Most every anime-related news outlet has been babbling about the announcement that a live-action Vampire Hunter D is finally on the rails. The animated movies may also be joined with a third production, possibly a full-blown TV series. I remember Hideyuki Kikuchi himself stating he'd be interested in the book Mysterious Journey to the North Sea used as the source material for such a series, although I'd bet the first book will be the template for any live-action production.
As odd as this may sound, I'm hoping this winds up being a smaller-scope production along the lines of the live-action Blood: The Last Vampire. They didn't have as big a budget to work with there, but that also meant that much less was at risk — and they didn't have to pack the box with stars to ensure a return on their investment. They could make a movie that was better suited to paying respect to the original, and they did.
Also turns out that Laeta Kalogridis, she of the current Scorsese flick Shutter Island and the Ghost in the Shell live-action production, was also James Cameron's collaborative partner on — you guessed it — the as-yet-unannounced Battle Angel Alita flick. (ADV's pressing of the current animated version is officially out of print but can he had fairly easily, and is well worth checking out.)
Learning that made me hearken back to graf #2 above: it's great that someone with Cameron's clout and vision can be attracted to a product like Alita and make it happen. But that's the extreme exception and not the rule. Most of the time you get people who hedge their bets and give us Dumpster juice cocktails like Dragonball Evolution.
Some paradox. You can either get the size of the production to do the concept justice, but at the cost of it being that much truer to the source material. Or you can dial down the scope and the budget and get something that's tonally and thematically correct, but at the risk of having it look all the cheesier.
I didn't want (and still don't want) a live-action Akira for that exact reason: the only budget you could find to do it justice would be a Hollywood budget, but a Hollywood budget also means Hollywood thinking, Hollywood compromises, and Hollywood blandness — exactly the things you don't want with something that inherently crazy and daring. I say, skip it entirely and go focus on something that both filmmakers and audiences have a better time putting their arms around.
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