I Am a Hero Live-Action: high expectations

A match made in heaven: Kengo Hanazawa & Shinsuke Sato

How can I put into words how excited I am about this live-action? Since I'm not sure everyone know who Kengo Hanazawa and Shinsuke Sato are, let me introduce them to you!


KENGO HANAZAWA is a mangaka, author of the successful manga "I Am a Hero" Here is a short synopsis: a mangaka is one of the survivors of a zombie epidemic. I made it really short since you better read by yourself the manga.


SHINSUKE SATO is a movie director, known for adapting the manga Gantz (by Hiroya Oku) into two movies: Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer. I've watched those two movies and, even if they are quite different from the manga, both movies are (mark my words) really cool. Here is below the trailer of Gantz movie so you can imagine what kind of work does Shinsuke Sato. 

I Am a Hero: can we expect a good live-action?

I want to answer "yes" and "no": expecting a bad adaptation is a good way to not be too disappointed (better say "I knew it" rather than "oh no what is this?!")

Let's see positive and negative points together.




A mysterious virus suddenly spreads throughout Japan causing widespread panic. People infected with the virus are called ZQN. The ZQN attack people with superhuman strength and their victims also become ZQN.

Hideo Suzuki (Yo Oizumi) happens to meet a female high school student, Hiromi Hayakari (Kasumi Arimura). They run away from the city together, but Hiromi Hayakari has been already bitten by a baby ZQN. The baby ZQN that bit her did not have teeth and Hiromi is in half state of ZQN. They then meet Nurse Yabu (Masami Nagasawa) at a shelter. Yabu hopes she can draw an antibody from Hiromi Hayakari.


The most shocking part in this synopsis is: "They then meet NURSE YABU at a SHELTER." In the manga, it is not Nurse Yabu, it's Tsugumi Oda. So I guess they will change many things in her character... Second problematic: what the hell is there a shelter? Does it imply a military shelter? Or will it respect the manga, that is to say, it is not a shelter, but a group of people who are hiding on the rooftop of a mall? With a crazy guy at the head of the group?

I do know it is impossible to make the equation "manga 100% respected in its live-action adaptation" but I hope it won't be a mess like World War Z. The book was brilliant and when I saw the trailer with Brad Pitt being like a superhero and zombies being treated in a Hollywood way, I decided I will not watch this film.

However here we have Shinsuke Sato directing the film, so even if it ends like Gantz, it will be still good in a way. But please, at least have some respect for the personality of Hideo Suzuki (they don't even mention in the synopsis the fact he's a paranoid mangaka, through it's important and it's one of the highlight of the manga...)


YO OIZUMI as HIDEO SUZUKI: the paranoid mangaka

I'm not disappointed with the choice, at least physically he does look alike Hideo. But since I don't know this actor, I can't tell if his play will be good enough.

KASUMI ARIMURA as HIROMI HAYAKARI: the contaminated teenage girl

Same as for Hideo's character, I don't know any of these actors but they all match physically! Let's just hope Hiromi won't be portrayed as an annoying girl. In the manga she has a nice personality, even if at first she takes time to grasp the situation. I can't wait to see how the actress will be play Hiromi when she's infected!

MASAMI NAGASAWA as YABU: the cool-headed nurse

Since her name has been changed in the movie... will she have the same personality as in the manga? It would be sad if she's not the sassy nurse who has quick reaction and perfect chemistry with Hideo. One reader was nice to tell me that Tsugumi Oda was called Yabu in the manga so I guess they'll keep the same character! My bad for this mistake ;)


What will zombies ZQN look alike? This is going to be quite a challenge. There are different types of zombies in the manga (and since there is no anime version, the movie staff has no reference at all!) They will have to be very creative because so many zombies are in bad shape, with members dislocated or even running with twisted legs. The manga was sometimes super gross in the details and situations (just imagine an infected pregnant woman and her baby who is infected also get out of her and when he sees he's threatened by a gun, he goes where he comes from...)

Now have a look at some ZQN from the manga - I picked the less disgusting pictures in case there are some children around.

I Am a Hero Live-Action: high expectationsI Am a Hero Live-Action: high expectationsI Am a Hero Live-Action: high expectations


We won't know if it's good until we see it! Call me Captain Obvious. Anyway meanwhile I'll be happy to watch soon Attack On Titan and Bakuman live-action.

Kyo 07/01/2016 16:32

Yabu's name isn't changed Yabu is her family name

Raphaellakay 07/01/2016 16:53

Actually her real name is Tsugumi Oda but I've forgot that she was called simply "Yabu"
Thanks for the comment, I'll make some change in my article!

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