Live-Action Adaptations Well Received
June 13, 2011
I noticed that two series that I enjoyed and reviewed here at the Abandoned Factory have had recent Live-Action releases in Japan. The previews for Moshidora and Para-kissu are below the jump. Both movies are in the top 3 (by box office figures), having been beaten out only by the latest entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I generally don’t follow Japanese TV dorama, or live-action movies, but both of these series were interesting anime, and I’m not surprised these films had audiences lined up to check them out.
Moshidora, AKA Moshi Koukou Yakyuu no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no ‘Management’ wo Yondara, was a nice, short series, with an interesting premise. I wrote on the anime adaptation throughout its broadcast. For those who don’t know, it looks at the struggles of a high school baseball team, from the unusual perspective of the “manager”, a role that is typically marginalized in anime depictions. I’m torn between being intrigued to see an alternate interpretation of a show I enjoyed, and being horrified by what will happen to it. In my opinion, Japanese live-action interpretations of manga/anime tend to come across as cheap and poorly acted. This doesn’t always happen; I actually preferred the live-action movies of Death Note. In this case there is extra reason to be concerned: the main role is being played by a member of AKB48, a pop idol super group that seems guaranteed to increase the cheese factor on anything they are associated with.
Para-kissu, AKA Paradise Kiss, on the other hand, was a bit more of a traditional story in the sense that it was about a girl becoming a model, who encounters romance along the way. When I wrote about the anime series, I pointed out that, in addition to tackling a theme I really like to see (people trying to do real work, in this case, people struggling to make an entry into the fashion industry), it was a “mature” story, by which I meant that people made real decisions, including credible mistakes. This is not a shoujo story about a girl who effortlessly makes it as a model, and finds true love, then settles into her fairy-tale “ever after”. The characters all had their faults as well as their strengths. It might help to know that the Paradise Kiss anime was broadcast in the Noitamina time slot. The story of love (sometimes gone wrong) at and art school, is superficially similar to another Noitamina show, that I only despised for being too accurate a depiction of life and love (Honey and Clover).
If I had to guess, I would say, the rawness and honesty of Para-kissu might keep it from suffering from a maladroit handling, such as I fear will be applied to Moshidora. Regardless, it is nice to see a couple of series I enjoyed getting so much interest in their live-action form.