The New York Asian Film Festival kicks off later this month – and all anyone can talk about is DeathNote. “Death Note this” “Death Note that” “Death Note is a phenomenon” “Death Note has been banned in China”
Death Note, Death Note, Death Note!
Sure both the first movie and its sequel both make their U.S. premiers together, sure director Shusuke Kaneko will be present at all screenings but can we all just sit down for a moment and hear about the franchise that is yet to be?
In all the breathey Death Note anticipation, one manga to movie adaptation seems to be flying in under the radar. Jiro Matsumoto‘s 2003 series Freesia was released in movie form in Japan just this year! Lucky for us, Matsumoto’s story of an extremely level-headed hitman working in the Japan of a parallel universe – one that is governed by revenge killings – has been transferred onto the screen by the adept hands of Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Antenna, Kikuchi).
Some how, visual beauty and visual brutality always find a way to intersect in movies and manga. At least American audiences will have a chance to experience a little bit of Matsumoto’s brain-crushing psychosis – even if it has to be through a Kumakiri filter. The Freesia manga has yet to be licensed for the American market.