Crunchyroll to Stream Live-Action Akagi Show Outside Japan
posted on by Egan Loo
The American media service Crunchyroll will stream the live-action Akagi television series in about 150 countries and territories, after episodes air in Japan. The adaptation of the Akagi mahjong gambling manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Kaiji) will premiere in Japan this Friday, July 17 at 9:00 p.m.
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.
24-year-old Kanata Hongou plays the title character Shigeru Akagi, and 75-year-old veteran actor Masahiko Tsugawa will play Akagi's enemy Iwao Washizu. 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 this year's 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 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. It will adapt the story episodes from the original manga from volume 8 onward. 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 worldwide. 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.