Dramas Based on Manga Part 3

Some more drama and movies based on manga…there’s quite a lot to be discovered actually. And again, I can’t believe I left some of these out in the first two posts as some of them are a big fat “DUH!” i.e. Cat Street, Beck, Death Note, and Nodame Cantabile. Somehow, I don’t think the list is anywhere near complete. šŸ˜›

  • 荒恏悌KNIGHT by Yoshida Satoshi

The manga follows high school student Haruma Yuuki who is all brawn and no brain and whose dream it is to become a member of Linda, a motorcycle gang, led by Zemba Knight (the 2rd generation leader).

  1. Arakure Knight – This 2007 Japanese movie starred Shirota Yu, Yasuda Misako, and Nokubo Naoki and the previews look good, I haven’t seen it or read the manga.
  • Asphalt Man by Huh Young Man

This manwha follows the life of the Kang family. The eldest brother starts up his own car dealership, while the younger brother falls out with their father and runs off to the US to become a race car driver, and their little sister runs off to the US after becoming pregnant with a US officer’s child. [actually this is the drama plot – I can’t actually find if the two correspond, but I am sure the basic plot is the same].

  1. Asphalt Man – This 1995 Korean drama starred Hallyu star Lee Byung Hun (before he was really famous), movie star Jung Woo Sung, and Lee Young Ae as the Kang children
  • Battle Royale by Takami Koushun

This was a novel that was later adapted into a manga. The story revolves around a group of high school students who are stranded on a deserted island and commanded to kill each other. The last one standing is the winner. If there is more than one student left, all the students will then die.

  1. Battle Royale – a 2000 Japanese film starring Fukiwara Tatsuya and Maeda Aki as our survivors. I have no idea how true to the novel/manga this is, but I did like the movie despite its senseless violence and bloodshed. It also spawned a sequel to continue on with the events of what happened to the survivors of the first film.
  • Beat by Huh Young Man

This is a coming of age story wrapped up in Korean organized crime. Min is an ordinary high school student who switches schools. His best friend becomes involved in organized crime and earns 3 years in prison.

  1. Beat – This 1997 movie starred Jung Woo Sung, Ko So Young,and Lim Chang Jung. This movie is heralded as “the” movie of the 25-35 generation
  • Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad by Suikishi Harold

The manga follows 14-year-old Yukio, known as Koyuki, who leads a boring, normal existence until he saves a strange dog named Beck one day. Beck’s owner Minami Ryuusuke is a musician who inspires Koyuki to learn the guitar and eventually the two form a band with several other members. The manga follows the trials and tribulations of this group of friends as they try to establish their rock band.

  1. Beck – This 2010 Japanese movie starred Sato Takeru as Koyuki and Mizushima Hiro as Ryuusuke. As for accuracy, I have never read the manga series, but I did love this movie. Mukai Osamu, Kiritani Kenta, and Nakamura Aoi portray the other band members
  • Boku wa Imouto ni Koi o Suru [I Love My Younger Sister] by Aoki Kotomi

The manga follows the Yuki siblings Iku and Yori who happen to be twins. Yori soon realizes that the love he holds for his little sister is not just of the familial variety and when Iku becomes aware of this, what will she do to keep her brother by her side?

  1. Boku wa Imouto ni Koi o Suru – This 2007 Japanese film starred Matsumoto Jun and Eikura Nana as the twin Yuuki siblings. A really interesting movie (I’ve only watched half of it so far) and it explores quite a taboo theme – incest between siblings.
  • Cat Street by Kamio Yoko

The manga series (penned by the same author of hit manga series Hana Yori Dango) follows Aoyama Keito, a 16-year-old girl who used to be a famous child actress. Due to an unfortunate event, she retired and became a shut-in. One day she meets the principal of a free school and starts attending where she slowly begins to come out of her shell, make friends, and even finds love with others who are like her – different (not necessarily reclusive shut-ins).

  1. Cat Street – This 2008 jdrama starred Tanimura Mitsuki as Keito and Katsuji Ryo as her love interest. I totally loved the manga and was excited to see there was a live action version. Needless to say I was disappointed as it did not completely follow the storyline and even took out one of the major characters by combining the reclusive computer nerd with the outgoing soccer player. Sheesh. But it still was a good series.
  • Death Note by Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi

The manga follows Light who finds a shingami’s death notebook. If a person’s name is written in the book, that person will die within 15 minutes. Light uses this newfound power to kill some of the worst criminals out there. Soon, genius detective L is called in to help catch Light who has become corrupted by his power. I honestly didn’t really like the manga and thought the premise was stupid, but found myself loving the entire movie series oddly enough.

  1. Death Note – the Japanese movie was released in 2006 and starred Fujiwara Tatsuya as Light and Matsuyama Kenichi as L. There was a sequel which was a direct continuation of the first movie
  2. L: Change the World – a 2008 spin-off that follows L’s last days before he dies (due to his name being written in the death note at the end of the 2nd film)
  • The Duelist by Huh Young Man

The plot of this manwha seems quite akin to the plot in the kdrama Damo. We have a detective and his apprentice tracking down a counterfeit money ring which leads them to a performer and skilled swordsman known as “the duelist” and of course the female trainee has to fall for him, right?

  1. The Duelist/The Detective – a 2005 South Korean film starring the popular Kang Dong Won, Ha Ji Won, and Ahn Sung Ki
  • Full House by Woon Soo Yoon

The manwha follows the story of Elle who lives in Full House – the last house designed and built by her father. One day she is kicked out of the house, told that the famous actor Ryder Baye is the new owner.

  1. Full House – this 2004 drama starred the popular Rain (Bi) and Song Hye Kyo as the two leads who end up in a contract marriage that does turn to real love with a lot of bumps and even divorce on the way. The other two leads were Han Eun Jung and Kim Sung Soo (who never manages to get the girl, I swear)
  2. Smiling Pasta – this 2006 Taiwanese drama has been considered to be a Taiwanese version of Full House, but it has never officially claimed that although the plots are a bit similar with a superstar and an ordinary girl having a contractedĀ relationshipĀ that turns to love. This drama starred Nicholas Teo in his first starring role and veteran idol actress Cyndi Wang
  3. Full House – a 2009 Filipino drama starring Richard Gutierrez and Heart Evangelista in the starring roles
  • Glass Mask by Miuchi Suzue

Kitajima Maya is a young girl who dreams of becoming an actress. She and fellow rival Himekawa Ayumi compete in order to portray the lead in “The Crimson Goddess.” The title refers to how actors wear a fragile mask that portrays their characters’ emotions and if they break concentration, the actor’s emotions will be seen instead.

  1. Glass no Kamen – a two season 1997 Japanese drama starring Adachi Yumi as Maya – a young girl who was born to act and who is taken under the wing of a legendary actress in hopes that she can become the one to portray the legendary Crimson Goddess. This drama also stars Tanabe Seiichi, Nogiwa Yoko, Matsumoto Negumi, and Kohashi Kenji.
  • Goong by Park So Hee

This manwha creates a world in which the Korean monarchy did not collapse. Ordinary high school student Chae Kyung is forced to marry prince Lee Shin due to a promise made between their grandfathers. The two initially cannot stand each other, but soon grow to love each other. However, nothing is easy and royal customs and Shin’s cousin Lee Yul threatens to tear the two apart. Totally in love with this manwha and was excited to hear there was a live action drama based on it.

  1. Goong/Palace/Princess Hours – This 2006 kdrama received a lot of praise and a lot of flak for employing unestablished actors in the lead roles, i.e. Yoon Eun Hye, Joo Ji Hoon, Kim Jeong Hoon, and Song Ji Hyo. The drama does deviate quite a bit from the comic, but I haven’t managed to finish all 24 episodes as of yet.
  2. Goong S/Prince Hours – this 2007 kdrama was inspired by the 2006 drama, but really has nothing to do with the manwha and starred popular singer Se7en in his first major role as a poor man who finds out he is really a prince. It also co-starred Park Shin Hye, Kang Doo, and Heo Yi Jae
  • Gourmet by Huh Young Man

A highly popular manga Ā that chronicles the battle of two young chefs to become known as the heir to the last Royal Chef of the Joseon Dynasty.

  1. Le Grand Chef – this 2007 South Korean movie came first and starred Kim Kang Woo, Lee Hana, and Lee Won Hie. It’s popularity spawned a sequel in which the original comic writer created a new series to incorporate the plot of the second movie
  2. Gourmet – then came this 2008 kdrama starring Hallyu star Kim Rae Won and Kwon Oh Joong as the battling chefs/brothers with Nam Sang Mi and Kim So Yeon as their respective love interests
  • Hachimitsu to Clover [Honey and Clover] by Umino Chika

This drama follows several arts university students who become friends and deal with life, love, and school together.

  1. Honey & Clover – a Japanese movie version came first in 2006 and starred Sakurai Sho as the main protagonist, plus Aoi Yu as his love interest, Iseya Yusuke as his rival in love, and Kase Ryo and Seki Megumi round out the cast of friends. Not a bad movie, not the greatest either. It was dull in places, but I did like it overall.
  2. Hachimitsu to Clover – then in January 2008 the jdrama hit TVs. It starred another Johnny Ikuta Toma in the role Johnny Sakurai Sho originated. The series also starred Narimiya Hiroki, Narumi Riko, Harada Natsuki, and Mukai Osamu. I have only watched the 1st episode, so I can’t say I like this drama or not, but I love several of the cast members
  3. Feng Mi Xing Yun Cao – in summer of 2008, the Taiwanese version came out and starred Joe Cheng, Janine Chang, Eddie Peng, Lego Li, and Ito Chiaki
  • Kimi ni Todoke [From Me to You] by Shina Karuho

Sawako Kuronuma is nicknamed Sadako by fellow classmates for her resemblance to the character in Ringu. This earns her aĀ reputationĀ opposite of how she really is and makes her very lonely. Then one day the most popular boy in school Kazehaya begins talking to her and she starts to become friends with the other classmates and a love starts Ā to blossom.

  1. Kimi ni Todoke – this 2010 Japanese film starred Miura Haruma and Tabe Mikako in the lead roles. Haven’t seen this, but definitely want to! I think I have even began reading the manga series, but haven’t finished it yet.
  • Koukou Debut [High School Debut] by Kawahara Kazune

The manga follows the life of the hapless Nagashima Haruna. In middle school she was in to sports and never cared about fashion or trends, but decided to change in high school and focus on love. She comes under the tutelage Komiyama Yoh who tells her that she must not fall for him – which she does of course!

  1. High School Debut – this live action Japanese film is slated for release in Spring 2011 and stars Mizobata Junpei and Ohno Ito as the leads.
  • Loveā˜…Com [Lovely Complex] by Nakahara Aya

The manga follows the lives of a tall girl and shorter boy, both who have been unlucky in love due to their heights, thus giving them both complexes. The two fall for each other, but can they get over the height differences?

  1. Loveā˜…Com – this 2006 Japanese movie starred Koike Teppei and Fujisawa Ema as the leads and it was really funny and cute. I totally love Koike Teppei!
  • Nana by Ai Yazawa

The manga follows two girls named Nana who meet by chance on a train to Tokyo and eventually become best friends and roommates.

  1. Nana – this 2005 drama starred Nakashima Mika and Miyazaki Aoi as the two Nanas. I think the plot is fairly true to the manga – I loved the two movies, but couldn’t get in to the anime or the manga myself
  • Nodame Cantabile by Ninomiya Tomoko

The story revolves around college students Noda Megume (known as Nodame) and Chiaki Shinichi. Nodame is aĀ klutzyĀ girl who is a gifted piano player while Shinichi is an arrogant perfectionist from a musical family who dreams of becoming a conductor. Nodame falls for Chiaki right away, but it takes awhile for Chiaki to open up to Nodame. Their road to love and success in music is surrounded by unique characters and great friendships.

  1. Nodame Cantabile – This 2005 jdrama starred Ueno Juri and Tamaki Hiroshi in the leading roles. It was highly popular and had several specials and a movie starring the drama cast.
  • Old Boy by Minegishi Nobuaki and Tsuchiya Garon

A man has been locked in a room for 15 years by an unknown person. When he is released, he is caught up in violence, vengeance, and lies and falls for a sushi chef.

  1. Oldboy – a 2003 South Korean film that is the 2nd installment in The Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance being the other two). The film starred Choi Min Sik, Yu Ji Tae, and Kang Hye Jeong.
  • Tazza by Huh Young Man

Go Ni’s life goes through a drastic change when he watches his mother and stepfather die at the hands of someone else. Landing himself in jail, he meets people who change his life and when he gets out of jail, he becomes a top Tazza player in hopes of taking revenge on the one who destroyed his family.

  1. Tazza/War of Flowers – a 2006 South Korean film starring Cho Sung Woo as Go Ni, plus Baek Yun Shik and Kim Hye Su
  2. Tazza/War of the Flowers – a 2008 kdrama that stars Jang Hyuk as Go Ni, and costars Han Ye Seul and Kim Min Joon
  • Temptation of Wolves [A Wolf’s Attraction] by Gui Yeoni

This manhwa follows the life of country bumpkin Han Kyung. She moves to Seoul to live with her mother’s family after her father dies and meets two men. One is an arrogant jerk who wishes to date her and is the leader of the boys at her school and the other is from a rival school he asks Han Kyung, his noona, to remember him.

  1. Temptation of Wolves/Romance of Their Own – this 2004 South Korean film starred the popular Kang Dong Won, Jo Han Sun, and Lee Cheong Ah. It took me awhile to get into this film, but when I realized that it followed a partially translated manwha I was reading, it helped me understand it more. Since the manwha isn’t fully translated that I know of, I can’t tell how accurate the plots are, but I think this movie followed it along pretty well.
  • Usagi Drop [Bunny Drop] by Unita Yumi

This ongoing manga series follows 30-year-old Daikichi who comes home for his grandfather’s funeral only to find an unfamiliar little girl, Rin, in the garden. He learns that she is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter. Nobody wants to take Rin in due to theĀ embarrassmentĀ of her existence, so Daikichi undertakes raising Rin himself even though he knows nothing about children.

  1. Usagi Drop – This Japanese film is slated for release this year and stars Matsuyama Kenichi
  • YAOH by Kurashino Ryou

The story revolves around an ex-gangster who becomes a host and struggles to become number one.

  1. YAOH – a 2006 Jdrama starring Matsuoka Masahiro as the ex-gangster turned host
  • Zettai Kareshi [Absolute Boyfriend] by Watase Yuu

Yuu Watase. Sometimes I love her work, sometimes I don’t. I was definitely NOT a huge fan of this series which follows a high school student whoĀ inadvertentlyĀ orders the perfect robot lover. She initially wishes to get rid of him, but ends up keeping him and even falling for him in spite of their being a perfectly good human nearby who is in love with her.

  1. Zettai Kareshi – Despite not liking the manga, I do love this jdrama starring Mizushima Hiro, Aibu Saki, and Hayami Mokomichi. As for plot, no it does not follow the manga at all, but I can guess it is because they don’t want to do such aĀ risquĆ©Ā plot with high school students. And I agree that it makes sense to move the story into the business world. The drama does follow the bare basics of the manga plot (although Mizushima’s character is nothing like the one in the manga who was more serious andĀ studious).
  2. There have been rumors of a Korean version, but so far nothing substantial


  • Thanks for doing this series of posts! Until you take a moment to look at it, you don’t actually realise HOW many dramas/movies have been derived from the brilliance of the Japanese & Korean manga world. I had zilch idea The Duelist was based on a manga so thankyou for enlightening me šŸ™‚

    Have you seen the Taiwanese version of Honey & Clover? If so, are you able to tell me if it’s worth watching? I haven’t had time to get around to it but Joe Cheng is one of my fave actors.

    Oh, & Matsuyama Kenichi as L is one of the best things that ever happened in this universe- just had to get that off my chest ^U^

    • You’re welcome. I think I’ll add more as I come across them. Doing them initially from memory and then looking through the lists of stuff I watched and doing a little quick e-search and I can’t believe how many there really are. I haven’t really stumbled across any manhua being made into dramas, but I am sure there has to be…then again, maybe not. I knew Gourmet was and when I looked at Gourmet, it said that the Duelist was based on a comic drawn by the same author of that series. It’s on my watch list as I like Ha Ji Won (thanks to Damo) and Kang Dong Won (thanks to Temptation of Wolves).

      I haven’t seen the Taiwanese version of Honey & Clover yet. I have heard mixed reviews. Some people say they only love it because Joe Cheng is in it…others say it is a good series. Another one for the watch list, which is way too long šŸ˜›

      & I totally agree about Matsuyama as L. Oh, I ā¤ him in that role, he did an amazing job with such a quirky character. He stole the light from Light (Fujiwara :P).

  • I enjoyed The Duelist alot, highly recommended. It was a visual feast for the eyes & the soundtrack was very cool. I think it was my first Kang Dong Won movie actually & I recall almost mistaking him for a girl xP

    Kinda trying to think of a manga that someone could or should turn into a live-action drama that hasn’t been done already… I’m thinking Ouran High School Host Club would make for some good-hearted fun šŸ™‚

    • Ouran! Now that would be a fun series to see. I started collecting the manga during my last few years of college and even have the anime and OST. I know that people have specific actors and actresses in mind for the leads and it is fun to go through and see who they pick as Haruhi and co.

  • Wow, such a long and extensive list. I’m not sure if you already listed GANTZ, 20th Century Boys, Zeni Geba, MW and Rookies but I’m pretty sure that all three are manga-based as well. Oh and also Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Jin, Dororo and Godhand Teru. šŸ™‚

    Sorry, I think I got carried away…you already have quite an impressive list, couldn’t help but contribute to it. I’m actually quite amazed at how much of the stuff we see now are based on mangas.

    • Thanks for the contributions, Zooey! It amazes me still how many I have forgotten (and some I didn’t even know were). I can’t believe I forgot about GANTZ and 20th Century Boys. I couldn’t remember if MW was based off of a manga or a novel, so that is why that one didn’t make it.

      It goes to show just how popular manga is. I hear there is a big stink in Japan as a politician (or their leader) wants to do away or restrict manga as they believe it is bad for the younger generation in its portrayal of women and some of the violent/sexual themes, which is true, but then again there is regular literature out there that does the exact same thing. In America we have Twilight (which supernatural aside) doesn’t paint a healthy picture of love whatsoever…etc.

      • Glad I could help, wolforion. šŸ™‚ Though, there’s probably a ton of mangas out there that’s still waiting to be a part of your extensive list.

        I’m not surprised that a politician’s making an issue about mangas because of their content. I’m not sure how they regulate it but given how most of the popular ones have a lot of sex and violence in them, I guess there really is cause for concern, especially if it’s easy for children to get hold of them. Gantz and Battle Royale are pretty graphic, and of course as you said there’s a lot to be said about how they portray women (e.g. sexual objects, predators, damsels in distress, etc.). I mean, every girl in Gantz had big breasts for crying out loud. While most female characters in shojou mangas are pushovers.

        YA fiction nowadays aren’t any better—I’m totally with you on how Twilight provides an unhealthy image of love for young girls. >_<

  • I know that this post is more than 5 months old, but I can’t stop myself from commenting. I just want to add the dramas that I’ve seen that’s not yet on the list or mentioned on the previous comment.
    I just recently watched Liar Game,starring Toda Erika (Death Note) & Matsuda Shota (HanaDan), it’s based on the manga created by Kaitani Shinobu, w/c aired 2007 and had a second season airing in 2009 and was followed by a movie on the same year. I just started reading the manga and so far it seems like it followed the story in the manga with a few changes on the characters, like fukunaga being just a flamboyant character rather that a transvestite.
    Since Joe Cheng had already been mentioned in your post,I wanted to point out that he acted in more than just one manga adaptation. The series that made him famous was ‘It Started with a Kiss’,opposite Ariel Lin and Jiro Wang in second lead, it’s an adaptation of Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada w/c had its first live action adaptation as a JDrama of the same name in 1996 and was also adapted to KDrama last year, ‘Playful Kiss’, starring Kim Hyun Joong and Jung So Min.
    Joe Cheng was also in the Taiwanese adaptation of Bara no Tame ni by Yoshimura Akemi,titled ‘The Rose’ w/c starred by Jerry Huang & Ella Chen.
    Speaking of Ella Chen, she also starred in the Taiwanese version of Hana Kimi opposite Wu Cun w/ Jiro Wang in second lead. It aired in 2006 a year before the Japanese version that starred Maki Horikita, Shun Oguri and Toma Ikuta. Needless to say there’s also 2011 jdrama remake of this series w/c I believe is too soon therefore I may not be watching this in the near future.
    Going to Jiro Wang, after being ‘the guy who will never get the girl’ on 2 manga-based dramas, he finally became the lead in ‘Momo Love’ w/c is an adaptation of Momoka Typhoon by Fujita Kazuko.His lead role didn’t stop to that as he is currently filming the Taiwanese version of Zettai Kareshi opposite Gu Hye Sun (the female lead in the korean version of HanaDan). I guess people got this confused as a KDrama because it stars Gu Hye Sun but she’s not the only Korean actress on a Taiwanese live action version.
    Another Korean actress,Park Shin Hye ,stars in the Taiwanese drama adaptation of Hayate the Combat Butler opposite George Hu. I think its still currently airing.
    Another Taiwanese manga-based drama that’s to come is Extravagant Challenge w/c an adaptation of Yoshiki Nakamura’s ‘Skip Beat!’ starring Ivy Chen, Choi Siwon & Lee Donghae (both men are from the Korean boyband Super Junior & its unit group Super Junior – M). It’s already in post production. I’ve seen the trailers & it looks like it will follow the manga.

    • Thanks for stopping by & leaving the information. I am now going to have to double check my previous posts, but some of the ones you mentioned I think I have listed. Maybe not in the prior posts, but at least on the actual list page, which I know is no where near being complete. see here. If not, then I know I am going to have to go through and add them. There are just so many that it is crazy to keep up with them all.

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