5 best live-action movie adaptations from anime (and the 5 worst)
The most popular and iconic anime shows tend to stay in their medium for good reason. Some dialogue, storytelling techniques, and even emotional weight can only be achieved through anime. That’s not to say that live-action anime adaptations aren’t good, they just happen to be harder to pull off.
Therefore, for every decent or good live-action anime adaptation, there are bound to be bad ones that haven’t done justice. Both Hollywood and Japanese live-action cinemas are guilty of the latter. So, to keep you out of trouble, here are the five live-action anime adaptations you shouldn’t miss and all five fans should avoid and stick with the source material.
ten BEST: RUROUNI KENSHIN
Being set in a realistic period of human history, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make a live version of Rurouni Kenshin. It was a big part of the childhood of most anime fans and even hinted at some history lessons from the Meiji period.
Whether or not it is easy for the filmmakers of the live-action movie doesn’t matter much. Rurouni Kenshin was considered a successful adaptation. Fans and critics alike praise the film for being faithful enough while having enough nuance to warrant the live-action version. Of course, the action is a nice mix of over-the-top animated acrobatics and actual limitations.
9 WORST: NETFLIX DEATH
No amount of Willem Dafoe could have saved this entire Netflix adaptation. In fact, he was one of the few redemptive aspects of the movie, but he was so… dead (no pun intended) to begin with, that he didn’t stand a chance at all.
Not only did this drastically change the script and execution, but it also attempted to turn the supposed antagonist-protagonist (Light) into an angsty American cinema teenager. It all looked more like a pirate version of Final destination.
8 BEST: JAPANESE DEATH NOTE
Fortunately, the Japanese have already made their own live-action Death threat which can easily wash away the terrible taste that the Netflix version left on everyone’s palate. The Japanese version was not only faithful to the storyline of the anime and manga, but also to the appearances and behaviors of the characters.
More than that, it looked like a real horror movie a bit like how Death threat was a horror anime half the time besides being a thriller and crime show. This puts the Japanese live-action Death threat leagues above its American counterpart.
7 WORST: ATTACK ON TITAN
Some anime or manga ideas are just too big and ambitious for the actual action to be successfully recreated. An example of this would be The attack of the Titans, the live action movie. Although it was made in Japan and with Japanese actors (instead of Germans, oddly enough), it was still critical.
The CGI was okay, but it all looked like a green screen masquerade. Also, the casting choice was a bit odd since the source material made it clear that Mikasa Ackerman was the only character of Asian descent, almost everyone had European names or even appearances.
6 BEST: ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Now here’s a Hollywood adaptation that deserved praise. Alita: the angel of battle It may not have been a unanimously good movie for critics, but audiences and fans of the source love it.
This is in part thanks to the way he stayed true to the script of the animated film he recreated. Almost everything from the setting to the character design of Alita that somehow worked, 3D anime eyes and everything.
5 WORST: DEVILMAN
Apparently, the live adaptation of Devilman crybaby was so bad that it became the worst of the worst when it comes to Japanese films in an annual poll. That says a lot about how it failed despite being made in Japan.
Evil man, said adaptation, had inferior action, cheap production values, and poor CGI at the time The Lord of the Rings and Star wars exchanged blows. Some even consider Evil man as the worst live-action adaptation of all time.
4 BEST: BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL
Surprisingly, Netflix is streaming a good live-action anime adaptation to balance out just how Death threat was. That said, adaptation is Blade of the immortal, based on the anime of the same name.
It is about a samurai named Manji who was supposed to die in battle decades ago, only to be granted immortality by a witch. After wandering around aimlessly for years, he meets a woman named Rin and helps her get revenge on a common enemy. It’s a brutal, bloody adaptation that also pays homage to old samurai movies.
3 WORST: GHOST IN THE SHELL
Sadly, Alita is said to be the only female protagonist of the anime in Japan to be successful in America. Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the shell, although he was played by Scarlett Johanson in the live-action movie, has not been done justice at all.
While this is a decent film on its own, it is just plain pale compared to the artistry, framing, atmosphere, and philosophical themes imbued with the original. Ghost in the shell movie. Even the music was the standard Hollywood techno beat instead of something classier.
2 BEST: OLDBOY
Technically, Old boy had no anime and the source material was only a manga; Still, the anime is usually just moving manga, anyway. Old boy is just too good of an adaptation not to make the cut. It is one of the best and most shocking Korean films to date.
Old boy follows the story of a man who has been kidnapped and jailed for several years, only coming out when he’s nearly out of whack, though he’s still looking for revenge. What follows is a strange rich man’s plan for revenge that unfolds in a relentless and evil way.
1 WORST: DRAGON BALL EVOLUTION
Last and certainly the less, Evolution of the dragon ball– three words that would make any Dragon Ball fan wince in disgust. It was Hollywood’s take on the legendary Dragon ball saga.
You don’t even have to watch the movie to see what’s wrong with it all. Just seeing the trailers or posters should be enough of a warning sign to stay away from this live-action adaptation.
NEXT: 5 Manga That Needs An Anime Adaptation (& 5 You Didn’t Know Already Got One)
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