Thursday, May 28, 2009

There's live-action manga adaptations... and then there's live-action manga...

by Chris MaGee

Are you a fan of manga and anime? I'm sure there are a few of you out there. Ever heard of "Excalibur Zero"? I doubt it. "Excalibur Zero" is an hour and a half long video that's been posted in chunks on YouTube. It follows the adventures of a group of Japanese high schoolers off on their summer vacation who must single-handedly thwart an alien invasion. The storyline's not that far off a lot of manga and anime, right? True enough, but this isn't manga or anime. This is a live-action version of both... and I'm not talking Takashi Miike's "Yatterman" or Hideaki Anno's "Cutie Honey" either. Writer/ director James Davis has put together a fan film that strives to bring manga to life by including speech bubbles, captions and onscreen hand drawn graphics. Does it work? Well.... For something that looks like it was shot on cellphones for pocket change "Excalibur Zero" definitely gets an "A" for effort. That's about as much I can say to praise this one. The fact that there are actually no Japanese people in this even though they're calling each other by Japanese names should give you an idea of what to expect.

I'd have embedded the first part of the video, but embedding has been disabled, so head here to check it out. Thanks to Japanator for pointing the way to this.

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