It is increasingly clear that Japanese animation is not usually a good starting material for live-action. While there are exceptions, especially in the seinen genre, generally anime adaptations are usually a disaster: and for examples we have Dragon Ball Evolution, Netflix’s Death Note or Shinji Higuchi’s Attack on Titan.
However, this does not stop attempts to continue bringing the most outstanding anime to the big screen. This is the case of Netlix’s One Piece and Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya, the live-action adaptation of the mythical series from the early 1990s.
Sean Bean as Alman Kido
Headed by Tomasz Bagiński, director of several animated shorts and Oscar nominee in the Best Animated Short category for Katedra, the film is an American production by Sony supported by Toei Animation, the Japanese studio that holds the rights to the manga.
The Knights of the Zodiac, however, freely adapts the manga, trying to respect the lore but taking it to a more Hollywood terrain. The story tells how a war goddess is reincarnated in the body of a girl (Iseman) while Seiya (Mackenyu), a street orphan, discovers that he is destined to protect her and save the world. But only if he can face his own past and become a Zodiac Knight.
The film has a not inconsiderable $60 million production budget and opens on April 28 in Japan. Shortly after, it will be released in the United States and in Spain on May 25. The main attraction of the film, beyond the IP it adapts, is the appearance of Sean Bean.
The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones actor plays Mitsumasa Kido, who in the original anime found Sagittarius Aiolos in his last moments of life and had a small but very transcendental role. This is almost a spoiler, considering Sean Bean’s fame, of what will happen to him in the feature film: yes, we will most likely see him die again.
Be that as it may, the film seeks to change the bad taste in the mouth of traditional anime adaptations. But I have to say that, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s not clear that it will succeed: I hope I’m wrong, but it reeks of a new Dragon Ball Evolution.
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