Video Girl Ai by Masakazu Katsura is getting adapted into a TV drama series. Shuhei Nomura, a popular actor known for playing Taichi in Chihayafuru and Kikuma in Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High (Teiichi no Kuni), is starring in the live-action series.
Video Girl Ai is originally a sci-fi romantic comedy manga series about ‘video girls’ who come to life out of a television set when a special video tape is played and the boys who fall in love with them. There are two arcs: the Ai Arc features Ai Amano, a video girl who ended up being made tomboyish and rude due to the malfunction of a broken VCR, and Yota Moteuchi, a high school student and a dateless loser. The Len Arc features Len Momono, a clumsy but gentle and honest video girl, and Hiromu Taguchi, a high school student aiming to become a manga artist. The manga series was published by Shuueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump from 1989 to 1992, and was collected into 15 volumes. There was also a live action film released in 1991 and an OVA released in 1992.
The new TV drama series is about Sho Moteuchi, Yota’s nephew. Sho, who will be played by Nomura, is secretly in love with his pretty classmate, Nanami. One day he discovers an old VCR at his uncle Yota’s house. As he fixes the VCR, a mysterious girl calling herself ‘Video Girl Ai’ pops out of the deck and…
Original creator Katsura, commented, ‘I’m pleased to hear it’s being dramatized as it was a very memorable series. Besides, the concept for the new series is very interesting. Please look forward to its release!!’ The starring actor, Nomura, said, ‘I’ll do my best not to disappoint the original manga fans’ expectations. Please look forward to it.’
The TV drama Den’ei Shoujo ~Video Girl Ai 2018 will start airing in January 2018 on TV Tokyo and its branch stations. The scenario is written by Kohei Kiyasu, known for Distraction Babies and The Kirishima Thing, and the series is directed by Kazuaki Seki, a visual creator known for Perfume and Gen Hoshino‘s music videos.
Comment by Masakazu Katsura
I’m pleased to hear it’s being dramatized as it was a very memorable series. Besides, the concept for the new series is very interesting. Please look forward to its release!!
I’ve been trying to imagine what it would be like and who would be playing each role since I read the scenario. I’m satisfied with the casting and absolutely thrilled with it!!”
Comment by Shuhei Nomura
‘A lot of young actors have been cast for this series, and I hope we all can enjoy working on it. My role, Sho Moteuchi, is the kind of boy who seals himself off and has some barrier up around him since his parents’ divorce. However, he gradually changes as he meets Video Girl Ai and starts spending time with her. I’ll do my best not to disappoint the original manga fans’ expectations. So, please look forward to it.’
Comment by Kimitaka Goka, producer
‘“Wing-man” and “I”s”… Masakazu Katsura is our icon and his works are like a bible for us (director Seki, writer Kiyasu), the generation born in the mid-70s. We all related to the loser protagonists he created, watched them on tenterhooks, got excited and had butterflies in our stomach because of the incredibly cute girls being skimpy and daring.
Among all his works, Video Girl Ai was especially brilliant. It was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1989 to 1992. Back then, Japan was enjoying the economic boom, hadn’t had the horrible Aum Incident nor those huge earthquakes. We were full of dreams and hopes for the future, compared to nowadays. But now we’re in a tough era, and young people don’t get too hopeful about the future easily.
The scenario writer, Kiyasu, wrote, “Don’t say what you don’t need to say. Keeping the status quo is the best choice. That’s the correct answer.” for the protagonist’s dialogue in the first episode, as if Sho were speaking for him. And Ai, the video girl stuck in 1990, suddenly shows up. She was created when there were more direct communications and interactions between people, before cell phones and internet became common, and Sho is a high school student in 2018 who doesn’t enjoy meeting with people. This series focuses on these two people with different values. Video Girl Ai was born incomplete, and she is reckless, clumsy and careless. But she is positive and friendly, always trying to help others and encourages others saying “I’ve found your strong point!”. She can be more human than real people.
It’s been a quarter of century since she was born. Various things happened in the world and we have all aged. We have learned a lot and understand that life isn’t too easy. The world is full of weary stuff. That is why I want “The outdated Video Girl” to encourage us all. That is the reason why I decided to produce this modern “Video Girl Ai” now. I want to make it relatable for young viewers through Sho and Ai and how they live, and want to encourage them a little bit. I want to pass down the pure feeling and great messages that we had received from Katsura to the next generation.
I hope that high school students watch this series and find it their story. For that, I felt that the protagonist had to be someone representing the youth now. Shuhei Nomura, in that sense, is the very actor for this role as he managed to act the delicate adolescent emotions with an attractive aura in the film Chihayafuru. The timeless masterpiece Blade Runner about replicants and humans brought its sequel this year. The next year shall hopefully be the year of “Den’ei Shoujo ~Video Girl Ai 2018~” starring Shuhei Nomura, also known as the Japanese Ryan Gosling!’
Saturday Drama 24 Den’ei Shoujo ~VIDEO GIRL AI 2018~
Starts airing in January, 2018 on TV Tokyo and branch stations (TX, TVO, TVA, TSC, TVh, TVQ)
Based pm: Masakazu Katsura’s Den’ei Shoujo (Video Girl Ai) Shueisha bunko (comic edition)
Starring: Shuhei Nomura
Scenario writer: Kohei Kiyasu
Director: Kazuaki Seki
Chief Producer: Futoshi Asano (TV Tokyo)
Producers: Kimitaka Goka (TV Tokyo), Yuta Kurachi (TV Tokyo), and Kyohei Sudachi
Production Studio: TV Tokyo ROBOT
Produced by: “Den’ei Shoujo ~VIDEO GIRL AI 2018~” Production Committee