Beyond Bestsellers: Anime/Manga Film Adaptations

by Kimberly P.

For this month, we’re diving back into Beyond Bestsellers, and our theme is Film Adaptations.

I thought to myself, Self why not talk about film adaptations of some of my favorite manga? I’ve written a few posts before about my love of manga and anime, and so I’ll try to avoid repeating titles (though, in some cases I can’t help myself).

Boys Over Flowers

Full disclosure: I lied. This post isn’t entirely about film adaptations (but there are some, I swear!).

I had to make an exception to talk about Boys Over Flowers by Youko Kamio. Originally, I came across the manga after having binge watched the Korean adaptation of the series, also called “Boys Over Flowers.”

I am not ashamed to admit that I did not move from my bed for three days. I think I even skipped classes to zoom through all twenty five episodes of the romantic comedy–each at an hour a pop.

If you are new to the world of K-drama, let me warn you–it can seem cheesy, but is seriously addicting! In both the manga and live action adaptation, new student Tsukushi Makino (Geum Jan Di in the Korean adaptation) runs afoul of the dreaded leader of F4–a group of the top four richest, most popular, and most handsome boys in her prestigious high school.

Known for their cruelty, F4 makes her life a living nightmare, but Tsukushi’s unwavering optimism and fierce independence thaws even the icy F4.

The television series is available on Netflix, and also through Dramafever. There’s also a Japanese and Taiwanese adaptation of the series.


Tite Kubo’s Bleach, a manga featuring a teen who accidentally becomes a death god, has been in the news lately. This July, the live action movie releases both in Japan and the US. Based on this awesome trailer, I’m cautiously optimistic about this film adaptation.

It has more horror-esque leanings than the anime series, but for someone who has been a Bleach fan from the beginning, seeing it on the big screen is a special joy.

Come the North American release date, you’d better believe I’ll be at the theater in full shinigami garb.

(Don’t judge me!)

My Love Story!!

So I’m expanding our Beyond Bestsellers reading challenge to include anime adaptations. My Love Story!! by Kazune Kawahara isn’t your typical romantic comedy and is probably one of my favorites of its genre. In most shoujo manga, the perspective follows a female’s viewpoint, but in My Love Story!! Takeo Gouda is the main character. He’s so adorable that you can’t help but root for him to find a girl who isn’t intimidated by his large stature, scary looks and social awkwardness.

Adapted into a gorgeous anime (you can watch it on Crunchyroll) it’s so cute it’s like a basket full of puppies, kittens, and bunnies all holding heart-shaped boxes of powdered donuts.

That is to say: adorable and sweet.

(And yes, there’s a film adaptation also. It’s every bit as lighthearted and heartwarming as the source material.)

Rurouni Kenshin

I will never stop stop loving Kenshin Himura, a former assassin turned wandering kindhearted swordsman who takes an oath to never again kill.

Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki is one of the first anime that I ever watched, and holds a special place in my heart. I adore history, samurai, and fascinating characters–and this series has all that and more.

I’m always a little wary of live action film versions, but seriously, the movie blew me away! Released as Rurouni Kenshin: Origins, the storyline takes a more serious tone than the manga and anime. Still, it holds its own as a beautiful film with killer fight scenes and a great cast.

Tokyo Ghoul

Okay, I had to sneak in some horror/dark fantasy in this list.

Imagine living in a world where man-eating creatures live among the human population. They’re stronger, faster, and close to indestructible. The only way to find out if your date is in fact a flesh-eating ghoul is when the whites of her eyes turn black, her pupils turn red, and she tries to devour you.

Welcome to the life of college student Ken Kaneki. He wakes from the hospital to find out he has become a half-ghoul and, while he gains enhanced abilities, he must now consume human flesh to survive.

So begins Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida and it checks off all my gruesome boxes. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s also been adapted into an anime and creeptastic film.



Are there any anime, television, or film adaptations of manga that you love? Share ’em in the comments below!

Tags: , , , ,


10 responses to “Beyond Bestsellers: Anime/Manga Film Adaptations”

  1. Sarah says:

    Gintama is the way to go. Parody-tastic series set in Bakamatsu era Japan with aliens and dramatic sword fights… when the heroes aren’t busy breaking the fourth wall. The manga to anime to live-action adaption was such a hit they actually have a second live action movie in the works.

    • Kimberly P. says:

      Whaa–Really?? . . . Okay, did a quick search and watched the trailer and–it looks great! Now I have to go back and get into the series.

  2. Alez says:

    There is no way I can express through mere words how much I love Boys Over Flowers. I’m so disappointed that Viz hasn’t chose to rerelease the manga, so it is slowly fading from shelves across the country. But the Korean drama is a pretty great adaptation!

    Manga can be so hard, because more often than not it is adapted as an anime series rather that a film. And even if there is a film, it doesn’t often come to the US or they are really just condensed versions of the anime (looking at you EVA: Death). But there are some great ones available, and my utmost favorite movie adaptation of a manga is Love*Com (Lovely Complex). It’s a silly and cute high school love story about a really tall girl, and a really short boy. And the library owns it!!!!

    • Kimberly P. says:

      Omg–this is going on hold for me immediately. Thank you for the suggestion! And it’s so true–often manga becomes anime rather than film–and good luck trying to get it in the US. I’m still trying to get my hands on the “Say I Love You” live action movie…

      • Alez says:

        You’re welcome. I’m always willing to spread the Love*Com love. It has been out for years, and I so rarely encounter fans.

        And thank you, your comment about “Say I Love You” reminded me to put it on hold. I’ve got a huge Manga TBR pile, and I’m moving slowly through it.

  3. terasy says:

    I’ve been really enjoying working my way through the “Mushi-shi” anime series (two seasons, some 52 episodes total), They’re based on the manga books of the same name, though I admit I haven’t gotten my hands on the manga to read yet. The series takes place in rural Japan with stories that intersect the natural and supernatural world. They remind me of the Japanese folklore tales I read as a child: serene, beautiful, and a bit strange. (I understand there is even a live action feature film version that was made a few years back.)

    • Kimberly P. says:

      I adore Japanese folklore. I’m definitely adding this to my TBW pile. <3 Thank you!

      • terasy says:

        Sno-Isle carries the initial series labeled “Mushi-Shi The Complete Collection” (note that title is now confusingly misleading). I located the second series titled “Mushi-Shi Next Passage” on Amazon Prime.

  4. Blaise Lamb says:

    Akira is a great manga and a great anime!

Leave a reply (comments are moderated before posting)