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Beat Takeshi Guest Stars in Gurazeni Anime's Final Episode

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Actor, director voices role for episode premiering on June 22

Actor and director Takeshi Kitano (popularly known as Beat Takeshi; seen third from left in image below) will guest star in the final episode of the television anime of Yūji Moritaka and Keiji Adachi's Gurazeni baseball manga. The episode will air on June 22.

Kitano has risen to prominence as both an actor and a director in Japan, and has also served as a comedian and television show host. Kitano has directed such films as Hana-bi, the 2003 Zatōichi film, Boiling Point, Outrage, and Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen. Kitano's live-action film roles include Daisuke Aramaki in Ghost in the Shell and Kitano in Battle Royale. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences extended an invitation to Kitano in July 2016. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor (Ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur), the highest French order of merit for military and civilian merits, in October 2016.

The Gurazeni anime premiered on April 6, and Crunchyroll is streaming the series under the title Gurazeni: Money Pitch as it airs in Japan.

Ayumu Watanabe (Space Brothers, Doraemon: Boku no Umareta Hi, If Her Flag Breaks) is directing the anime at Studio Deen, while Hideo Takayashiki (Kaiji, One Outs, Rideback) is supervising and writing the series scripts. Kenichi Ohnuki (Major, Gundam Build Fighters, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters) is designing the characters.

The "baseball money survival" story focuses on a baseball team that operates as a highly-stratified society, where the player's performance determines his annual salary. The story follows an eight-year relief pitcher with an odd left-handed side-arm throw as he fights to survive under the team's strict system.

Writer Moritaka and artist Adachi began serializing the series in 2010. The manga won the best general manga award in the 37th Kodansha Manga Awards in 2013. The series also ranked #2 on the Kono Manga ga Sugoi! guidebook's 2012 list, and earned a nomination in the 5th Manga Taisho Awards.

The manga series ended in 2014 with 17 volumes, but the creators launched the Gurazeni: Tokyo Dome-hen sequel manga that same year. Tokyo Dome-hen ended in February, but a new series titled Gurazeni: Pa League-hen launched on March 29.

Sources: Anime! Anime! (Ako Murozono), Comic Natalie


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