December 11, 2023

Japanese manga series “Tiger Mask” is being adapted into a live-action feature for the international market by Italy’s Fabula Pictures and Brandon Box and Japan’s Kodansha.

The popular manga, which follows a ruthless professional Japanese wrestler named Naoto Date who after making it big in the U.S. returns to his country and fights against evil forces, previously inspired an anime TV series made by Japan’s Toei Animation.

“Tiger Mask’ is a long-beloved figure both in Japan and Italy, where he’s been [considered] a strong, cool and timeless hero since the series’ first release in 1969,” Yohei Takami, head of Kodansha’s media business rights division, said in a statement.

“We are excited to be able to bring a new ‘Tiger Mask’ to global audiences, partnering with respected Italian filmmakers sharing the love and passion for ‘Tiger Mask’ with us, like Fabula Pictures and Brandon Box,” he added.

The project marks a first foray in the manga genre space for Fabula, the prominent Rome-based company headed by Nicola and Marco de Angelis and controlled by Pascal Breton’s Paris-based Federation Entertainment. Fabula is known for producing Netflix original series “Baby”; biopic “Il Divin Codino” about Italian soccer superstar Roberto Baggio, also for Netflix; and more recently, mystery thriller “Time After Time” for Sky Italia and teen fantasy “We Are Legend” for RAI and Amazon.

“We are proud to announce this ambitious project which confirms our passion in searching for universal stories capable of exciting and involving both the national and international audiences,” Marco and Nicola De Angelis said. “This partnership with Brandon Box and Kodansha represents an important step in our company’s strategic positioning within the [global] audiovisual production scene.”

Brandon Box is a Milan-based production company specializing in comics-based content, best known for the 2022 live-action feature adaptation of Italy’s cult comic franchise “Dampyr” that was distributed internationally by Sony.

“We are convinced that the modern-day adaptation we are working on with two amazing partners like Fabula Pictures and Kodasha will take us on an extraordinary journey,” said Brandon Box CEO Andrea Sgaravatti. He added that the film, “with a strong international scope, will be set between Italy and Japan and, in the tradition of the property, will see a new protagonist wearing the mask of the tiger.”

Director and casting details on the live-action “Tiger Mask” movie are still being kept under wraps.

Written by late great manga master Ikki Kajiwara and illustrated by Naoki Tsuji, the original “Tiger Mask” manga was published in Japan between 1968 to 1971 by Kodansha Publishing House in Bokura Magazine (1968–1969) and the Weekly Shonen Magazine (1970–1971). “The Tiger Mask” manga is published in Italy by Panini Comics. Both the print comic series and the Toei Animation anime series gained great popularity in Italy, where the series first aired in 1984.

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