Live-Action Moribito Series' Promo Video Shows Haruka Ayase as Balsa

posted on by Kyle Hallmark
Haruka Ayase stars as Balsa in live-action TV series premiering in March

The official website of NHK's live-action TV adaptation of Nahoko Uehashi's Moribito novel series began streaming a video previewing Haruka Ayase (Umimachi Diary, Hotaru no Hikari, Himitsu no Akko-chan) as Balsa on Monday.

To view the video, click on the image below.

The text in the video reads: "Balsa! That person was strong, covered in mud, and beautiful. Starring Haruka Ayase. Taiga Fantasy Seirei no Moribito, starting in March."

The website also revealed the main cast in costume.

The series will star:

Top row, from left to right:

  • Kento Hayashi (live-action Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, live-action Arakawa Under the Bridge) as Shuga, a star diviner and Chagum's tutor
  • Tatsuya Fujiwara (Death Note's Light, Rurouni Kenshin's Makoto Shishio) as the Emperor and Chagum's father
  • Yu Kameo (Kamen Rider OOO's Kiyoto Maki) as Mon, the leader of the hunters

Middle row, from left to right:

  • Mikijiro Hira (Ninja Kids!!!, Rampo) as Seidōshi, the chief star diviner and the Emperor's aide
  • Kōji Kikkawa (Kamen Rider W's Narumi/Kamen Rider Skull) as Jiguro Musa, Balsa's mentor
  • Fumino Kimura (Piece of Cake, Initiation Love) as Chagum's mother, the Second Empress
  • Satoshi Matsuda (live-action Densha Otoko film, Kamen Rider Ryuki's Ren Akiyama/Kamen Rider Knight) as Jin, a hunter

Bottom row, from left to right:

  • Masahiro Higashide (xxxHOLiC's Dōmeki, Blue Spring Ride's Kou Mabuchi) as Tanda, Torogai's apprentice and Balsa's friend
  • Haruka Ayase as Balsa
  • Kai Kobayashi (2013 live-action Chibi Maruko-chan) as Chagum, the second prince of the New Yogo Empire
  • Reiko Takashima (Space Battleship Yamato [2010]'s Dr. Sado, L DK's Sayoko) as the shaman Torogai

Additional cast members include:

  • Kaya Kiyohara (Taifū no Noruda's Noruda) as young Balsa
  • Naho Yokomizo (live-action Kiki's Delivery Service, live-action Nobunaga Concerto TV series) as child Balsa
  • Kae Okumura (Wolf Children) as the First Empress
  • Kaisei Nakano (Garo -Gold Storm Shō-'s Yuuto) as Sagum, Chagum's older brother and heir to the throne
  • Seishirō Katō (Ninja Kids!!!) as Tōya, an orphan and friend of Balsa
  • Riana Saijima as Saya, an orphan and friend of Balsa
  • Yukijirō Hotaru (Garo: The Makai Flower's Gonza Kurahashi) as Nōya, the chief of Yashiro village
  • Momoka Ishii (live-action Ouran High School Host Club) as Nina, a storyteller of Yashiro village
  • Mitsuru Fukikoshi (live-action Space Brothers) as Gakai, a star diviner and Sagum's tutor

The series will premiere in March as NHK's Taiga Fantasy drama. The series will have 22 episodes that NHK will broadcast over three years. The show will adapt all 10 of Uehashi's novels, and the whole drama will be shot in 4K. The first season of the show will consist of four episodes.

Hiroshi Kataoka (Soko wo Nantoka, Last Dinner) is directing the series, and Sumio Ōmori (Akumu-chan) is writing the show's script.

Production I.G and Kenji Kamiyama (Eden of the East, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex) adapted the first book in Uehashi's series into a 26-episode television anime series that originally aired in 2007.

Uehashi's novel series centers on a traveling spear-wielding bodyguard named Balsa who has sworn to save the lives of eight people to atone for a past sin. In the first novel, Balsa meets Chagum, the second prince of the New Yogo Empire, whose life is in danger because he is possessed by a sacred spirit that poses a danger to his country. Balsa swears to protect Chagum, and the two undertake a journey to find out how to rid Chagum of the spirit possessing him.

Media Blasters previously licensed the series and released it on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America between 2009-2011. Viz Media licensed the series again in 2014, and released the series on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in August 2014.

Scholastic has released the first two books in Uehashi's novel series in English. Uehashi, who also wrote the Kemono no Sou-ja Erin novel series, won the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award in 2014.

Thanks to Erica Friedman for the news tip.

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