Blade of the Immortal live-action … uh, slight worries

Oh hey, look: A Blade of the Immortal live-action trailer and additional cast info.

I keep forgetting about this adaptation. And to be honest – I am not all that optimistic about it. I just don’t think the movie format is suited for the story, and I don’t expect the general look and feel to live up to the manga.

Story-wise? Blade of the Immortal takes a while to get good. The manga starts out simplistic, but becomes more complex after a few volumes, once it stops being just Manji and Rin VS Ittou Ryu, and unfolds into an intricate three-way conflict with interesting, even likeable characters on every side of the conflict. But it takes time to develop these complexities, the characters and the their dynamics, and there really isn’t enough time for this in a simple movie.

How much plot is the film going to cover? Or it is going to tell a completely different story instead of attempting to rush through the key events of the manga? The inclusion of Kensui Ibane puzzles me. He’s from the “Anotsu in Kaga” storyline! That’s, what, volume 8? 9? I can’t imagine how the movie could possibly cover this much of the manga’s story. And I cannot imagine how you’d rewrite the story to let this guy play a relevant role. Where’s Sori anyway?

I don’t want to comment on the casting choices based on actor portrait photos. I would need to see them in costume, specifically in action. Still, why is Kagimura Habaki an old man? He should be middle-aged. I guess they cast Min Tanaka to personally taunt me. He played Okina in the Rurouni Kenshin films, so this is a) a reminder of how badly the Oniwabanshu storyline was fucked up in the Kenshin movies and b) making me associate Okina (whom I like) with Habaki (whom I LOATHE). Grrr.

Of all the characters featured in the trailer, let’s focus on Shira. Tricky character to do justice, I think. Shira’s right arm is mostly obscured by the actor’s name in the trailer, but you can see he has the iconic bone thingy. I can’t say I like the character’s look aside from this. The hair looks stupid. It doesn’t really give me confidence that the movie is going to pull off the freakier, more manga-esque character designs. Honestly, Manji’s scar looks weird, too.

My biggest problem is that everything looks so clean! Where’s the grittiness? The sweat, blood and dirt? It was such an important part of the manga’s aesthetics … Blade of the Immortal is the last manga that should look, well, sanitized.

(Oh, I didn’t even notice at first that they changed the kanji for Manji’s name! Perhaps they had international marketing in mind, and that’s fine with me.)

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