Drama

Pitching Ghostbusters as a J-Drama

Are you troubled by strange noises in the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, spectre or ghost? If the answer is “Yes!” then don’t wait another minute, pick up your phone and call the professionals. Ghostbusters! Our courteous and efficient staff is on call 24 hours a day to serve all your supernatural elimination needs. We’re ready to believe you!

Oh, boy… Ghostbusters! A legendary franchise that recently made a triumphant return to big screens across the globe with Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). To make things clear, the herein article is not a part of the “If sth was a Drama” MDL article series. That is to say, my intention is not to reappropriate the original Ghostbusters movie and turn its storyline into a Japanese counterpart. Rather than that, I would like to do something a bit different, hence, the title “Pitching Ghostbusters as a J-Drama”. So, charge your proton packs, dear MDL-ers. We are going to bust some yokai creatures and yurei spirits!


Historical Background

First, a bit of context. To be honest, I fell in love with the series in the late 90s when I saw for the first time the original 1984 movie on TV. That’s when the fanboy frenzy started for me: buying special double pack edition of the films on DVD, hunting down animation serials, a video game on PS2 etc. For years and years I have been hoping for a third movie. The closest thing that brought me to it was an official announcement in the early 2010s that the cast and crew were gearing up to bring the ghostbusting magic back once more. Unfortunately, the development process started falling apart after this piece of news hit the web…

Since the 1990s, Dan Aykroyd has been working on the idea for a third film. The only solid concept materialised in form of a screenplay called Ghostbusters III: Hellbent in which the team actually faces off against Satan himself. This concept was already reworked by Aykroyd and co-writer Harold Ramis, and turned into a video game that was released in 2009.

Interestingly, director Ivan Reitman has been relentlessly working on the project since the 2010s. Coming up with a premise for the third instalment with the original cast, and even a soft reboot featuring completely new characters. These plans fell through in the view of Harold Ramis’ untimely passing in 2014 and Sony’s intent to go with director Paul Feig’s idea to make a Ghostbusters picture with an exclusively female cast.

I am not a big fan of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) flick, not because it features a female team of Ghostbusters, but due to the fact that the storyline is uneventful (rehash of the original film) and comedy bits simply unfunny. Still, the studio wanted to carry on and make a series of movies set within one, big multiverse. This was more in tune with one of Dan Aykroyd’s original concepts focusing on different ghostbusting teams spread around the globe and fighting supernatural phenomena.


The Concept and Monsters

If we were to follow this particular idea, it becomes possible to imagine Ghostbusters set in the Japanese context. We have a team of scientists fighting ghosts in the Land of the Rising Sun who obtained the much needed know-how and technology from the original Ghostbusters. Personally, I would love to see Japanese Ghostbusters uncovering and going up against monsters and demons known from Japanese folklore, such as Tanuki, Jorogumo, Tsukumogami, Futakuchi-Onna, Rokurokubi, Kappa, etc. Also, the realm of popular culture should not be excluded. I would definitely like to see Ghostbusters battling Sadako, Kayako, Kagutaba, and even descend into the haunting realm of the Pulse (2001). The possibilities are limitless and provide enough of material for a 10-episode drama.


The Cast

With regard to my casting wishlist, I don’t want to see in this J-Drama carbon copies of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore. I want the team to be a unique bunch of characters. Here is what I came up with:

Takuya Kimura: Let’s face it. There is no better choice for the team’s leader other than the legendary Takuya Kimura himself. He is the best there is to play a heroic protagonist who manages to save the day while being gentle, charming, and considerate. If you want to know why I opted for Takuya, then please check out his performances in Hero (2001), Mr. Brain (2009), and BG: Personal Bodyguard (2018).

Joe Odagiri: Perfect actor who is able to balance serious stuff as well as comedy. I can vividly see him playing a wisecracking ghostbuster who is smoking too much pot and is unable to differentiate between his narcotic visions and real ghosts.
Issei Takahashi: To me, Takahashi-san is the best personification of a scientist. He can play a nerdy guy with such a style! Please refer to Tengoku to Jigoku: Psychona Futari (2021) and Shin Godzilla (2016).
Masaki Okada: After seeing him in Legal High 2 (2013) and Fuben na Benriya (2015), I think that Masaki would be a perfect fit to play a younger member of the team who is a total noob at everything and always messes things up. The potential for comedy is enormous.

As for human villains, apart from the aforementioned demons and creatures, I would love to see the following artists:

Hiroshi Abe: I know what you are thinking. Hiroshi is the ultimate Mr Nice Guy, and he also played the hilarious character of Professor Ueda in Trick drama, but he has so much charisma and potential to be the main villain of the series.

Noriko Eguchi: There’s simply something about her look that communicates the ambiguity of Sakura Ando and gentleness of Kyoko Kagawa. She would do great as a Gozer-like villainess, in my opinion.

Ryoko Yonekura: We all know and love Ryoko as Doctor X, but I think she could effortlessly play the female version of Walter Peck from the original movie; that is to say, an environment-crazed bureaucrat who plagues the Ghostbusters and tries to shut them down.

This was my humble pitch concerning Ghostbusters as a J-Drama. I hope that you enjoyed the read. What are your preferences for the potential drama. Which actors and actresses would you like to see as ghostbusters and villains? Please let me know in the comments and thank you for reading.

In case of a ghost sighting, please contact the Ghostbusters hotline: 555-2368.


Sources: GHOSTBUSTERS III – History of Cancelled Threequels, Scripts, Pitches and Ideas | 1994 – 2016 * 8 Types of Yokai * New World Encyclopedia * 9 weird and terrifying monsters from Japanese mythology * Ghostbusters Wiki *

Disclaimer: Ghostbusters belong to Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Ebisuno92’s Previous Articles: * A Tribute to Sonny Chiba (with Old_Anime_Lady) * If The Woman Behind The Counter was a J-Drama * Underground Nightmares and Social Anxieties: Aum Shinrikyo on Film * For Comrade’s Eyes Only: Interview with Johannes Schönherr (with Seonsaeng) * Takeshi Kitano Is Gearing Up to Direct His Final Film “Kubi” * From Zero to Hero: A Retrospective Guide to Yaguchi Shinobu (with Joe Shiren) * An Ultra Fan’s Guide to Takeshi Kitano * An Ultra Fan’s Guide to Kyoko Kagawa * Feel the Power of Office Ladies: Shomuni Retrospective * “Watashi, Shippai Shinai No De!”: Daimon Michiko as the Ultimate Doctor-Hero (with Reika Bleu) * “Come on over, Spiritual Phenomena!” TRICK, A Franchise Retrospective * From Best Korea with Love: An Introduction to North Korean Dramas & Movies (with Seonsaeng) * Cursed Cassettes, Countdowns, and Corpses: A SFW Guide to the Ring Series * Blast from the Past: Did Bayside Shakedown Destroy Japanese Cinema? * Weekend Recommendations: Father Knows Best * Godzilla’s on the Loose: 65 Years of Kaiju Rampage * An Ultra Fan’s Guide to Yeoh Michelle * Blast from the Past: A Guide to “Girls with Guns” Genre * Weekend Recommendations: Old School Movies * Ebisuno92’s Weekend Movie Picks *


Edited by: devitto (1st editor)

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