One year after the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain, Sony Pictures Animation is developing a series based on Hungry Ghosts, the author/TV host’s graphic novel series with writer Joel Rose.
The four-part series tells the story of a Russian oligarch vacationing on Long Island who invites his chefs to play a version of 100 candles, a Japanese Edo-period game where samurai take turns telling ghastly tales of ghosts and demons. While Bourdain and Rose drew inspiration from Japanese mythology, the collaborators put their own culinary spin on these stories. “The Starving Skelton,” for example, focuses on a ramen chef who turns his back on a beggar asking for food, only to wind up being eaten, piece by piece, by the man he turned away. “I had never heard of Kaiden, the Japanese Edo-period ghost stories, before Tony brought it up,” Rose said last fall. “Never heard of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, the samurai game of 100 candles. Tony mentioned it first during a joint interview, and then afterwards over a beer at a nearby tavern, he got into it. He was encyclopedic.” All four graphic novels were released as a collection from Dark Horse, with five bonus Bourdain recipes inspired by the stories.
There’s no word yet on when the animated series might see the light of day, or where it will land when it’s all finished. But Sony Pictures Animation notes that this will be an “anthology of frightening, hilarious, twisted, and culinary-inspired ghost stories,“ where each episode will “range in tone and will look completely different from the last, taking advantage of various forms of animation to best fit each story.” In this regard, it sounds like the series will mirror the visual style of the book, which featured the work of many different talented artists. Sony Pictures Animation is the same company that produced last year’s Oscar-winning feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so Hungry Ghosts fans can rest assured that the graphic novels are in the hands of a studio that knows how to do visually-stunning comic book adaptations.