meta: Adaptation


2018


'Illang: The Wolf Brigade': Defanged 
Jee-woon Kim's live-action adaptation of Mamoru Oshii's 'Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade' is passable on its own, but doesn't come close to the primal shadow-play sorcery of the original
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'Bleach' (2018): Kid Janitor Of The Spirit World 
A dialed-down take on elements from the first major story arc of Tite Kubo's long-running shōnen actioner, it's no classic but no disaster either
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Let's Film This Again: 'Vampire Hunter D' 
Yes, it's been done before, but the possibilities of all-new adaptations of Hideyuki Kikuchi's long-running gothic-Western-punk light novel series are wider than ever
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'The Book Of The Dead': Illusions Of Life 
A classic historical novel, in English for the first time, has a dazzling stop-motion animated adaptation to go with it from one of Japan's masters of that art
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'Maborosi': The Unanswerable Question 
Hirokazu Kore-eda's debut feature, twenty years on, remains an ominous and poignant masterwork
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Patreon 'A Silent Voice': Children Of Lesser Gods 
A gorgeous adaptation of the acclaimed manga, and a story with a hard moral question: Who gets to be redeemed?
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'Mary And The Witch's Flower': From Neo-Ghibli, A Quasi-Kiki 
The freshman effort from ex-Ghibli creators Studio Ponoc at first seems like a riff on 'Kiki's Delivery Service' or 'Harry Potter' territory, but has morality rather than magic on its mind
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'The Life Of Budori Gusuko': One Against Nature 
Kenji Miyazawa's fantasy about human beings at the mercy of the natural world receives a flawed but still immensely impressive adaptation, by way of a director who did great justice to his 'Night On The Galactic Railroad'
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'Gintama' (2017): The Fact That Elizabeth Is Played By A Guy In A Suit Is A Feature, Not A Bug 
Fans, this is about as on-target an adaptation of 'Gintama' to a live-action production as you're going to get -- but everyone else, don't walk in cold
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Patreon Kon Ichikawa's 'Kokoro': The Wretched Hearts Of Men 
Kon Ichikawa's 1955 film version of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel adapts it with fidelity, intelligence, and just enough changes to be stimulating
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'Blade Of The Immortal': Die Another Day 
A great manga-to-screen adaptation, a good-to-great Takashi Miike picture, and a slightly overlong and ragged samurai flick, in roughly that order
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'Fullmetal Alchemist' (2017): Ed And Al, In Miniature 
Further proof that some anime-to-live-action adaptations need to either be done at the right scale or not done at all
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2017


Patreon The 'Silence' Of Shusaku Endō, Masahiro Shinoda, And Martin Scorsese 
On two film adaptations, entirely dissimilar but equally fascinating, of a Japanese novel about the persecution of Christians in Tokugawa-era Japan
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Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir 
A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities
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'Death Note' (2017): D.O.A. 
This isn't 'Death Note'; it's barely Cliffs Notes
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Gō Tanabe And The Hounds Of Love(craft) 
If the rest of Gō Tanabe's manga adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft's horror classics are as good as this first volume, we're overdue for seeing more of one of manga's thus-far hidden treasures
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Welcome To The Desert Of The Real: The Live-Action 'Gintama' And 'Bleach' 
There's always the chance the live-action 'Gintama' and 'Bleach' movies will be good, but right now they appear to embody the deadliest, most literal sins of such projects
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How The Future (Of Western Live-Action Anime Adaptations) Can Be Female 
'Ghost In The Shell' fizzled, but there are tons of other worthwhile anime/manga titles with strong female leads that could be adapted excellently for English-speaking audiences
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They're Going To Film This (On TV): 'Cowboy Bebop' 
A bad idea? Maybe not -- in big part because Cowboy Bebop doesn't have nearly the same number of obstacles to live-action adaptability as other shows
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'Wolf Guy': Bark At The Moon 
A truly strange specimen from Sonny Chiba's filmography, and an illuminating early example of how manga adaptations were a perfect fit for 1970s exploitation cinema from Japan
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Netflix's 'BLAME!': Killy Walk With Me 
Recast into a two-hour movie, Tsutomu Nihei's metamorphic cyberpunk hellscape manga emerges all the more as a graduate of the 'Mad Max'/Man With No Name school of drifter/loner heroes
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Little Miracles, Done Dirt Cheap 
Hollywood doesn't need blockbuster-sized live-action anime/manga adaptations. Here's some projects that could work on modest, manageable budgets, are easy to adapt, and could win over Western audiences handily
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The Soul Of A New 'Ghost' 
Very little is known about the recently announced 'Ghost In The Shell' animation project, but the people on board so far are about as good as you could ask for
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The Cracks In The 'Shell' 
Whatever my own readings of the film, the 2017 'Ghost In The Shell' is still problematic in ways that are potentially a bad model for other live-action anime
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'Ghost In The Shell' (2017): The Americanization of Motoko 
The most fascinating thing about the Western remake of 'Ghost In The Shell' is how what seemed most problematic about it -- Scarlett Johansson in the lead role -- is leveraged as a thematic element in the film itself
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