ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

Plenty of Japanese stories have had several spinoffs, ranging from manga to video games to anime series on television and animated movies. But when it comes to bringing a film adaptation to Hollywood, things aren't always so easy — take Pokémon, for which several studios are bidding for the rights to a live-action movie.

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as lead character for Ghost in the Shell has also caused quite an uproar, from accusations of whitewashing to opinions that the franchise doesn't need a Western adaptation. Still, many more projects are on the way, some in development limbo, others already moving forward with a script or a cast. Check out 5 of these below, and let me know which ones you're looking forward to in the comments!

1. Ghost in the Shell

Originally a manga, Ghost in the Shell tells the tale of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human-cyborg hybrid who leads special-ops force Public Security Section 9 in the mid-21st century. We already got our first look at Scarlett Johansson as Kusanagi, who will be joined by an international cast including Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Juliette Binoche, Rila Fukushima, Takeshi Kitano and Chris Obi. Set to be released on March 31, 2017, Ghost in the Shell is directed by Rupert Sanders, from Snow White and the Huntsman.

2. Death Note

Death Note also started as a manga in the popular Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, before it was adapted into an anime series and several Japanese live-action films. After several years of development, Netflix has picked up the distribution rights, while Adam Wingard is directing. Production has just started on the movie, although no release date has been announced yet.

Nat Wolff (whom you might have seen in Paper Towns) is playing Light Yagami, a student who discovers a mystical notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose face he knows and whose name he writes in it... until a detective named L goes on a mission to stop him from purging the world.

3. Naruto

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

The story of fearless ninja Naruto, which originated in the manga series of the same name, has been adapted to various media countless times, including a total of eleven films. Naruto is a young boy living in Konoha whose lifelong dream is to become Hokage, the ninja leader of the village. But he's an outsider, as his father defeated a monster fox known as the Nine-Tails by trapping him inside Naruto. It's a story of perseverance that has conquered millions of fans worldwide.

Last year, The Tracking Board reported that Lionsgate was developing an adaptation with visual effects specialist Michael Gracey set to direct.

4. Akira

'Akira' / Tokyo Movie Shinsha
'Akira' / Tokyo Movie Shinsha

How could you write a manga adaptation list and not include Akira? The live-action remake of the popular manga series is the ultimate example of a challenging adaptation, as the project has been attached to countless names since Warner Bros. picked up the rights in 2008. Last we've heard, The Hollywood Reporter announced in 2015 that Marco J. Ramirez, showrunner on Netflix's Daredevil, would pen the script.

The story of Akira, which was adapted into an animated movie in 1988, is set in Neo-Tokyo after a nuclear catastrophe destroyed the city and kicked off World War III. The main characters are Tetsuo and Kaneda, who are close friends and both part of a biker gang, until Tetsuo accidentally gains psychic powers and frees Akira, an immensely powerful boy who was created in a secret government project.

5. Bleach


According to GoBoiano, Warner Bros. wasn't content enough with Akira and Death Note, as it's also picked up rights to live-action adaptations of Robotech and Bleach. While Wrath of the Titans screenwriter Dan Mazeau was reportedly attached as a writer, there haven't been news of the Bleach adaptation for a while. Rumor has it that the project could benefit from Ghost in the Shell if the latter proves to be a success.

Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager who earns the powers of Soul Reaper, tasked with guiding human souls to the afterlife and fighting off the lost and evil ones. The manga series started in 2001 and has since sold more than 84 million copies in Japan.

Are you looking forward to any of these manga adaptations? Which manga would you like to see get a live-action remake?

Sources: Collider, Tracking Board, The Hollywood Reporter, GoBoiano


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