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Toho’s Mystery Romance ‘Initiation’ to Star Shota Matsuda, Atsuko Maeda

TOKYO — Shota Matsuda and Atsuko Maeda, the former leader of the megahit AKB48 girl pop group, will star in “Initiation Love,” a romantic drama and mystery.

It is based on Kurumi Inui’s 2005 bestseller of the same title that has sold 1.12 million copies.

The director is Yukihiko Tsutsumi, whose many credits include the hit “20th Century Boys” trilogy.

Toho will release next year, but does not plan to sell the film at the upcoming TIFFCOM market.
 
Set in 1980s Tokyo and Shizuoka, the story depicts a love triangle involving a college student (Matsuda), a dental assistant (Maeda), and an actress (Fumino Kimura). Towards the conclusion of their tangled love story, the plot takes a sudden turn into mystery territory.
 
The son of acting legend Yusaku Matsuda, Shota Matsuda has starred in TV dramas and the films spun off from them, including the “Liar Game” series. He has polished his indie creds in the 2011 actioner “Hard Romantic-er” and the 2012 black comedy “Afro Tanaka.”
 
Since leaving AKB48 in 2012, Maeda has starred in a succession of indie and commercial films, ranging from the Nobuhiro Yamashita slacker comedy “Tamako in Moratorium” (2013) to the Hideo Nakata shocker “The Complex” (2013). Her most recent pic, Ryuichi Hiroki’s ensemble drama “Kabukicho Love Hotel,” screened at this year’s Toronto and Busan fests.

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