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Why Anime Live Action Adaptations Need To Die (Or Change At The Least)

furuhashi fumino depressed we never learn anime
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

Anime live action adaptations need to be shot in the head and laid to rest. They’re a headache to the anime industry.

Not once have I seen an anime fan get excited about a new live action adaptation being made. I talk to a lot.

There’s a good reason for that. And a good reason why the whole idea of “live action adaptions” needs to end.

Let’s get to it.


Why Anime Live Action Adaptations Should Die:


1. All talk, sh*tty action

dragon ball evolution meme the rock

Remember Dragon Ball Evolution? In fact why would you wanna remember that anime movie anyway?

I’m cherry-picking right now but I’m making a point.

Dragon Ball Evolution is the perfect example of why anime live action adaptations need to die. And that movie was made years ago at this point.

YouTube video

Dragon Ball Z, a billion dollar franchise was turned into a whitewashed load of bollocks by Americans with money on their mind.

The “money (and not art or talent) is at the forefront of your decisions.

Or even common sense in this case.

Nothing about the movie was authentic to DBZ. You could pick a filmmaker off the street and they’d find a way to do a better job.

The whole thing (as with anime live adaptations) felt like a rip off with no respect for the original material.

netflix adaptation anime fullmetal alchemist

This was in 2009 and 11+ years later people are STILL making fun of anime live action adaptations.

Netflix being the rear end of the jokes now because they’ve made piss poor attempts.

You literally have to think HARD about anime live action adaptations that are good or of a respectable quality.

That’s because a lot of these adaptations are all talk and no action. Hype at the expense of quality and authenticity.

Relevant: 12 Of The BEST Recent Anime Movies Worth Watching


2. Anime fans can’t stand it

Almost everyone I talk to doesn’t think too much of anime live action adaptations.

How could they anyway? Generally they’re:

  • Rip offs.
  • Back alley content.
  • Rarely true to the material.
  • Money grabbing.
  • Low quality.

And many times they don’t improve the reputation of the anime shows or original material.

Even if they do trend, that by itself doesn’t mean anything in the long run. It’s not good enough if the quality is bad.

For the average American where these “adaptations” take place, they might enjoy a few here and there. More so if they haven’t watched the original content….

But for the majority, live action adaptations for anime is a headache and is more of a disservice to the anime industry.

That leads to my next point.


3. Bad choice of material

YouTube video

Rurouni Kenshin is the only live action adaptation anime fans praise from what I’ve seen.

In this case there’s no whitewashing and the cast is Japanese, which is true to Rurouni Kenshin’s material and characters.

It’s no wonder this became a rare example of “how to do it right” with live anime adaptations.


But that’s rarely the case

netflix adaptation anime naruto

The reason why there are MEMES like this is because America is bad at choosing the right material.

The west as a whole is bad at choosing the right material. That’s why it turns out bad.

DBZ was never a good idea. There’s too much fancy fights and flashy elements and complicated moves that realistic films can’t portray.

And even then – most of these types of shows wouldn’t work.

A better choice of material would be anime like:

  • Clannad.
  • Sankarea: Undying Love.
  • Toradora.
  • Ascendance Of A Bookworm (maybe).
  • Kino’s Travels.

Or an anime along those lines.

Each of these anime are slice of life, romance, or fantasy. But not the complicated type that’s hard or impossible to adapt.

But for some reason these style of anime are never chosen.

They’re too busy thinking about how “mainstream” a show is instead of focusing on whether it’ll make a good film in the first place.

Rurouni Kenshin worked because it’s not flashy, and the samurai element is easy to adapt without obvious flaws.

Most of the time anime fans don’t even ask for it, and then after it gets adapted it sinks like the Titanic.

Or like Ghost In The Shell’s adaptation – it trends on Twitter and the ratings roll off a cliff.

If Netflix and American companies are bothered to choose the right material, I have the no problem with it. But as far as things stand, they’re pointless and have no business being adapted.

They’re the worst of all forms of “adaptations” that happen in the anime industry by far.


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