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Manga fans have plenty to look forward to in 2014 with 16 live-action films adapted from well-loved and popular manga series being released next year. From action comics about police robots to romantic stories about high schoolers who bond over body hair removal, there is something for everyone in these upcoming manga-based films. And since some in the academic world are beginning to see the positive side of Japanese comics, you have one more reason to get your non-manga-loving friends hooked through the power of the silver screen.

  • Hot Road

Release date: Summer 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

Published in the mid-80s, Taku Tsumugi’s manga series is about Kazuki Miyaichi, a girl who feels unloved by her mother and begins to fall for a motorcycle gang member, Hiroshi Haruyama. Takahiro Miki will direct the live-action film adaption, which will star Rena Nonen as Kazuki and Sandaime J Soul Brothers singer Hiroomi Tosaka as Hiroshi.

▼ Hiroomi Tosaka and his illustrated badboy counterpart Hiroshi

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Image: Natalie

▼ Can Rena Nonen bring the fictional Kazuki to life?

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Image: Natalie

  • LDK

Release date: Spring 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

In the romance-themed manga series by Ayu Watanabe, two high schoolers begin to share an apartment after a kitchen fire, resulting in the two struggling with both their feelings for one other and keeping the cohabitation a secret. Ayama Gouriki will star as the 16 year-old Aoi Nishimori who moves into the apartment of schoolmate and local hearththrob Shusei Kugayama, to be played by Kento Yamazaki.

▼ A look at Gouriki and Yamazaki as Aoi and Shusei, cohabiting “highschool” lovers

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Image: Facebook (ldk.movie)

  • Say “I love you.”

Release date: 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

First published in 2008, this romantic manga was adapted into an anime that aired on Japanese TV in late 2012. The manga focuses on 16 year-old Mei Tachibana who has trouble making friends, much less meeting boys. After accidentally injuring a popular classmate Yamato Kurosawa, the two begin a friendship and eventually a romantic relationship, opening the shy girl up to the world. Not too many details have been released about the movie, besides that it will open in Japanese cinemas some time next year.

  • Silver Spoon

Release date: March 7, 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

Written by Hiromu Arakawa, this manga series is about life at an agricultural high school in Hokkaido. Kento Nakajima from J-pop group Sexy Zone will play the main character Yugo Hachiken who enrolled at the school, thinking life there would be easier than the one his strict father wants from him. Japanese TV personality Alice Hirose will play Yugo’s classmate and love interest Aki Mikage.

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Image: Ginsaji Movie 

  • Lupin The Third

Release date: Summer 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

Centering around the master thief Arsène Lupin III, the incredibly popular manga series was first published in 1967 for two years. It spawned several animated films in the 1970s and ’80s, including Studio Ghibili’s The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979. This will be the second time the manga series has been adapted into a live-action film. This movie will focus on how the main characters met. Shun Oguri will play the well-known French thief and reportedly lost about 8 kg during ten months of training for the film. Meisa Kuroki will as the beautifully cunning burglar Fujiko Mine.

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 Image: Lupin the movie

  • As the Death God Dictates

Release date: Autumn 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

The horror manga series As the Death God Dictates was first published in 2011 and tells the story of high school student Shun Takahata and his classmates who play brutal and vicious games to avoid death. Veteran Japanese horror film director Takashi Miike, whose credits include the violent and infamous Audition and Ichi the Killer, has been charged with the live-action adaption. Sota Fukushi will play the main character while Hirona Yamazaki will star as Shun’s friend Ichika Akimoto.

  • Mole’s Song

Release date: February 15, 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

Takashi Miike is also directing the live-action adaption of Noboru Takahashi’s manga series Mole’s Song, about a police officer that goes undercover to investigate a notorious gang. Toma Ikuta will star as the blonde police officer, Reiji Kikukawa, who infiltrates the seedy underworld of the criminal syndicate.

▼ The colorful cast of characters for Mole’s Song

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Image: Mogura the movie

  • Tokyo Tribe

Release date: 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

The director of Suicide Club, Shion Sono, will be taking up the manga series Tokyo Tribe 2 which features a near-future Tokyo that is engulfed by street gang turf wars. Published between 1997 and 2005, the series was written by Santa Inoue and has produced one animated adaption in 2006. The film will be called Tokyo Tribe and star Ryohei Suzuki as the Wu-Ronz gang leader Mera and rapper Young Dais will play Kai, the leader of the rival Musashino Saru gang.

▼Ryohei Suzuki (L) and Young Dais (R) sandwiching some Tokyo Tribe characters

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Image: Tokyo Tribe movie

  • Parasyte

Release date: December 2014, the second part is scheduled for 2015

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Image: Amazon Japan

The sci-fi manga series Parasyte takes place in a world where parasitic aliens have taken over the world by implanting themselves into their human hosts. The main character, Shinichi Izumi, has had his right hand taken over by Migi (Japanese for “right”) and the odd duo fights to survive the new reality. Parasyte has been published since 1990 and over 100 million copies have been sold. The Hollywood-produced film will be split up into two parts, with the last film being released in 2015. The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu will direct the film and Shota Sometani will star at Shinichi.

  • Sweet Poolside

Release date: 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

The Sweet Poolside manga series, first published in 2004 and then again in 2011, is about two high schoolers, the hairless Toshihiko Ota and his hairy swim club teammate Ayako Goto, who form a secret relationship. Kenta Suga will play Toshihiko, who helps in shaving the strangely alluring Ayako, to be played by Yuiko Kariya.

▼ Kenta Suga (R) as the body hair-challenged Toshihiko helps out his swim team colleague Ayako, played by Yuiko Kariya

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Image: Cinra.net

  • Black Butler

Release date: January 18, 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

The manga series Black Butler follows Ciel Phantomhive, the young head of a noble family in Victorian-era Europe, and his demonic butler Sebastien Michaelis who is helping the boy to avenge his family’s death in exchange for his soul. Designed to be a continuation of the series, some characters and the setting has been changed for the live-action film, such as a new main character Shiori Genpo, played by Ayame Gouriki, a young woman who disguises herself as a man. And instead of taking place in Europe, the movie’s setting will be an unnamed Asian city in 2020. The swoon-worthy anti-hero Sebastian will be played by Hiro Mizushima.

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Image: Facebook (Kuroshitsujimovie)

  • The Next Generation – Patlabor

Release date: April 2014 (shorts), 2015 (feature film)

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 Image: Amazon Japan

Mobile Police Patlabor is a manga series that is set in a near-future Tokyo where gigantic robots, called “Labors,” help out the city in heavy construction and the metropolitan police have its own fleet called “Patrol Laborers” to help fight crime. The live-action The Next Generation – Patlabor has 12 episodes and will be screened at special cinema showings starting next April. A 100-minute long film will then be released in 2015. The film is a sequel to the popular manga and takes place at a time when Labors are not used as often as in the manga series. Former idol Erina Mano is starring as pilot Akira Izumino.

  • Sutegakita hitobito

Release date: Summer 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

George Akiyama’s manga about the broke and hopeless Yusuke Mamiana ran in Big Gold magazine from 1996 to 1999. Nao Omori will star as Yusuke in the live-action film. Hitomi Miwa will play Kyoko Okabe, the only person Yusuke seems to get along with.

  • Thermae Romae

Release date: April 26, 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

The sequel to the 2012 live-action film Thermae Romae is set to open next April and will once again follow the adventures of the ancient Roman Lucius who travels into the future to a Japanese bathhouse and tries to bring back the modern innovations of Japan back to Rome. Hiroshi Abe will star once again as Lucius and Aya Ueto will again play the part of aspiring manga artist Mami Yamakoshi, who crushes on the hunky Lucius. Part of the filming is taking place at a reconstructed coliseum in Bulgaria.

▼ A look at the reconstructed coliseum in the movie’s trailer

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Image: Thermae Romae movie

  • Ruroni Kenshi: The Great Kyoto Fire Arc, The Last of a Legend Arc

Release date: Summer 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

This two-part sequel is a follow-up to the 2012 live-action Ruroni Kenshin film based on the historical action manga series of the same name about a wandering samurai in Meiji Era Japan. The popular series ran for five years in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and had an animated TV series in the 1990s. Takeru Sato will reprise his role as the former assassin Kenshin Himura who wanders a fictional version of Meiji Era Japan to atone for the murders he committed in his former profession. The two films will be based on the Kyoto arc from Nobuhiro Watsuki’s manga and will both be released next summer.

  • Crows Explode

Release date: April 12, 2014

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Image: Amazon Japan

Hiroshi Takahashi’s manga series about a group of high school delinquents is getting a third live-action movie next year with Crows Explode. The new film will take place at the notorious Suzuran High School just one month after the events of the 2009 movie Crows Zero II. Masahiro Higashide stars as the main character Kaburagi, a transfer student to the rambunctious school while Yuya Yagira will play a third-year student at the top of the school’s social order.

Time to start circling days on the calendar, right guys?

Source: Naver Matome