Spanish Filmmaker Adapts Naoki Urasawa’s ‘Mighty Boy’ Into Short Film: Watch For Free
Friends, this is the sort of comic book movie news I enjoy writing about: Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto) can now add the honor of becoming the first manga author to have his work adapted into film in Spain. Spanish director Javier Yañez obtained the rights to one of Urasawa's early short stories, Mighty Boy, from publishers Shogakukan, gaining approval from the master himself in the process. Although the film was largely privately financed, Yañez took the initiative to crowd-funding platform IndieGogo in order to raise the final $10,000 it required, and now it's finished and available to watch in full, for free (subtitled in both English and Japanese).
I spent a bit of time trying to track down Urasawa's original story online, with no luck (it's not been translated in English, and was published as part of an anthology volume), so I'm unable to comment on how the adaptation translates, or how faithful it is, but I can tell you what the film is about and if it's any good.
The plot centers on Jamie, a disillusioned university student, who's steadily been losing interest and motivation in his studies, and stopped going to classes. Instead, Jamie's got a job as a stuntman for Mighty Boy, the Spanish version of the show he watched religiously as a child: Mighty Man (it is actually, as you can quite clearly see, Power Rangers, which was itself adapted from Japanese television show Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, and other series from the Super Sentai franchise).
His girlfriend, a dedicated student, leaves him for what she views as his pursuit of an unrealistic, childish dream, but for Jaime working as a superhero provides him with a comfort and clarity that isn't present in the real world: the good guys fight the bad guys, the good guys win, all is as it should be. It's a sweet film, produced with obvious love for its material and the message it's conveying: have the courage to believe in yourself and do what's best for you. Easily the greatest thing about it is the Power Rangers homage and nostalgia (circa original Mighty Morphin'); the scenes in which Jamie's stunting as the Red Ranger, fighting against ridiculous alien characters and Rita Repulsa, are super fun (the costumes are really well done) and will bring back a flood of memories for fans.
The Mighty Boy film is currently featured as a selection of the fifth Festival Iberoamericano de Cortometrajes ABC (otherwise known as FIBABC), a film festival showcasing short films in Spanish and Portuguese, and it will be available for streaming until November 4th. It's about 15 minutes long and a lovely, warm, untaxing watch. Go see it.