Rom-com anime fans rejoice! Junta Shima’s romantic comedy manga Murai in Love (Murai no Koi) will be getting an anime adaptation, according to its official Twitter page.
In a tweet posted this past June 15, the social media page for the manga series posted a photo featuring an animated onigiri and the message “Murai & Friends will return in The animation.” It was also accompanied by a caption expressing gratitude for the support it has been receiving. As of press time, it has almost 2,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes on the microblogging platform.
However, the announcement contains no additional details about the upcoming anime series. Fans will have to wait for further news about which studio will take charge of the adaptation, the format and episode count, as well as the cast of voice actors.
About Murai in Love
Murai in Love, or Murai no Koi in Japanese, is a romantic comedy series that centers on the eponymous Murai. He is an unassuming high school student who, one day, confesses his love for his teacher, Tanaka Ayano. However, Ayano is dubbed as the “Iron Masked Girl, Tetsuko” by her students because she doesn’t interact much aside from what her job requires. In fact, she doesn’t interfere with student affairs and rarely mingles even with her co-teachers.
Behind her seemingly distant behavior, Tanaka Ayano is actually an otaku, a die-hard anime fan, who is in love with a character from an otome game—Hitotose. When Murai confesses, he is immediately rejected by his teacher because she has never fallen in love with a real man, let alone a student of hers.
Driven by his desire to woo his beloved, Murai transforms. The weird-looking boy with long black hair comes to school one day with short, blonde hair. In doing so, Murai has become an exact, real-life copy of Hitotose. Now face to face with her dream man, the two play a weird cat-and-mouse chase filled with comedy and romance.
Murai remains committed to earning the approval of his teacher, without knowing the effects of his transformation into a perfect Hitotose look-alike at first. Meanwhile, Ayano tries to control her obsession with seeing her long-time otome game crush in person. They are surrounded by friends and colleagues who help Murai and later, Ayano, in navigating love and life.
It has begun serialization in Gene LINE starting on June 18, 2018, and has released seven compilation (tankobon) volumes so far. The manga publication is also known for serializing other romance, rom-com, and slice-of-life titles such as Sansan Sakura, Brother Trap, and Shinkei Naikai to Otome Gamer.
Entering an Adaptation Craze
Before the prospects of an anime adaptation were confirmed, to the surprise and pleasure of Murai no Koi fans worldwide, it was recently adapted into a live-action Japanese drama series. Also known as a renzoku or a continuing Japanese serial, the live-action adaptation of Murai in Love ran for eight episodes, with episodes released weekly between April 6 to May 25, on TBS.
It’s interesting to note that for a series that ran from 2018 to 2022, it has already received a live-action adaptation and is now slated to see its manga pages translated into an anime.
For those who haven’t read the manga or watched the recently-concluded drama series, below are the main characters and the actors who portrayed them in the live-action adaptation:
Tanaka Ayano – is a schoolteacher known as “Iron Masked Girl, Tetsuko” or “Tetsuko of the Iron Mask” because of her very reserved nature in dealing with both students and co-workers. Apart from her cold exterior, she’s actually obsessed with her crush, a fictional character from an otome game.
In the manga, Tanaka Ayano has light brown hair. Meanwhile, her hair has a darker brown shade, portrayed by actress Hikaru Takahashi. The Japanese actress and model was previously known for her roles in the 2016 film A Living Promise (Jinsei no Yakusoku) and the 2022 live-action adaptation of I Want to Hold Aono-kun so Badly I Could Die (Aono-kun ni Sawaritai kara Shinitai)
Murai/ Hitotose – an unassuming high school student at the top of his class who was first seen with long black hair. Upon hearing from Tetsuko that she wouldn’t go out with a long black-haired guy, he transforms into a short, blonde-haired man and started wearing a headband in some cases. His transformation, however, made him look like Hitotose—Ayano’s crush from the otome game Feudal Era Love Scroll.
In the live-action adaptation, both characters are portrayed by actor Miyase Ryubi. He previously appeared in the 2019 live-action drama Hey Sensei, Don’t You Know? (Nee Sensei, Shiranai no?) and the 2022 spinoff series Ikemen-do: Minan Gakuen Monogatari.
Additionally, they are joined by a colorful cast of supporting characters. From Murai’s friends and classmates to Ayano’s colleagues at the school faculty, these people will help the two in navigating their unusual situation together while also exploring challenges and issues of their own as the story progresses.
Hirai Shinri – one of Murai’s close friends, Shinri is depicted as the more serious of the two. He appears in the live-action adaptation as having jet-black hair parted in the middle, portrayed by Sota Ryosuke.
Kiriyama Akifumi – the other close friend of Murai, Akifumi is the more athletic of the two, often appearing in casual clothes and seen with a skateboard in one episode of the live-action. He became friends with Murai after the top student recognizes his passion for the arts. In the series, he appears with black hair and red highlights, held up by a headband. Akifumi is played by actor Ito Asahi in the live-action.
Fukunaga Yayoi – a fellow high schooler like most of the characters, Yayoi first appears looking for Murai and inviting him over for coffee. It was revealed that she is a childhood friend who has liked Murai because of his kindness and loyalty to his friends. Her affection towards Murai adds conflict between the titular character and Tetsuko. Fukunaga Yayoi is played by Hara Nanaoka in the J-drama.
Nishifuji Hitomi – introduced as “Murai’s bodyguards,” Hitomi and her sister Yuka are the first to investigate what drove Murai’s transformation into Hitotose. They also lend Murai a copy of the Love Scroll game and even asked him to cosplay as Hitotose at a convention. She is distinguished by her eyeglasses and is portrayed by Riko in the drama series.
Nishifuji Yuka – Hitomi’s sister, Yuka is distinguished by her pigtails. Apart from being a fan of Love Scroll, she also creates doujinshi, or fan-made materials often containing mature content. She is played by Tsurushima Noa in the series.
Actors Serizawa Tateto, Saito Shinji, and Kamiya Keisuke also make appearances as the Warlords who act as Tetsuko’s conscience whenever she thinks about stuff in a Jidaigeki-style reenactment in her head.
The upcoming anime adaptation of Murai in Love is a testament to its growing popularity. Shortly after its four-year serialization in Gene LINE, it managed to land a live-action Japanese drama adaptation. After enjoying a warm reception from audiences around the world, the unusual pursuit of Murai for Ayano’s love and approval is set to receive a renewed wave of interest in the entire franchise.
Manga and J-drama fans will soon see a growth in their Murai no Koi fanbase with the anime-watchers soon getting onboard. It would be fun to see if the new adaptation would divert from the source material, or add its own spin to the story in the same way the live-action did.
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