The official website for the live-action film adaptation of Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba's classic boxing manga Ashita no Joe has begun streaming a 30-second teaser trailer.
25-year-old Tomohisa Yamashita (Ikebukuro West Gate Park, Kurosagi) of the idol group NEWS stars as an orphan named Joe Yabuki who rises from the Tokyo slums under the tutelage of a former boxer. Actor and boxing "otaku" Teruyuki Kagawa (20th Century Boys, Tsurugidake Tennoki, Tales from Earthsea) plays Yabuki's boxing tutor Danpei Tange, Karina plays the heroine Yōko Shiraki, and Yusuke Iseya (Casshern, Honey and Clover) plays Yabuki's rival Rikiishi Tōru. Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong, Vexille - 2077 Isolation of Japan, To, Dragon Age) is directing the film, which will open in Japan next February.
Takamori and Chiba's original 1968-1973 manga is among the most critically acclaimed stories in Japanese popular culture, and Osamu Dezaki's television series added to the story's iconic status. It would later influence two generations of sports and shōnen manga, including Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit). A crucial twist in the Ashita no Joe television anime's plot made headlines in Japan as people marked the occasion with public ceremonies.
Tai Seng licensed the first Ashita no Joe anime film for North America in 2008. A relatively new anime distributor named Animewho also released the Joe vs. Joe video anime series that same year. There was an earlier live-action film directed by the late Yasuharu Hasebe.