GACKT to play a 18 year old high school student in live-action “Tonde Saitama”

The cast for the live-action film adaption of the manga series Tonde Saitama has been announced, and leading the charge is rocker GACKT.

He will be playing the role of an 18-year-old high school boy called Rei Asami, GACKT himself is 44 years old. Actress Fumi Nikaidou is the co-main star, where she plays Momomi Hakuhoudou. This is the first time Nikaidou has ever played a male role.

Tonde Saitama was created by Mineo Maya, and the series originally made it’s debut in the early 80s. Described as a “yaoi comedy” manga, the three-part manga series was published from 1982-1983, and then compiled in one giant volume.

The manga wasn’t very successful at the time of release, but years later it started to get buzz over the internet. The sudden surge in online popularity caused the manga to receive a reprint in 2015, and over 300,000 copies ended up being printed. This is 10x more than was originally anticipated.

Tonde Saitama‘s plot takes place in a fictional Japan where people are heavily discriminated against depending on their birthplace and residence. The Saitama prefecture in particular is harshly criticized by residents living in Tokyo.

Rei Asami (GACKT) transfers to a prestigious school called Hakuhoudou Academy in Tokyo, Asami had previously been studying in The United States. Momomi Hakuhoudou (Fumi Nikaidou) is the president of the student council, and the grandson of the school’s director. He finds himself to be gradually attracted to Asami, but Asami’s secret that he was born in Saitama is eventually revealed.

Asami returns to Saitama to join a resistance in hopes of eliminating the stigma their residents have. When Hakuhoudou learns that a very powerful politician is trying to destroy the resistance group, he heads to Saitama to warn Asami of the danger.

The film is being directed by Hideki Takeuchi, who in the past worked on the very successful live-action adaptations for Nodame Cantabile and Thermae Romae.

Tonde Saitama will hit theaters in 2019.