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=LOVE Idol Group Makes Voice Acting Debut in 1st Haikara-san ga Tōru Anime Film

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
1st in 2-film series opens in Japan on November 11; films have planned screenings in U.S.

The official website for the anime film adaptations of Waki Yamato's Haikara-san ga Tooru manga revealed on Wednesday that idol group =LOVE (pronounced "equal love") members Maika Sasaki, Hitomi Takamatsu, and Shōko Takiwaki will make their voice acting debut in the first film.

Sasaki, Takamatsu, and Takiwaki are three of 12 finalists in a voice actress idol competition produced by former AKB48 member and current HKT48 idol group member Rino Sashihara. The finalists became the members of the new idol group. =LOVE debuted in their first performance during the TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL 2017 event held on August 4 to 6. The group released their self-titled first single on September 6, which ranked #8 on the Oricon single chart.

The film's official website previously streamed a teaser video for the film in July.

The first film, titled Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Zenpen - Benio, Hana no 17-sai, will open in Japan on November 11. The second film is titled Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Kōhen - Tokyo Dai Roman. While both films were previously slated to open this year, the second film is now slated to open in spring 2018. Warner Bros. Japan announced at Anime Expo in July that it plans to screen the films in the United States with English subtitles.

The anime stars:

Saori Hayami as protagonist Benio "Haikara-san" Hanamura

Mamoru Miyano as Benio's fiancé Shinobu Ijūin

Takahiro Sakurai as Tōsei Aoe, president of the "Jōdansha" publishing company where Benio works.

Kazuya Nakai as Shingo Onijima, Shinobu's subordinate and a sergeant who was dispatched to Siberia.

Yuuki Kaji as Ranmaru Fujieda, a kabuki actor who plays female roles, and is the childhood friend of Benio.

Asami Seto as Tamaki Kitakōji, Benio's close friend.

Hayami is also performing the film's theme song "Yume no Hate made" (Until the End of the Dream). Mariya Takeuchi (Agatha Christie no Meitantei Poirot to Marple, Toki no Tabibito -Time Stranger) is composing and writing the lyrics for the theme song.

Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Rurouni Kenshin, Hunter X Hunter) is directing and penning the script, but only for the first film. Mitsuko Kase (Ristorante Paradiso, Young Black Jack) is directing the second film. Terumi Nishii (Penguindrum, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable) is designing the characters, and Kentaro Akiyama (ReLIFE, Magic-kyun! Renaissance, Selector Infected Wixoss) is in charge of both background design and art direction. Kunio Tsujita (INTERSTELLA 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, Penguindrum) is the color designer. Takeo Ogiwara (Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas, Yurikuma Arashi) is the director of photography at Graphinica. Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (Eureka Seven, Kuromukuro) is the sound director, and Michiru Oshima (Sound of the Sky, Little Witch Academia) is composing the music. Nippon Animation is in charge of animation production.

The story is set in Tokyo in the Taishō era (1912-1926). The story follows Benio "Haikara-san" Hanamura, who lost her mother when she was very young and has been raised by her father, a high-ranking official in the Japanese army. As a result, she has grown into a tomboy — contrary to traditional Japanese notions of femininity, she studies kendo, drinks sake, dresses in often outlandish-looking Western fashions instead of the traditional kimono, and is not as interested in housework as she is in literature. She also rejects the idea of arranged marriages and believes in a woman's right to a career and to marry for love.

Haikara-san's best friends are the beautiful Tamaki, who is much more feminine than Haikara-san but equally interested in women's rights, and Ranmaru, a young man who was raised to play female roles in the kabuki theater and as a result has acquired very effeminate mannerisms. Haikara-san's betrothed is Shinobu Ijūin, a second lieutenant in the army.

The all-female Takarazuka Revue theater troupe's Flower Troupe will perform a musical adaptation of the manga in October.

Source: Animate Times

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