Adapting our hallowed anime into live-action remakes whether Hollywood adaptations or Japanese adaptations, they are bound to meet skeptical reception. Much of this inflexibility is attributed to the lack of heavy storytelling, out-of-question same scale recreation, mitigation of complex plots to house the tight screentime, and dearth of emotional context which their animated counterpart accomplished. Nevertheless, there are several plausible anime live-action adaptations that have bagged some praise from the audience and critics.
While discussing major Hollywood remakes of manga and anime 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow is indefinitely the first choice, easily outshining its peers. The critically acclaimed action film is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka and Yoshitoshi Abe’s “All You Need Is Kill”. If you are in a mood for some gruesome remake, 2013 Oldboy is your pick. Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya’s manga Old Boy got a Hollywood adaptation after the famous South Korean remake.
Though it couldn’t match up to the level of its 2003 counterpart, yet it was serviceable enough. James Berardinelli reviewed 2017 Masamune Shirow’s manga adaptation and wrote for ReelViews, “Ghost in the Shell is visually compelling but tone-deaf.” An otherwise enthralling visual piece has to be dismissed due to the whitewashing controversy. With Alita the Battle angel, Hollywood came out with a true manga adaptation (remember those anime eyes) up to some extent.
When the anime industry has come so far all these years, this tally isn’t impressive. With the frequency of over 200 anime release every year, we’ve got 4-5 Hollywood’s previous theatrical anime adaptations of and manga to defend anime and manga remake/adaptation culture. Obviously, as an animated feature original there are some things that work in the medium and not everything will translate properly into live-action. The following upcoming live-action anime adaptation will potentially break the curse as they have got some odds in their favor as discussed below.
Cowboy Bebop is hailed as a masterpiece and many consider it as one of the greatest anime of all time. After multiple delays due to injured crew and the pandemic, Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop series has now wrapped up filming. There is a really solid team writing and producing the show. The live-action series is being developed by producers Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and Jeff Pinkner (Jumanji sequel). There is Christopher Yost (The Mandalorian) as one of the writers. The director of the original anime series Shinichiro Watanabe is going to be the show’s creative consultant.
There is a big list of confirmed cast members John Cho (Star Trek reboot) as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black and Daniella Pineda is as Faye Valentine and Alex Haswell (The Boys) as Spike nemesis Vicious. The show will also follow the same premise focusing on the adventure of a ragtag group of bounty hunters chasing down criminals across the galaxy.
The show is set to debut sometime in 2021 but as of now, there is no official release date. However, given that the filming has wrapped up in March we will probably see the series debut sometime at the end of this year. Let’s see if they let the original as it is or took their own take.
In the year 2018 Legendary entertainment and Sunrise announced that they’re teaming up to make live-action feature films based on the long-running giant robot anime series Gundam with acclaimed comic scribe Brian K. Vaughn attached to write. Vaughn has demonstrated his talent for showing the human side of intergalactic warfare in the pages of his space-opera comic ‘Saga’ and we have already witnessed live-action RX-78 in Ready Player One.
This Gundam cameo in the movie was probably the best thing so this project has got potential when comes to visuals. Gundam isn’t confined to a single timeline or universe there are numerous of them, there is a lot of room for creators to chose from and try something new. This movie might be completely a whole new thing, not any attempt to retail any existing stories.
Attack on Titan
A Hollywood’s Live-Action anime remake project has been announced 2 years prior. It’s already got a producer and director so this thing is moving along. Attack on Titan could actually work a lot better than most anime titles when it comes to live-action when done on a Hollywood budget of 100 million-plus. But right now the budget is still very much a mystery. As for who is in charge of this, director Andy Muschietti (IT) is set to steer this project going forward and is also being backed by Warner Brothers. Then we got David Heyman as a producer.
In an interview, Muschietti stated, “I am fascinated by Attack on Titan. It is a story that I first saw in the anime and then the manga…….there are lots of themes there that attracts me and that I want to talk about and it’s also a fascinating horror adventure and also all the elements of human drama are very strong so all of that is really attractive to me so I really want to do it.”
The Promised Neverland
Last year Amazon Prime announced that The Promised Neverland is getting a live-action series adaptation of the manga by Kaiu Shirai. Being developed by Fox 21 and Amazon Prime they are probably going to have a budget to potentially make it into a commendable television series. The series has again got promising staff members with Rodney Rothman and Meghan Malloy was director and scriptwriter respectively, they were in the Oscar-winning Spiderverse project.
The anime series left the viewers disappointed with a ruined sequel. The audience wants justice for Grace Field Arc and this live-action if adapted correctly might become their savior.
Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name is a modern anime marvel. There has been an announcement regarding Hollywood’s ‘reimagined remake’ of the same title. This reimagined remake will be set in the United States and stick to native protagonists. Film direction will be helmed by Lee Isaac Chung, director of the Oscar-winning film Minari. The script has been written by Eric Heisserer (Bird Box) and will be reworked by Chung himself along with Emily V Gordon (The Big Sick).
One of the original staffers from the original piece Genki Kawamura will be on board as producer. JJ Abrams (Star Wars) who will be serving as one of the producers is known for reinventing existing properties. His attention to the original fanbase and details is also something he is quite well known for.