Great movie ideas usually take flight from a solid script. In the same way, the critical and financial success of a live-action film often depends on how the film producers use its source material. Whether it’s an anime adaptation or manga.

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manga are comics and graphic novels originating in Japan. Now enjoying worldwide popularity due to globalization and interactive technology, it’s not hard to see why many film production companies would love to capitalize on this profitable market. Nonetheless, many manga-based movies deserve more appreciation than the resentment surrounding the whole genre of live-action adaptations.

‘Ichi the killer’ (2001)

This movie is definitely not for the faint of heart. Based on by Hideo Yamamoto manga of the same title, Ichi the killer revolves around Ichi (Nao Omori), a psychologically repressed and unstable hitman who is brainwashed into killing rival gang members. At the same time, Ichi is chased by a sadomasochist yakuza Chief Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), who finds Ichi to be the one who can satisfy his need for pain beyond his wildest dreams.

The movie director, Takashi Miike, is undoubtedly the most famous internationally for its cinematic contribution to the violent and the bizarre. It goes without saying, Ichi the killer does not disappoint die-hard fans of the Japanese director in this bizarre tale of brutality and sadism.


‘Lady Snowblood’ (1973)

One of the best samurai films not directed by Akira Kurosawathe jidaigeki the film follows Yuki (Meiko Kaji), a woman born in a women’s prison. Growing up, she trains to become a ruthless assassin who seeks revenge on three people who brutally tore her family apart by sexually assaulting her mother while killing her father and brother.

Native Kazuo Koike and At Kazuo Kamimura’s mangathe success of the film manages to spawn a sequel, Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Revenge. Not to mention that the film series is a major source of inspiration for Quentin Tarantino. Kill Bill (2003-2004).

“I am a hero” (2015)

Not the most ideal scenario to draw inspiration for the future manga, I am a hero is a Japanese zombie apocalypse film about Hideo (Yo Oizumi), an unlucky manga artist and assistant who must learn to survive against hordes of citizens who have become maniacs of the flesh. In other words, zombies.

The adverse situation places Hideo in a series of moral choices as he and his new comrades struggle to stay alive. While the 2010s are saturated with great South Korean zombie movies and shows, I am a hero is a breath of fresh air from Japan manga artist Kengo Hanazawa.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014)

Even Hollywood understands the appeal of Japanese manga. In the source material, all you need is to kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the story centers on a soldier named Keiji Kiriya who begins to become trapped in a time loop after dying in a battle with the aliens. Kiriya intensifies his combat skills with each cycle and desperately finds ways to escape his endless predicament.

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edge of tomorrow (later renamed Live. To die. Repeat. : Edge of tomorrow on home media) closely follows the source, but with some minor edits. In this sci-fi war movie, the setting is changed to Western Europe. While the main character is none other than Tom Cruisewho plays Major Bill Cage forced to fight and die over and over again.

‘200 Pound Beauty’ (2006)

Beauty is painful. In 200 pound beauty, Kim Ah-Joong has a double identity. She plays Hanna Kang, a part-time phone sex worker and ghost singer for pop singer Ammy (Ji Seo-yun), who lip-syncs his tracks rather than singing live.

After being humiliated by Ammy and being heartbroken by her boss/crush Sang-Jun (Joo Jin Mo), she undergoes extreme plastic surgery and a weight loss program. Hanna eventually becomes Jenny, a gorgeous, slim woman who becomes a new pop sensation with her debut single “Maria”. 200 pound beauty is based on Japanese manga Kanna’s big hit! As the manga title, the South Korean adaptation met with success with critics and the public.

“Battle Royale” (2000)

Before the overconsumption of smartphones and social networks, battle royale keeps teenagers busy. Adapted from At Koushun Takami’s Work from 1999, the Japanese action-thriller is the original film that helped start a new wave of death game movies and TV shows. The film tells the story of a class of ninth graders forced to fight to the death by a totalitarian Japanese government.

Although not suitable for audiences of all generations, battle royale inspires future films to think outside the box. He reiterates the vital role of contemplative youth in the future of a country.

‘Old Boy’ (2003)

While by Spike Lee The 2013 remake didn’t impress many moviegoers, with the initial release of Park Chan-Wook’s The neo-noir of 2003 captivates more than the public, it shocks everyone.

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As a loose adaptation of At Garon Tsuchiya mangathe story of Old boy follows Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min Sik), a hated drunk who is kidnapped, drugged and tortured in an unknown hotel room for 15 years. After his release, he is determined to find those who tormented him, although he has no clues about his captors.

‘Helter Skelter’ (2012)

How far will someone go to achieve fame and admiration? Supermodel Liliko knows no bounds. Helter Skelter is an essential film that delves into the horrors of being a woman in a competitive society where fame only lasts 15 minutes.

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The film and its Japanese psychological horror manga by Kyoko Okazaki see the horrific aftermath of plastic surgery on Liliko (Erika Sawajiri), both physically and psychologically. Liliko engages in a debauched lifestyle of sex and drugs, even resorting to murder in an attempt to stay number 1 in the modeling industry,

‘Zatoichi’ (2003)

Since its first manga released in 1966, blind Japanese swordsman Zatoichi has withstood decades of film and television adaptations. The iconic character even has a crossover movie with Toshiro Mifune’s Yojimbo in the 1970 movie Zatoichi meets Yojimbo.

In his 11th directorial feature, Takeshi Kitano plays Zatoichi in the 2003 samurai action epic, where he defends a local town from being caught in a yakuza gang war. The film features unforgettable action sequences while possessing one of the most peculiar ending sequences. No spoilers here!

‘Crows Zero’ (2007)

This is another film adapted from a manga by director Takashi Miike. Although less gore and gore can be seen in this movie compared to Ichi the killer, Zero Crows continues Miike’s signature of gang violence and criminal activity. This time with the students of the fictional Suzuhan All-Boys High School.

Competing for the title of “King of Suzuran High”, various gang factions clash, resulting in broken bones and a few friendships formed. Amidst all the barbarism and competition, the Japanese action flick manages to squeeze in a few lighthearted scenes because, after all, most of them are still enjoying high school.

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