The cinema has often been interested in manga. Often for the worse. Dragon Ball Evolution is still in everyone’s memory, and since then, every announcement of a live-action manga adaptation has made us fear the unspeakable. Although rare, there are some excellent live-action manga adaptations. Here are five selected by us.
1 / old boy
Before becoming one of the greatest South Korean films of all time, Old Boy was a manga directed by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi. This being, published between 1996 and 1998, was adapted with the success we know from the gigantic Chan-wook (Common Security Area, Durst) park, which is often referred to as one of the greatest directors in the world. The second part of the “Vengeance Trilogy”, started by Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and finished by Lady Vengeance, is a coup-de-point film that won the 2003 Jury Prize and was awarded by Quentin Tarantino himself.
Violent, disturbing, disturbing, the film is a staged treasure. The Old Boy, filled with cult scenes, has fundamentally changed Asian cinema and is now used as a benchmark. If Park Chan-wook respected the manga’s plot, he didn’t hesitate to make some changes (including the location of the action, we’re going from Japan to Korea) so that he could more easily add his so recognizable brand. A masterpiece that we see again and again with great pleasure.
2 / Lady Snow Blood
Lady Snowblood was published between 1972 and 1973 and is a manga by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura. The manga tells the story of Yuki, a young femme fatale who wants to avenge the deaths of her father, brother and mother with a saber. Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance were shot in cinemas by Toshiya Fujita in 1973 and 1974 and are among the most famous films in Japanese cinema.
Very aesthetically designed, these two films had a huge impact on Quentin Tarantino’s cinema, which was heavily influenced by the two parts (which were released a year apart, like Lady Snowblood) of Kill Bill. Was inspired and went so far that they copied some emblematic footage of the film. Something to be seen!
3 / Alita: Battle Angel
Yukito Kishiros Gunnm is a true masterpiece of Japanese cyberpunk and one of the most important manga. We obviously mentioned it in our selection of 13 Manga and Anime to advise those who think they don’t like it. Given his profound impact on pop culture, it’s only natural that Gunnm was adapted for cinema by Hollywood.
If the movie Alita: Battle Angel is cruelly different from the manga it is adapting (especially in the overly neat description of Iron City), the adaptation by James Cameron (for script) and Robert Rodriguez (for realization) isn’t lacking in intelligence. Alita: Battle Angel takes (mostly) the plot of the first three volumes of the first Gunnm series and is a show at all times. It should not be forgotten that the film benefits from a large community of fans who are demanding a sequel to the first film!
4 / Ichi the murderer
The manga Ichi the Killer, written by Hideo Yamamoto, was published between 1998 and 2001. It tells of the search for the yakuza who want to find out who murdered their leader, and brings the highly coded genre of yakuza stories to the brink of horror.
Obviously, this clever mix of genres inspired cult director Takashi Miike, who regularly stars in yakuza films (Dead or Alive, Goodfellas from Shinjuku). Known for his treatment of violence reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s cinema (of which he is one of the most obvious sources of inspiration), Takashi Miike took up this work and exploded his madness. Ichi the Killer is one of Miike’s most famous films in several ways.
5 / Nicky Larson and Cupid’s Perfume
Before Nicky became the hero of a Japanese animated series that was translated into French under the title Nicky Larson and inspired the generation of Club Dorothée, he was the Manga City Hunter of Tsukasa Hojo and his Japanese name is Ryo Saeba. Cult works, both the manga and the series, were considered sacrosanct, and we remember the torrent of hatred French director and actor Philippe Lacheau was exposed to when he announced he was working on a Nicky Larson film.
And yet everyone who has seen Nicky Larson and Cupid’s Perfume in the cinema could testify: if the film is obviously a feature film by Philippe Lacheau, if it bears the mark of the filmmaker of the two volumes of Babysitting Still, it is a remarkable adaptation of the Animated series of our childhood, paired with a touching declaration of love to the Club Dorothée.