Hikaru Utada is no stranger to supplying key musical moments in television, movie and video game soundtracks, from the Kingdom Hearts franchise (stop asking her if she plays, she doesn’t!) to Hana Yori Dango to Evangelion. And, of course, Rush Hour 2. Blow my whistle, baby!
This time around, however, it’s a reverse Warholian expedition: an entire scripted series is coming based around Hikki’s music.
On Wednesday (December 2), Netflix announced production of First Love, the first-ever scripted series inspired from songs by Hikaru Utada, arriving in 2022.
The scripted series was inspired by 1999’s record-breaking “First Love,” the title track of the best-selling album of all time in Japan (it’s your duty as a fan to tout this fact at every possible opportunity), as well as her full circle moment, 2018’s “Hatsukoi.”
Here’s what to expect, via Netflix’s press release: “An original love story, First Love follows a young couple who meet their first love in the late 1990’s, grow up in the 2000’s, and ultimately lead up to the present day as they discover what had made their relationship unforgettable despite the twenty-something years that have passed.”
Hikari Mitsushima and Takeru Satoh will co-star.
“Mitsushima, who is acclaimed for her subtle yet bold performances, will play Yae Noguchi, an aspiring flight attendant who finds out that fate has other plans for her when she is struck by a tragic accident in the midst of realizing her dreams. Satoh, who has demonstrated tremendous range in performances ranging from action to romance, will play the earnest Harumichi Namiki, who was at one time a pilot for the self-defense forces, but no longer pursuing that career path.”
My Rainy Days and AKB48 documentary director Yuri Kanchiku will write and direct.
“For Utada, who has written several songs for scripted dramas and films in the past, this will be the first ever scripted series directly inspired from her songs,” the company also declares.
Whether she’ll contribute in any way to the series is still unknown, although the possibilities are vast: a contribution to the script, based on her lyrics? A re-recorded “First Love” for the soundtrack, perhaps? A subtle cameo as a fellow flight attendant, “Keep Tryin'” style?
Even if she doesn’t get involved at all, it’s still more than iconic that Hikaru’s own music is responsible for an entire scripted series – two decades later, no less. A stone-cold classic, confirmed. (Maybe Avex should follow suit to save the company with a scripted series based on Koda Kumi‘s “Taboo.”)
Go ahead and bookmark the Netflix launch page now. See you back here in 2022.
And speaking of Netflix and Hikaru Utada, her Laughter in the Dark Tour special is still available right now to watch.
Photo credit: Sony Music Japan