Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Manga that deserve anime treatment

I love reading manga and I love watching anime. And I love when a property exists in BOTH formats. So I really loved reading this article on Wizard Universe about manga they think should be made into animes.

I'd definitely love to watch a Battle Royale anime!

Ten manga that deserve the anime treatment

By Casey Brienza

Posted August 21, 2007 11:40 AM

Does it seem like every manga series is getting animated lately? Despite the recent boom in anime adaptations, the symbiotic relationship between Japanese manga and anime is a long and exciting one, going all the way back to the wildly successful animated version of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. Manga has always been a fertile ground for anime, but many great series are still confined to the printed page—and it’s driving us crazy. Here are the ten manga series we’d most like to see turned into anime—and we’ve even decided just who should help them make the journey.

Story by Koshun Takami Art by Masayuki Taguchi
15 volumes

The Manga: In a dark future Japan, Shuuya and his fellow students are chosen by “The Program” and taken to an uninhabited island. Once there, they’re instructed to kill or be killed, until only one student remains. The series has sparked considerable controversy for its pointed critique of the way Japan forces its children into cutthroat academic competition.

The Anime: Battle Royale has already inspired two live-action films and two manga series. So why not an anime series as well? Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Madhouse (Ninja Scroll, Death Note) have mastered the art of philosophical bloodshed, and the vivid colors of their animation style would complement Taguchi’s artwork perfectly.

Story and art by Fuyumi Soryo
15 volumes

The Manga: Shy artist Kira and motorcycle racer Rei couldn’t be more different. But when Rei decides that he wants to model for Kira, it forges an unexpected yet powerful emotional bond. Mars treats difficult topics such as rape, mental illness and suicide with candor and compassion.

The Anime: Soryo is famous for treating teenagers with utmost seriousness. For the animated version of Mars, only a director of similar sensibilities will do: Akitaro Daichi of Fruits Basket. Daichi’s many shojo manga adaptations have always featured respectful characterization of young girls.

Story and art by Katsuhiro Otomo
One volume

The Manga: Police are baffled by a series of mysterious deaths in a housing complex, and the investigators stumble onto a psychic war for supremacy between a little girl and a dangerously senile old man. The only manga ever to win Japan’s prestigious Science Fiction Grand Prix award captures the stifling modernity of an apartment complex—and all the explosive blockbuster flair of a summer film.

The Anime: Though often eclipsed by Otomo’s Akira manga and anime, DOMU’s tightly woven narrative and intricate, searing visual style make it every bit as vital. The manga’s an excellent foundation for a feature-length animated movie—preferably one directed by Otomo himself. With Akira, he’s already proven himself capable of turning his work into top-quality anime. All he needs is a generous budget.

Story and art by Yuji Iwahara
6 volumes

The Manga: A mysterious illness is well on its way to wiping out humanity, and a select few of the infected are placed in cryogenic sleep until a cure is found. Kasumi is one of the lucky ones; her twin sister Shizuku is not. Unfortunately, something goes very wrong, and when Kasumi finally awakens, she and the other patients discover that the world they once knew has been horribly transformed. What has happened while she was sleeping?

The Anime: Iwahara has won considerable acclaim among otaku circles for his casts of terminally cute, saucer-eyed girls. But horror also sells, and the studio best poised to combine the two into a successful animated mini-series is Gonzo, which has already juxtaposed many a sweet-faced heroine with some deadly serious situations in Saikano, Chrono Crusade and others. As long as Gonzo’s A-squad is on it, a King of Thorn anime should come through beautifully.

Story and art by Hiroki Endo
16 volumes and counting

The Manga: After a crippling virus devastates the world’s population and redraws the political map virtually overnight, Propater, a militant organization spawned by the U.N., seizes control of much of the world. Enter Elijah, a drug lord’s son caught in between Propater and the masses of mercenaries and criminals who dare defy the global organization. Extensively researched and superbly detailed, Endo’s understanding of history, science and religion has won Eden a steady following since its 1997 debut.

The Anime: Eden draws from many sources, both Japanese and Western, but its potential to become a high-quality epic series for mature viewers calls out for a steady hand, and no one knows more about mixing diverse influences like Shinichiro Watanabe, the man behind Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. With a studio like manglobe or Sunrise behind him, he’d only improve on Eden’s already strong base.

Story and art by Osamu Tezuka
One volume

The Manga: While studying the mysterious Monmow disease, which transforms patients into doglike creatures before killing them, Dr. Kirihito Osanai is sent to a remote village and contracts the disease himself. Thus begin his adventures around the world, seeking acceptance and yearning for revenge while striving to prove that Monmow is endemic and not contagious. From AIDS to SARS to bird flu, humanity’s fear of disease and the way it both distorts and elevates public discourse keep this vintage ’70s manga relevant even today.

The Anime: The secret of Monmow disease, coupled with the dramatic evolution of Osanai, would be perfect fodder for an animated mini-series, one episode for each locale Osanai visits. Advances in digital animation could breathe new visual life into the manga’s experimental, almost hallucinatory depictions of the characters’ mental torments. Director Osamu Dezaki, with his experience adapting another of Tezuka’s renegade doctors in Blackjack, would surely do justice to this gripping classic of manga.

Story and art byYayoi Ogawa
14 volumes

The Manga: Being the perfect career woman isn’t easy, and professional successes have left Sumire Iwaya with hardly any friends and no love life. Little would her coworkers suspect that this distant woman has a scandalous secret at home—Momo, a handsome drifter who she keeps as a human pet. An alternately hilarious and heartbreaking tale about a strong woman navigating a rocky road, it begs to be brought to life as an animation.

The Anime: Though the manga has already been adapted into a successful, if short, live-action TV series in Japan, we’d love a longer anime series that remains faithful to the complexities of Ogawa’s story. Josei anime (anime aimed at adult women), is hard to come by, but Paradise Kiss director Osamu Kobayashi and Toei Animation, veteran of countless successful animated adaptations including Boys Over Flowers, could do it justice.

Story and art by Kiyohiko Azuma
6 volumes and counting

The Manga: Yotsuba, the oddest little green-haired girl that the Ayase sisters have ever seen, has just moved next door with her adoptive father. Together with her new friends, Yotsuba investigates the eternal mysteries of air conditioners, cicadas and fireworks. Through her wide, innocent eyes, the banalities of small-town life in modern Japan become funny and new. The series is treasured among its fans for its intimate scope and low-key charms.

The Anime: Most anime series begin during the run of their original manga, and since Yotsuba&! is currently ongoing, the time is ripe for an animated adaptation that might well become an important and much-beloved antidote to the ridiculous, over-the-top anime that are most often the industry norm. Director Hiroshi Nishikiori and J.C. Staff adapted four-panel strips of Azuma’s Azumanga Daioh into an entertaining anime, and if they got Azuma’s tender, comic sense down pat once, they could undoubtedly do it again.

Story and art by Masamune Shirow
One volume

The Manga: The mighty Yamato Empire has embarked upon its final solution—to destroy all of the negative karma in the universe. Only Susano, the God of Destruction, stands in the way, but when the Empire’s plan backfires, they need his help to escape annihilation. A heady mixture of Eastern religion and futuristic technology published the same year as Shirow’s better-known Ghost in the Shell manga, it too stars an attractive, strong-willed heroine who plays a pivotal role in the history of her time.

The Anime: Though not a prolific manga-ka, Shirow’s works have already proven to be fertile grounds for creatively revised anime. And who should update Orion for the 21st century? Mamoru Oshii and Production I.G, the minds behind Ghost in the Shell, could pare Shirow’s frenetic techno-speak down to a coherent and captivating movie. The original manga even suits both Oshii’s heady philosophies from the Patlabor films and his comedic turns in Urusei Yatsura and Tachigui.

Story and art by Tokihiko Matsuura
15 volumes

The Manga: On the eve of his very first date with the adorable Minako, teenage boxing champ Ginji Kusanagi dies. It turns out that he’s died before his time, and a strange Buddhist angel informs him that if he lives out the lifespan of an animal, he can be reincarnated into his own body. Thus the world’s first and only boxing penguin becomes his unwitting girlfriend’s beloved pet “Gin.”

The Anime: Tuxedo Gin has everything a TV anime needs to be wildly successful: a bit of romance, a lot of laughs and, most importantly, an uber-cute, vaguely round mascot. Waddling arctic waterfowl have been big ever since March of the Pengiuns, and Gin gives them a much-needed dose of punk attitude. Shinichi Watanabe, who’s directed both the insane Excel Saga and equally hilarious The Wallflower, is the man for the job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the article!

-Casey (its writer)