|Date(s):||1998-2003 (manga), 2008-2009 (J-drama), 2021 (stage play)|
|Medium:||Manga, J-drama, stage play|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|External Links:||Wikipedia entry Japanese Wikipedia entry|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Rookies was a baseball-focused high school manga that ran in Weekly Shounen Jump from 1998-2003. In 2008 it received a J-drama adaptation, and in 2009 the drama's story was completed in the theatrical film Rookies: Graduation. Graduation became one of the top grossing Japanese live-action films of all time. It remains the single highest grossing live-action adaptation of a Weekly Shounen Jump property.
In late 2021, a stage (2.5D) adaptation was announced. The stage play had a limited run in November of 2021. The stage play's canon was adapted from the manga, rather than the more popular drama version.
The Rookies fandom was primarily concentrated on now-defunct fanpages hosted by individual fans. A significant number of fanworks were focused on the J-drama cast and canon, due to the J-drama's use of popular and attractive young actors. In bonus material found on the DVDs, a largely female audience can be seen at promotional events for the drama and film. Some fanart and fanfics were preserved on Pixiv, but most fan content was lost with the original fanpages. Some doujinshi can still be found for sale secondhand.
From August 1st to August 8th of 2008, the official website for the Rookies drama series accepted submissions of fanletters via a BBS that let users select a certain character/member of the cast and add a short message. Out of 912 messages, the top three recipients were Aniya (Ichihara Hayato), Okada (Satoh Takeru), and Yufune (Igarashi Shunji), who were all popular and highly-promoted stars at the time. The letters were overwhelmingly from girls in their teens, with 16 being the average self-reported age.
While there was no overwhelming favorite ship among fans, the drama separates characters up into the following pairs:
- Aniya and Shinjo
- Mikoshiba and Sekikawa
- Hiyama and Wakana
- Okada and Yufune
- Hiratsuka and Imaoka
- (Graduation only:) Hamanaka and Akahoshi
The characters are usually seen in those pairs during group shots, reaction shots, and behind the scenes events with their actors. As a result, many fanworks stick to those pairings, whether platonic or romantic. Some fans shipped other combinations of Aniya, Shinjo, Mikoshiba and Sekikawa, and there are some doujinshi shipping Shinjo and Okada despite their lack of interaction in the drama series, most likely because of preexisting fandom for their actors, Shirota Yu and Satoh Takeru. Aniya and Shinjo are also both shipped with Kawato, and there was a small pocket of Akahoshi/Mikoshiba shippers due to interactions that were added to Graduation.
Yufune and Hiratsuka were both changed greatly for the drama adaptation, both in design and personality, and their appearance is the easiest way to tell which version of canon a fanwork is based on.
Some posts and images in Japanese webspaces refer to Rookies as a "death drama", pointing out how many of the actors have since left the industry due to scandal or other reasons.
In 2015 and 2017, a Rookies collaboration event ran in the mobile game Bokura no Koushien! Pocket. Three playable characters from the manga (Mikoshiba, Aniya and Hiratsuka) could be unlocked by logging in and exchanging special treasure items.
On February 2, 2016, the Japanese smart card service PiTaPa uploaded an art relay in which Morita took part. In his drawing, the subjects of the previous illustration became Rookies characters Hiratsuka and Imaoka, dressed in a maid and chef outfit respectively. Morita later uploaded a larger version to his Twitter in 2020, describing it only as "a mysterious drawing".
On 7/7/2017, a variety show segment hosted by comedy duo Bananaman featured a drawing by Morita showing the characters three years after graduation, revealing their future careers. Morita later stated that the drawing was intended as a joke, but since everyone took it seriously, it was now officially canon.
- The Gay Imaoka meta-post by imahira: an essay on the character of Imaoka and possible gay coding in the series
- Towards a Theory of Gay Imaoka by imahira: a follow-up essay on the likelihood of said gay coding, and portrayal of gay characters in shounen manga of the 90s and early 2000s.
- Works tagged "Rookies" on Pixiv
- Works tagged "ルーキーズ" on Pixiv
- Rookies (Drama) tag and a second Rookies (Drama) tag on Tegaki
- The Rookies (Manga) tag on Tegaki
- Rookies Fans LiveJournal community
- Go! Nikogaku! Go! on Tumblr
- Official website for the 2021 stage play and official website for the 2008 drama
- Official Twitter account for the stage play
- morita_babies a LJ community about Rookies and other works by Morita Masanori
- Japanese wikipedia article
- http://www.tbs.co.jp/rookies08/bbsfan/ Official site
- https://funnuraba.tumblr.com/post/648124794531905536/ive-finished-logging-912-fan-letters-submitted-to "I’ve finished logging 912 fan letters submitted to the Rookies drama official site in 2008 (link here) and the results…… are in!!!"