It's normally bad to call a movie 'stagy', but Kon Ichikawa's kabuki tragedy revels in it to great effect
Nearly twenty years later, this remains Takashi Miike's most notorious film, but notoriety is about all it has left going for it
Fans, this is about as on-target an adaptation of 'Gintama' to a live-action production as you're going to get -- but everyone else, don't walk in cold
After its anime adaptation by way of the Aoi Bungaku series, and a slew of manga adaptations, I turned next to how Sōseki Natsume's Kokoro was adapted into a live-action film by Kon Ichikawa. It does what any good adaptation of this story should do: it's faithful to the structure and the design of the original material, and it breaks your heart in all the right places. A good or great movie can be made from a bad or mediocre book (Perfect Blue), but a great book can be all too easily made into a terrible movie. Ichikawa's Kokoro flanks and complements its source material; you watch the film, or read the book, and neither one gets in the way of the other.
I never believed anyone other than Takashi Miike deserved to adapt Hiroaki Samura's raucous, blood-drenched manga Blade Of The Immortal into a live-action film, but I didn't believe for a minute it was ever actually going to happen. Then it happened, and I have rarely been happier for having been proved wrong. The film itself, as it turns out, is a great manga-to-screen adaptation, a good-to-great Takashi Miike picture, and a slightly overlong and ragged samurai flick, in roughly that order. But it's hard to be overly critical of something that's a near-textbook example of what to shoot for with a manga-to-live-action adaptation.
Let me get one thing out of the way: The big problem with the 2017 live-action incarnation of Fullmetal Alchemist isn't that it's a production with a Japanese cast. The big problem is that a two-hour feature film just isn't the right form factor for this story, and that a Japanese feature budget just isn't enough to deliver the goods on such a story, not even in a cut-down form. This is a greatest-hits and highlights-from version of Fullmetal Alchemist, mounted and staged with the aesthetic appeal of a badly fitted toupée.