Live-action ‘Gintama’ Film to Debut in China on September 1

The live-action film adaptation of Hideaki Sorachi’s action comedy manga has scored a release in the world’s second largest film market. 

Official still of ‘Gintama’. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Gintama, the Japanese live-action comedy based on acclaimed artist Hideaki Sorachi’s best-selling manga of the same name, will debut in China on September 1, it was announced Monday.

The film, which stars Shun Oguri, was released in Japan on July 12 by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the third collaboration between Oguri and director Yūichi Fukuda after the TV series Yūsha Yoshihiko and the Japanese version of the musical Young Frankenstein.

Gintama tells the story of Gintoki Sakata, a samurai who, along with his friends Shinpachi Shimura and Kagura, battle with aliens that have taken over the city of Edo (the ancient name for Tokyo). Written and illustrated by Sorachi, the manga has sold over 500 million copies worldwide since its creation in 2003.

Japanese films based on popular manga series have traditionally done well in Chinese cinemas. Last year, animation film Your Name became China’s top grossing Japanese film, with box office sales topping RMB$530 million ($ $79 million). That followed the record set in 2015 by Stand By Me Doraemon, a 3D adaptation of the Doraemon series. The manga about a robotic cat has been beloved by Chinese youth since it debuted in 1969.

The revival came after Japanese films took a hit in 2013 and 2014 amidst political tensions between Japan and China, mainly triggered by a flare-up over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Actor Shun Oguri has gained widespread popularity in China, known for his roles in television dramas such as Hana Yori Dango, based on a hit manga of the same name also adapted into TV series in Taiwan and South Korea.

Gintama also features Japanese rising stars Masaki Suda and Kanna Hashimoto.


Additional reporting Amber Ziye Wang.