Daily Variety reports that Tokyo’s Nikkatsu Studio is planning live-action movies based on the popular anime series Gatchaman and YatterMan, which were produced by Tatsunoko Prods. in the early to late 1970s. The films will lead a slate of 16 movies to be produced by Nikkatsu over the next couple of years. Tatsunoko and toymaker Takara Tomy will work with the film production company to exploit the properties through various licensing and merchandising campaigns.
Broadcast under the titles G-Force and Battle of the Planets in English-speaking territories, the Gatchaman anime series debuted in 1972. The show revolves around five ninja superheroes who work for the International Science Organization to keep technologically advanced villains from taking control of the Earth’s natural resources. TMNT director Kevin Munroe and TMNT animation house Imagi in Hong Kong are working on a CG-animated Gotchaman movie for release in 2008.
The animated YatterMan series first aired in 1977, introducing viewers to a pair of young heroes who fight to keep an evil gang from obtaining the Dokuro Stone, a legendary gem that many believe can reveal the location of the largest vein of gold in the world. Director Takashi Miike, who made the controversial Masters of Horror installment Imprint, has been attached to direct the live-action feature for a summer 2009 release. Miike is currently finishing Sukiyaki Western, an Asian remake of the classic Franco Nero spaghetti western Django.