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Live-Action Tobaku Haōden Zero Will Have Hulu-Exclusive Original Prequel

posted on by Karen Ressler
NEWS idol group members star in 3 prequel episodes

The official website for Zero Ikkakusenkin Game (Zero: Get Rich Quick Game), the live-action television show based on Nobuyuki Fukumoto's Tobaku Haōden Zero gambling manga, announced that the series will get three original stories that will stream exclusively on Hulu Japan. The Hulu series is titled Zero: Episode Zero and the first episode will premiere on Sunday.

The episodes will reveal the past of the series protagonist Zero, played by Shigeaki Katō of the idol group NEWS. However, it will do so by focusing on each of his three friends, played by the other members of NEWS — Keiichirō Koyama, Takahisa Masuda, and Yūya Tegoshi — in both the television show and the Hulu series. The first episode "Yamaguchi Kazuya-hen" will focus on what Kazuya, played by Masuda, does before the events of the main series.

The main live-action series will premiere on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. JST on NTV.

In the manga's story, teenager "Zero" Ukai is a gambling genius who enters a trillion-yen (about US$12-billion) survival game. In the television show, Zero is a substitute teacher at a local cram school.

The manga launched in 2007, and took a two-and-a-half-year hiatus after finishing its first story arc. The manga resumed with the second part, Tobaku Haōden Zero Gyanki-hen, in 2011. Kodansha published the first part in eight compiled volumes and the second part in 10 compiled volumes.

Fukumoto is best known for his long-running Kaiji gambling manga, which inspired two television anime series, two live-action films, a reality show, and a VR game. The spinoff manga Chūkan Kanriroku Tonegawa is inspiring its own anime that premiered in July.

Fukumoto also drew the mahjong manga Akagi, which ended in February after 27 years. Akagi inspired a television anime and a live-action series. A new three-episode mini-series will premiere on May 25.

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