Need some cheering up? Aoi Pro. announced a live-action CHEER BOYS!! film. Based on the 2010 novel written by Ryo Asai, CHEER BOYS!! follows the story of college student Haruki “Haru” Bando. Walking in the footsteps of his parents, Haru’s best friend Kazuma “Kazu” Hashimoto decides to create an all-boys cheerleading team. Soon, the team gathers unique members as they persevere through the physical and emotional challenges of starting a new club. The series touches on what it’s like to be a man in a field typically dominated by women, and the process of overcoming self-doubt. A year later, a 2011 manga adaptation gave CHEER BOYS!! an extra kick-off toward stardom.
Asai took inspiration for CHEER BOYS!! from real-life cheerleading team The Shockers of Waseda University. Student Yohei Kano founded The Shockers in 2004, and they became the first all-male university cheerleading team in Japan. Notably, Kano shares both main characters’ prior experience in other sports, respect, and love for the team and for cheerleading, and belief in the power of smiling. The Shockers’ motto is “A healthy Japan and a happy world!” Consequently, they are internationally ranked. Much like the characters in CHEER BOYS!!, many of the members who join the Shockers have little to no experience in cheerleading and train to improve within the team.
CHEER BOYS!! Flips the Script
The CHEER BOYS!! movie will be directed by 27-year-old Hiroki Kazama. Kazama gained notoriety from directing the miniseries of two other manga live-action movies. First, he directed TEICHI’S COUNTRY: THE CAFE ON STUDENT STREET, a miniseries spinoff of highly popular, manga-adapted, comedy movie TEICHI: BATTLE OF SUPREME HIGH. Then Kazama directed the miniseries spinoff AFTER THE RAIN: WISH IN A POCKET, which he based on the side characters in the film adaptation of the manga AFTER THE RAIN. To date, CHEER BOYS!! will be Kazama’s first full-length live-action movie adaptation.
Equally important, the studio also announced the two actors playing the main characters. Actor Ryusei Yokohama takes the role of protagonist Haruki “Haru” Bando, and actor Masaki Nakao plays Kazuma “Kazu” Hashimoto. Previously voted #1 in Menmo as a male model in 2011, Yokohama first debuted as an actor in 2012 television series KAMEN RIDER FOURZE, playing the character Jiro Iseki. Later, Yokohama became well known for his role as ToQ 4Gou in RESSHA SENTAI TOQER, which he reprises repeatedly. Nakao first debuted in the 2016 Super Sentai Series DOBUTSU SENTAI ZYUOHGER as the protagonist, Zyouh Eagle. Since then, he portrayed protagonist Yota Mikami in the live-action adaptation MAKE A BOW AND KISS.
The actors and director already started their rehearsals of the movie’s cheerleading performances. Accordingly, they state that the cheerleading so far is transformative, and plenty of work.
Plenty of Cheer for All
Waiting can easily get you down. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t have spotters to catch you. Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to tide you over until CHEER BOYS!! the movie comes out.
Not only do you have the original novel, but you also have the multiple manga adaptations. The 2011 manga featured illustrations by Ayaka Matsumoto and spanned four volumes, published as a shojo in Cookie magazine. CHEER BOYS!! GO BREAKERS was the next iteration of the series, a 2016 manga featuring art by Kenichi Kondo. Unlike its predecessor, GO BREAKERS published as a shonen manga in Shonen Jump. At the same time, both versions of the manga employed writing by original creator Ryo Asai.
Also in 2016, CHEER BOYS!! became an anime directed by Ai Yoshimura of GINTAMA and BLACK BUTLER. Written by famous writer Reiko Yoshida of TOKYO MEW MEW and many others, the anime included 12 episodes and 2 OVAs. In my personal opinion, watching (or rewatching) the anime is the perfect way to get psyched for what comes next in the Breakers’ routine! Thankfully, you can find the full first season of the anime on Funimation.
Are you excited for the new movie? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image from Funimation.