The neck-breaking speed with which the much maligned AKIRA live-action film goes in and out of active development has me unsure as to its present status, but the movie blog people seem to think it's dead for the moment. However, seemingly determined to bring some manga to American cinema audiences, Warner Bros. is moving forward with a film based on Bleach, the long-running and hugely popular shonen series by Tite Kubo. The movie is being written by Wrath of the Titans screenwriter Dan Mazeau under the auspices of Get Smart and 50 First Dates director Peter Segal, who will produce Bleach alongside Heroes star Masi Oka and Viz Productions.With more than 75 million copies in print since it launched in 2001, Bleach is the story of a teenager who can see ghosts, and by virtue of that comes into contact with an injured Soul Reaper (kind of like the Grim Reaper), who grants him the ability to protect humanity from supernatural evils and guide the souls of the dead safely into the afterlife.

"I've always been a huge fan of Bleach and have great respect for its creator Kubo and the truly original and amazing world he has created in this manga," Segal told Variety, who also report that Oka brought the project to Segal's Callahan Filmworks company, and that Segal may end up directing the film.

Topless Robot's Rob Bricken suggests that unlike AKIRA and Dragon Ball, Kubo's broad supernatural adventure story may not be so indelibly Japanese that it defies Americanization. It will be interesting to see if the project engenders the negative reaction seen with other manga adaptations, or if Hollywood gets it right this time.

Bleach is available in English volumes from Viz Media and digitally from The Bleach anime is set to conclude in March, and Kubo's manga begins its final story arc later this year.

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