By Chris Melchin / August 9th, 2015
Production I.G. has announced intentions to produce a TV anime adaptation of Koji Yanagi’s 2008 World War II-set detective novel Joker Game. The anime will be directed by Kazuya Nomura, also known for the 2015 Ghost in the Shell movie, the Robotics;Notes anime and the Sengoku Basara anime movie. Original character designs will be handled by Shirow Miwa, the writer of the Dogs: Bullets and Carnage manga and OVA, and works with the band Supercell.
Books from Japan has a description of the novel:
A fictitious spy-training organization established within the Japanese army on the eve of World War II is the centerpiece of this set of linked short stories. The D Agency comes into being in autumn 1937 as an independent army unit formed under the private initiative of Lieutenant Colonel Yuki. As rumor has it, Yuki was once a brilliant agent himself who ferreted out multiple secrets in enemy territory until he was betrayed by an ally; he was caught and tortured before he managed to escape, which explains why he has no left hand and always walks holding a cane with his left foot dragging behind him. Dubbed “the Lord of Darkness,” Yuki teaches according to principles that flatly challenge established army wisdom. He bans military dress and behavior and instead drills his protégés to become unseen apparitions; according to him, the unwritten army code that a captured soldier should kill either the enemy or himself is the epitome of stupidity and the worst possible choice a spy can make. For his training course Yuki rejects Army Academy graduates and instead picks candidates from far and wide, producing a dozen crack spies expert not only in multiple languages but also in such skills as disguise and lockpicking. Under false identities, these agents go their solitary ways to fulfill daring missions in Tokyo, Yokohama, Shanghai and elsewhere, all the while remembering Yuki’s teachings. Among the most gripping of the episodes in the book is Robinson, the tale of an agent in London named Izawa and his escape after capture by British intelligence. Like the rest of the collection, the story highlights the notion of spies as operatives who do battle not with brawn, but with brains. A sequel anthology, Daburu joka (Double Joker), was published in 2009.
Yanagi also wrote another follow-up novel in 2012 called Paradise Lost. Upon its release, Joker Game won the ‘Mystery Writers of Japan Award’ and the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers.
Joker GameKazuya NomuraKoji YanagiProduction I.GShirow Miwa