In the past few years, there have been announcements for a number of live action adaptations of popular anime to be produced in Hollywood. Let me first say that I think it is awesome that anime is getting that sort of attention outside of it’s nation of origin. With that said, I think it is a horrible, terrible, god awful idea. Look at the Dragon Ball movie...
Yes, it is great that people want to make these films. That notion alone speaks volumes about the attention being paid to our beloved medium. But is that necessarily a good thing (in this instance)? I would say no. Not even no, but hell no. For example, look at the shape of comic book movies.
Before people start throwing up Christopher Nolan and his amazing work with Batman, you should first look at the other comic book movies in comparison. While there have been some phenomenal adaptations from Hollywood, there have also been complete train wrecks. With few exceptions, it has only been recently that movie makers have decided to stay somewhat faithful to the source material.
In my (humble) personal opinion, I think anime adaptations in Hollywood will be disastrous. Not for them, mind you. People will still pay to see these films as they will surely become the flavor of the week. No, it will be painful for US.
Akira is rumored to take place in Manhattan with actors in the range of 20 to 40 years of age? Really?! Kaneda and Tetsuo were in HIGH SCHOOL! Keanu Reeves is all but listed as playing Spike Spiegel in the Cowboy Bebop adaptation. Sure, he’s made a FEW good films, but he has nowhere even close to the range it would take to properly portray one of the most diverse protagonists in the history of anime. Above all else, none of these actors are Japanese. Hell, they are not even Asian.
All I am saying is to leave the anime adaptations to the people who know what they are doing with it. Leave it to the folks who created the source material or people who actually care and understand what these stories mean and stand for. While it IS show “business,” that still doesn’t mean these stories should become cookie cutter assembly line films.
For proof, check out: Casshern, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, or Oldboy (I’ve also heard the new Rurouni Kenshin live action film is amazing). Then there are those original movies that are made like anime: Death Trance, Ichi, Goemon, Returner, and Dororo. Just saying. It CAN (and should) be done without Hollywood.
‘Til next time folks!