Right when we’re in the midst of discussing how terrible is everything about what Warner Bros. is doing with the adaptation of Akira - changed setting, Americanized characters, altered themes, removal of motorcycle gangs, etc. - we’ve received news that the big studio is also developing an adaptation of Bleach, another popular Manga.
Though perhaps not has well known as Akira, Bleach maintains a loyal following with a respectable number of devoted fans in both Japan and the US. As usual, it’s the animated adaptation that most American fans are familiar with, but it follows the manga nearly frame for frame.
I don’t expect the WB adaptation to be quite so faithful.
The film is slated to be produced (and possibly co-written by) Peter Segal, who is mostly known for producing several of Adam Sandler’s films. Dan Mazeau, the writer for Wrath of the Titans, is also on board.
There are rumors that the manga, which has been ongoing since 2002 may soon be coming to a close, which may have spurred Viz Media, the owners of the film rights to Bleach, to start looking for a new way to monetize the series, ultimately signing up to work with Warner Bros.
However, unlike with the anime, WB will be more than just the distributor. I suppose we’ll see if the adaptation will be more like the Viz Media vision or the Warner Bros. blockbuster formula as the development news starts to roll in over the next few months.
The story of Bleach follows a young man who accidentally absorbs the powers of a Shingami - a spirit of death in Japanese mythology - and who then takes it on himself to use those powers to protect people from malevolent spirits. It's strong int the themes of fate, death, and power, with a lot of exploration of other concepts and creatures from Japanese mythology.
There are no production or release dates yet announced for Bleach.