Anime Vice News

Almost Otaku: Do You Really Want Live Action Versions?

I love anime BECAUSE it's animated.

 Even the prospect of it isn't as appealing.
 Even the prospect of it isn't as appealing.

We’re still going to post our answers to all your mailbag questions later this weekend, but I couldn’t help but explore a topic here relating to  MetalMac’s question about why Hollywood's American comics adaptations generally come out better than anime and manga adaptations.  I figure a lot of that has to do with things getting “lost in translation,” as as well the original Japanese creators not often having direct involvement. Regardless, the topic's brought back some thoughts I’ve had about live action versions in general.

How many of you think “Man, I need to see this in live action” after finishing an anime?

See, what I’ve been appreciating about these shows is that they aren’t bound by the same rules Western entertainment’s so typically bound by. Fans ask why movies aren’t as good as the source material and, usually, that’s because you have to change what made the original so appealing in the first place. It just won't work in live action if you stick to the source exactly. If you like an anime show for its complexity and its detailed character development, that usually has to be the first thing to go. A series can take its time over 10 hours, whereas live-action movies can’t usually run longer than two hours. Things have to be changed, simplified or omitted outright.  So, you take that away and maybe there’s still the look of the characters and their world. Well, a lot of things look better in 2D when you can fudge realism, but they look goofy in reality. So that’s another thing that has to be changed. Keep working your way down the list and the end product's far different from what you started with.

While there are certainly many adaptations I’ve enjoyed, I’m generally a firm believer that there are some stories that are told best (and, really, should only be told) in one specific medium.  I enjoyed EVANGELION for everything that defines it as an anime. It's perfect as an anime.  I'm not interested in seeing it in live action because whatever I'm going to see will  be compromised or diluted. Why not just leave it as is?
 
There's obviously a lot to explore in this topic - - more than you can fit in a column. So I'm stepping aside for all of you to weigh in on this. Would you want to see live action versions of your favorite anime? Would you absolutely want to avoid them? Let me see your opinions.

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com.  

hitsusatsu11on June 11, 2010 at 7:20 p.m.
Absolutely not. No way, not ever. This would be even worse than DB evolution. (Live action Eva that is)
AJVon June 11, 2010 at 7:39 p.m.
I don't think anime translates well into live action movies because anime has a very distinctive style in art and story telling. Though I do think certain anime series that could do alright if done in live action as long as the source material is fairly realistic, but I'm not too certain since I haven't seen any Live Action Anime myself. Maybe it's just a Hit or Miss?
Look at comic book movies, they do pretty well.
But even they have to change certain thing and completely cut other things out.
I look at the Iron Man movies, they were made a setting that was realistic and believable.
Though I believe it also as a lot do with the people behind the scenes working on the scripts, story, designs, etc... that made movies like Iron Man Batman so good. Also good actors and actresses help. ^^
Who knows, maybe with the right people behind it and on the screen, a Live Action Anime could be good?
 
Mr98on June 11, 2010 at 7:44 p.m.

That fan made poster you have up here isn't to shaby, but I still think a LIVE-ACTION EVA is one of the WORST ideas out there! 
Anyone remember the Live action Fist of the North Star? :/
Count_Zeroon June 11, 2010 at 8:39 p.m.
It honestly depends on the series. Not all anime series are good fits for live action. However, not all anime series wouldn't work in live action - if that makes any sense.  Naturally, all of the ones that would work in live action would require a good director. 
 
Gunsmith Cats would be make an excellent live-action film. The series it's based on is very much a homage to American crime thrillers and action films. A film that kept that in mind and was reverent to the material the manga series was paying tribute to, while also being respectful of the manga could do well. 
 
Similarly, a sports anime, whether boxing (Hajime No Ippo), or Baseball (Princess Nine) could be adapted well to live action and do well in the states - if only because sports films tend to do well with mainstream audiences in the US, even though sports anime don't do well with anime fans in the US. 
 
As far as science fiction anime goes, while I don't think super robot anime could do well quite yet in the US, I think Real Robot anime could - in particular I'm thinking of Gundam and Patlabor. Patlabor is, in many ways, a mix of Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues with cops who drive Giant Robots instead of police cars. 
 
Gundam, particularly in its Universal Century incarnation, and at it's best, is ultimately a war series that happens to have giant robots in it. If it was adapted properly, a live-action Gundam would be a war movie of the kind that western audiences would be familiar with, but with the soldiers piloting giant robots. The beam-sabers for the Gundams would probably need to be re-designed though, probably to look more like combat knives, or at their biggest like a Roman soldier's gladius, over the more long sword styled weapons from the Gundam series proper. 
 
I suppose Votoms could also work for these reasons, but I don't have enough familiarity with Votoms to say for certain.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on June 11, 2010 at 8:49 p.m.
@hitsusatsu11 said:
" Absolutely not. No way, not ever. This would be even worse than DB evolution. (Live action Eva that is) "
This...that newest DB Evolution movie was a joke.
sickVisionz moderator on June 11, 2010 at 8:54 p.m.
I'd like to see them come out.  I'd pay good money to see a US version of Death Note that had a production value jump similar to The Ring and Ringu.  Himitsu: The Revelation would make for a great TV series.
Dream moderator on June 11, 2010 at 8:59 p.m.
A couple big things would have to occur for a successful live-action movie to occur: closely working with the title's original creators and a director passionate enough for the title in question to come up with a direction that would work for a mainstream American audience and to retain the original themes and spirit of said title. Can't just dump a random anime in the lap of a director with not so much interest in it minus advise from the title's creators and expect it to be a blockbuster.
JDon June 11, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.
 I question the anime adaptations of manga in the same way, but not as harsh a degree.  I try to avoid watching more than one version of a story, getting the same thing in different mediums is asking to be exploited in my opinion.  Though I fail and still do it anyway on occasion.
 
I don't know if the live action Eva is in any way a good idea.  Given how neo-ADV barely has signs of life, and this LA EVA didn't have signs of life for years when original ADV had it, I don't think it is at serious risk of happening.  I'm pretty sure they're not going to be able to gather enough capital to hire WETA digital like they had originally hoped, and without a serious budget to go WETA or similar caliber, it's going to look like crap, and it probably will have a crap story anyway given how some ADV crew treated the tone of some anime with dubs that didn't try to line up with the tone and intent behind the original language. 
ReVolutionOfEvangelionon June 11, 2010 at 10:07 p.m.
Mr. Pinchuk; I realize its very time consuming to run a fansite, but a bad habit that I keep seeing is...using "Eva artwork" from apart google-searches that actually doesn't match the show.
 
The actual picture you used for "live-action Eva" here...is just some crappy fanart someone threw together online.  Of course it looks crappy...its just fanart.
 
Use pics of the kick-ass weta concept art.
Gozertcon June 11, 2010 at 11:09 p.m.
@Count_Zero said:
"It honestly depends on the series. Not all anime series are good fits for live action. However, not all anime series wouldn't work in live action - if that makes any sense.  Naturally, all of the ones that would work in live action would require a good director. 
 
Gunsmith Cats would be make an excellent live-action film. The series it's based on is very much a homage to American crime thrillers and action films. A film that kept that in mind and was reverent to the material the manga series was paying tribute to, while also being respectful of the manga could do well.   
HECK YEAH!  Gunsmith Cats is one of my favorites of all time.  It's most deffinetly on my "Anime I'd like to see as a Movie" but it's also a very SHORT list.  :)  
  
Then again City Hunter was a comedic reality comic which could have been done as a decent live action.  Unfortunetly they went toatlly comedic and poorly done.  Though it did lead to one of the most famously bad Jackie Chan fight sequences.  With him ending up as Chun Li.  (Yes it was a huge Street Fighter 2 ad in the movie!)  
 
MetalMacon June 12, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.
Man, not only did my question get freaking answered, it got its own article... Dang... Well, I'm happy...  
But, it's true that most anime shows are out of the ordinary, and that there are standards to Hollywood movie productions (that pretty much limit the crap outta anime), but what about shows like Gundam (heck that's pretty close to transformers, which had a big budget and first movie raked in big money from what I've heard, and I would kill to see a 08th MS Mobile Suite adaptation, which was probably the most realistic gundam series out there)?  Cowboy Bebop (it's something close to the Matrix, and I'd say possible)?  and Sports anime/mangas, which aren't my thing but I figure would transfer pretty well to the big picture?   
I don't know about a Live Action Eva, I really couldn't see it happening...  
And I think the reason DBZ was such an EPIC FAIL, was because there was no effort put into it... actors were horrible, character design was BLEEPING awful, and I don't know what else to say about how bad of a miss it was...
Really, I kinda've inferred that Hollywood wants to see these kinds of movies fail, that or they don't want to take the risks, because Anime going live action means big budget... But, I see that if the potential efforts are made, they could be a cash pot just like comic book movies... eh, but that's just me... Hollywood =? racist
BrandonElliotton June 12, 2010 at 3:43 a.m.
There are one or two that I can think of that might do well as a movie but over all I prefer anime to stay anime. Ever american comics don't tend translate well after the first movie. ie Spider Man 2 and 3
wwfunderakeron June 12, 2010 at 8:01 a.m.
The only live action ive seen was GTO and it was great. If they are made with quality then thats great.
LordCravenon June 12, 2010 at 10:09 a.m.

I don't know, a live action eva might be pretty cool as seen in this WetaWorkshop concept art...
 
 
  But on the flip side yuck>    
Asuka?
Asuka?
nate1222on June 12, 2010 at 2:21 p.m.


Hell no.

The only Anime turned live-action movie that was decent was Death Note. And even that paled in comparison to the Anime. Look at "The Last Air Bender" action movie.  They went as far as to cast a Caucasion kid as the main character, in hopes of reeling in biggoted American assholes. I'm not going to see it, simply because I DON'T want my feelings toward the Anime soured by it!

Pleioneon June 12, 2010 at 3:29 p.m.
Maybe when someone does it right, yes.  But so far, the odds have been against live-action.
Gozertcon June 12, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.
@wwfunderaker said:
"The only live action ive seen was GTO and it was great. If they are made with quality then thats great. "

Oh I can't believe I forgot GTO!  The Live action was AWESOME! 
Ryuku_Ryosakeon June 12, 2010 at 7:47 p.m.
Good Live Action Hollywood Anime will never happen or at least never happen in our lifetimes. Sure as mentioned Anime is generally bizarre but so are comics and many other things that make it to movies. Let's take comics as an example. Comic are a part of American culture and it is only recently they've started to get good adaptations. 
 
The way that happened is comics had to beat their way through to main stream american culture with bad adaptions. Before any studio would allow good budget and faithful adaption. Anime has a long away to go before it enters into the American Zietgiest like Batman or Iron Man has.
 
DBZ is definitely the closest any Anime has gotten. While there is are generation out there who has been exposed to the show that generation is not the one signing the checks. That's how evolution happened. However if things like Evolution and Kai keep happening maybe there will be one day when grand parents, parents, and children will have the respect enough for the DB franchise to let a good live action adaption happen.
Killajadeon June 13, 2010 at 2:27 a.m.
Waiting for some Kodomo no jikan live action:D
Catolfon June 13, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.
Though I think live action anime is mostly a bad idea, look what it does. It opens the doors for new fans who've never even heard of that anime, or watched anime in general to see a little and maybe research the origional source.
 
As fans we can't sit here and say NO it's not our call, it's just an opinion, it's the Japanese company's decision overall. In the end it may create new fans.
 
When asked about the DB movie, people who never watched the anime loved it. While those who had, hated it. Those who loved it may look into the origional and purchase the DVD's or watch DBZ: Kai. It's a double edge sword but the gamble may prove worth while in the end.

Dig Deeper into Death Note

A shounen franchise of enormous popularity, Death Note started with Tsugumi Ohba's manga, illustrated by the popular artist Takeshi Obata. The series is essentially an extended police chase thriller, but with added twists, including the existence of Shinigami (death gods) who can control the death of humans.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (69 Posts)
Add/View Images (273 Images)
Watch Some Videos (5 Videos)
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

NARUTO Ch. 692 Review

Um,...can I have Obito back now, please?

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Seriously Tries to Sell You "Mecha Naruto?"

Episode #376+377. A two-part infomercial?

The Lamest JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Episode

STARDUST CRUSADERS #24 -- Watch & Learn. Fiiiiiiiiller!

HUNTER X HUNTER #147 -- Special Review

Don't cry now, Killua. I'm sure you'll see Gon again soon.

ONE PIECE #661 -- Special Review

Wow... how much money did they add to the animation budget?

OVERLOOKED ANIME :: HAL Features Robots and Romance in a New Light

Would YOU sign up a loved one for robot therapy?

BLEACH Ch. 596 Review

Kurotsuchi has committed grand theft undead.

DRAGON BALL #19 + 20 -- Retro Review

This really seemed more like SOUTH PARK back then...

Anime Caption Contest! -- 9/16/14

To celebrate Sailor Moon Crystal, get a dose of Magical Girl Madness!

ONE PIECE #661 -- Special Review

Wow... how much money did they add to the animation budget?

NARUTO Ch. 692 Review

Um,...can I have Obito back now, please?

The Lamest JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Episode

STARDUST CRUSADERS #24 -- Watch & Learn. Fiiiiiiiiller!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY... the Anime?

DISC WARS is like... "POKEMON versus Marvel."

HUNTER X HUNTER #147 -- Special Review

Don't cry now, Killua. I'm sure you'll see Gon again soon.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Seriously Tries to Sell You "Mecha Naruto?"

Episode #376+377. A two-part infomercial?

OVERLOOKED ANIME :: HAL Features Robots and Romance in a New Light

Would YOU sign up a loved one for robot therapy?

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel