New Hana-Kimi Live Action Series

19-year-old Atsuko Maeda of the all-female pop group AKB48 will have her first lead role in a television series with Hana Zakari no Kimi-tachi e ~Ikemen Paradise, a new live-action series which will premiere in Japan's Fuji TV network this July.

Hisaya Nakajo's Hana Zakari no Kimi-tachi e (Hana-Kimi) shōjo school romance manga followed a girl named Mizuki as she disguises herself to attend the same all-boys school as her idol. Several of the dorm residential advisors, including a boy named Minami Nanba, discover Mizuki's secret but vow to keep quiet.

The manga already inspired a 2007 live-action series of the same name with then rising stars such as Maki Horikita, Shun Oguri, and Toma Ikuta. That earlier series had an average rating of 17.3%. Maeda said that she is familiar with the earlier live-action series, and that she is also a big fan of the original manga.

AKB48 will perform the theme song for the new live-action series, and the new single will go on sale in August. Maeda is also starring in a film adaptation of Natsumi Iwasaki's Moshi Kōkō Yakyū no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no Management o Yondara (Moshidora) business novel on June 4.