One of Japan’s most iconic manga series is getting a live action movie adaptation … but fans don’t seem too enthusiastic about the prospect!
Yes, there had been rumors for quite some time now, but it was officially announced at a press conference this week that Toho Co. and Warner Bros. Japan will be producing a live movie adaptation of the hit manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The movie will feature the manga’s fourth story arc, subtitled Diamond is Unbreakable, and is slated for release in the summer of 2017.
The production staff and main cast were announced, with director Takashi Miike at the helm, and actor Kento Yamazaki to portray the protagonist of the story arc, Josuke Higashikata.
▼ Kento Yamazaki will be playing Josuke Higashikata, the punk high school student with a heart of gold (and a memorable pompadour hairdo).
▼ Mackenyu, known as the son of action star Sonny Chiba, will play Okuyasu Nijimura, Josuke’s goofy yet reliable sidekick.
▼ And Koichi Hirose, Josuke’s usually mild-mannered friend who may be deceptively diminutive in appearance but can be a powerful ally in a pinch, will be played by Ryunosuke Kamiki, the actor who voiced protagonist Taki Tachibana in the mega hit anime film Your Name.
『君の名は。』公開まで、いよいよあと1ヶ月！これからはより一層このアカウントで映画情報をお届けしますので、どうぞお楽しみに！ #君の名は。 https://t.co/0OKoAlYIjR—
映画『君の名は。』 (@kiminona_movie) July 26, 2016
▼ Jotaro Kujo, the protagonist of the manga’s third story act who takes on a supporting role in Diamond is Unbreakable as Josuke’s significantly older nephew, will be played by experienced actor Yūsuke Iseya, who has appeared in other anime/manga based films such as Casshern and both of the Rurouni Kenshin films that came out in 2014.
いやぁ〜、毎年ビックリです。 今年もクリスマスが近づいてます！ プレゼントをあげる人も、もらう人も、楽しみな季節なのかもしれません。 そこで、皆様に提案です！ みなさん、DFSグループとメイク・ア・ウィッシュが共同で行っている 「クリスマスに向けて難病と闘うこどもたちの夢を叶える-Joy To Your World チャリティー」をご存知ですか？ 僕のこの投稿の「いいね！」が1000を超えると、難病と闘うこども達の願いを叶えることができるという取り組みです。誰かの幸せを創る為に、皆さんのお力をお借りできたら嬉しいです?? 賛同してくれる方は、是非「いいね！」or「シェア」してください！ #JoyToYourWorld、#TGalleriabyDFS、#DFS
▼ Here are the actors playing the trio of Josuke, Okuyasu and Koichi looking chummy together in real life.
Now, getting a live-action adaptation should ordinarily be exciting news for fans of the original manga, but that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case in this instance. Judging from the response on the internet, a majority of JoJo fans seem downright pessimistic about the chances of this film being a success.
▼ The anime version of Diamond is Unbreakable is currently being aired on TV, and we’re guessing that animating the series is challenging enough. Doing it on set with real actors, though, that’s a whole different level of challenging you’re talking about.
Some people apparently feel that the actors who have been cast simply don’t fit the image of characters they will be portraying, while others are saying that they’ve seen too much of Kento Yamazaki recently in live-action manga adaptations, including the TV series Death Note and the film Your Lie in April. It also probably doesn’t help that director Takashi Miike’s film Terra Formars, another manga-based film that was released earlier this year, was considered an embarrassing flop.
In addition, according to the information that came out at the press conference, the movie is apparently being filmed in Spain, which also didn’t seem to sit well with fans, considering that Diamond is Unbreakable is the only story arc out of the six in the original JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series that takes place in Japan. (The series is still ongoing and is currently in its eight arc, titled Jojolion, but it was given a separate title starting with the seventh arc, Steel Ball Run, so technically the original series with the title JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure ends with Part Six.)
But most of all, it’s probably the difficulty of bringing the truly bizarre world of JoJo to life that has fans feeling so concerned about a live action movie. If you’ve read the manga at all, you’ll know what a unique and powerful universe manga artist Hirohiko Araki has created with the series. The stunning visuals (not to mention the superhuman physique of the characters) and outrageous storylines that border on the supernatural will certainly be a challenge, if not near impossible to recreate with real actors, so we can’t say we’re surprised that fans are reacting the way they have so far.
▼ Can these larger-than-life characters really be portrayed on-screen believably enough to satisfy die-hard JoJo fans?
That said, the cast and staff seem to be more than enthusiastic about the movie, at least based on their comments, with even Araki-sensei saying he’s delighted his manga is becoming a movie and that he’s looking forward to seeing it.
The film’s title has been announced as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbrekable Chapter 1, so they’re obviously planning on making it a series of movies. Let’s hope the fans’ worries are unwarranted and that the film is good enough for any number of sequels to be made!