On Live Action Adaptations: Where will the future take us? Blade of the Immortal, Fullmetal Alchemist + Peach Girl, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures +Survey Part 2 [Vol 1, Part 3]

Before we talk about the future, let’s have a recap: In Part 1 of our Live action series, we remember some of the most beloved live action movies like Hana Yori Dango, Death Note, Nodame Cantabile, among others. Graphical analysis of live action movies in Japan from the 1960s to the present show enormous growth – from a mere 3 LAs to 198 (covering 2010-2017) only. In Part 2, we discussed the success of Bakuman and recent live action movies in Japan which made amazing box office numbers like Rurouni Kenshin, Orange, Parasyte and Attack on Titan, among others.

We have yet to answer our main question: If live action movies suck, why continue making it?

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In Part 3, we’ll explore upcoming live action movies and continue with our survey, Part 2 of Live action movies… [ please see above! ]

We previously posted a graphic analysis of recent live action movies and their box office records [Part 2 of this series] and in this article, let us expand on the list and include successful movies from 2007 until 2012. I have seen most of them, and one thing is sure: you need to cast popular stars with a certain resemblance to the original manga characters. If not, at least they embody certain features that somehow promote these characters.

[1] Umizaru (Sea Monkey starring Hideaki Ito) takes US$90 million, therefore, is first place at the box office followed by Rookies with US$80 million – a sports thriller starring Ryuta Sato, Hayato Ichihara, and many others. Thermae Romae took home US$74 million;

[2] In the beginning, I felt clueless why Thermae Romae earned so much, but then again, as my Japanese friend told me, the comedy is on them! Meaning: it has something to do with the local’s obsession with hygiene and taking baths. The fact that it also involves time travel and seeing Hiroshi Abe wearing only a towel are just added bonus;

[3] Hana Yori Dango’s impressive box office numbers is due to the team up of Mao Inoue and Jun Matsumoto, and together with Shun Oguri forming a love triangle. Of course, there was 2 TV series to begin with;

[4] Most of my female friends told me how much they adore Nodame Cantabile. I can understand why – Hiroshi Tamaki and Eita are both part of the cast. Sentimental favorite Juri Ueno is also credited to be a major factor for the movies’ success;

[5] Yukie Nakama, like Ueno is one of the most beloved female TV actresses in Japan. Gokusen: The Movie is but an extension of the TV series but it still commanded huge box office numbers. The fact that guest stars (Kame, Haruma Miura, Hiroki Nariyima, Yuta Tamamori, Shohei Miura) appear in the movie can be considered added attractions.

Can any of the upcoming live action adaptations beat Thermae Romae’s record? I’m not sure… but let’s see…

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A list of upcoming live action movies:

[1] Blade of the Immortal – 無限の住人 (2017) – to be directed by Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Ichi, the Killer), starring Takuya Kimura. Set in Japan during the mid-Tokugawa Shogunate period and follows the cursed samurai Manji, who has to kill 1000 evil men in order to regain his mortality. With one of Japan’s most prolific director and its most popular star, how can this NOT become a box office hit?;

[2] Fullmetal Alchemist – 鋼の錬金術師 (2017) – to be directed by Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong, Tomorrow’s Joe)  The film will star Ryosuke Yamada as Edward Elric, Tsubasa Honda as Winry Rockbell and Dean Fujioka as Roy Mustang. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows the Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse, who are searching for a philosopher’s stone to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy.

More about this movie with a discussion on Ryosuke Yamada’s casting here.

[3] March Comes In Like a Lion –  3月のライオン – directed by Keishi Ohtomo (Kenshin trilogy) starring Ryunosuke Kamiki. 

A youth named Kiriama Rei, who lost his family as a child, endures loneliness to become a professional shogi player. Then, through a chance meeting, he develops a relationship with the three Kawamoto sisters, who hail from a working-class district of the city, and little by little his frozen heart begins to thaw. [ source ]

The live-action is especially important since it stars personal bias and favorite Ryunosuke Kamiki, who just celebrated his 23rd birthday. More about this movie here

[4] Peach Girl (2017) – to be directed by Koji Shintoku, starring Mizuki Yamamoto as Momo and idol group Hey!Say!JUMP’s Kei Inoo as Kairi in his first film role. AnimeNewsNetwork described the manga (and possibly the live action to be based on):

… centers on an average high school girl named Momo whom everyone thinks sleeps around because of her tanned skin. The actual reason she is so tanned is because she was on the swim team and tans very easily. She has a crush on Toji, a boy whom she’s heard only likes non-tanned girls. Momo has low self-esteem and tries to remake herself into someone she thinks Toji would like, but she has a “friend” named Sae who enjoys going behind Momo’s back and making her life miserable. [ source ]

[5] Death Note: Light Up the New World  デスノート Light up the NEW world (2016) – directed by Shinsuke Sato, starring Sosuke Ikematsu, Masaki Suda, Masahiro Higashide, Erika Toda and Rina Kawaei. Set ten years after the events of the previous films, in 2016, society is said to be afflicted with cyber-terrorism. Two individuals will succeed the previous rivalry between Light Yagami and L and there will be 6 death notes this time;

[6] Itazura na Kiss (2016) – There are 2 new movies, but without Yuki Furukawa and Honoka Miki;

[7] Museum – ミュージアム (2016) – directed by Keishi Ohtomo (Kenshin trilogy) starring Shun Oguri, Shuhei Nomura, and Machiko Ono. The movie features series of grotesque murder cases takes place on rainy days. Detective Hisashi Sawamura (Shun Oguri) works to catch the murderer like he has done with past cases, but he soon realizes the murderer’s next target is his wife and son. A man in a frog mask is a suspect;

Other live action movies worth mentioning are Setoutsumi (Sosuke Ikematsu-Masaki Suda) and Drowning Love (again Masaki Suda, with Nana Komatsu). Then there is also the 3rd installment of the Chihayafuru live action starring Suzu Hirose, Mackenyu, Shuhei Nomura and Mayu Matsuoka.

Unconfirmed reports (rumor) about Kento Yamazaki taking the lead role in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures – Stardust Crusaders, light up the tweets a few days ago. 

We’ll be updating this article as soon as we get more news.

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