOO) as the teacher Taeko Miyauchi (bottom row, second from left) at Chihaya's Mizusawa High School

Hokuo Academy Competitive Karuta Club:

Norihiro Koizumi (Midnight Sun, Kanojo wa Uso o Ai Shisugiteru) is directing the films. Suetsugu herself drew a sketch to express her excitement and anticipation for the films, and said that Hirose with long hair looks so beautiful and so much like Chihaya. (Hirose normally wears her hair short.) Although Suetsugu added that the film will not be in stereoscopic 3D, she said that the karuta scenes will be really cool in live-action.

Hirose said that everyone in her family are fans of the manga, and expressed her initial worry that she would not look like the tall, long-haired Chihaya. Nevertheless, she wants to closely portray Chihaya's passion, straightforwardness, and core strength. Koizumi said that Hirose may be humble and shy in person, but she dramatically transforms into her character on camera.

Suetsugu's manga follows a schoolgirl named Chihaya who competes in the Japanese card game of karuta. Suetsugu launched the manga in Kodansha's Be Love magazine in December 2007, and Kodansha has published over 12 million copies of the manga's 27 volumes. Kodansha also released a bilingual edition of the first two volumes in Japan in 2011-2012.

The manga won the Manga Taisho (Cartoon Grand Prize) award in 2009, and also won the Best Shōjo Manga award at Kodansha's 35th Annual Manga Awards in 2011.

The series inspired the first 25-episode television anime season from October 2011 to March 2012, and the second 25-episode season aired in Japan from January-June 2013. Additionally, the 22nd volume of the manga bundled an original anime DVD when it shipped in September 2013. Crunchyroll streamed both television anime series outside Japan as they aired.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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