With noteworthy manga/anime already made into films in Japan (Gantz, Attack on Titan, Assassination Classroom), Hollywood is clearly ready to make some big bucks off them too, with 6 hit anime, manga and game titles slated to be transformed into live-action movies in the next couple of years.
The tale of a whiskered teenage ninja is on track to become a live-action Hollywood film. This mischievous ninja’s story is the third best-selling manga ever with a grand total of eleven anime movies. The studio behind the upcoming film is Lionsgate (the same responsible for The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Expendables). Visual effects specialist Michael Gracey will direct, while former Marvel executive and executive producer of the Spider-Man films, Avi Arad will produce. The estimated release date is 2020.
Death Note is also heading to Hollywood. This is a supernatural story of Light – who finds a notebook that kills those whose names are in it – and the battle of wits with eccentric prodigy detective L. Expect swearing, nudity and violence when the film streams on Netflix – in addition to Hollywood casting: Light Yagami will be Light Turner played by Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) and L will be played by Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Straight Outta Compton), while the setting of Japan will be Seattle. Streaming begins in 2017.
Look out for the big screen version of the hit action game Monster Hunter. Set in world where players trap, fight and beat an imaginative array of titanic beasts with strategy and skill, the adaptation should pose an interesting challenge for 3D animation – think Pacific Rim’s Kaiju. So far, no beans have been spilled on the director, cast or release date, simply a comment by Monster Hunter series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto that the film is under development, making this a good moment to play some fantasy casting.
Ghost in the Shell
The story is essentially a sci-fi thriller about a cyborg policewoman, Motoko Kusanagi, who fights corruption and terrorism in a world where soul, gender and identity have been made strange by advancing technology (and you thought Blade Runner and Cyborg Ash from Alien were trippy). The film managed to stir up controversy even before its debut as critics protest the casting of non-Asian Scarlett Johansson in the starring role of Major Motoko Kusanagi.
Inspired by a video game (what else?) the franchise has steadily grossed larger and larger box office returns. Resident Evil follows the action-packed exploits of Alice, an experimental being who battles diverse legions of mutant zombies and the evil Umbrella Corporation that spawned them. Most of us would be familiar with this franchise, which will see its sixth (and final) installment in December this year, with Milla Jovovich reprising her role.
Good news for Bleach fans! This super popular manga/anime title following Ichigo Kurosaki the shinagami (death god) and his band of supernatural pals fighting evil will finally be given a live action treatment by Warner Bros…. in Japan. While not a Hollywood production per se, the producers have already begun casting – popular actor Sota Fukushi will play Ichigo – with the release date set in 2018.
It’s hard not to feel excited to see how Hollywood interprets these major works of Japanese pop culture.