With the Naruto manga all wrapped up, we imagine a lot of fans are feeling sort of lonely. Sure, there’s an animated movie coming up, and you can still catch episodes of the weekly anime series, but with no more issues of the comic to look forward to, it must seem like the series’ cast of charismatic ninja have drifted just a little farther away.
Soon enough, though, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura will be just a few rows of seats away from their adoring public, as the Naruto stage play is set to open this spring, and producers have just announced the cast and released the first shot in-costume photo of the star of the show.
Playing Naruto himself is Kodai Matsuoka, whose biggest role to date has been as Ryuji Iwasaki in tokusatsu TV series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. This won’t be the 27-year-old actor’s first time bringing an anime character to life, as he also played Kintaro Toyama in the musical stage version of long-running sports/pretty boy saga The Prince of Tennis.
Naruto’s rival and antagonist, Sasuke, will be portrayed by Ryuji Sato, another Prince of Tennis musical veteran who was cast as Hikaru Zaizen. Sato also has a bit of tokusatsu experience from his days as Teruhiko Satake in the Kamen Rider Fourze TV series and movie.
Rounding out Naruto’s central trio is Yui Ito as Sakura. The 20-year-old model and actress had a stint as the sultry Black Lady in last summer’s Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical, and also appeared in the role of Miyu Ishino in the 2010 live-action thriller Kokuhaku.
The Naruto stage play is scheduled to open on March 21 at the AiiA Theater Tokyo in Shibuya, where it will run until April 5, before moving on to Fukuoka (Canal City Theater, April 10-12), Osaka (Umeda Arts Theater, April 17-19), and Miyagi (Tagajo Shimin Kaikan, April 23-25). The show comes back to Tokyo’s AiiA Theater from April 29 to May 10, then leaves Japan entirely for performances in Macao, Malaysia, and Singapore on dates yet to be determined.
Tickets go on sale January 25, with S-class tickets (for seats closer to the stage priced at 7,500 yen (US$62.50), and farther-back A-class tickets at 5,000 yen. More information is expected to be released through the stage play’s official site, which can be found here.