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.