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Gokusen TV Drama Gets Film Finale in July


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The live-action drama adaptation of Kozueko Morimoto's school comedy manga will end with a theatrical film this July. 29-year-old Yukie Nakama will reprise her starring role of Kumiko "Yankumi" Yamaguchi, the high school teacher with yakuza ties, one last time for the film. She already played the character in three top-rated television series over the last seven years and will appear in a "Graduation Special" that airs in Japan this month.

Haruma Miura (Ren Kazama) and Yuuya Takaki (Yamato Ogata) will return from the third live-action Gokusen series as recent graduates. The third season's second-year students will become "Yankumi's" new third-year class in the movie, as led by first-time television drama actor Yūta Tamamori of the Johnny's Jr. idol group Kis-My-Ft2. Veteran film director Junya Satō (live-action Golgo 13) will assist Toya Sato (live-action Grave of the Fireflies, Sexy Voice and Robo), the director of every television version of Gokusen, on the film project.

NTV had announced that the third live-action Gokusen series was the highest rated television drama series of 2008. The 11 episodes scored a record 22.8% average rating in the Kanto region of metropolitan Tokyo. The first episode alone earned a 26.4% in April. The 2003 graduation special of the original 2002 Gokusen television series earned an 18% rating, while the special for the second live-action series (2005) garnered a record 32.5%. Media Blasters released the television animated version of the manga in North America from 2004 to 2005.

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