If you’re a fan of anime or manga, there’s not much that Hollywood has to offer. There’s the less-than-great Alita: Battle Angel, the even less impressive Ghost in the Shell and the live-action adaptation of Akira that seems forever stuck in production purgatory. But now one of the biggest anime and manga properties is making a return to the big screen in live-action format.
If you’ll recall, we told you earlier this week that a new Dragon Ball movie is being planned and in case you’re thinking “but Hollywood already made a Dragon Ball movie before,” you’re obviously not one of the millions of fans who refuse to acknowledge the existence of that train crash. The last attempt moved the action to America, turned many of the characters white and played fast and loose with the show’s mythology to the extent that it ultimately retained only the barest resemblance to its roots.
This new effort, however, is set to change all that. It’ll feature a completely Asian cast and will hew closely to the anime and manga version of the events. Not only that, but according to our sources – the same ones who told us Bill Murray was returning for Ghostbusters 3, and that a Green Lantern show was in development – the story will adapt the first arc in the Dragon Ball Z narrative, where martial arts champion and secret alien from a doomed race Son Goku battles Raditz, his evil brother from another planet, and then takes on Vegeta, who’s basically a more evil and powerful Raditz.
Along the way, there will also apparently be flashbacks to Goku’s childhood as he searches for a set of magic orbs, the mystical, wish-granting items that the series is named after. The plot details we’ve received end there, but it certainly sounds like, so far at least, this project’s on the right track.
After all, what makes Goku and his cohorts so popular is that their stories mix traditional Chinese martial arts concepts like hand-to-hand combat and developing one’s inner chi with modern science fiction and fantasy themes, with the characters eventually leaving Earth to travel the cosmos and engaging in pitched battles that decide the fates of entire planets and universes. There are aliens and time travel, too, and also mad deities of creation and the angels that attend to them. It’s all a pretty heady mix and we’re beyond excited to see it adapted for the big screen properly.
Dragon Ball has possibly a bigger global fan following than even Marvel and DC, too, meaning if the first movie does well, it could be the start of the next major Hollywood franchise that’ll predictably be milked endlessly for at least the next couple of decades. Let’s just hope they get it right this time.