My first big panel at this year's NYC Comic-Con was famed Japanese director Takashi Miike's world premiere of his new film Yatterman, adapted from the popular Japanese cartoon series from the 70's.
While the footage for Yatterman had me reliving my worst Speed Racer flashbacks (shudder), it was during the Q&A session after the screening that I was able to mine for the real gold: Takashi Miike told me first-hand (well, via translator), in no uncertain terms, that given the opportunity he would love to make a live-action Afro Samurai film aimed at U.S. audiences.
The subject of Afro Samurai came up during the Q&A when Miike was asked what animated influences led him to make Yatterman, his biggest-budget project to date and a far departure from his B-movie horror/comedy origins like Ichi The Killer. Miike said that 70's anime like Yatterman, Speed Racer, and Dragonball had all been huge influences on him personally. He then added that American comic books and animated films had had their own impact on him. One of his favorite recent pieces of American animation: Afro Samurai.
Takashi Miike expresses his heart's desire: To make an Afro Samurai movie.
When given the chance to ask Mr. Miike a question, I followed up on his mention of Afro Samurai (a favorite of mine as well) and asked if he would ever consider making a live-action Afro Samurai for U.S. audiences if offered the chance. Mr. Miike's response was clear:
"Of course I would," Miike said, "If that [offer] ever happens, I'm counting on you to help out."
Well consider this your helping hand, Mr. Miike.
Fans of Afro Samurai have been clamoring for a film adaptation ever since the series wrapped its first volume in 2007. The voice of Afro Samurai, Sam L. Jackson, has already echoed that desire to adapt the series for the cinema, and big-name entertainers like Outkast's Andre 3000 have even expressed interest in starring as the Samurai with the soul-brotha hairdo. Could we be seeing the parts of a puzzle beginning to fit together?
Afro Samurai will have its second installment premiering this weekend at the NYC Comic Con; there is also a popular video game based on the series currently in stores. So you expect to hear some renewed buzz about the series in the coming months. In the meantime, Hollywood needs to take a hint and get Takashi Miike, Samuel L. Jackson and Andre 3000 in a room. Afro Samurai needs to be on the big screen.
What do you think? Is Takashi Miike the kind of director you would like to see helm an Afro Samurai movie? Hit us back and let us know.
Source: NYC Comic Con