The Live-Action Films Based on Japanese Popular Manga

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The Live-Action Films based on Japanese Popular Manga
Today, Japanese manga is enjoyed all over the world and there is a new trend to reconstruct these popular manga as the live-action films. In Japan, a lot of manga is made into the live-action versions in Japan such as drama, film and both of drama and film. The live-action drama and films based on popular manga are coming into fashion now in Japan. In USA, there are not many, but some Japanese manga is made into live-action films and there is a tendency to produce the live-action films based on Japanese popular manga in Hollywood in a last few years. The biggest recognition on the live-action films based on Japanese manga is that they have different motivations to remake manga into the live-action films between USA and Japan. These motivations seem to affect the works themselves. This essay takes up the subject and refers to how American and Japanese live-action films are different or similar to the original manga with specific examples.

The manga’s popularity is rising in USA and this comes from the characteristics of manga itself. American comic culture is originally different from Japanese manga morphology but Japanese manga won a considerable share of the market in USA as exploding manga market from the 60 million dollar in 2002 to 210 million dollar in 2007. (Matsui) American comics have only about 30 pages and they are all colored and bound on the left side. Furthermore, comics are regarded as the books for children and boys. On the other hand, Japanese manga targeting across the all ages and genders is bound on the right side, most pages are drawn in black-and-white and characters have a very different appearance from the characters in American comics. While the characters in American comics are made to resemble the real-life human, Japanese characters have the outstanding big eyes. When Japanese manga was imported into USA in 1987 at first, Japanese manga was adopted to the American comic morphology. Manga was reversed and printed for English speakers who were used to read comics from the left side. The form was also changed to the booklet form composed of 32 pages. Japanese manga have a lot of onomatopoeias and they translated into English. These Americanized manga targeted American comic readers. Therefore, most Japanese manga published in USA was shonen and seinen manga. As the result, early manga in USA was categorized as the minor genre. This trend of Americanized manga was changed after TokyoPop (a publishing company) created a revolution in 2002. TokyoPop began to create manga in the original form as authentic manga. Their manga is read from the right side and printed the Japanese onomatopoeias without changes. The publish companies also expand their marketing into the shojo manga area. As the result, Japanese manga has been created as books that anyone can enjoy across over all ages and genders and this transition from Americanized manga into Japanese manga as “authentic manga” shows how Japanese manga was accepted by American readers as the cultural products.

Today, there are a lot of the live-action versions based on Japanese popular manga in Japan. Since 1950s, Japan has created the live-action versions based on manga with the start of the broadcasting. They had continually created some live-action films and drama but this situation was changed after the boom of manga and some live-action drama in 2000s. In 2000s, they began to create more live-action versions than before and Hana yori Dango (the live-action drama based on popular shojo manga Hana yori Dango) made a great hit in 2005. After this hit of Hana yori Dango, the number of the live-action films and drama has increased rapidly. From the point of view of producers, making the live-action versions have a lot of advantages. It is easy to attract the interest of many people if they create the live-action versions based on popular manga because the story of the original manga is already...
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