Warner Brothers seems to be on an anime kick. We reported earlier that the studio is working on an adaptation of Akira and Heat Vision just pointed out that the WB is in the process of securing the rights to Bleach, the popular manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo.
The story follows teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see spirits and mistakenly absorbs the power of a Soul Reaper (an entity like the Grim Reaper). The Soul Reaper is then stranded on Earth in human form until she recovers her strength, and our little Ichigo must substitute for her, escorting souls to the afterlife and protecting humans from evil spirits.
The Bleach series, which has been continually published in Japan since August of 2001, includes plenty of action, dirty political maneuvering in the Soul Reaper Society and spiritually-gifted classmates.
The manga series spawned a TMNT-like empire in Japan, including an anime television series, three anime feature films, seven rock musicals (!), numerous video games and all the accompanying merchandise.
Viz Media has published numerous English-language versions of the manga series in the U.S. and Canada; Cartoon Network picked up the anime for its Adult Swim block in September of 2006.
Peter Segal (who directed the all-time classic Tommy Boy and Get Smart) and Michael Ewing (who produced each of those) are in talks to produce the film at Warner’s with Viz Media. Reportedly Segal will not be directing the film.
I’m curious to see if Ewing and Segal’s previous work lightens up Bleach, or if they will stay true to darker nature of the material. No word on when the movie will be in theaters.