Manga and anime seem to be the next big property to be adapted into live-action movies. At least in Japan, these types of movies tend to top the box office.
Attack on Titan © Hajime Isayama / Kodansha / Toho Pictures
Despite the ability to make a lot of money, fans of these series aren't too happy because of the perceived lack of care from the filmmakers. Just look at Attack on Titan. Despite hitting #1 on the Japanese box office, anime and manga fans are still triggered by it's existence.
Well, mangaka Hiroya Oku, creator of Gantz, tweeted out some of his observations of live-action adaptations. Oku has a bit of inside knowledge, since his Gantz manga was adapted into two live-action movies.
なぜ無理っぽい漫画の実写化が続々と作られるのか？それは、知名度がある原作とイケメンの組み合わせだけで内容はテキトーでも観に行く人達がいっぱいいるからですよ。コアなファンなんて最初から相手にされてません。儲からなかったら誰も作りません。— 奥 浩哉 (@hiroya_oku) May 29, 2016
"Why are all these poor, force-fit live-action adaptations of manga getting made? Because if you take a series with name recognition and cast a handsome actor in the lead role, even if the story and visuals are just whatever, tons of people will go see it. From the very first stages of these movies, no one is thinking about the hardcore fans of the series. Unless there's more money to be made, no one is going to make these films."
GANTZやアイアムアヒーローは無理目というよりか、現実的。主人公日本人で、舞台も日本の実際に撮影できる景色だし。兎に角、少年誌のファンタジーのような世界観全部作らなきゃ無理みたいなやつが無理な企画。— 奥 浩哉 (@hiroya_oku) May 29, 2016
"Gantz and I am a Hero aren't force-fit adaptations, because of their realistic elements. The main characters are Japanese, and they're set in Japan, so filming can be done in actual locations for the story. It's impossible to produce a good film that recreates the entire setting and world view of a shonen manga fantasy."
Oku does make a good point. The more well received live-action adaptations, like Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note, and Assassination Classroom feature Japanese locations, a Japanese cast, and minor sci-fi or fantasy elements (AssClass being an exception).
Rurouni Kenshin © Nobuhiro Watsuki / Shueisha / Warner Bros.
Do you agree with Oku's observations? Do you think the movie making industry will eventually get live-action adaptations of manga right, like they have with comic book adaptations?
Aaron Magulick has been a fan of anime ever since being exposed to it in the late '90s. A fan of nearly all genres, he is not afraid to explore the creepier side of the industry. Feel free to connect with him on GoBoiano Social.