Japan's Tokyo Broadcast System (TBS) is preparing a sequel to its hit high school gang film Crows: Episode 0.

Famed filmmaker Takashi Miike will again direct and popular star Shun Oguri will reprise his lead role as smart and brutal gang leader Genji Takaya. Oguri is currently in training with the film set to go before cameras in July. Comic relief Kyosuke Yabe is also set to return but other cast members are yet to be confirmed.

The first installment was a box office smash last fall, grossing $24.1m (Y2.5bn) as the network's third most successful film in 2007 after Sky Of Love ($37.6m) and Dororo ($33.3m).

TBS sold foreign rights to Crows: Episode 0 to Germany, Benelux and Taiwan at last year's Asian Film Market in Pusan. The film also received a release in Singapore this March.

The sequel's story is set eight months after the original. Oguri's character is about to graduate but the gangs of Suzuran High School are still not unified when an assassin from a rival school is sent to settle an old score.

'A sequel was always in the works,' said producer Mataichiro Yamamoto. 'We want to pump up the energy and make it a hundred times more fun to attract an even wider audience.'

The sequel, which is scheduled for release in 2009, is aiming to top the original's take by an extra Y1bn for a total of $33.8m.