posted on 2021-03-24 16:45 EDT by Lynzee Loveridge
The 12th installment of the NHK's "Anime x Para: Who is Your Hero?" (Ani × Para: Anata no Hero wa Dare Desu ka) animated project will collaborate with Mariko Yoshino's Team Futari novel. This is the first time Team Futari has inspired an animated project.
The table tennis short will air on April 25 on NHK BS1. The story takes place two years after the novel and characters Daichi and Jun pair up again to play table tennis in junior high. One day during practice, the two boys meet professional high school player Iwabuchi and play a game with him. Daichi and Jun then notice the harness on Iwabuchi's left leg.
Ryūnosuke Kamiki will star as Kōyō Iwabuchi, Hiro Shimono will voice Daichi, and Yuuki Kaji will voice Jun. The Iwabuchi character is based on real-life adult para-table tennis player Kōyō Iwabuchi. The world's number three-ranked para table tennis player launched a YouTube channel last year to bring awareness to the sport after finding there was nothing about it available on the streaming site.
"Para table tennis embraces people with different types of impairments, and being an interpersonal competition, the best part of it for me is seizing an opportunity and taking advantage of it," Iwabuchi said in an interview last year. "Impairments are not disadvantages that should be pitied, but essential components of Paralympic sports. Therefore, I believe providing information on the impairments of opponents is also important."
Yoshino's original novel focuses on Jun and Daichi as they form a table tennis team in elementary school. Kazutaka Miyao provided illustrations for the novel. Yoshino contributed to the original story for the anime short and she interviewed Iwabuchi as part of the writing process.
"Anime x Para: Who is Your Hero?" is an animated series aiming to increase interest in parasports ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Previous shorts in the series collaborated with Captain Tsubasa for blind soccer, Baby Steps for wheelchair tennis, renowned Ashita no Joe artist Tetsuya Chiba for wheelchair rugby, and Yowamushi Pedal for para-cycling, among others.