Only when an anime becomes extremely successful that it receives the live action treatment. But not all of them are good enough. Hollywood has its fair share of hits and misses. Japan on the other hand, never misses.
Bleach is a popular shonen anime that has a massive fan following in the entire world. The Netflix live action adaptation does pretty well to live up to the anime’s reputation. Perhaps the reason the Bleach live action movie was so loved was because it was never over-ambitious like the rest of its peers. It never tried to cram too much into the story. The Bleach live action features only the first arc of the series. Ichigo meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper. Both teach others the values of their respective worlds before Rukia is arrested. Ichigo now has to save Rukia and complete his journey to becoming a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself.
Gintama is like Japan’s version of The Simpsons. It is extremely funny and has an incredible story arc to boast. The anime is a Samurai parody. Set in a world where aliens have taken over Japan, a rag tag group of warriors led by an eccentric samurai, the Gintama movie is as chaotic and hilarious as the anime, considered the zenith of comedy in anime circles. Gintama is a religion in Japan and if an entire fan base this big agrees that the live action movie is good, you have to give credit where it is due.
Illang: The Wolf Brigade
The movie is a live action production of the Japanese anime Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. A dystopian science fiction action movie, Illang: The Wolf Brigade takes place in the near future where the country has been taken over by a hyper-nationalistic and oppressive regime. The Wolf Brigade aka Illang is a special operations group tasked with exterminating dissenters and traitors to the Government of a Unified Korea. Packed with stunning visuals and incredible acting, this is one movie every movie fan would love.
Honor, valor, disgrace, and courage make up the four foundations of Rurouni Kenshin. There are quite a large number of people in America that are a fan of samurai movies. If you are a fan of a classic samurai tale on revenge, Rurouni Kenshin should sooth your nerves. The movie takes multiple cues from actual pieces of history from Medieval Japan. The live action movie adaptation for the anime series is in fact a trilogy, each successive entry being slightly better than its predecessor.
Takashi Miike will be featured a lot on this list. And with good reason. He has made a career out of Gonzo movies. But don’t just trust our words. Seeing is believing. Miike transitions a lot between genres. One moment he is working on Samurai movies full of blood and gore. The other moment he changes pace and starts bringing children’s anime to life. Ace Attorney began as a series of universally acclaimed games. It was later on turned into a successful anime venture. Miike brings that to life in this live action feature.
Now we are not talking of the Netflix live action adaptation here. That was a disaster of Hollywood trying to whitewash a classic anime series into an utter abomination. Before Netflix came up with their version, Japan had already created two movies on the series. The first of the series focused on the battle between Kira and L. The second gives us the story of the second Kira – Misa Amane. Both movies are a home run.
Inuyashiki is an anime based on a ridiculous premise. An old man facing a mid life crisis and a young man with sociopathic tendencies are turned into robots by alien beings. Now equipped with unbridled power, one must keep the other in check. Shinsuke Sato does a terrific job. In a runtime of over two hours, he gives us everything from body horror, to action, suspense, and gripping drama. The movie is supposed to be part of a trilogy so more is yet to come.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter 1
The ridiculous character designs and the whimsical story arc made people think that the anime could never pull off a live action feature. Hirohiko Araki’s creation features people with special abilities called Stands. By focusing their life force energy, these Stands come into force and aid the wielders in battle. Takashi Miike, a prominent name in the anime live-action adaptation arena of Japan, comes forward to do the job. His work ends up cramming too much into too little. But in the end, the movie does end up being extremely satisfying with tons of fan appeasement scenes like the source anime.
Blade Of The Immortal
Blade of the Immortal features a seemingly immortal samurai warrior who wanders the lands in search of worthy foes. Unable to die, the protagonist is cursed to mow down bodies and leave behind a trail of bloodshed. Takahashi Miike brings the anime to life with his 100th feature film. The movie does not disappoint. The battles are just as bloody and gritty. The world of Blade of the Immortal is brought to life in the most splendid fashion possible.
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Fumihiko Sori gave us an incredible live-action adaptation in the form of Ping Pong. Although we understand some of you might be wondering why that did not feature on the list, there is something even greater from Sori most of us have failed to notice. Fullmetal Alchemist is a cult classic. It has spawned generations of fans that gawk over the anime in awe. Sori’s Live-Action movie does not quite capture the magic but it does come pretty close to it. There’s amazing action sequences with well placed special effects. The bromance between Al and Edward is obviously captured nicely in the camera. Although it is hardly a good take on the anime, it is still a good staring point to get the engines running for people unaware of the source material it hails from.