Some bits and pieces from AICN Anime...
The smash-hit manga/anime franchise Gin Tama (a favorite of mine) is apparently set to be adapted into a live-action film Over There. Warner Bros. Japan is footing the bill — which means due to their weird licensing deals we'll probably only get to see this one domestically thanks to the parallel-import mill. Ten to one they get someone like Jō Odagiri to play everyone's favorite testy, silver-haired troubleshooter with a glucose level problem.
The Blu-ray of Versus has been "postponed indefinitely." No word if that's because of Media Blasters just cutting back on titles generally (they've put a lot of titles on hiatus lately) or if they're just finding a new spot in the schedule for it.
Another live-action version of Yasutaka Tsutsui's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is set to be made. Given the number of times it's been made and released, how about giving the original story an English premiere, too?
Apparently Astro-Boy wasn't just a dud here, but in Japan as well. Why? I'll still need to see it for myself to get an idea, but from what I've gathered there was enough deviation from the feel of the original story (I've read the manga and seen the show) to alienate existing fans without drawing in a lot of new ones.
A bit of news that brought a twisted smile to my face:
Japanese studio Nikkatsu is launching an extreme gore label, Sushi Typhoon, to produce films from Japan’s leading cult directors including Takashi Miike (Yatterman) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police). The first project from the label is action Samurai drama, Alien Vs Ninja, directed by Yuji Shimomura (Death Trance).
Alien vs. Ninja? What shrine do I make the sacrifices at?
Janus Films (the folks who are basically the theatrical arm of Criterion) have a website up for Nobuhiko Obayahshi's mind-chewingly insane House. Words will fail you when you see this film; my own exposure to it was limited to a very bad, blurry bootleg that nevertheless had me pawing at the screen and going "WHA? WHA!" for a couple of days. (The poster is awesome, too.)
Anime News Network and Nikkei news source report that a work by the late manga and anime creator Shotaro Ishinomori will be adapted into a live-action and computer-graphics film in Hollywood in 2012. Ishinomori conceived of several popular classics, including Kamen Rider, Cyborg 009, Harmagedon, and The Skull Man.
Odds on it being Kamen Rider. (If it was Harmagedon, I would be flabbergasted — the anime version is either embarrassing or brilliant depending on your approach.)
I was probably as surprised as you to learn an OEL Vampire Hunter D manga was slated to go into the works at some point. Well, it never happened, no thanks to a clash between the original licensors and the creator they hired, Jimmy (Power Girl) Palmiotti. The Japanese manga, which are almost beat-for-beat adaptations of the novels, are pretty decently done even if the art style isn't what I had been jonesing for personally.
The name Michael Arias doesn't ring bells? Tekkonkinreet, maybe? He's since worked on a live-action film, Heaven's Door, which I'd love to see out here sooner rather than later. Let's find out what the man's been doing with a real camera and real actors.
I also confess to be insanely curious about Barbet Schroeder's Inju, his movie adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's The Beast in the Shadows. That book was one of the first of Rampo's full-length works to be translated in English after literally decades of only a handful of short stories making it to this side of the ocean.
File under: Hm, Interesting. Haruki Kadaokawa, back in the director's chair, now has a version of the classic Norwegian crime novel The Laughing Policeman, also adapted back in 1974 into a very good U.S. version with Walter Matthau (and Bruce Dern, and Lou Gossett Jr.). The book deals with the problem of random violence in otherwise peaceful societies, something that was diluted a bit for the U.S. version, although they attempted to salvage some of that aspect of it by setting it in the relatively tranquil urb of San Francisco. Set the same story in Japan, even in Tokyo, and you can preserve that aspect of it more or less intact. (From what I can tell, they missed a bet by not casting Ittoku Kishibe, he of the perennial basset-hound expression, as the homely middle-aged detective protagonist.)
One of Japan's "new religion" outfits, Kofuku no Kagaku, produces big-budget theatrical films that ought to function as thinly-veiled propaganda — that is, if audiences weren't busy laughing themselves silly over them. These are the same goofballs who brought us the insane catastro-flop Nostradamus: Sen ritsu no keiji, which I picked up on VHS for $3; I felt like I'd been cheated out of the cost of three perfectly good candy bars. Now they have a new movie about — an animated film, no less, about "Why Do We Need Buddha?". Color me all kinds of scared, and give me Tezuka's manga version of the life story of the Teacher instead.
And be sure to check out the trailer for Ryuhei Kitamura's animated project Baton, which looks trippy and wonderful.
(Word of advice to creators of Japanese movie sites: PLEASE STOP MAKING THE HOME PAGE A FLASH LOADER. At least give us the option to see something without having to sit through an hourglass icon.
(My review of Zetsubo-sensei #4 also got a shout in the same column; thank you, Scott!)
Tags: Criterion Edogawa Rampo Haruki Kadokawa Japan links Michael Arias movies Ryuhei Kitamura Shotaro Ishinomori Takashi Miike Vampire Hunter D Yasutaka Tsutsui Yoichi Sai Yoshihiro Nishimura Yuji Shimomura