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Leo DiCaprio seems to have a thing for anime. Earlier this year he snatched up Akira with intent to turn it into a live-action movie, and now Variety says his production company has hopped on board Ninja Scroll.
My instinctive aversion to all things anime is near legendary, so rather than attempting to fake my way through a Ninja Scroll plot description, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: It’s “a Japanese action thriller anime, set in feudal Japan, by critically acclaimed director/writer Yoshiaki Kawajiri who was best known for his previous thriller Wicked City (Y?j? Toshi)… the movie is an homage to Ninp?ch? series, ninja novels by Futaro Yamada. The main character, Jubei Kibagami, is an homage to the famed Japanese samurai folk hero Yagy? J?bei.”
For an anime avoider like me… that might as well have been written in French. Perhaps that description on Wikipedia, no doubt written by an anime fan, illustrates why the genre has never made it out of the realm of the mainstream.
Cutting through all the name-dropping homage, from what I’ve been able to gather by parsing mountains of unnecessary anime fan data, this is the story about a ninja in feudal Japan forced to fight an old enemy attempting to overthrow the government. Sort of like The Last Samurai, told from the side of the government’s forces perhaps?
DiCaprio won’t actually act in any of these anime movies he’s planning. Obviously he’s interested in them, but since no one has ever successfully done the anime to live-action movie translation, perhaps keeping his face out of them is the wiser course of action. On the other hand, it couldn’t possibly flop worse than Body of Lies could it? It will have guys with swords after all, and swords are good.