Posts Tagged ‘live action manga’
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022
CUTIE HONEY, like DEVILMAN, is a 2004 live action movie based on a manga character created by Go Nagai. This one is much more comedic than DEVILMAN and comes from a more pedigreed director: Hideaki Anno, the anime auteur behind the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. I would like to try to watch those some day because I know how much people love them, but for now my impression of him comes from the excellent 2016 Godzilla reboot SHIN GODZILLA. That one has a really cool, weird Godzilla in it but is most notable for its really funny satire of bureaucracy (though at the time it came out it also worked for me as an appreciation of people actually trying to pool their knowledge and resources to solve problems). It was recently announced that Anno will be overseeing a shared universe combining his Shin (new) Godzilla with Shin Ultraman and Shin Kamen Rider. But before all that he made a live action movie based on one of the most famous manga by the guy who played the food critic in THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II.
Honey Kisaragi (Eriko Sato, DOOMSDAY: THE SINKING OF JAPAN) is a bubbly young woman who lives alone and works a temp job at an office where everybody hates her except a janitor lady. One interesting fact about Honey is that she’s actually dead but her late father built a robot body for her so her consciousness could survive. Another interesting fact is that she wears a choker with a heart shaped button on it and when she pushes it and says “Honey… FLASH!” she can change her appearance and disguise herself, or she can turn into the sword-wielding super heroine Cutie Honey to battle monsters and stuff. However, she has to eat rice balls and drink green tea to build up the energy to do this stuff, so in the opening she has to run through the streets wearing a garbage bag until she has enough energy to create her work clothes. So it’s not all glamour. It deals with the gritty real life hardships of being Cutie Honey. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Eisuke Sasai, Eriko Sato, Go Nagai, Hideaki Anno, Jun Murkami, live action manga, Mikako Ichikawa
Posted in Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 4 Comments »
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021
“Avow Life and Be True”
RUROUNI KENSHIN PART II: KYOTO INFERNO (2014) is an epic sequel that builds on everything I loved about the first one (trust me – check that out if you haven’t!) and expands on this idea of a post-war world where various veterans either try to bring back the violence or maintain (and enjoy) the new order. Our hero is so badass and yet so against killing that he wanders around with a “reverse blade” – a sword sharpened only on the back side – to whoop ass and take names but not lives.
Played by one-time Kamen Rider (and co-star of my beloved SAMURAI MARATHON) Takeru Satoh, Kenshin is younger and prettier than I usually prefer in an action hero. But he makes it almost a badass juxtaposition, and he’s such a cool character – he’s seen shit you never dreamed of, but doesn’t use it as an excuse to brood. He’s quiet but not exactly stoic – he smiles and seems content during peace time, even laughs when he sees himself parodied in a play. Everywhere he goes people seem to recognize him as Battousai, the name he went by when he was a legendary killsword (the government’s teenage super-murdering-the-fuck-out-of-everybody assassin). But his friends call him Kenshin, the name he took after abandoning his bloody sword at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. The real him.
Admittedly he sounds a little dorky later when he angrily growls the villain’s name to show that he’s had it, but I forgive him. I appreciate that we don’t see that side of him very often. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Emi Takei, Kaito Oyagi, Keishi Ohtomo, Kenji Tanigaki, live action manga, Min Tanaka, Munetaka Aoki, Ryosuke Miura, Ryunosuke Kamiki, samurai, Takeru Satoh, Tao Tsuchiya, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Yosuke Eguchi, Yu Aoi, Yusuke Iseya
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews | 9 Comments »
Monday, May 4th, 2020
LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART IN PERIL is #4 out of six LONE WOLF AND CUB films, and comes pretty directly out of the stories from the late Kazuo Koike’s manga about the former Shogun’s-executioner who was framed by the god damn Yagyu Clan (fuck those guys) and now travels Japan with his young son Daigoro, working as a freelance assassin along his “Demon’s Path” toward vengeance and damnation. He usually ends up doing something very honorable that seems a little more like redemption, but he doesn’t see it that way. He thinks he’s the devil. This was before heavy metal, too.
This one’s kinda got an A and B plot. One of them (take your pick which letter it is) involves the badass Oyuki (Michi Azuma, who played a different character in BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX – they should do that in more American movie series), a former “sword mistress” gone rogue so she can avenge her former mentor for raping her. One of her trademarks is to cut off the top knots of all the motherfuckers who come after her, which in their culture seems to be even more humiliating than when Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake used to badly shave the heads of those he defeated in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Buichi Saito, Kazuo Koike, live action manga, samurai, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Yoichi Hayashi
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews | 8 Comments »
Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
Recently Kazuo Koike passed away of pneumonia at the age of 82. A legendary and prolific manga writer, Koike’s comics were the basis of several movies I’ve reviewed: HANZO THE RAZOR: SWORD OF JUSTICE, LADY SNOWBLOOD, THE DRAGON FROM RUSSIA, CRYING FREEMAN, and most famously the LONE WOLF AND CUB series (for which he was also a screenwriter). I love his stories, which often combine interesting historical detail with colorful pulp concepts, and are always centered on characters who live casually, confidently extreme lives. Though some are hired killers and outlaws bitter toward a society that has betrayed and rejected them, they live by codes of honor that frequently lead them to fighting for the oppressed against the cruel and the corrupt. This is definitely the case in LOVE SONG OF VENGEANCE, the only sequel to LADY SNOWBLOOD. Criterion released the pair as a set a couple years ago and this sad occasion finally inspired me to pick it up. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Japanese cinema, Juzo Itami, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kazuo Koike, live action manga, Meiko Kaji, Shin Kishida, Toshiya Fujita, Yoshio Harada
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
“I prefer the second one because the first one I had no control over the content. I got into big fights with the producer because he wanted to make a kids film and I wanted to keep the tone of the original anime. In the end, the film turned out like crap in my opinion. I did GUYVER 2 on my own for less than 1/4 the budget of the first GUYVER, but in exchange, I had total control of the film.” –Steve Wang to Nerd Society, 2009
GUYVER: DARK HERO (a.k.a. THE GUYVER 2) not only improves on the Tokusatsu-inspired martial-arts-‘n-monsters fun of director Steve Wang’s earlier work, but does it with vastly improved cinematic storytelling and the confidence to take itself seriously. This is a legit sci-fi/martial arts movie that starts as a dark super hero vigilante story, veers into weird ancient alien alternate history, and builds to a bunch of monster battles that are kinda like Power Rangers except the monsters might get their eyeballs poked out or cough up a bunch of blood. I’m not saying an R-rated version of that is subversive, I’m just saying it’s fun to watch. (Note: stunt coordinator Koichi Sakamoto was and would continue to be a director, producer, writer and choreographer on Power Rangers shows for 20 years.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: David Hayter, Koichi Sakamoto, live action manga, Steve Wang
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 23 Comments »
Monday, April 22nd, 2019
GUYVER, a.k.a. THE GUYVER is a 1991 sci-fi/martial arts b-movie that I saw back in the day and decided to revisit when I did that Polygon piece on ’90s comic book movies. The idea comes from a manga that had also been turned into anime, which is pretty apparent just from the look of the main character.
Jack Armstrong (STUDENT BODIES) plays Sean Barker, a blandly handsome karate student who finds an alien super weapon hidden in some garbage (much like Stanley finding a magic mask in the river in THE MASK) and it merges with his body, giving him the power to encase himself in bio-mechanical armor and weaponry. We know he’s mixed up in an ancient intergalactic war because of some detailed text and narration that opened the movie. It started by saying:
“At the beginning of time, aliens came to the Earth to create the ultimate organic weapon. They created Mankind. By planting a special gene into man they created the ZOANOIDS — Humans who can change at will into super monster soldiers.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brian Yuzna, David Gale, Greg Paik, Jack Armstrong, Jimmi Walker, live action manga, Mark Hamill, Michael Berryman, Screaming Mad George, Steve Wang, Vivian Wu
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 18 Comments »
Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR is a straight-to-video live action manga adaptation post-apocalyptic white people martial arts b-movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for about 20 years even though everybody said it was garbage. And I’m sure if I knew the comics or the anime version I would hold it to different standards, but coming to it fresh I gotta tell you this one checks off alot of boxes of the type of shit I enjoy in a movie. I am here to tell you it has merit.
The villain is the head of the Southern Cross martial arts school, who rebuilds a city after World War III and becomes its dictator, and the hero is the last heir of the rival North Star school, whose powerful fighting style is the only thing that can defeat Southern Cross. And even though their names are Shin and Kenshiro they are played by two white dudes, Costas Mandylor (VIRTUOSITY) and Gary Daniels (COLD HARVEST).
Today this would be frowned upon as whitewashing, and fair enough. But I guess I’ve grown up fascinated with white adoptees of martial arts from the ’70s and ’80s kung fu, karate and ninja booms, and to me there’s something sort of awesomely stupid (in a good way) about these muscular dudes with mullets and leather vests without shirts being the last great martial arts warriors of the future. And I have no right to impose this policy on the outside world, but in my mind there’s a statute of limitations that says since he’s not pretending to be Asian in any way Gary Daniels is grandfathered in to be allowed to be named Kenshiro as he practices moves on the bones of western and/or eastern civilization.
One complaint: why no headbands? I have rarely seen two dudes more worthy of cool headbands. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Chris Penn, Clint Howard, Costas Mandylor, Dante Basco, Downtown Julie Brown, Gary Daniels, Jacques Haitkin, live action manga, Malcolm McDowell, Melvin Van Peebles, Nils Allen Stewart, Peter Atkins, Tony Randel, Tracey Walter, Vader
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Martial Arts, Reviews | 17 Comments »
Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
Man, we’ve been hearing about James Cameron doing this manga/anime adaptation since 2005, well before AVATAR. We’re talking Obama’s first year as a United States Senator, Christian Bale’s first year as a Batman, three live action Spider-man actors ago, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe even started, when Chris Evans was still The Human Torch, George Lucas was still making Star Wars movies, Saddam Hussein was still alive, the word “sexting” was just invented, Youtube was just starting, and Twitter didn’t exist yet. A long time ago.
So I can’t say I was thrilled when, after that decade plus of hopes, Cameron announced “Just kidding, Robert Rodriguez is gonna direct it.” Fresh off of SIN CITY 2. But also I wasn’t stupid enough to scoff at it. Cameron co-wrote and produced the thing. The only other time he did that was STRANGE DAYS, and that turned out pretty good. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Casper Van Dien, Christoph Waltz, cyborg, Diana Lee Inosanto, Ed Skrein, Edward Norton, Jackie Earle Haley, James Cameron, Jeff Fahey, Jennifer Connelly, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keean Johnson, Laeta Kalogridis, live action anime, live action manga, Mahershala Ali, Marko Zaror, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Rosa Salazar
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 51 Comments »