Exciting news for the live-action adaptation world. For Attack on Titan fans languishing for a second season, there’s the live-adaptation to look forward to.
It has been confirmed that Japanese actor Miura Haruma (三浦 春馬) will be starring in the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, scheduled for release sometime in 2015.
It should be noted that it has not yet been confirmed whether or not Miura will star specifically as Eren Jaeger, which raises the possibility of a non canon-compliant adaptation, a la Kuroshitsuji, which was released earlier this year in January. However, the hasty news has already sparked much interest among fans who debate over the implications of the feasibility of a good live-action anime/manga adaptation.
Live-action and manga adaptations cross over much more than one may think. Romantic comedies are by far the most likely candidates for adaptation and such adaptations have enjoyed great commercial success, which include Hana Yori Dango, Nodame Cantabile, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e to name a few. Such adaptations serve to bridge the fan audiences of anime and live-action drama, which may not always be overlapping.
The ease of adaptation, so commonly applied to romances and slice of life stories, seems to disappear when it comes to action/fantasy genre. You ask someone to think of a decent live action adaptation of a fantasy-action anime/manga and they’ll flounder. Ask them to name some really bad adaptations and they’ll give you an entire list with infamous titles such as Dragonball Evolution, Gatchaman, Space Battleship Yamato (There’s a live-action of that? Since when?).
Granted while there is a lot of crappy live-action out there–messy storytelling, stilted or bad dialogue, shoddy or nonexistent character development, or stomachache inducing special effects–decent live action anime/manga adaptations do exist. The Death Note trilogy’s generally regarded as a fair adaptation. Rurouni Kenshin was a financial success and critically lauded as a good adaptation.
The success of Attack on Titan’s live-action adaptation will depend on multiple factors like direction, budget and screenplay. Part of the difficulty of adapting a good fantasy anime lies in the exhaustive, ambitious world-building of the world where the characters inhabit. I think it’s safe to say that adapting a story like Fullmetal Alchemist would require more ambitious direction than say Ouran High School Host Club.
The scale of the narrative is also important. As ironic as it sounds, some anime stories are just too big for the big screen. Cramming even a typical average anime length season (12-13 episodes) into one movie that is coherent, nuanced and can stand alone is a formidable task.
As a connoisseur of both anime and drama alike, live-action adaptations never fail to catch my interest. While I’ll hardly bat an eye at the announcement of yet another “girl-meets-boy” live action adaptation, fantasy anime adaptations, given their relative scarcity and unpredictable rate of success, are fascinating.
For those who may not follow Japanese drama, Miura Haruma’s a popular young actor in the Japanese entertainment industry. He’s no stranger to live-action adaptations of anime, having acted in quite a few of them himself. Notable roles include Kazama Ren in Gokusen 3, Kazehaya Shota in Kimi ni Todoke, and Takagi Fujimaru in Bloody Monday.
Miura’s definitely an interesting choice to cast. There’s already been some buzz on forums about whether the casting choice indicates that the cast is going to be all Japanese, and whether or not the live action adaptation will even bother attempting to stick to canon at all. Assuming Miura’s going to play Eren Jaeger (or someone with a similar temperament), I would say that Miura’s not a bad choice.
Unlike the pretty boy clones that seem to be coming out of pretty-boy idol factories like Johnny’s Entertainment these days (there is something very disturbing about naming a group of prepubescent boys “Sexy Zone”), Miura’s definitely got some acting chops and quite a bit of experience under his belt for his age.
I stopped following Miura’s career sometime in 2011, so I can’t give him a more complete assessment of his acting talent given I haven’t seen him in his more recent roles. But I will say that his acting a few years ago, though rough at times and a tad melodramatic, had a lot of potential. I was particularly impressed with Miura’s maturity in handling his first starring role in Bloody Monday where Miura played Takagi Fujimaru, a teenage genius hacker who gets roped in by the Japanese government to help fight terrorist threats and organizations.
Takagi Fujimaru and Eren Jaeger actually have a lot in common. Besides being close in age, they’re both idealistic, loud, charismatic, and tend to believe in the good of people. (Not to mention that they also both have fathers who are doing top-secret, dangerous work.) They also possess very dangerous weapons that are often overlooked. Eren, with a single bite, can turn into a 15 meter, ass-kicking giant. Give Takagi a computer and he will hack the ever loving crap out of it.
In any case, it’s exciting to see that the live action adaptation for Attack on Titan is actually moving forward a little. Granted it’s been a few years since Haruma’s played a teenage kid, so I’m putting my metaphorical money on the live action adaptation being less of a retelling of the manga and more of an alternate universe kind of affair. Which might not be so bad. Or it could be. It’s too early to tell but I’m cautiously optimistic.