The NTV News 25 program and Sports Hochi newspaper report on Thursday that Hiroya Oku's Gantz science-fiction action manga will be adapted into two live-action films starring Kazunari Ninomiya (Tekkonkinkreet, Letters from Iwo Jima) of the Arashi musical group and award-winning actor Ken'ichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Detroit Metal City, NANA, The Legend of Kamui). Shinsuke Sato (The Princess Blade, Suna-dokei, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror) is directing.
The story follows a young Tokyo college student who is reanimated after a deadly subway accident. Kei Kurono (Ninomiya) and his friend Masaru Kato (Matsuyama) go on violent, seemingly endless missions at the behest of an unseen host.
This is the first time that these two well-known actors have worked together. Filming begins next month and is slated to end next April. The two leads have been undergoing training and practicing action sequences. The films will open in the winter and spring of 2011.
Oku just returned from a three-month hiatus to launch the "Final Phase" of his Gantz manga in this year's 44th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump magazine on Thursday. Gantz has been running in the magazine since July of 2000, and the 26 current volumes have sold over 10 million copies.
Dark Horse Comics announced at Anime Expo 2007 that it licensed the manga for North America, and it will publish the eighth volume next month. ADV Films released Gonzo's television anime adaptation of the manga.