Hollywood loves to adapt old films and TV shows into new, rebooted versions. Occasionally, they look to Japanese anime for inspiration, such as with Astro Boy, Dragon Ball, Speed Racer, and the upcoming Ghost in the Shell. There are many anime projects that would make for excellent movies, if they were done right. Here are seven works of anime that have the potential to be big hits as live-action Hollywood films.
The popular anime Ghost in the Shell is currently being made into a live action film. The inspiration for Pacific Rim came from the trend of anime giant robot shows. Firefly/Serenity was inspired by the anime Cowboy Bebop. Anime (or anime inspired) adaptations have been hit-and-miss (more miss than hit, actually) but we think the following films could make great film franchises, if Hollywood got them right.
AKIRA: This ground-breaking film is responsible for the American anime craze of the 1990s. While some previous anime series TV shows from Japan, like Speed Racer, had become cult-hits in America when adapted into English language versions, it wasn’t until Akira that we started to see anime films popping up in US theaters. The movie pioneered a new, grander style of visual animation and a daring approach to adult story telling. It has an important place in anime history. With its epic action scenes, super-powered characters, motor cycle chases and government conspiracies, this is a natural for Hollywood.
THE DIRTY PAIR: Since the current trend in Hollywood films is to depict superhumanly formidable “kickass” women, then they need look no further than the “Lovely Angels” Kei and Yuri. A pair of sexy but violent troubleshooters for the United Galactica Governments, they wear mostly transparent spandex outfits and have a tendency to leave a path of destruction behind them where ever they go. With equal shares humor, action and sex appeal, the Dirty Pair/Lovely Angels are loaded with big screen potential.
GATCHAMAN (Alias G-Force; Alias Battle of the Planets): Five young heroes called the “Gatchaman” (or "G-Force”)—all dressed for some unexplained reason in bird costumes—use their skills and their ship The Phoenix to foil the invasion plans of Galactor (AKA Zoltar). Teams of super heroes in costumes are all the rage right now. While the English language version called Battle of the Planets is better known here in the US, it’s just an inferior child-friendly version featuring new footage with an R2D2 rip-off called 7-Zark-7. Stick to the original Gatchaman version, which is more adult oriented.
GIGANTOR: Originally called Tetsujin 28 (or Iron Man 28) this was part of the original ‘first wave’ of Japanese anime that came to America in the 1960s. It jump-started the popularity of giant robot animated shows. The adventures of young Shotaro Haneda (AKA Jimmy Sparks) and his giant robot were so influential to the genre that it became a major inspiration for Pacific Rim.
MACROSS: Released in the US as Robotech, the plot begins when a spaceship crash lands on Earth, leading to an advancement of human technology. This tech becomes helpful when the giant alien Zentraedi come to reclaim their property, leading to an interplanetary war. This show is one of the cornerstones of the anime, sci-fi genre. It was revived several times throughout the 1990s in myriad incarnations.
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: The story follows a civil war between Earth and its Zeon colony, where battles are fought using robot-like battle suits called Gundams. This is one of the most popular and enduring anime shows, and has long been a foundation of the Japanese anime genre. With sequels, spin-offs, direct-to-video movies and reboots, it ran for decades in various incarnations, remaining relevant. It’s like the Star Trek of anime.
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND: Released in the west as Warriors of the Wind, this is arguably the greatest work of acclaimed anime master Hayao Miyazaki. Nausicaa is a princess in a future Earth contaminated by pollution, where the human survivors are at war and giant insects roam the Sea of Corruption. The movie not only has a likable and admirable female lead; it also has a strong message about the dangers of pollution.
Are there any anime films or shows you'd like to see adapted to live action?