Monday, September 9, 2013

Live Action Anime Movies

When it comes to manga and anime, there's a very, very, very big audience. Whether it be in Japan, America, or anywhere else around the world many people tend to fall in love with these Japanese comics and animation. And you can't really blame them. Most of these stories that are showcased through these two mediums are very good in terms of the story, artwork, animation, music, and even voice acting. There are people who know who voiced who like the back of their hand. And I don't know how many people I know that have been introduced to Japanese music via anime. The same can also be said for Japanese television and movies. So the general point I'm trying to make is that anime/manga has become a gateway of sorts for many things to come out from Japan, and is also a gateway into a world of wonderful stories. And this realm as stated has a very passionate fan base who only want to see their favorites get the publicity and recognition they deserve.

And it's this sort of thought which leads many people to want mangas and anime to be turned into live action movies. Once again, you can't really blame them. Many of the countless stories found in both anime and manga are prime for live action films. It's a topic of debate for a lot of fans on what they want to see get made, and how they'd want to see something done. And movie studios have obviously recognized this. Japan cranks out quite a few live films a year based on anime, and Hollywood has done so as well (although less successfully then Japan). So it's clear that the idea of turning these animated and drawn stories into real life people is becoming quite the norm.

But should they be made?

In my completely honest opinion, I think mangas being turned into live action films are great. But it depends on the series. Why do I think this? Well as always, I better start explaining myself.

When it comes to anime and manga, the stories differ greatly. One series can be a simple coming of age story, the other a balls out martial arts epic. And it's this difference that forms the opinion I stated in the last paragraph. So basically, what I'm getting at is that adapting an anime into live action (for me) solely depends on what it's about. Because what the story is about can greatly affect how it will turn out.

To kinda showcase my point a little more. Let's take a look at two mangas/animes.

First, let's look at one of my favorite manga series in the form of Ultra Maniac.

Now the basic plot Ultra Maniac is about a girl named Ayu. Ayu is your average middle school student. One day, she meets a fellow student named Nina, who turns out to be a witch from the magical kingdom. Nina came to Earth because she's a failure in the magic kingdom, and was sent here to study humans. From that point on hijinks ensue with Nina helping Ayu however possible, with Ayu usually getting a Rita Repulsa styled headache due to Nina's efforts, as well as her friends from the magical kingdom who pop in every now and then.

So what we have here is a very simple plot about a pair of friends. It just so happens one is a witch. This type of story has been done quite a bit in many forms of mediums. It's simple and straight forward. Why did I bring it up? Well because I think this is a fine example of a manga that could easily be turned into a live action movie. It has a nice simple story that would be easy to adapt, very little use of crazy insane things that would require equally crazy effects, and due to the shortness of the series (it's only 6 volumes), can easily be turned into either a stand a lone film, or a nice little series. Plus from a marketing point of view, it would probably do well. Just get two hot (in the sense of popularity not bodies) actresses, a couple of goofy but serious actors, and get an idol group to contribute a few songs and you'd have yourself a a hit with the teens. So once again but shorter, Ultra Maniac is a prime example of a very easy series to adapt. Easy to write into live action, requires very little to almost no effects, and could be the start of a nice small series.

But now we have the second series. And this one is on the exact opposite of the coin. That series is one that is actually suppose to be being made in Hollywood. That series is Bleach.

Yes, we're going to talk about Bleach, one of the most popular series of all time and one of the big four when it comes to current day manga (the big four being Bleach, Naurto, One Piece, and probably Fairy Tail). A series which in 2012 was confirmed to be being made into a live action film in Hollywood by Warner Brothers. A series that is widely regarded as one of the best. So this is the part of the article when I'm probably about to get a lot of hate from my fellow otakus.

So what's Bleach's plot? Well it's...somewhat simple. It's a story about a guy named Ichigo. Ichigo has always had the ability to talk to dead people (insert Sixth Sense joke). Well this ability soon leads him to meeting a girl Rukia, who is a spirit reaper. What's a spirit reaper? Well to put it simply, a spirit reaper is a person who goes around defeating creatures which are called Hollows (do your own damn research on them cause I don't feel like explaining it). Oh, and spirit reapers are people who had died. Well Rukia ends up giving her powers to Ichigo, making him a living soul reaper. And from that point on ward, the story gets ape shit insane with the amount of different plot arcs.

Whereas Ultra Maniac had a fairly simple plot about friends, Bleach is a very complicated plot about a soul reaper and his many adventures. Now , the story of a human fighting against evil spirits isn't anything Bleach invented or that new, but the series did put it's own little spin on the type of tale. But it's that story which makes Bleach a very hard movie to adapt into live action.

I'm going to talk about the two main reasons Bleach would be very tough to adapt. And the first one is the story. Because the story unfolds over multiple arcs, it does making the reader more interested. And it does advance the story and gives characters a lot of time to develop. But because of this length, it's one of those that's hard to turn into one movie. And while it's highly possible there could and probably will be a whole series of Bleach films, it still doesn't help. It begs the question of what all you adapt into each movie, how you end them, where you begin them, what's filler, what's not filler. It's a very complicated process movie/script writing is, and Bleach being a pretty complicated story with a lot of material would be very hard to adapt into at most, the average hour and a half film. Not to mention, the series isn't even freaking done yet. I know that's not really important to a degree, but it could eventually play into the film/s development.

The other reason I wish to discuss is the use of CGI. Today, using CGI to pull off difficult stunts or effects is all the norm in movie making wherever you look (outside of maybe very cheap films). It's a Godsend, and it's also an albertraz. And when it comes to both manga and anime, a lot of series have a lot of content in the drawings and scenes which are very spectacular and intricate. Which is a fancy way of me saying, a lot of series would require a lot of CGI in a live action adaption. And Bleach is no different. Almost every, no, every major fight in the series is filled with very fancy sword and weapon play, and a barrage of special attacks. All of which would require a massive amount of CGI. Not to mention, CGI would be needed to do the design work for all of the Hollows, and even a few of the regular characters that make of the Soul Society (and maybe even Oriwhore...I mean Orihime's breasts considering how freaking big they are). The point being, doing a Bleach movie pretty much gurran-damn-tees that you're in for a lot of computer made effects and characters.

Now does that mean a Bleach live action movie wouldn't be good? Not at all. I'm sure it could be pretty good depending on the story of the film. I'm damn sure that it would be a box office smash around the world as far as the market it's made for (otakus). And it could enjoy a very large amount of sequels.

But Bleach is an example of the type of manga movie which I'm not really a big believer in being made into live action. It's a series which would rely very heavily on CGI. And while I'm not going to bash the series for that fact, I am going to say that it would make the live action adaption of it very hard production wise. And this goes for a lot of other series. Stuff like Dragon Ball Z, Ghost In The Shell, Gundam, Naruto, and so on. So many of the very popular series include scenes that could probably only be pulled off by computer work. That's not to say there wouldn't be a way to use actual practical effects, but computer effects would in the end up being the main source for effect work.

Now does that mean any and all mangas and animes can't be turned into live action films? Well no. Yes they are a ton that require a lot of effects, but there are equally as many that would require very little to no effects. There's a ton of dramas out there in the world of manga that could be turned into a movie. So many love stories, sport stories, and even action titles that can be turned into a live action movie. It still does depend on what the series is in my opinion, but it's not impossible. You just have to find the right series that will adapt well.

Does this mean I don't get excited about them when they're announced? Hell nah. When I first heard that Rurouni Kenshin was finally getting a live action movie, I went ape shit fanboy crazy from the news. I get excited, it just depends on the series, and how well I like it.

It's just all a matter of perspective. Almost every series is made for movie land. But not all of them in my opinion can make it due to how their stories are, the amount of effects needed, and so on. But others can make the jump, for the exact same reasons. As I said, it's just a matter of perspective and thinking.

Now that I've gotten all that off my chest, I'm sure there are some people reading this who are thinking "DURRR, Poe's totally against live action manga films and doesn't want to see any." Well you'd be wrong stinkbrick. Didn't I just say a while back that I was ecstatic about the Rurouni Kenshin movie when it was first announced. And did I not say that I praise and love some of the ones made like the Death Note movies, Love Com, and Ichi the Killer? I'm not against it. I'm just not sure on how well some would be made. And as far as the not wanting to see any, you're wrong to. And to show a bit of fairness and entertainment for you, here are the top five mangas/animes I WANT to be adapted into a live action film.

5. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Azumanga Daioh

Anyone of these would work in my opinion, which is why I'm listing both as a tie instead of individual entries. Both are hilarious, have a funny story, and in Haruhi's case, can be pretty serious at times. Both would make perfect comedic dramas, and have enough story in them (especially for Azumanga Daioh) to make a series out of it. This is a perfect example of a series that is made for, well, a series. And considering both are two of my favorite series of all time, I'd love to see them get adapted.

4. Perfect Blue

Technically there already is a live action version of Perfect Blue. The reworking was released in 2002 with the name Perfect Blue: Yume Nara Samete. However, the film is vastly different from the anime in characters, tone, story, and quality, as it's more faithful to the original novel written by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. So since this list is about animes I want to be turned into live action movies, we'll going to ignore the 2002 movie. Perfect Blue as a whole would fit perfectly in the realm of live action movies. It's story while complex can be contained easily in one movie, would require zero CGI, and has a very good story to back it up. It would make (no pun intended) a perfect J-Horror/Thriller movie.

3. Ghost In The Shell

It's freaking Ghost In The Shell. It's like anime's answer to The Matrix (yes I know GITS came out first). It's pure sci-fi bad assery. And like another addition on this list, it's just begging to make the jump into live action. In fact, in 2008 Dreamworks actually acquired the right to make a live action adaption of Ghost In The Shell. Dreamworks, GET ON IT!

2. Anything Studio Ghilbi/Hayao Miyazaki

Yes, the work of Ghilbi and Miyazaki is fine art within the anime world, and thus turning them to live action movies would be almost a sin. But I can't help but dream about seeing any of them put onto film in live action. From the epic battle of Princess Mononoke, to the imaginative if CGI filled world of Spirited Away, the possibilities are endless. In fact, Kiki's Delivery Service is actually being made into a live action film as we speak. If Kiki can make the jump to live action, then who knows what other one of Miyazaki and Studio Ghilbi's works will.

1. 5 Centimeters Per Second

If you know me in real life and are in my manga club, you know that ever since I've read the manga and seen the animated film of this, I've basically ridden and sucked the dick off of it. And for good reason. It's fucking perfect. Yes, I said perfect. I rarely call anything perfect, especially anime and manga, but 5 Centimeters Per Second is fucking perfect. Not only that, but it's the first manga I've read in years that I did not put down once. I read the whole thing in one straight go glued to my seat. It's that damn good. It's absolutely perfect to be made into live action.

Now that you know what ones I want to be turned into live action flicks, I'm sure that makes some of you question "So what are Poe's picks for the best live action films adapted from manga and anime?" Well....
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