Legendary said Wednesday it plans to adapt Kohei Horikoshi’s manga franchise My Hero Academia into a live-action feature film. It joins a slate at the company that includes the feature film Detective Pikachu based on the Pokemon franchise.
The manga version of the series, written and illustrated by Horikoshi, launched in 2014 and a year later was adapted in anime form. It centers on Izuku, a young boy who daydreams about being a hero but is clearly not a likely candidate — that’s because he lives in a world where four out of every five people have a superpower (called a “quirk” ability) which means an “average” kid is nether common nor close to average. Izuku defies the odds and enroll in one of the world’s most prestigious and intimidating hero academies where he will find challenges that require him to risk everything to prove himself to be truly special.
The plot of a common kid struggling for acceptance in a fantastical campus setting has some hallmarks in common with the family-friendly comedy Sky High (2005) and also brings to mind Hermione Granger’s plight at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter mythology.
An animated film, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, bowed earlier this month in the U.S. via Funimation Films.
The anime series is so popular in Japan that it was incorporated into a tandem advertising campaign there with Avengers: Infinity War in the months leading up to the the show’s third seasons and the film’s release in the territory, both in April. The collaboration between Disney and JNN/Bones Inc presented the properties on equal footing in posters, postcards and products.
The property took on life in a third medium with popular video game adaptations, first in 2016 (for Nintendo 3DS) and then this year (for PlayStation 4, Xbox One).
Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee the live-action project on behalf of Legendary, with Ryosuke Yoritomi on behalf of the manga publisher Shueisha. Toho will distribute the film in Japan.
Detective Pikachu, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Ken Watanabe, has a May 10, 2019 release date via Warner Bros. The pic is part of Legendary’s pending move from its current home at Universal back to Warner Bros; Legendary is not reupping its Uni deal, instead eyeing a six-picture, non-exclusive co-financing and releasing pact at WB.