The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is currently stomping its way all over the global box office, and while it’s a markedly more enjoyable film than the first, it fails just as hard when it comes to showcasing the seriousness of its characters being involved in a life-or-death battle. Luckily, those of us that want to vicariously live through hyper-violent teenagers murdering other teenagers will get the chance now that prolific genre-bending director Takashi Miike (Audition) has signed on to direct an adaptation of the violent manga As God Says (Kamisama no lutoori). Hooray!
The manga, written by Muneyuki Kanshiro with illustrations by Akeji Fujimura, was serialized in Kodansha Comic Magazine from March 2011 to November 2012 and follows a high school boy named Takahata Shun (Sota Fukushi) who expects an ordinary day of schooling, but gets something much worse. After his teacher meets his untimely doom, Shun’s class is subjected to a series of games where the penalty is death. Without knowing who or what is behind it all, the students must fight for their safety by obeying the rules.
According to Variety, Miike described the film with his usual sardonic detachment. "They live, some heads role, they run, blood sprays, they cry, they laugh and then they die," he said. "In other words, a fun movie. " My thoughts exactly. Take a peek at one of the manga’s covers below.
Obviously As God Says is going to attract many more comparisons to Kinji Fukasaku’s awesome 2000 murderfest Battle Royale, as did The Hunger Games. And Miike fans will note that the director very recently tackled another teen violence thriller with the teacher-gone-crazy flick Lessons of the Evil, but it’s almost impossible for the man to repeat himself, as nearly everything he does seems to come out of a fever dream. Check out this non-English trailer to see what I mean.
And that’s for people ages 15 and up! I’d hate to see how the MPAA would mangle it to smithereens in order to get a U.S. release. But I’d love to see Miike take on more films that America embraces. Give him a Marvel movie!
Production on this Toho-produced project is set to begin in June, with a Japanese release scheduled for next fall, which is a post-production turnaround I could grow to love. Meanwhile, the currently filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 won’t even be out until next November. Luckily for that film, there aren’t any more Games, thus lessening the harsh comparisons after As God Says comes out.