The live-actioning of manga/anime properties continues. Attack on Titan is the latest in a long line of titles due for the Hollywood treatment. The question is, can a live-action Attack on Titan work?
Warner Bros. finalized a deal with Kodansha Comics yesterday to make a live-action Attack on Titan. Andy Muschietti (IT, IT Chapter 2) will direct, with David Heyman (Harry Potter), Masi Oka (Mega Man) and Andy’s sister Barbara Muschietti (IT, Mama) on to produce. This news comes on the heels of a Tiger & Bunny movie, Gundam live-action film, a brand-new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix series, and a My Hero Academia movie.
I usually roll my eyes every time I hear about a new live-action adaptation – especially one for anime – because a) it delegitimizes animation as a medium and b) Hollywood for whatever reason doesn’t like casting Asian actors in them. But honestly, a live-action Attack on Titan would probably not be terrible. Attack on Titan is an anime that is not only not set in Japan, but only one of the characters is meant to be of Asian descent. So as long as they cast an Asian (preferably Japanese) actress to play Mikasa, they can’t actually whitewash this film. (Which, after the disaster that was Death Note, is good news.)
My concerns are with the story and the effects. Are they going to adapt one of the existing arcs from the manga/anime? If so, which one? This is an ongoing story with ample time to develop its characters, and it will be difficult to try and stuff it into one feature film. Are they intending it to be a series, and if so, how will they break up the films?
Next, the effects. The Titans themselves will need to be pretty CGI-heavy, but you can’t forget how important the ODM gear is to basically everything. You can’t cheap out on the special effects for a movie like this. Everything will have to be quality.
Another thing Hollywood tends to do is deliberately misunderstand a project’s audience in order to, how should I say this…make money. For example, are they going to make this an R-rated film? I think they should. The studio may look at it and go, “Oh, but it’s a cartoon”, or, “But if we make it R-rated, kids can’t see it.” I mean, Attack on Titan is about giants that eat people. It’s pretty gory and violent, and it would be a travesty to sanitize it to try to make it “family-friendly”, so I hope they don’t. It still makes me nauseous to watch some episodes. This is not a product meant for children.
So if they embrace the horror aspect and invest decent money into the effects, this could actually be okay. Getting Muschietti is a good start. I am tentatively not entirely upset by this news.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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