A recent trend in American film is the adaptation of Japanese anime and movie series to draw in a more mainstream Western audience. Take for example, The Ring (from the original Ringu), The Grudge (from the original Ju-On: The Grudge), Transformers and Speed Racer. With the advent of these successes, movie studios have all begun to want to get in on the action – Astro Boy, the legendary anime based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka, and Dragon Ball Z, a similarly famous anime series, have both been recreated as live-action films with the sole purpose of making their respective film studios more money by drawing off the otaku fanbase. How clever.
The latest anime to be hit by this craze is Death Note. The series is massively popular both in Japan -where the franchise consists of the original manga, a 37-episode anime series, and 3 live action feature films – and internationally. Vertigo Entertainment is currently set to develop an American remake of said feature films. Let the fanboy/fangirl rampages begin.
I love Death Note. I really do. The manga is by far one of my favorites that I’ve read, and the live actions films, while not entirely faithful to the original comic, compliment the manga and anime nicely. However, I am extremely doubtful about this American remake. No one, in my opinion, will be able to match Ken’ichi Matsuyama as L. Unless they somehow miraculously get him to speak English and cast him, the movie will just be dull. Not to mention the monumental task of finding an actor suited to play the lead of Light Yagami. He’s a total pretty boy, a top student at university with a family life most of us could only dream of, yet on the side he’s a brutal mass-murder that the world refers to as Kira. Whoever gets the part has got to be able to portray both sides of the character accurately, while still looking like some teen idol out of Tiger Beat. God help whoever is casting this movie, for if the fans are not appeased, ramifications will be vicious. (And I do mean vicious. Seen the fan reaction to Dragon Ball Evolution? Enough said.)
And of course, who is the first choice for the role of Light Yagami? Zac Efron. That’s right, people. We’re talking the kid from High School Musical and Hairspray. I’m starting to wonder if the casting director just did this to piss the Deathtards off. Just go on any forum and watch them all have two aneurysms a piecece at the mere thought of Troy Bolton playing their beloved Kira. It’s one of the most hilarious things you’ll ever see.
Not saying I support or denounce this remake, or Zac Efron’s possible portrayal of Light Yagami. Right now, I’m neutral – nothing much they could do to make it not suck, but we’ll probably end up having to wait ’til 2013 anyway. Let’s see if we can make it that far.