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Funimation Adds Live-Action Higanjima, Drop, Tajomaru

posted on by Egan Loo
Also: Korea's The Sword With No Name, Taiwan's Treasure Hunter

The North American distributor Funimation announced on Thursday that it licensed the live-action film adaptations of the Higanjima horror manga and Drop teen delinquent novel, as well as the live-action Tajomaru film re-imagining of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's "In a Grove" samurai short story. It also licensed the live-action Korean film The Sword With No Name and the live-action Taiwanese film Treasure Hunter. Funimation will release all of these films in 2011. The website Twitch has more information.

Kōji Matsumoto's Higanjima manga is named after a fictional island where the brother (Dai Watanabe) of the main character, Akira Miyamoto (Hideo Ishiguro), went missing two years ago. Miyamoto leads a search party of friends to the island and discovers that there are vampires and other creatures lurking on it. Volcano High director Tae-Gyun Kim helmed the 2010 film project, and Tetsuya Ōishi (live-action Death Note films) wrote it. Manga Entertainment is releasing it in the United Kingdom.

Comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa wrote and directed a 2009 film adaptation of his own autobiographical Drop coming-of-age novel and manga. Drop's story loosely follows Shinagawa's early life as he grew up in the streets of 1980s' Tokyo. Young Shinagawa (renamed Shinanogawa in the film) decides to become a delinquent after reading the manga classic Be-Bop-Highschool and transfers from a private middle school to a public one. Shingawa's new life of cigarettes, bats, and iron pipes begins when he meets the leader of the delinquents at his new school. Shinagawa first wrote the story in 2006 as a novel with illustrations by manga artist Hiroshi Takahashi (Crows, Worst). Another manga artist, Dai Suzuki, adapted the novel for Akita Shoten's Monthly Shōnen Champion in 2007.

Tajomaru is director Hiroyuki Nakano's 2009 live-action film adaptation of the story that inspired Akira Kurosawa's Rashōmon film. (Kurosawa earned an Honorary Oscar for his film.) The "Tajomaru" of the new film's title is the same Tajomaru bandit character that Rashōmon's acclaimed actor Toshirō Mifune made famous, but the new film adds a twist to the identity of the Tajomaru character. Shun Oguri plays Tajomaru.

Update: More background information added.

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