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Anime Roundup: January 21, 2017

Tezuka's 'Metropolis' comes to BD, but beware; Amazon's anime ambitions; 'your name.' shatters records; Hiroaki Samura's next story; and 'In This Corner Of The World' wins top movie honors

Anime Roundup: November 18, 2016

Miyazaki's STILL not retired; the live-action 'Ghost In The Shell' will be scored by Clint Mansell; and our first peek at the live-action 'Fullmetal Alchemist' flick.

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© 2015 'Attack on Titan' Film Partners © Hajime Isayama/KODANSHA LTD. aot-live-01.jpg

'Attack On Titan: The Movie': A Dead-Action Film

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Misguided, tone-deaf, ugly, and erratically paced, this is one of the rare occasions where a promised Western remake might actually be just the response we deserve

© Hiroaki Samura boti-anth-01.jpg

'Blade Of The Immortal': But That's The Way I Like It, Baby, I Don't Want To Live Forever

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With the first of the three-in-one reissues of Hiroaki Samura's epic fantasy about a nigh-unkillable assassin, there's never been a better time to rediscover one of manga's high points

© 2016 Kafka ASAGIRI; Sango HARUKAWA/KADOKAWA/Bungo Stray Dogs Partners bungo-stray-dogs-00.jpg

'Bungo Stray Dogs': Six (Or More) Authors In Search Of Some Character

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'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' for the J-lit set; a show that has one great creative invention and then spends its entire runtime doing nothing of consequence with it

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© Hajime Isayama/KODANSHA LTD. http://www.ganriki.org/assets/2014/attack-on-titan-05.jpg

They're (Probably) Going To Film This (Again): 'Attack On Titan'

After the dismal live-action version produced in Japan, a Western remake of 'Titan' seems a no-brainer, but not merely because the story is easy to re-localize

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Rather timely that I've been watching the two-part Attack On Titan live-action film that was released in Japan the other year. I've got a full review in the works, but I'll say right here that it's nowhere nearly the kind of movie that needed to be made from this material. Now word is trickling out that Warner Brothers is negotiating with Kodansha for the right to remake the property as a live-action production in the West — the sort of thing I imagined might happen at some point, and now seems all the more worthwhile given how dismal the original films were. For once, someone's remaking something that needed remaking! But again, nothing's ever really that simple.

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Let's Film This: 'Cowboy Bebop' (2017, Post-'John Wick' Edition)

'Keanu Reeves as Spike Spiegel' is not a death sentence, and 'John Wick' is Exhibit A for the defense

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Here are five words that have turned a tremendous number of stomachs, and may well turn yours: Keanu Reeves as Spike Spiegel. I know they turned my stomach at one point, but then a funny thing happened. I saw a little movie named John Wick, and suddenly the once-proposed notion of casting the former Neo and Ted Logan as Cowboy Bebop's mercenary sort-of hero didn't seem all that undesirable anymore.

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© Summit Entertainment, LLC / © SUNRISE cowboy-wick-00.jpg
© Enomoto Nariko / © VARIETY ART WORKS / © Gakken Publishing kokoro-manga-00.jpg

Ways To The Heart: Four Manga Adaptations Of Sōseki Natsume's 'Kokoro'

Four manga adaptations of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel range from mere Classics Illustrated versions to a radical modern-day reinvention that rediscovers the story's heart of darkness

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There is no wrong way to adapt something, except in the sense that there are adaptations that work, and adaptations that don't. The ones that work complement everything about the original material that mattered, and allow us to see them in a new light. With Sōseki Natsume's Kokoroarguably one of the finest novels of the 20th century in any language — there was the Aoi Bungaku anime adaptation, as artful as it was also woefully incomplete.

But a story as well-known and widely loved as this was bound to see incarnations in other media, and sure enough it did — at least two live-action films (something for me to delve into later), and multiple manga versions. Of the latter, I've assembled four that are worth putting side by side — one that sabotages the book's aims; two that preserve those aims but without doing anything discernibly transformative with them; and a fourth that both effortlessly embodies the timelessness of the story and adds more by, paradoxically, taking things away.

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