June 18, 2008

Live-Action Manga & Anime Coming To A Theatre Near You

A number of high profile live-action movie adaptations of popular Japanese manga and anime are currently in the works, including adaptations of highly popular manga/anime like Dragonball. It is usually pretty exciting to see what the live-action versions of these manga will be like, especialy if you are a fan. But the thing is, if you are a fan, you may not like the live-action version all that much too, especially if it does not fit into your idea of what the characters should be like. And if the filmmakers engage in some "creative" modifications to these well-loved characters as most film makers are wont to do, well...

But that is not likely to stop the film industry from raiding the manga/anime world for new film making ideas in this increasingly competitive industry where audiences are always looking for the next new (and totally original) thing. Here is a list of the "manga/anime to live-action" films that I managed to find that are being planned or in-production now:

Dragonball (Dragon Ball Anime)
One of the most popular anime/manga of all time. This live-action adaptation adaptation stars Justin Chatwin as the super-powered Sun Goku (pic), Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi, Goku's eccentric senseh who teaches him the powerful "turtle-style" martial art - the Kamehameha, James Marsters (most famouus for playing Spike the vampire in Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as Lord Piccolo the villian, Jamie Chung as Chi-Chi, Goku's love interest and Emmy Rossum as Bulma. This movie is currently in post-production and will be released worldwide in April 2009. An interesting piece of info is that the producer is none other than Stephen Chow, the famous Hong Kong comedian! Check out the screen shots here.

Akira (Akira Anime)
This is considered by many as one of the greatest anime of all time. Right now what I have managed to find about this project are the following: it will be produced by Warner Brothers. The lead actor is none other than Mr. Titanic himself - Hollywood heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio! He will play the main character 'Kaneda' and will also serve as co-producer of the film. The action is now in Manhattan instead of in Tokyo (so guess that means that everyone will speak English instead of Japanese now...). It will be made into two films and each film will cover three volumes of the manga. It will be directed by Irish direcctor Ruairi Robinson. The first film was planned for tentative release next summer, but this does not seem likely because as of now, I can't find any news on whether filming has started or not.

20th Century Boys ( 20th Century Boys Manga)
This 22 volume classic by Naoki Urasawa is being made into a US$60 million three-part Japanese language movie. The first part of the trilogy will be released in Japan in August this year and the second and third part of the trilogy will be released in 2009. The cast is really something, there will be 300 actors (!) in total, and among these 300 people are some of the biggest names in the Japanese entertainment industry, including Toshiaki Karasawa as the main character Kenji, Tokiwa Takako as Yukiji and Etsushi Toyokawa as Otcho. The rest of the cast and more info on the movie can be found at the official website (in Japanese).

And I managed to find the trailer on YouTube :-)

Antique Bakery (Antique Bakery Manga)
This 1999 manga by Fumi Yoshinaga will be made into a South Korean movie starring Princess Hours star Joo Ji-Hoon and Kim Jae Wok and will be released in South Korea this year. You can find some screen shots and more info on the movie here.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion Anime)
One of my all-time favorites, this complex anime has the most compelling storyline that I have ever seen in an anime. I have always felt that that it may be rather difficult to adapt this anime into a live-action film. But according to this website, an Evangelion live-action movie is moving into production right now. However, there seems to be no info yet on who will be acting in it or who will be directing this movie.

Blood: The Last Vampire (Blood: The Last Vampire Anime)
Based on the anime of the same name, this movie is currently in post-production and stars My Sassy Girl herself Jun Ji-Hyun (credited as Gianna Jun in the movie) as the 400-year old half-vampire half-human character Saya. Japanese sweetheart Koyuki will also play a role in the movie. The film is directed by Chris Nahon and according to IMDB, will be released in the U.S. in the later part of this year. You can find screen shots here.

Ghost In The Shell (Ghost In The Shell Anime)
Based on this news article, DreamWorks has licensed the rights to make a 3D live-action version of Ghost In The Shell. And the person at the helm could very well be the great Steven Spielberg himself :-)

And besides these live-action movies, there will also be CGI remakes of two of the best-loved anime of all time Astro Boy and Gatchaman or G-Force :-)

I for one sure can't wait to watch all these live-action and CGI anime come to life on the big screen ;-)

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http://kpopyunhae.multiply.com/journal/item/458/Korean_Studio_to_Produce_Antique_Bakery_Adaptation http://www.screendaily.com/ScreenDailyArticle.aspx?intStoryID=39057&Category=

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