On 8 January 2013, the news broke that sometime in 2013, a live-action of the manga Kuroshitsuji will be released. As you might know, I am a huge fan of this series, so I was absolutely floored when I heard the news.
Here’s the quick lowdown of all the information that has been released so far:
- set 130 years in the future, with a completely original storyline
- Hiro Mizushima of Absolute Boyfriend, Mei-chan no Shitsuji, Hana Kimi will be playing Sebastian
- Kentaro Otani and Keiichi Satou will be co-directors; previously Kentaro has directed NANA and Keiichi has directed Tiger & Bunny, Karas, Asura
- Yana Toboso, mangaka of Kuroshitsuji, has said “it’s like a dream come true” and has given her official stamp of approval. Most likely she will be involved in character design, like the animes
- the film will commence shooting this April
- the film will be released sometime in 2013, probably sometime during the fall and later
- along with this news, three teaser photos (below) of Hiro have been released via Hiro’s homepage
Of course, there has already been an uproar amongst fans that speak English. I would like to address some of the common quibbles that have arisen.
Why did they cast Hiro? He looks nothing like Sebastian; are they really planning for Sebastian to have curly hair? Most likely, the most compelling reason why Hiro was cast as Sebastian is because he has quite successfully portrayed another “perfect butler” in Mei-chan no shitsuji. As one of the directors said, he approached Hiro about this role over the course of one and half years, and Hiro finally relented because of the director’s enthusiasm–Hiro actually had given up on film acting three years ago, and wanted to focus on being a writer.
Quite shallow to say that not having the right hairstyle can ruin a perfectly good actor’s portrayal. In my opinion, serious cosplayers of Sebastian are quite scary-looking, so for the benefit of a mainstream audience, it is perhaps better to introduce a Sebastian that does not totally look like a piece of manga artwork. Moreover, manga hair never quite works out in real life, so it is kind of silly to be chasing after it.
It is quite common practice to take a few concept photos before filming, just to get a feel for the actor and how they fit in the role. The photos also provided excellent visuals when announcing the live-action movie. Filming is scheduled to be in April, and lots of concepts–like Sebastian’s looks–may change.
Is Ciel going to be in this movie at all? Just being nitpicky, the demon that is called ‘Sebastian’ by Ciel takes whatever form their master requires. In Ciel’s case, that is a butler. Therefore, it does not make sense to have a movie called ‘Black Butler’ without someone to be a butler to–either Ciel is in the film or Sebastian has a new master.
I wish Hollywood could have picked this up. I don’t want this to be made in modern times, and in Japan. Doesn’t that go against the whole Victorian England setting that is central to Ciel’s character? We should be grateful that it was even picked up by Japanese filmmakers; Hollywood would not touch this, because the premise is so weird in a Western perspective. In all honesty, if I tell some of my Caucasian friends the plot of Kuroshitsji, it can be just a tad embarrassing.
A modern setting could be interesting; just as the BBC’s Sherlock reimagined in present-day London and delivered us Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch in his most delectable role ever.
At the start, I also highly disliked the second season of Kuroshitsuji anime, but rewatching it, I am actually quite glad for the richer universe Kuroshitsuji fans now have.
Why don’t they follow the manga instead of making an original story? Who knows. The anime diverged from the manga quite a bit, but it was not absolutely terrible. The same goes for both Kuroshitsuji musicals.
Where is the contract seal on Sebastian’s hands? Why does he have a ring? Details, details. Filming begins in April. They have plenty of time to get it right. These are just concept photos, and the costume designers probably have not even started making the temporary tattoos for the contract seal.
Reportedly, a slender Hiro has started dieting to lose weight for the role. By golly, I hope the above photo was just Photoshopped, because Hiro’s face is already stretched thin and ridiculously sculpted.
Overall, I am looking forward to this live-action movie, because if anything, we know that we will at least have one pretty butler to look at.