On 20 May a trailer for the live-action Bakuman movie was posted online. Before you go groaning at another potentially lame manga/anime adaptation, this one appears to have the goods. Luckily, since the story is mostly grounded in reality it shouldn’t suffer from cheesy effects. Actually, even despite the slice-of-life storyline it does appear to have some decent CGI work.

But more impressive are the films two main characters Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi played by Takeru Sato and Ryunosuke Kamiki respectively. Can Sato pull off the meek charm of Mashiro while Takagi casts aside his more bookish image for Takagi?

Written by the same team who brought us Death Note, Bakuman follows two high school students who combine their talents to get a manga published in Weekly Shonen Jump. Although the story is fictional it gives a lot of insight into the workings of Jump and what it takes to get in and maintain manga there.

Although awkward and fearful of the manga business after its workload killed his uncle, artist Moritaka Mashiro gets thrust into the job after making a deal to marry his high school crush only if they succeed. Mashiro is played by Takeru Sato, whom Japanese film fans might recall as the lead in Rurouni Kenshin. Here he is beating up a bunch of people.

The other half of the team is Akito Takagi, an ace student and talented writer who’s also no slouch with the ladies. In the film he will be played by Ryunosuke Kamiki who also appeared in the latest Ruroni Kenshin movies. Watch as he and Sato practice for their fight scene together.

Despite proving himself to be pretty bad-ass in those films, it seems many still cling to his child actor heritage and otakuish image when it comes to playing Takagi who’s meant to be the cooler of the two. Comments were mixed but leaning heavily to the negative.

“It looks interesting. I think I want to see it. I wonder if the main roles should have been reversed though…”
“I’d prefer they reverse the cast.”
“Japanese movies use the same actors too often.”
“It doesn’t look right.”

Personally, I tend to be optimistic. Kamiki certainly seems handsome enough in his own right and although there are no guarantees, good things can happen with actors playing against type like this.

Who would have thought the late Heath Ledger would have pulled off the Joker so well? And who would have guessed Johnny Depp could completely transform himself into a somewhat normal person for Donnie Brasco so believably? Anything can happen in the movies!

Source: Bakuman Official Website, YouTube – Toho Movie Channel via My Game News Flash (Japanese)
Videos: YouTube – Raj Mohan, takerzone