Mandalay Pictures has rights to Full Metal Panic

The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting that Mandalay Pictures (the people who brought you “Enemy at the Gates”) has licenced the US film rights for Full Metal Panic. (Our review of the first series in the franchise is here.)

I have a few concerns about this, from the article.

  1. The article describes the series as a world almost exclusively without adults – which is in error. There are lots of adults in all 3 seasons – the show focues around teenagers because all the Whispered are young people and, in the case of Sagara, because he’s a former child soldier who is sent to bodyguard a Whispered.
  2. I just don’t know how they’re going to get this to play in America, PC wise. One of the running jokes in the show is that Sagara is taking guns and explosives to school on a regular basis. Now, the only thing that ensues is hilarity (at least at school), but in the US that just doesn’t happen, even less than people take airsoft guns to school in Japan – and the odds are likely that the setting of the film is probably going to be moved to the US, unless I’m really under-estimating the studio.
  3. Teen Heartthrob Zac Efron (High School Musical) is currently slated to play Sosuke Sagara. I’ll admit, he’s got the hair. What makes the character funny though that is he plays everything absolutely seriously and formally. He’s got Jason Bourne’s hyper-awareness, but without the tradecraft that allows him to blend in, at least in the first series (he gets more tradecraft in Fumoffu, and the “loss of tradecraft” in The Second Raid is explictly explained as being due to his backup fracking with him because he’s bored.

Now, as yet, we don’t have a writer or director attached to the project, so all these concerns of mine could be addressed. I hope they are addressed – because this movie’s shaping up to be a bigger stinkburger than Dragonball: Evolution is shaping up to be.