After a long and often painful journey, Yasuomi Umetsu's hard-edged anime Kite is finally making its way to the screen in live action form.
With shades of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita (1990) and Léon (1994), the premise has an orphaned schoolgirl, Sawa (India Eisley), wreaking revenge on the sex traffickers who killed her parents. Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) is Oburi, the ex-police partner of her father who offers guidance and staffs the assassin helpdesk as she navigates the lawless world.
Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four) plays Sawa's bestie who doesn't always see exactly eye-to-eye with Jackson's Oburi.
If you've seen Umetsu's two 30-minute animes from 1998, you'll know that the violence is unsparing and this live action version promises to stay true to that. "It's definitely not something that young children should watch!", McAuliffe told Empire Online. "It still maintains a lot of the elements that fans will be happy with. There are things it's impossible to get across with live action, such as the expressiveness of the characters, which would be overly theatrical in live action. So it has a more cinematic feel to it."
Original director David R. Ellis (The Final Destination) died during pre-production with Ralph Ziman taking the reins and shooting the film in Johannesburg. Anime fans will be hoping he has done justice to his predecessor's passion project by bringing Umetsu's vision to life.
If you're in the US, you can catch Kite on satellite provider DirecTV from 28 August, before it moves to VOD and into cinemas on 10 October. There's no word as yet of a UK release date. As always, watch this space.