by Chris MaGee
Back in February we reported on the upcoming live-action adaptation of Tetsuya Chiba's iconic boxing manga "Ashita no Joe". At that point it was announced that 25-year-old Tomohisa Yamashita, member of the pop group NEWS, would be slipping on the trunks and gloves as Joe Fubuki, the scrappy street orphan turned number one contender, but news on the Tokyo Broadcasting Systems-backed production has been pretty quiet since then. That's now changed with the announcement that 26-year-old actress and model Karina (above left) will be portraying Joe's love interest Yoko Shiraki (above right). Karina will be joined by Yusuke Iseya (Sukiyaki Western Django, Blindness) who will be portraying Joe's rival, boxer Tohru Rikiishi, and Teruyuki Kagawa as Joe's drunken mentor Danpei Tange. Pretty impressive cast, although or a film I hope they get right.
"Ashita no Joe" is set for a spring 2011 release. Thanks to Tokyograph for this bit of news, and to Sponichi Annex for the above promo pic of Karina.