Friday, March 26, 2010

George Akiyama's controversial manga "Ashura" to be truned into a feature film by Toei

by Chris MaGee

In August of 1970 an edition of the long-running Weekly Shōnen Magazine was banned in various cities in Japan due to the debut of George Akiyama's manga "Ashura". Set in medieval Japan "Ashura" tells the story of a boy trying to survive during a brutal famine. How brutal? Brutal enough that Ashura's mother has been reduced to cannibalism in order to stay alive, and besides a grizzly scene showing this in the debut of "Ashura" what really got people upset was the fact that the mother even tries to eat her own son to stave off hunger. Although Akiyama would continue to produce provocative manga - 1971's "Kokuhaku (Confessions)" that featured such chapters as "I am a murderer" and "I was a child of mixed blood" and 2005's "An Introduction to China: A Study of Our Bothersome Neighbors" which attempted to debunk the Nanking Massacre - it was his controversial debut in Weekly Shōnen that has defined his controversial career. Now word comes from Anime News Network that the folks at Toei are currently in the process of bringing "Ashura" to the big screen.

Apparently a poster image for this in-the-works adaptation was displayed at Toei's booth at this year's Tokyo International Anime Fair; but besides the drawing of Ashura leaving bloody footprints as he drags an axe out of a ramshackle hut (click the link above to take a look) there has been no additional details on the project from Toei. Will this be an animated film or live-action? Who will be tagged to direct "Ashura"? Will it end up inspiring the controversy that the original manga did nearly 40-years ago? It's all speculation at this point, but hopefully we'll be getting more details on "Ashura" soon.

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