Unnoticed by many, the Akagi live-action series is almost complete. The eighth episode was aired last week, and the whole thing should wrap up in another 2 outings. I had reservations at first, but it ended up being surprisingly good. Unless they bung up the ending. Indeed, how are they going to give it a satisfying conclusion, when the manga is 100 chapters ahead and not even over yet? This and other questions need not be answered. It’s not like Fukumoto has a tendency to actually finish anything, aside from Ten.
But this drama series has been clearly aimed at existing fans. It starts in the middle of the story, skipping all the characters introductions and early arcs, assuming that the viewers already know them, or don’t care about this guy’s past. Partly, it might be true. The Washizu arc is the most famous of the series, especially because it takes the vast majority of the manga, you don’t really need to know what happened before to enjoy it, and almost all the absolutely crazy stuff happens there.
It would be a shame to miss out on the early stories though. In fact, free from Washizu’s utterly ridiculous bouts of luck and Akagi’s incredibly contrived plans that could never be expected to actually work in reality, the earlier arcs come out as more interesting, if not quite as fun.
Some complete bullcrap still happens – I won’t spoiler the Urabe match because it must be seen to be believed – but overall, it’s got more psychologically believable scenes. Perhaps the author himself wanted this change to happen. Fukumoto’s later work has generally been slightly less realistic and going more for the caricatural approach, with villainous villains and clearer heroes (well, compared to before). See also Zero.
For now, I can only wait and see just what kind of ending the live action series will get. Perhaps it will not even end. That would fit Fukumoto for sure.