Some people stay away from live action adaptations of the series they follow because they love them. They fear or dislike the injustices that may be done in writing or in acting, or both. Some still watch them because of the same reason — they love them. They still want to support the series in different medium.
I’m the latter type. But with anxiety, fingers crossed I await the adaptations, hoping that the story will be good as well as the actors’ acting. I’m glad that there are times when my expectations are met though a lot more times they were not. No matter, I still look forward to the ones to come. (Hello, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gintama, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan and a whole lot more!)
Now, here I am to talk about the different film adaptations (of manga series only, not including those of novels) on my list. Originally, I thought of only talking about the ones which I follow the series before watching them, but I decided midway while writing this that I’ll just include the others even if I haven’t read the manga. Now, I’ll start with my personal top 5 adaptations.
Personal Top 5
TOP 5. Actually, I’m currently watching the first season of the anime. I realized that this movie does not follow the original storyline. Quite a lot of changes are made. A lot of the how, why, where, and what of the events are altered. Even the characters’ personalities are a bit different from the original. (I loved Shuujin more because of Ryunosuke Kamiki‘s portrayal of him!) Personally, I don’t have a problem with those because I still felt that it is still Bakuman. (I re-watched the movie just for comparison.) The passion they have for manga is there. The basics about the industry is explained and the way they showed the competition between and among mangaka is beautiful. (Especially the one involving Saiko and Shuujin vs. Eiji.) Anyway, I enjoyed watching Sato Takeru and Kamiki interact with each other. I was glad to see Yamada Takayuki because he looks adorable. And Sometani Shota never failed to deliver the role necessary for this movie. (Surprised me when I watched the anime, though, because the Eiji here is different from the one on the source.) I think the only thing I didn’t like here is Komatsu Nana and her acting as Miho. (But I’m not exactly a fan of hers in the first place.)
TOP 4. I got into watching Japanese movies around 2011 and this movie is one of the earliest that I’ve watched. I actually thought this is the first live action adaptation that I watched because out of all of the earlier Japanese films on my book, this is the only one I’m well aware of the manga since I’ve been reading it even before knowing about this. I already watched the anime adaptations, then, too, so I was even more attached to Kazehaya and Sawako. What got me to watching this was the poster. I remember being amazed because I thought Haruma Miura and Tabe Mikako really looked like main characters. (Haruma‘s smile is a killer!) That’s a plus for me here. Moreover, they were able to capture the overall fluffiness and innocence of the characters. I like that the bond between the three girls are good, too. Haruma Miura and Tabe Mikako are so cute here! (I’m still not ready to watch Boku no Ita Jikan to see them together again, though.) And I loved the cinematography and the OST! In my opinion, this is one of the well-done film adaptations of the manga series out there.
TOP 3. I love watching shows about music and this is a film that’s about musicians, so I instantly got interested with this. No regrets, though, because this is a beautiful film. Beautiful, as in the cinematography and music. The plot is quite predictable, but I think the way it’s executed plus the music makes up for it. Thanks to this, we got to know Ohara Sakurako. That girl has such a beautiful voice! And her acting is not bad, too. Sometimes, I find myself re-watching the scenes where she sings. Got to admit that I’ve yet to read the manga, though, so I don’t know how different they are.
TOP 2. Chihayafuru is one of my beloved josei manga and anime series. Actually, I’ve talked about this on one of my posts. Of course, the ones shown on the movies could have been the better parts, but I still think this adaptation is good. Hirose Suzu did well acting as Chihaya. Nomura Shohei captured the Taichi feels! And Arata Mackenyu isn’t just a pretty face, but a good Arata, too. (Though he could have done better.) And Matsuoka Mayu is such a dear Shinobu. (I didn’t have doubts that she’ll do good, anyway.) Kamishiraishi Mone and the other actors portrayed their characters well, too! Moreover, the cinematography is beautiful and the main theme song is FLASH sang by Perfume!
TOP 1. Rurouni Kenshin is part of my childhood, but I actually wasn’t able to follow it as faithfully as I did with Naruto, Dragon Ball, and others before, so I’m not that much aware of the changes they did. Looking at these three, though, I still love them as they are. The set design and costumes, sound and music, cinematography, direction, and actors are all great. I don’t think anyone is miscast at all. (Okay, but Takei Emi and Tsuchiya Tao could have done better.) The sword-fighting scenes are the best here. It’s obvious that they did not cut corners here. I’m still amazed to think that Sato Takeru didn’t use any stunt doubles for his scenes. And of course, it’s great to know that he and Kamiki practiced so much for this. I’m sure the others did, too, but I can only find videos that prove these two did. Anyhow, RurouKen live action will always be on top of my recommended list.
After writing this list, I was shocked to notice that three of these have Sato Takeru as the main lead. I didn’t realize that I’ve been watching more of him than what I’m aware of.
Kuragehime is one of the famous manga/anime series, but I haven’t read nor watched it. It’s on my plan, though. Anyway, I enjoyed watching it but mostly thanks to Masaki Suda. I’ve been his fan for quite a while now and his role here, for me, is one of his best. I still feel it’s unfair that he’s so pretty when crossdressing! I really have to read the manga as soon as I got in the mood.
On the other hand, I got into reading Bokura Ga Ita‘s manga because of the ending of the anime which frustrated me because of it being a cliffhanger. After so much waiting and waiting (the manga went on hiatus for quite a long time), the manga finally ended on early 2012. Then, soon afterward, these movies are released. It covered the same range of story as the anime did. This is where I first saw Ikuta Toma acting a more serious role as compared to Nakatsu as well as where I first knew Yoshitaka Yoriko. Honestly, I think the movies were able to deliver the drama of the series, though I missed the funny scenes from the source. No matter, I still think it’s one of the well done ones.
Usagi Drop is one of the most loveable slice-of-life series. This film became the reason why I got to follow Ashida Mana and Matsuyama Kenichi. It’s a sweet story of two unrelated people finding family with each other. I’ve only watched a few episodes of the anime (this reminds me to finish it) but I think they did well to portray the characters. This was during adorable Ashida‘s younger years, too! (Not that she’s old now, but she’s grown.) That child’s acting is really notable even before!
Paradise Kiss, on the other hand, is a pretty adaptation, though the ending is different from the original series. I think Kitagawa Keiko was able to show Yukari through her acting. She’s a real model, too, so she was able to shine on stage. I think Mukai Osamu was okay, but the anime’s George is much more interesting for me. I still enjoyed this show, though.
Orange is from the popular shoujo manga of the same title. I haven’t finished reading it yet even though it’s just 22 chapters because I still haven’t gotten the mood to continue it, though. Anyway, I liked the movie as it is. I think it’s one of the better performances that Yamazaki Kento pulled off. It’s a plus that Ryusei Ryo and Sakurada Dori for me, too. I was just frustrated by Tsuchiya Tao‘s acting. She pales in comparison with YamaKen. Anyhow, I still enjoyed it because the story’s a bit different from others.
Now, Ao Haru Ride is one of Sakisaka Io’s manga that I love. The film definitely lacks a lot of things from the source material. It’s not even easy to like it. I only appreciated it after re-watching it. Still couldn’t feel the chemistry between Tsubasa Honda and Higashide Masahiro, but I thought Higashide did a good job acting as Kou. If only he were younger, though.
Beck and Solanin are both about music. One is about a band while the other focuses on the singer. I liked Beck because I enjoyed watching the band members interact. I liked Solanin because I enjoyed watching Miyazaki Aoi‘s character pursue her personal goal. And Kengo Kora is there, too!
Too bad his character’s like that, though.
Kimi to Boku (Everlasting Heart) is about a young man and his pet cat. And it’s just so heartwarming. I love pets so much. Honestly, putting this on this list is cheating because it is not based on a manga, but on a Flash anime by Yamagara Shigeto. I still want to mention it, though, because I just really adore it.
Anyway, Aozora Yell is quite a popular manga, but it’s one I haven’t checked the manga yet. It’s about a girl from the brass band and a guy from the baseball club. Even if I still find Tsuchiya Tao‘s acting lacking, I think she has more chemistry here with Takeuchi Ryoma than she had with YamaKen on Orange. Anyway, I liked Takeuchi‘s acting. His eyes seem to speak to me whenever he’s on screen, so I was able to feel his emotions sincerely.
Boku no Hatsukoi wo Kimi ni Sasagu, Taiyo no Uta, and Koizora actually have one thing in common aside from them being in the 2000s — a character with an illness. I think they were able to deliver their own stories well, though. I love Boku no Hatsukoi for introducing Okada Masaki to me. In fairness, I think he has chemistry with Inoue Mao. Taiyo no Uta, on the other hand, is what introduced me to YUI and I’m thankful for that. (Though I might have known her because of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.) I think she and Tsukamoto Takashi (this guy should have more main roles) have chemistry. Same with Haruma Miura and Aragaki Yui in Koizora.
Heroine Shikkaku is one of the popular shoujo manga series at the time Aohoraido and Hirunaka no Ryuusei were ongoing. I haven’t read it yet, though. And after watching the film, I still wasn’t compelled to reading it. Anyhow, I talked about this already on this post.
I have read the Strobe Edge‘s and Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji‘s manga and have watched LoveCom‘s and TeniPuri‘s anime adaptations. I was especially frustrated with Strobe Edge‘s film adaptation because I really wanted to love it. I loved Ren and Andou. But Fukushi Sota‘s really a bad actor. (I hope he improves. Srsly.) Though I think Arimura Kasumi is pretty, I don’t think she captured Ninako’s adorableness.
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji is a manga which I liked when I was younger. I left it on-hold and when I re-read it again, I couldn’t understand why I liked it from the start because I don’t find their relationship healthy and squeal-worthy, what with the guy’s attitude toward the girl. I give credit for the movie for toning down Kyouya’s bad attitude. Anyway, this is a let-down for me because I thought Fumi Nikaido‘s presence is wasted. I guess I shouldn’t have expected because I didn’t like the story. But I still feel bad that she had to have this as her first mainstream romance film.
On the other hand, I watched LoveCom‘s film adaptation way before watching the anime series, so I still had not much to say. Thinking about it, I thought that the film lacked the fun and charm the anime series have. The leads were not able to properly show the characters’ relationship, too. In my opinion.
TeniPuri‘s film comprised of the 2nd gen cast of Tenimyu. Except Hongo Kanata. I think Hongo was able to show Ryoma’s being a jerk at times, but he did not capture his being adorable and all. They added two original characters. But I still much rather watch the anime and the musical than this.
The… Never mind
Whoa. Quite a lot of pink here. Out of these 6, there are two I haven’t read the manga yet (Clover and Kinkyori Renai), three which I dropped (L-DK, Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu, and Sukitte Ii Nayo), and one I’ve put on hold (Koukou Debut).
Clover is about a boss and his employee. Kinkyori Renai is about a teacher and his student. Their stories follow that formula of having struggles because of their disposition but later on overcoming the boundaries.
I honestly don’t like the feeling of dropping series, so I opted to watch the live action adaptations of the three series titles that I said I dropped. But even they are not likeable to me. L-DK is about two persons who, because of certain circumstances, ended up living under the same roof. And you get an idea how things will go. I couldn’t bear with YamaKen‘s and Gouriki Ayame‘s acting here that I almost dropped it even before halfway through.
In Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu, I just don’t think Matsuzaka Tori and Takei Emi have chemistry. Though even if they did have, the story’s just so generic it’s forgettable.
Meanwhile, in Sukitte Ii Nayo, I got so frustrated by Fukushi Sota‘s acting. Had the leads were better, I think this will pass as an average movie to me. Unfortunately, his awful acting mixed with Kawaguchi Haruna‘s average one plus their lack of chemistry made it impossible for me to accept it as a love story. Just… where’s the love?!
Lastly, Koukou Debut. I actually liked the manga, though I haven’t finished it yet. Still, I hoped to like this, too, to a certain degree, but the story isn’t as interesting as the manga. I guess I felt it became more generic? And predictable? The characters are not that fun to watch, too, and I think it’s in the actors potrayal? This is my least liked role of Mizobata Junpei. (And what’s up with that hairstyle, Furukawa Yuki?)
Wow. I noticed a similarity of these films. Popular male characters and unpopular female characters.
I could have added Ore Monogatari, Gantz, and Nana but I still haven’t watched them yet. I was able to take a peek on Ore Monogatari and all I could say is Sakaguchi Kentaro is as handsome as always. Haha!
Anyway, wow. What a long, long post that I’m too lazy to cut. So if someone’s ever reading this and got to this point, thank you for bearing with my rambles! If one of these piqued your interest because of this post, then YAY!