Adapting Manga to live action

For this research project, I search for an approach to adaptation theory that may be better suited to adapting Manga (Japanese comics) to film. The American comic book adaptations in the last eight years have met with resounding success, and their increased number has also prompted a shift in what audiences and producers qualify as a successful adaptation. For example, 19 films that have been made by Marvel, Sony and Fox since 2008, were adapted from Marvel comics, but followed plot lines that varied greatly from that of the comics (, n.d). However, Manga adaptations have not met with the same level of success, and as such, I propose that a different approach might be necessary when it comes to adapting them. To do so, I discuss how Japanese Manga has been adapted by Hollywood in the past, and why those attempts have been considered a failure, the key example being that of ‘Dragonball Evolution’ (James Wong, 2008), which was based on the famous series, ‘Dragon Ball’, created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. To conclude, I propose my approach to adapting Manga and support it with a short film adaptation.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Film and Television.
Mehta, Shubham (2016) Adapting Manga to live action, University of the Witwatersrand, <>