"Haganai" Author Explains Why They Agreed to Live-Action Movie

Yomi Hirasaka expresses ambivalence about popular work going 3D

News of a live-action adaptation of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (I Don’t Have Many Friends) aka Haganai leaked when Kyoto’s Ryukoku University posted a recruitment ad for extras on its Facebook page. The ad went on to list that Times In (2006's [email protected] movie) will be producing the movie to be distributed by Toei 2014. In an open letter posted on Twitter, author Yomi Hirasaka explained how they feel about the the series going 3D. 


Translated by SGCafe:


To my readers,


As this time around I can’t just go “eh, what the heck?” and feign ignorance about everything [with regards to the Haganai live-action film], I’ve written this slightly long response that I would greatly appreciate if you could sit through without skimming ahead.


That the movie’s existence was outed by a recruitment ad for extra/calefare actors is incredibly “dasai” [lame] (I will not use the word “zannen” [unfortunate] here, which is an important keyword used throughout the Haganai series) but what’s happened has happened so, yes, production on a live-action movie based on my work, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, is currently on-going.


The offer to make a live-action movie based on my light novel series first came to me in June of 2011. At the time, production work on the first season of the anime series was also going well, so it had been a very positive period of my life.


Personally, I’ve always thought that the scenarios depicted in Haganai were never really meant to translate well in a live-action medium, so if you were to ask me if I was for or against the live-action movie, then I would say, without a doubt that I am against it. That said, the offer came during a period of time when I saw that the future of the light novel industry was getting dangerously bleak, and so I thought, “rather than fight over a small pie (marketshare) with other authors over and over, this is a rare chance me to break away from the industry’s status quo of excellent authors forever burying one another’s successes with their next excellent release. The live-action movie could bring into the light novel market a new audience (on top of what the manga, anime, and game adaptations are already doing), so shouldn’t I be taking a bold step forward with this instead?” That was what I remember to be my thought process at the time, and so after a period of deliberating I went ahead and gave my stamp of approval on it.


Now that the anime adaptation is well into its second season, if you were to ask me about what I thought about the decision I made back then, well, it’s already too late as a great deal of industry folks have already pushed forth with the project. As there really is no point in me commenting about that [whether I should have let the movie project happen or not], I’ll refrain from doing so.


Moving on, with regards to whether or not I’m personally involved on the production of the live-action movie or not, this time around the circumstances are quite different from when Haganai was adapted into a manga, an anime, or a game. Unlike with those projects, I am a complete amatuer when it comes to the live-action movie scene, and I do not know which folks are the truly passionate people in that genre, so this time around I’m taking a completely no-touch/hands-off approach. I’ve entrusted the project fully in the hands of the live-action movie’s production crew.


Given my personality, if I were told the details of what’s going on with the project, chances are I’ll feel like opening my flap and intervening, so I’ve asked the editorial department [of Media Factory/the publishing label MF Bunko J] to not keep me in the loop with regards to progress on the movie’s production. Accordingly, that means I do not know anything about the script for the movie, or its casting details. (Although I have checked with the editorial staff, following the movie getting outed, and they have confirmed for me that the so-called “leaked” casting details currently circulating on the Net are completely false).


I have but only one thing to say to the movie production side: “you do not have to try and re-create the light novels’ scenes and details faithfully, if that’s not very possible. Instead, all I want is for you to make a great and interesting movie, independently.” I eagerly await to see the finished product from these professional filmmakers.


… Okay, this has went on long enough, so in summary, “I have no idea what kind of movie the live-action Haganai film will turn out to be. To all of you my faithful readers, if you’re interested in the movie, please do watch it.” That’s pretty much what I want to say.


Lastly, I do also need to ask something from all of you.


On Twitter and various other platforms, I’ve noticed that some of you have been calling for production of the live-action movie to be stopped. No matter how much the news of this live-action adaptation displeases you, I hope that rather than to try and crush it, that instead, if possible at all, I hope that you would simply ignore it. This applies not only to the live-action movie, but to the anime, manga, and the game as well – everything that’s based on the original light novels.


Even if it’s not possible for you to put a lid on your displeasure upon seeing these adaptations [not living up to the original work's quality], there is no need to force yourself to accept them [as part of the Haganai franchise].


There is no need to watch something that you do not want to watch, and if it’s something you really hate, I think it’s okay to just continue hating it. But please do not go out of your way to destroy or crush something simply because you hate it, for that is evil, and something that I believe I’ve written about time and time again in my novels. I have faith that you, my readers, will understand.


Personally, I’m a big fan of light novels, anime, and other 2D mediums. And so, to be perfectly honest, I would be lying if I said that I’m not worried about the live-action film. That said, as to whether I approve or regret my decision two years ago [to let the movie happen], I will reserve final judgement on that for when the film is finally complete and after I’ve actually sat down and watched it.


2013.5.2 From the author of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Yomi Hirasaka


Who would you like to see cast in the project?


via SGCafe


Scott Green is editor and reporter for anime and manga at geek entertainment site Ain't It Cool News. Follow him on Twitter at @aicnanime.

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