Very exciting news. Naoki Urasawa's 18 volume award-winning manga Monster is to be adapted into a live-action HBO series by Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro will co-write the series with Steven Thompson (who wrote for Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes). Del Toro intends to direct, whereas Thompson wrote the pilot. Apparently, it took Guillermo Del Toro a while to persade Naoki Urasawa into being comfortable with Western adaptions of his work.
The pilot has already been written and handed into HBO. The series will be adapted on the condition that Naoki Urasawa reads each script before they are submitted. Steven Thompson will also be co-executive producer, along with Don Murphy and Susan Montford. Shogakukan, the original publisher of Monster, will be a consulting producer. According to Del Toro, the series is to say loyal to the original source, not adding anything else to increase the episode count. Thus the show will probably only last a season or two.
Guillermo Del Toro's current project, Pacific Rim, is set to hit cinemas in July. After that, there may just be a rise in the interest taken towards Monster. He (Del Toro) is also involved in the Justice League Dark Universe project. Naoki Urasawa is currently writing a dectetive manga series called Billy Bat.
This means that no doubt people will take a lot more interest in the original manga and it's other adaption, an anime series from 2004 which ran for an incredible 74 episodes. Recently, it was announced that the original series will be released in Australia on DVD by Siren Visuals (there are three anime publishers in Australia, Madman the alpha dog, Siren the underdog and Hanabee the new dog). The series will be released through 5 DVD sets, the first being released in November 2013. As of yet, no Blu-Ray or HD version of Monster exists (but as DVDs play on Blu-Ray players things will turn out fine). For those living in America, Monster has been out on DVD from Viz.
In related news, James Cameron has promised to make a movie of the manga Battle Angel: Alita. However, he has also said that this isn't likely to happen until 2017, due to his involvement in Avatar 2 & 3. Monster isn't the only new source material HBO have rights to; Neil Gaimans American Gods and its upcoming sequel is also being adapted by HBO, with Neil Gaiman himself writing the episodes and directed by Robert Richardson. The series is slatted to have six seasons, the first two being based off the first book. Gaiman states by the time the first book has been adapted, he would have written the sequel. A first-person shooter for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is being made by Nexon. It involves hacking and customizing your cyborg body, as well as Tachikoma combat.
Personally, I have to say this is hugely exciting news. I'm a big fan of 20th Century Boys, and with that almost done, I guess it'll be Monster I look to next. And just in time! I feel that HBO did an outstanding effort with their adaption of Game of Thrones. This seems to be a new step away from the terrible anime adaptions and a step towards classic anime adaptions. And though I'm yet to read or see Monster, the villainous blonde sadistic boy sounds familiar...