Rise of Anime Live Action Films: Good or Bad?
By: Haiku Archangelo Vinevaldi
What is driving this new craze? And what do you think of it?
As some of you might have noticed there has been a rise in Hollywood's adaptations in Anime/Manga. From Dragon Ball to Speed Racer to Akira. But why is this happening? And is it a good thing?
Anime/Manga has some of the greatest storylines in Film and literature. But that does not mean they are acknowledged, especially in the West.
So why is there is rise? Well, Writing has become an issue in Hollywood. Not to mention people are starting to realize the fanbase and the potential it has.
But is this a good thing? Not always. The failure of Speed Racer and potential failure of Dragon Ball: Evolution should prove this. Why did these fail? For one, Speed Racer kept completely true to it's 70s anime roots. Which isn't a popular concept in the US, not to mention the humor in Japan is different as well. Dragonball: Evolution on the other hand was poorly casted, and the story line changed beyond recognition. Not to mention certain things were cheaply produced: Piccolo, The capsules, and the costumes.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is also proof of a anime movie gone wrong. The movie was solely based on Chun Li, Bison, and Vega. Not on Ryu or Ken. It was badly casted, The costumes did not stay true to its source, and I would've liked to see some Ryu and Ken. Not to mention scriptwriters are not written satisfactorily in my standards.
There are also J- Movies who destroy animes (Sailor Moon, Death Note). But this doesn't mean all things based off anime have to be bad. There are simple ways to fix this. Here are some:
Make it believable. Speed Racer went overboard, but Chun Li didn't take any risks what so ever. Don't be afraid to try stuff, though. I would've like to see a reduxed version of Chun Li's fight uniform, but done very nicely. Not look like cosplay, but not look overdone. (Watchmen and The Dark Knight are example of costumes redone well.)
Get a good writer. Again, comic book movies are starting to be more respected because they are introducing more the mature, complex themes. Anime based movies should be the same way.
Casting. Get very good casting. For anime its harder, especially because of the Big eyes, small mouth factor. But Keanu Reeves as Spike from Cowboy Bebop is not a good example. True, he looks like him sometimes (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure style). But his acting doesn't fit the character, and he hasn't made a good movie since the Matrix. Not to mention he's a little old for the character.(Zhang Ziyi for Chun Li in Street Fighter would've been great though.) And I am not someone who thinks every anime movie has to have a full Japanese cast. Simply because not all animes take place in Japan, and if they are US made, then more than likely there will not be a Japanese cast. And once again, if it is Japanese that doesn't mean it's good. The Death Note films had bad acting and cheap effects.
Be Selective of Storylines. I have a million storylines in my head that would be great anime movies. But Hollywood seems to ignore them. They tend to choose the most realistic or popular ones(which isn't a bad thing), in the case of Akira and Cowboy Bebop I simply love the anime incarnation. Why? because half the amazement of Akira and Cowboy Bebop was that it was anime. Not to mention Akira was what shot anime into the Western film world. Why not Osamu Tezuka's Apollo's Song, Ode to Kirihito, or MW? or Ryoko Ikeda's The Rose of Versailles for realism? Outlaw Star,Gundam, Death Note, and Basilisk are good too.(Remake Death Note. I haven't seen Shinobi: Heart Under Blade yet, I intend to). For shojo fans Escaflowne, Vampire Knight, Angel Sanctuary and Shojo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena).
They could make great movies out of anime, but it all depends on who the visionary is, the budget, and which country is making it.
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