With just a few months to go before the release of Death Note, we now have our first look at Ryuk in the upcoming manga adaptation. For years now, Hollywood has been using books, comics, and video games to generate films, all to varying degrees of success. In recent years, however, anime and manga have become sought after sources of inspiration for new projects and potential franchises. While live-action adaptations of Japanese works aren’t uncommon in their home country, only a few have been reworked in the U.S. film market.
So far, most of these adaptations have failed to connect with audiences, due to everything from whitewashed casts to poor grasp of character. And despite the high-profile controversy and failure of Ghost in the Shell, the trend doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Along with American adaptations of Naruto and Attack on Titan, popular manga Death Note will soon be premiering on Netflix as an Americanized film. The change in location and the casting choices have already been met with outcry from fans, though the film’s director has attempted to calm fears. Luckily, the film has one thing going for it: Willem Dafoe as the demonic Ryuk.
Adam Wingard, the film’s director, decided to preempt the major marketing push for the film by revealing the Death Note poster on Twitter. In it, we finally get our first glimpse of Dafoe as the sinister Ryuk:
In the world of Death Note, Ryuk is a Shinigami, a Japanese spirit who ushers people into death. It’s he who once owned the titular notebook, before discarding it out of boredom. From there, it’s picked up by Light, a young man who learns that it has the power to kill so long as he writes a person’s name in it and pictures their face.
The whole thing is a fascinating concept and has already been adapted into live-action as well as multiple anime in Japan. Netflix and Wingard are hoping it can be a hit here outside of manga and anime audiences, but we haven’t seen much from the film yet.
Aside from today’s poster tease, we previously say Light and L meeting in a screenshot from Death Note. We’ve also seen a brief Death Note teaser, but fans are still anxiously awaiting a full-length trailer to properly get a taste of the movie. With an August release, we should know soon enough how successful the adaptation is.
Source: Adam Wingard
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