Honto? This I gotta see to believe. A manga I have long held is impossible to turn into a live-action adaptation is finally getting that treatment, albeit via a SP and not a full dorama. Fresh off the precious and warm Zenkai Girl is Aragaki Yui, who joins my small but growing list of J-actresses I adore (the other being Maki and Haruka), and her next project will be a doozy. She’s just been cast as Tendo Akane, the fiesty, slightly sanctimonious, quick tempered daughter of a dojo owner and fiancee to one Saotome Ranma, the world’s most famous dual-gender martial arts wunderkind with a panda for a father.
If all of this sounds confusing, that’s probably because you haven’t read Takahashi Rumiko‘s famous Ranma 1/2. Cast as male Ranma will be Kaku Kento, who was most recently in Tumbling alongside Yamamoto Yusuke and my Daito Shunsuke, and also in the movie version of Paradise Kiss with Mukai Osamu and Kitagawa Keiko. He’s a cutie pie for sure and yet another promising J-actor with his star fast rising.
Playing the female version of Ranma (you know, when he encounters water) will be Natsuna. The two-hour long SP will be based on a new story not part of the canon manga or even anime universe, centering around Akane rather than Ranma. To be honest, Akane is one of the most annoying Takahashi heroines EVER, and really one reason I only like Ranma 1/2 but don’t love it as much as I love Takahashi’s other mangas. Character-wise, I adore Shampoo and I would have loved for her to get her cat paws on Ranma in the end. Akane should have ended up with Ryoga, her P-chan. Anyone agree with me?
The SP story will involve Akane’s father decreeing that the dojo successor must be a full man, so Akane and Ranma must travel to a mystic locale to find a cure for his gender-bending affliction. Honestly, the one way to make Akane appealing for me is to cast an actress I absolutely adore in the role. And Gakki fits that profile completely. I’m sold for now. Can’t wait to see how the chemistry translates onscreen between the bickering couple.