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Live action TV series, CLAMP

Sunday 23rd December 2012

Helen McCarthy asks anatomically impossible questions about live-action CLAMP


In September 2012 Japanese broadcaster WOWOW announced a live-action TV series based on CLAMP's supernatural manga xxxHOLIC. The show, directed by Keisuke Toyoshima, is scheduled to premiere in 2013.

This is, obviously, to allow time for the plastic surgery.

I hasten to add that there is absolutely nothing amiss with the good looks of the leading actors. Actress and model Anne Watanabe, who is to play 'dimensional witch' Yuuko Ichihara, and Shota Sometani, her ghost-plagued employee Watanuki Kimihiro, are both extremely attractive. Neither of them, however, actually looks like a CLAMP character. Nor does almost anything human.

Look at their skulls, for a start. The proportions of the typical manga skull, used extensively in CLAMP's work, involve jawlines too sharp and shallow to accommodate adult human teeth, let alone cope with the strain of chewing anything more solid than a ripe berry. The nose is almost non-existent, devoid of anything as crude as nostrils, and positioned lower down the face than a normal nose – partly because of that tiny jaw. The huge orbits of the eyes mean the cheekbones are lower and wider, giving the face its characteristic childlike proportions.

One also has to speculate that, given the size of eyeball needed to occupy the space, the skull must be running out of room for some of its contents: the brain, for example. Luckily, the small jaw and short nose shift all the proportions of the face downwards, which both adds to the childlike aura of innocence and leaves a place for the brain above the wider, deeper forehead.

It's when it comes to the limbs that all relationship with reality breaks down. Not even a model is as long-legged and skinny as an anime character. In fact, as any collector of figurines can attest, once characters are turned into 3D creations, even in miniature, only carefully designed support prevents their ankles bending or breaking, unable to support their own bodyweight.

Western fans have suggested editing the actors to fit CLAMP proportions. One trusts they mean digitally rather than surgically. But, as earlier live action anime remakes prove, Japanese fans at least are more than willing to suspend disbelief in order to see their favourite characters played by human avatars. Tokyo Babylon 1999, the 1993 live-action movie 'sequel' to the Tokyo Babylon manga, stars Toshihide Tonesaku and Wataru Shihoudou, neither greatly resembling the manga characters.

It isn't just CLAMP who have trouble finding live actors to match manga characters. The problem is widespread on Japanese screens. The live-action Sailor Moon TV series from 2003 and the 2004 live-action Devilman movie also fall short.  Nobody in the four (yes, four) live-action Kekko Kamen movies released in 2004 resembles the manga characters, although a cunningly choreographed version of the heroine's costume provides distraction. And it isn't restricted to fantasy: romantic comedies like Boys Over Flowers have the same problems. The Japanese, Chinese and Korean versions all had to deal with the fact that nobody really looks like a manga character.


The Transformers - The Movie Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook (2-blu-ray Set + Digital Copy)

was £29.99
The TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 30th Anniversary Edition featuring the newly remastered movie from a new 4K transfer of original film elements.

The AUTOBOTS, led by the heroic OPTIMUS PRIME, prepare to make a daring attempt to retake their planet from the evil forces of MEGATRON and the DECEPTICONS. Unknown to both sides, a menacing force is heading their way – UNICRON. The only hope of stopping UNICRON lies within the Matrix of Leadership and the AUTOBOT who can rise up and use its power to light their darkest hour. Will the AUTOBOTS be able to save their native planet from destruction or will the DECEPTICONS reign supreme?

Bonus Content:
• ‘Til All Are One – A brand-new, comprehensive documentary looking back at TRANSFORMERS: The Movie with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!
•Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu
• Featurettes
• Animated Storyboards
• Trailers and TV Spots

For the ultimate fans and collectors, The TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE Limited Edition, 30th Anniversary Steelbook comes with highly collectible Steelbook packaging, 2 Blu-ray set of the newly remastered movie (Both aspect ratios), immersive bonus content including brand-new featurettes, plus many more. This is a must-own collection to every fan's library!        



Bleach Music: Universe

Tom Smith on series 13’s rainbow rockers...
While the Soul Reapers form an uneasy alliance with the Visoreds in Bleach series 13 part 2, the band providing the episode’s ending theme have an uneasy alliance of their own.

Who's Who in Dragon Ball #3

Wonder no more, as we reveal the origins of Akira Toriyama’s creations!
The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!

London Ghibli Season

BFI announce a festival of Miyazaki, Takahata, et al...
The BFI South Bank cinema in London will be screening a Studio Ghibli season throughout April and May. Curator Justin Johnson will be giving an introduction to Ghibli on the 2nd April, followed by screenings of all the major Ghibli works and a number of relative obscurities
Rooster Teeth and Animatsu Entertainment to release RWBY: Beacon limited edition Steelbook on November 21st.


This Koko is no clown
Opening with a running fight down a freeway where anti-tank missiles and heavy vehicles are tossed around like party favours, the first episode never lets up, setting a standard that the show maintains throughout.
Sushi Noms sent us an AmaiBox GIGA which definitely lived up to its name… The choice was pretty overwhelming!

Guilty Crown Goes Dark

Andrew Osmond on anime that turn to the dark side…
If it sounds like Guilty Crown’s getting dark, it is. In particular, there’s been a lot of comment on how dark some of the main characters get, in a series that seemed relatively light, even cheesy, in its first half. Star Trek used to have episodes set in a so-called ‘Mirror Universe,’ where the familiar cast could be really bad. Guilty Crown does something similar, without the mirror.

The Future of Cinema & the Future of Anime

Jasper Sharp on the rise of new cinema gimmicks
Does the future of anime lie on the big screen, and if so, will developments in cinema exhibition technologies redefine its form, content and audiences in the digital age? These are questions many are asking as pundits declare conventional anime’s glory days to be a thing of the past.
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