Dramas Based on Manga Part 4
Ahh, the never-ending finding of dramas/movies that have been based on manga/manwha. Just a note, I am not including anime in this series. It’s always interesting to see which came first, manga or anime which makes things even more complicated. So I am sticking with live action. Here are some popular titles again missed in the first 3 postings. I knew that the new movie Priest starring Paul Bettany was based on an Asian comic, but I really thought it was a Japanese manga, but here I found out that Priest is a Korean comic.
Azumi by Koyama Yu
The manga series follows the titular Azumi who is a young woman brought up in a group of assassins. She and her cohorts are charged with killing warlords who threaten the fragile peace after the civil war ended.
- Azumi – 2003 film starring Ueto Aya, Oguri Shun, Narimiya Hiroko, and Odagiri Joe. I don’t know about how true it is to the manga, but it is a decent, bloody film in which Ueto shined as the assassin who reluctantly kills her best friend to survive and complete the mission.
- Azumi 2: Death or Love – this 2005 sequel had Ueto reprise her role along with the other sole survivor played by Isigaki Yuma and follows the two as they continue on with the mission they were given. This time instead of choosing between duty and friendship, they choose between duty and love. Oguri Shun comes back as a look-a-like who stirs Azumi’s heart.
BA:BO by Kang Full
A popular webcomic that revolves around an inspiring pianist who returns home to Korea after experiencing horrible stage fright. She is reunited with her good friend who has the mentality of a six-year-old after an accident.
- BA:BO or BABO – a 2008 South Korean film starring Cha Tae Hyun and Ha Ji Won in the lead roles. The director was a fan of the comic and states that the film is loyal to the source.
City Hunter by Hojo Tsukasa
This series follows a private eye and his tomboy assistant as they work together to help rid Tokyo of crime.
- City Hunter/Sing Si Lip Yan – a 1993 Hong Kong movie starring action master Jackie Chan in the lead role
- City Hunter – 2011 Korean drama starring Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young in the lead roles. Instead of being a private eye, Min Ho will be a communications expert in the Blue House while Park Min Young will be a bodyguard to the president
Crying Freeman by Koike Kozuo
This manga series follows the life of a Japanese potter who finds evidence of a murder by the Chinese mafia. He refuses to hand over the evidence and is kidnapped and brainwashed into being an assassin. He is given the codename “Crying Freeman” as he cries after each kill and longs to be free. He is then charged with killing a Japanese painter, but he falls for her instead and can’t bring himself to kill her.
- Dragon from Russia – 1990 Hong Kong film starring Sam Hui and Maggie Cheung. The movie is loosely based on the manga with a bit of a divergent plot as the two were orphans who fell for each other but became entangled in the mafia
- Killer’s Romance – 1990 Hong Kong film directed by Phillip Ko. Not a sequel it seems
- Crying Freeman – 1995 French Canadian movie starring Mark Dacascos as the reluctant assassin
A media franchise from Nagai Go, the story follows a normal Catholic school girl who learns upon her father’s death by an evil organization, that she is really an android made by him and she has a special ability to create matter from air. Thus she becomes a crime fighter.
- Cutie Honey – 2004 Japanese film starring pop icon Sato Erika in the titular role and follows her adventures as she fights crime and tries to avenger her father’s death
Dasepo Naughty Girls by B-rate Dal Gung
A popular webcomic
- Dasepo Naughty Girls – a 2006 South Korean film starring Kim Ok Bin. It is a musical comedy and has also been adapted into a drama, but I can’t find info about that
Detective Conan by Aoyama Gosho
A genius high school student works with detectives to catch criminals. He is captured by an organization and poisoned with an experimental drug. Instead of dying, he transforms into a child instead and thus begins his new adventures.
- Meitantei Conan: Kudo Shinichi he no Chosenjo – 2006 Tanpatsu starring Oguri Shun as Conan and revolves around Conan’s high school days as he tries to find out who the criminals are targeting to kidnap
- Kudo Shinichi no Fukkatsu! Kuro no Soshiki to no Taiketsu – 2007 Tanpatsu starring Oguri Shun. This time he is at an awards ceremony and eats a cake that transforms him back into Conan. He must then solve the mystery of a murder that takes place
- Meitantei Conan [no official title as of yet] – a 2011 reboot of the Conan series which will star Mizabota Junpei as the titular detective. This is in honor of the 15th anniversary of the franchise
Dragon Ball by Toriyama Akira
The manga follows Son Goku from his childhood to adulthood as he trains in the martial arts and looks for the mystical 7 dragon balls which can summon a dragon that will grant your wish.
- Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins – 1989 Taiwanese movie starring Charles Chen in the Goku role. This was scorned as being cheesy and was not well-received by fans of the manga/anime
- Dragonball: Evolution – 2009 epic failure of a Hollywood adaptation. Considering most Hollywood versions of live action manga/anime based films do miserably, shouldn’t they quit?
Fist of the North Star by Buronson
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the series follows a young man, Kenshiro, who has inherited a special martial arts that allows you to kill your enemy from within using the vital points of the body. Kenshiro dedicates his life to fighting evil, even if it means fighting his fellow “brothers” in the clan.
- Fist of the North Star – 1995 American straight-to-video film starring Chris Penn, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Daniels, and Kostas Mandylor. This adaption is loosely based and follows the Shin storyline of the manga
GeGeGe no Kitaro by Mizuki Shigeru
This manga follows Kitaro, a Yokai (demon) who is the last of his clan. He fights for peace between the humans and yokai.
- Gegege no Kitaro – 2007 Japanese film starring Eiji Wentz as Kitaro and it also costars Inoue Mao of HanDan fame
- Gegege no Kitaro 2: Kitaro and the Millennium Curse – 2008 sequel with Eiji Wentz reprising his role of Kitaro
Oriental Heroes by Wong Yuk Long
The series follows young people who live in government housing and fights bad guys. This Hong Kong manhua was the first of its kind and drew on wuxia for its action and plot and spawned a whole new genre of comics.
- Dragon Tiger Gate – 2006 Hong Kong film starring Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue and it about a martial arts academy which trains young people to fight the evil triad
Priest by Hyung Min Woo
This is a western-horror fused manwha series that spans across centuries. Twelve angels rebel against God and are cast out of heaven where they wreak havoc among the mortals God loves. God then traps their souls in statues that are buried underground. Enter one man who goes on a crazy killing spree when his family is killed who agrees to lend his body to the angels.
- Priest – a 2011 Hollywood production starring Paul Bettany (who just recently played a fallen angel in another film), Cam Gigandet (of Twilight bad vampire fame), and Maggie Q. Will this movie fare any better than when they made the awful Blood: The Last Vampire adaptation?