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16 films based on popular manga series hitting Japanese cinemas in 2014

By Scott R Dixon

Manga fans have plenty to look forward to in 2014 with 16 live-action films adapted from well-loved and popular manga series being released next year. From action comics about police robots to romantic stories about high schoolers who bond over body hair removal, there is something for everyone in these upcoming manga-based films. And since some in the academic world are beginning to see the positive side of Japanese comics, you have one more reason to get your non-manga-loving friends hooked through the power of the silver screen.

Hot Road

Release date: Summer 2014

Published in the mid-1980s, Taku Tsumugi’s manga series is about Kazuki Miyaichi, a girl who feels unloved by her mother and begins to fall for a motorcycle gang member, Hiroshi Haruyama. Takahiro Miki will direct the live-action film adaption, which will star Rena Nonen as Kazuki and Sandaime J Soul Brothers singer Hiromi Tosaka as Hiroshi.


Release date: Spring 2014

In the romance-themed manga series by Ayu Watanabe, two high schoolers begin to share an apartment after a kitchen fire, resulting in the two struggling with both their feelings for one other and keeping the cohabitation a secret. Ayame Goriki will star as the 16-year-old Aoi Nishimori who moves into the apartment of schoolmate and local hearththrob Shusei Kugayama, to be played by Kento Yamazaki.

Say “I love you.”

Release date: 2014

First published in 2008, this romantic manga was adapted into an anime that aired on Japanese TV in late 2012. The manga focuses on 16-year-old Mei Tachibana who has trouble making friends, much less meeting boys. After accidentally injuring a popular classmate Yamato Kurosawa, the two begin a friendship and eventually a romantic relationship, opening the shy girl up to the world. Not too many details have been released about the movie, besides that it will open in Japanese cinemas some time next year.

Silver Spoon

Release date: March 7, 2014

Written by Hiromu Arakawa, this manga series is about life at an agricultural high school in Hokkaido. Kento Nakajima from J-pop group Sexy Zone will play the main character Yugo Hachiken who enrolled at the school, thinking life there would be easier than the one his strict father wants from him. Japanese TV personality Alice Hirose will play Yugo’s classmate and love interest Aki Mikage.

Lupin The Third

Release date: Summer 2014

Centering around the master thief Arsène Lupin III, the incredibly popular manga series was first published in 1967 for two years. It spawned several animated films in the 1970s and ’80s, including Studio Ghibili’s "The Castle of Cagliostro" in 1979. This will be the second time the manga series has been adapted into a live-action film. This movie will focus on how the main characters met. Shun Oguri will play the well-known French thief and reportedly lost about 8 kg during ten months of training for the film. Meisa Kuroki will play the beautifully cunning burglar Fujiko Mine.

As the Death God Dictates

Release date: Autumn 2014

The horror manga series "As the Death God Dictates" was first published in 2011 and tells the story of high school student Shun Takahata and his classmates who play brutal and vicious games to avoid death. Veteran Japanese horror film director Takashi Miike, whose credits include the violent and infamous "Audition" and "Ichi the Killer," has been charged with the live-action adaption. Sota Fukushi will play the main character while Hirona Yamazaki will star as Shun’s friend Ichika Akimoto.

Mole’s Song

Release date: February 15, 2014

Takashi Miike is also directing the live-action adaption of Noboru Takahashi’s manga series "Mole’s Song," about a police officer that goes undercover to investigate a notorious gang. Toma Ikuta will star as the blonde police officer, Reiji Kikukawa, who infiltrates the seedy underworld of the criminal syndicate.

Tokyo Tribe

Release date: 2014

The director of "Suicide Club," Shion Sono, will be taking up the manga series "Tokyo Tribe 2" which features a near-future Tokyo that is engulfed by street gang turf wars. Published between 1997 and 2005, the series was written by Santa Inoue and has produced one animated adaption in 2006. The film will be called "Tokyo Tribe" and star Ryohei Suzuki as the Wu-Ronz gang leader Mera and rapper Young Dais will play Kai, the leader of the rival Musashino Saru gang.


Release date: December 2014, the second part is scheduled for 2015

The sci-fi manga series "Parasyte" takes place in a world where parasitic aliens have taken over the world by implanting themselves into their human hosts. The main character, Shinichi Izumi, has had his right hand taken over by Migi (Japanese for “right”) and the odd duo fights to survive the new reality. Parasyte has been published since 1990 and over 100 million copies have been sold. The Hollywood-produced film will be split up into two parts, with the last film being released in 2015. "The Grudge" director Takashi Shimizu will direct the film and Shota Sometani will star at Shinichi.

Sweet Poolside

Release date: 2014

The "Sweet Poolside" manga series, first published in 2004 and then again in 2011, is about two high schoolers, the hairless Toshihiko Ota and his hairy swim club teammate Ayako Goto, who form a secret relationship. Kenta Suga will play Toshihiko, who helps in shaving the strangely alluring Ayako, to be played by Yuiko Kariya.

Black Butler

Release date: January 18, 2014

The manga series "Black Butler" follows Ciel Phantomhive, the young head of a noble family in Victorian-era Europe, and his demonic butler Sebastien Michaelis who is helping the boy to avenge his family’s death in exchange for his soul. Designed to be a continuation of the series, some characters and the setting has been changed for the live-action film, such as a new main character Shiori Genpo, played by Ayame Goriki, a young woman who disguises herself as a man. And instead of taking place in Europe, the movie’s setting will be an unnamed Asian city in 2020. The swoon-worthy anti-hero Sebastian will be played by Hiro Mizushima.

The Next Generation – Patlabor

Release date: April 2014 (shorts), 2015 (feature film)

"Mobile Police Patlabor" is a manga series that is set in a near-future Tokyo where gigantic robots, called “Labors,” help out the city in heavy construction and the metropolitan police have its own fleet called “Patrol Laborers” to help fight crime. The live-action "The Next Generation – Patlabor" has 12 episodes and will be screened at special cinema showings starting next April. A 100-minute-long film will then be released in 2015. The film is a sequel to the popular manga and takes place at a time when Labors are not used as often as in the manga series. Former idol Erina Mano is starring as pilot Akira Izumino.

Sutegakita hitobito

Release date: Summer 2014

George Akiyama’s manga about the broke and hopeless Yusuke Mamiana ran in Big Gold magazine from 1996 to 1999. Nao Omori will star as Yusuke in the live-action film. Hitomi Miwa will play Kyoko Okabe, the only person Yusuke seems to get along with.

Thermae Romae

Release date: April 26, 2014

The sequel to the 2012 live-action film "Thermae Romae" is set to open next April and will once again follow the adventures of the ancient Roman Lucius who travels into the future to a Japanese bathhouse and tries to bring back the modern innovations of Japan back to Rome. Hiroshi Abe will star once again as Lucius and Aya Ueto will again play the part of aspiring manga artist Mami Yamakoshi, who crushes on the hunky Lucius. Part of the filming is taking place at a reconstructed coliseum in Bulgaria.

Ruroni Kenshi: The Great Kyoto Fire Arc, The Last of a Legend Arc

Release date: Summer 2014

This two-part sequel is a follow-up to the 2012 live-action "Ruroni Kenshin" film based on the historical action manga series of the same name about a wandering samurai in Meiji Era Japan. The popular series ran for five years in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and had an animated TV series in the 1990s. Takeru Sato will reprise his role as the former assassin Kenshin Himura who wanders a fictional version of Meiji Era Japan to atone for the murders he committed in his former profession. The two films will be based on the Kyoto arc from Nobuhiro Watsuki’s manga and will both be released next summer.

Crows Explode

Release date: April 12, 2014

Hiroshi Takahashi’s manga series about a group of high school delinquents is getting a third live-action movie next year with "Crows Explode." The new film will take place at the notorious Suzuran High School just one month after the events of the 2009 movie "Crows Zero II." Masahiro Higashide stars as the main character Kaburagi, a transfer student to the rambunctious school while Yuya Yagira will play a third-year student at the top of the school’s social order.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Live-action Attack on Titan gets release date, new director -- Weekly Shonen Sunday’s 15 best sellers of all time
-- The Best of the Best of Manga

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Not feeling the cast choice for Lupin the Third. I always felt that Norika Fujiwara would be the absolute best choice for the role of Fujiko Mine. She looks and is built just like her. The role of Lupin would be hard to fill using a Japanese actor in my opinion.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is boring!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"Meisa Kuroki will play the beautifully cunning burglar Fujiko Mine."

Going to have to up the bust with computer graphics.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Depends on which series or movie they base her on, she changed quiet a lot in personality and asset level.

Personally I prefer the 1st 2 seasons(Lupin in green jacket).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If parasyte is anything like the manga it will be a horror hit, but they will probably tone it down :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Christ, Hollywood has remakes ad sequels, and Japan has this! What a choice!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anything but another Hollywood Dragonball live action movie. P-L-E-A-S-E!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So amusing that so many did the same as I just did - do a search for Meisa Kuroki!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very exciting! The Black Butler one is a bit odd, for many reasons (Please, for the love of god, take the shota vibes out.) but it could work out into an interesting dark drama.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is already a Ruroni Kenshi movie for people who are interested, its actually not that bad. Unfortunately Japan has trouble making some really kick ass movies like Confessions or Okuribito lately, all fantasy, and a lot of crap CG in a lot of the movies. shame really.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no full metal panic huh

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't wait for the new Rurouni Kenshin movie!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Will be watching Crows Explode. Absolutely love all of Hiroshi Takahashis comics. Been reading them for about 6 years now. Worst, the name of one of his comics, is based on one of the schools I taught at in Fukushima, and one of the characters is based on one of my japanese friends, who is close friends to him. Great story line, not just fighting, and good humour. Books > movie

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah Rurouni Kenshin!!!! I'm so anxious, I cannot stop checking the website to catch news or still photos

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe a Shingeki no Kyojin live action movie is also scheduled to be shown in Japan cinemas on 2014. I hope the Rurouni Kenshin sequel will be better though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No no..! Sebastian should not be played by any one! That's impossible! Hiro Mizushima quit acting anyway did he not? What's he doing!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Manga/Anime turns live movies usually are quite crappy. Silver spoon and "Say 'I love you'" are simple and easy to make. No CGI, etc. Patlabor? I wonder how are those labors will look like on CGI. I have heard many rumors about Evangalions, FMP, Cowboy Bebop and even Macross.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with Japanese movies being live action versions of Manga. Hollywood's films have become live action versions of comic books so why not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nothing wrong with Japanese movies being live action versions of Manga. Hollywood's films have become live action versions of comic books so why not.

Agreed. Marvel Comics does it with mind-numbing regularity so I have no problem with others doing the same. I watched the anime for Silver Spoon and unless they plan on doing CGI for the animal slaughters, they can expect to be picketed by PETA over the 'cruelty to animals".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No no..! Sebastian should not be played by any one! That's impossible! Hiro Mizushima quit acting anyway did he not? What's he doing! Naomichan, if ssomeone could play sebastian Michaelis it could only be Mizushima-san, he was a hell of a butler in Mei chan no shitsuji

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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