Cyberpunk Review » William Gibson’s Idoru Coming to Anime

April 21, 2006

William Gibson’s Idoru Coming to Anime

Idoru Book Cover


Simon from CyberpunkCafe posted a news item in the meatspace about this. Now Playing Magazine is reporting that William Gibson’s novel, Idoru, is going to be coming to anime. Alex Steyermark, a relative unknown has been given the reigns. Apparently, there was some discussion of turning this into a live-action movie but it was cost-prohibitive:


“The studio people that were reading the script all loved it,” Steyermark says. “They said, ‘This is a $150 million movie.’ One of them came back and said, ‘How would you feel about doing this as an anime film?’ I thought that is really cool, really creative. It’s exciting, it’s a great way to do it on a smaller budget. At the same time, [it] could set up a live action version of it.”


I am a bit concerned about this paragraph though. Apparently the entire story is not being implemented, and worse, they are planning for a sequel:


Steyermark’s script had to consolidate some of Gibson’s work, but don’t worry. He saved the rest for the sequel. “I played with the structure of the novel. The novel is done as two parallel stories and I focused on one. I actually am starting to work on the sequel which would sort of focus on the other. That’s how I thought I would approach it. People who were reading the initial drafts of the script said, ‘Look, you have to decide who it’s about. Is it the one or the other?’ So I did that kind of adaptation thing where you just shape it around one of the characters. But in my mind, everything that’s not in this one from the book, there are so many great things that will be from the book in the sequel.”


Hopefully, this will be handled well, but given the track record of Gibson book adaptations, there is certainly reason for concern. Pre-production may be getting underway as early as May, which still probably puts the movie to 2007 or 2008 at the latest.


This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by SFAM.


April 22, 2006

David Gentle said:

The thing they always get wrong in CP film adaptions is the lack of satire. It’s all so self serious.

Kana said:

Well hopefully if this goes well…we might see more of his work done in Anime…if they can’t do live action…anime is easily the next best, if not the best way to do his work visually…

April 23, 2006

Desirina said:

That is really cool! Idoru and All Tomorrow’s Parties are my favorite Gibson books (although I do acknowledge that Neuromancer is the best ) and I would love to see it as an anime. I think an anime version would be a much better and more seamless way to represent it than a live action. It’s more atmospheric somehow.

SFAM said:

I agree with that, Desirina. Also, for some reason, I bet it’s harder for the studio to drop in every few days to fuck things up. If this thing gets screwed, chances are, the director and writers are going to be mostly responsible.

April 24, 2006

David Gentle said:

I’m sure the studio will find some way to fuck it up. They hold the purse strings so they have ultimate control.

July 26, 2006

Morbidosis said:

Japanese Anime is becoming of the most advanced art forms ever in human culture, and his stories reflect much of what the world is becoming. It’s about time someone has the balls to represent Gibson’s work anime-style.

SFAM said:

Hi Morbidosis, I truly hope this anime captures the essence of Idoru. Color me suspicious until I see it though. Then again, I felt the same way about Jackson’s LOTR movies prior to them being released.

Morbidosis said:

SFAM: I think if Gibson has oversight over the whole project and is an integral part of the decision making processes, it will go well. I believe it’s when the artist is takin out of the loop and only his material is looked at, that projects go askew. Now of course Tolkien wasn’t alive to give advice on the LOTR Trilogy, and I think we, the fans, got lucky that Jackson and his cohorts revered the material so much that they were able to do Tolkien justice. But see what Gibson had to say here about Johnny Mnemonic: “Gibson himself says Hollywood forces changed the movie from his and Longo’s vision, and that the Japanese cut of the movie (in English with Japanese subtitles) is closer to their intent.” Hollywood fucked it up, as Hollywood does pretty much with everything. The vision Gibson had originally intended was ignored. If that happens HERE, we the fans will be screwed again.

SFAM said:

Hi Morbidosis, I fully agree that Hollywood can and does fuck up wonderfullly written scripts. I also agree that in some cases the original writer really does make a terrific difference on the overall vision of the film. However, due to the changes in media, sometimes it actually makes sense to have subtle changes in the script to accomodate. As long as Gibson gets these nuances, then I agree, if he had oversight, this would be a GREAT thing. And based on the X-files Killfile episode, it looks like Gibson does have a good grasp of writing for film.

October 1, 2006

Tanko said:

IDORU is my favorite book EVER and I always thought it would be a WONDERFUL anime. Maybe the best!

Hope it won’t disappoint me…

October 4, 2006

SFAM said:

Hi Tanko, you’ve perfectly captured the sentiment of probably everyone on this board. The “cringe” fear leading up to this movie will probably be insane. If it ends up being horrible, this truly would suck.

October 12, 2006

NekOtaku said:

Which of Gibsons books have been brought to the silver screen, and why are you so concerned about Idoru ending up like them?

October 13, 2006

Josh B said:

My uncle is doing business with Mad House.
He was at the NYC Film Festival premiered of Paprika & loved it.
He said that they have talked to William Gibson about this project and are planning on getting started on the film ASAP.


October 18, 2006

Tanko said:


With the exception of “Johnny Mnemonic” that was addapted from a Gibson’s short story and “Matrix” that has a lot of Gibson’s Neuromancer influence I don’t know of any of any other.

I personally think both are far from being as great as Gibson’s books. =/

The reason Idoru would suit so perfectly with anime is because the story concerns a lot of japanese subcultures, from otaku to j-pop. Also, the descriptions are so vivid, I would dare to say it has colors. I can totally imagine it, wish to illustrate it myself someday. What can I say… it’s my favorite book.

Idoru has potential to be the new “Akira”…

I’m sorry for my broken english. I’m out of practice.

December 12, 2006

eduzal said:

at least they put a music producer ahead of the production, maybe we might get a great soundtrack. the kind that gets into history, or not…

August 22, 2007

Mira Firefly said:

Wait, so how does this qualify as anime? The director is Western, so is it a Western director working with a Japanese studio? A Western director with a Western studio employing Japanese animators? A Western studio emulating Japanese style and/or techniques?

If it’s a Western-produced, Japanese-*style* animation, color me cynical.

SFAM said:

Hi Mira Firefly, I guess my definition of anime is broader than most. I regularly include animations outside of Japan as animes. When Western Studios (or Korean for that matter) emulating Japanese style techniques I refer to them as anime as well.

Mira Firefly said:

Technically speaking, while “anime” is simply the Japanese word for animation, its only proper use in a non-Japanese setting is in referring to animation made in Japan, by Japanese animators. Of course, Japanese studios frequently outsource to tweeners (animators of non-critical frames) and colorists in other Asian countries, primarily Korea, China and Taiwan. That blurs the line a bit - but since the studio is in Japan and the director, writer, storyboarder, key animators and so on are all Japanese, I think it’s safe to call it anime.

I said “color me cynical” because no American studio has ever done even a halfway-decent job of anime-style animation. Most efforts I’ve seen - and they are few in number - basically amount to sticking big eyes and low frame rates on top of American (AKA shitty) animation techniques.

Well, we shall see…

August 23, 2007

Pylon_Trooper said:

Hmmm. It’s true. The closest I can think of is Titan AE, but you can see how halfway through that movie, the budget bottomed-out. Plus, it draws more inspiration from American animated cinema that it does Japanime.

And personally, although back in my wide-eyed Japanophile where they could do no wrong, I’ve realised that most anime is lacklustre and empty. You can rely on the older, stately titles, but these days…well…its all just so boring. Exceptions to things like Lain, but yeah…what’s the phrase? Colour me…bored. And, I’d like to think of myself as a long way from being a cultural pygmy. And fairly accepting, too.

With Gibson’s work, I’d much rather have the Burning Chrome stories made into a series of short films, much akin to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Memories. Multiple directors, different takes. THEN, after we see what is made, perhaps the go-ahead for a feature film should be made.

August 24, 2007

Mira Firefly said:

Titan AE was fun, yeah… :)
Frankly, I think that most work of most genres in most media is uninspired, whether it’s film, music, painting, or what have you. The question then becomes how much you like the genre and how good the particular artist or studio is at that genre, and if it just doesn’t appeal to you on a base level, then you’re out of luck. Also to keep in mind is that here in the English-speaking, Western world, our view of anime is heavily colored and filtered by the import process. Because for every title the rights have to be purchased, the dialog has to be subbed, dubbed or both, graphical elements have to be redesigned in English, and the whole thing has to be re-pressed and distributed, a given company is only going to be interested in importing anime that is sure to be at least decently popular. Thus, experimental titles - even those by major big-name artists, such as Yoshitaka Amano and Mamoru Oshii’s Angel’s Egg - are extremely unlikely to make it over. Darker and more intellectual titles have more of a chance if they’re made by big-name artists, but they, along with other “secondary” categories such as sophisticated historical works, gang stories, adult-oriented/realistic romance, real life stories and so on, have to play second fiddle to the lucrative teenager- and preteen-oriented genre works. Thus, there is plenty of amazing work in the anime industry, but the flagship titles - and the public image of anime - are still Naruto, Dragonball Z, and so on. Soulful works don’t sell nearly as well as genre pieces that satisfy the viewer’s craving for schoolgirls in short skirts - that’s just the way it is.

Not that I object to nudity, but I’ll bet that Ghost In The Shell wouldn’t sell nearly as well as it does if the main character wasn’t beautiful and frequently naked.

August 26, 2007

Pylon_Trooper said:

Yeah, I understand the cultural context and the lack of a broad selection of anime being imported…but damn, I really do wish the whole thing would get an overhaul. No doubt there are some wonderful, dare I say it ‘intellectual’, works of animation out there that would be crying out to see an import, but if they’re going to gut the script for the masses - despite having a predilection for original dub/subtitles - they may as well keep it.

Either way…I’m still worried that we can’t get great foreign films localised, yet Chuck n’ Larry costs millions to make!!! :(

August 27, 2007

Mira Firefly said:

Yeah, this is a tough one alright. We want an anime Idoru, but we don’t want a BAD anime Idoru, and it’s pretty damned likely that’s what we’re going to get.

The last thing Idoru needs is a treatment like the Aramaki-made Appleseed movie remake, which was shiny and pretty and stripped out all of the intellectualism from the story - and most of the plot, to boot.

September 18, 2007

Ak!mbo said:

I’m fearing this will either be incredibly awesome, or incredibly horrible.
Well, actually, I’m kind of fearing I’ll think it sucks however well it’s made, as it’ll probably have a really hard time living up to my expectations and the images in my head…
And just to add to the long dead anime / cartoon debate, think of nineties stuff like the Swat Kats, probably the best nineties animated series ever: It was developed in America, but all the animation was done in the same Chinese animation studios that did all the anime at the time. None would argue that it’s anime at all, everyone sees it as western animation, though it’s definitely affected by the animation studio in terms of styling and pacing..
If you look at it in the light of it being made by anime animation studios, you see the parallels, I hope Idoru will come through with an even better cultural blend than that. A blend of western and eastern animation, storytelling and style.

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