Lead roles already cast for adaptation of one of anime’s most famous “teens with crushes on each other live in the same house” franchises.
Many of the influential hits that helped anime fandom grow internationally had some sort of supernatural, science fiction, or fantasy element as their hook. Dragon Ball Z featured super-powered martial artists, Sailor Moon was centered on a team of magical girls, and Evangelion had giant robots fighting giant monsters.
But Marmalade Boy, a low-key 1990s darling of anime romance fans, didn’t need to rely on anything so bombastic. The unlikely, yet possible, tale of teenage step-siblings Miki and Yuu, who suddenly find themselves living together after their parents amicably divorce and swap spouses, Marmalade Boy had overlapping love triangles with childhood friends and old flames as their third points, an undeniably catchy theme song, and even a period-representative seemingly nonsense title (which is in fact a reference to an observation Miki makes that the handsome Yuu, like marmalade, appears sweet but has bitter and acerbic bits concealed inside).
Marmalade Boy started out as a manga from Wataru Yoshimizu which was serialized from 1992 to 1995 and eventually adapted into a TV anime which aired from 1994 to 1995. There was also a 1995 animated theatrical feature. Now comes news that Marmalade Boy will be heading back to theaters in Japan, this time as a live-action film.
Playing the part of protagonist Miki will be model and actress Hinako Sakurai. The 20-year-old Okayama native has scant few on-camera film acting credits, though she did have minor roles in the 2016 TV dramas Soshite, Daremo Inaku Natta and Last Cop. Marmalade Boy will be only her second movie role, following a part in this year’s Last Cop–The Movie.
Opposite Sakurai will be 23-year-old Ryo Yoshizawa, playing Miki’s stepbrother/high school classmate/love interest Yuu. Yoshizawa has a much more fleshed-out acting resume, with appearances in dozens of movies and TV shows, most notably as Kamen Rider Meteor in the Kamen Rider franchise and as Sogo Okita in the recent live-action adaptation of anime Gintama.
While anime-to-live-action movies have a spotty track record, Marmalade Boy does have a few things going for it. As a story set in real-life Japan, it’s largely freed from the difficulty of having to choose between keeping source material aesthetics that might not look as cool in live-action or jettisoning them and alienating existing fans (though Yuu’s bright blond hair from the anime is unlikely to make the transition to the new movie, at least in its intense original hue). Marmalade Boy is also a shojo manga romance, a genre that’s been serving as fodder for successful live-action love stories in Japanese television and cinema for several years now. And finally, the film is being produced by Warner Bros., which handled both the Rurouni Kenshin live-action trilogy as well as the live-action Gintama, both of which were given a warm reception by Japanese moviegoers.
The Marmalade Boy live-action movie is scheduled for release, in Japan, sometime in 2018.
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[ Read in Japanese ]