Can't get enough Anime
Animes Gone Live Action! Whoo Hoo!
For those who know me best, I'll admit I'm a huge fan of Japanese anime. In fact, when I was eighteen years old, a friend mine introduced me to "Dragon Ball Z." Although I will admit the story line for that show wasn't really that great, as it seemed every saga, in that series, was generically the same. Stall the bad guy until Son Gohan or Son Goku arrives, to kick to living tar out of him. However, that wasn't what drew me into the show. It was the characters themselves. Each character presenting their own unique personality and charisma, that I couldn't help but get into the show. When I first watched the pilot episode, I was a tad bit skeptical. To be honest, I used find anime rather boring when I was kid. Which was why I never got into shows like "Robotech" or "Voltron" growing up. Well, there was "Transformers", but that was pretty much it. However, since I was getting out of comic books at the time, a friend of mine pleaded me to see "Dragon Ball Z." Making the show sound almost like "the bees knees" (slang for good). Therefore, after he pleaded with me to give it a try, I did. After watching the first few episodes (I have kind of a watch at least five episodes of a show before judging it policy), I was immediately hooked since.
I loved how Son Goku and Lord Piccolo had uniquely different origin stories, yet they had a lot similarities. Both came from other planets, and became the exact opposite of what their races were known for. On the one hand, you had Son Goku who was sent to Earth as a child to kill and enslave humanity as a baby, but he ends up becoming it's savior instead. Then there was Piccolo, who came from a planet of peaceful warriors, but became corrupted and insane by the influence of humanities cruelty. Needless to say, the irony was too much to overlook, and it made that much more interesting that these two sworn enemies were forced to take on an even deadlier threat than both of them put together. From then on not only did I become a "Dragon Ball Z" fan, I also became a fan of anime itself. Getting into other much deeper shows and movies as I wanted to know more about the genre. Loving such shows like "Inuyasha", "Ghost In The Shell", "Full Metal Alchemist", and so many others.
Although I never used to be into anime, I was always into cartoons and still am to this day. However, what intrigues me most about the anime genre is that unlike western style animation, it's not limited to any particular audience or story content. Where anime can not only explore story lines to entertain children, but it could also create diverse and complex stories that could easily rival any live action show or movie. Let's just say that because of my friends pleading, I found a new hobby that I grew to love over time. That's why I decided to dedicate this hub to animes that Hollywood plans on turning into live action films down the road.
Like my previous hub, "80's Cartoon Explosion", I'll basically giving you a brief summary about what each anime is about while telling you my thoughts on well it might do both economically and critically. In addition to that though, I'll also be telling you what's been confirmed about each project (If there is anything at all), and what's possibly rumored.
On another note, I won't be going over animes like "Dragon Ball", "Speed Racer" or "Transformers" because those were already turned into live action version of themselves. Therefore, we should all know how well all those did already when they were released. No, my business is to merely discuss the ones that haven't been released yet. Take in mind all these projected films are still in production as we speak, so there's always a possibility they may cancel them.
Ghost In The Shell
Synopsis: "Ghost In The Shell" is by far one of the deepest anime movies ever conjured, and the spin off T.V. series was every bit as deep, if not deeper. The story essentially takes place in the distant future. Where almost all of humanity is either completely turned into machines, or they're cyborgs. With very little true humans left, "Ghost In The Shell" blurs the line between machines and humanity like no other. As even the machines themselves start to evolve and gain their own unique personalities, and self awareness. This raises various questions throughout the series, as if machines could feel fear and any other emotion, does that mean they have a soul? And with a society continuing to give up their humanity in favor of robotic parts, to the point where their entire body is a machine except for their memories. Are they even still human or have a soul still? Indeed, these are just some of the many moral paradox questions, "Ghost In The Shell" plays on beautifully.
The series essentially follows an elite private police force, in Japan, known only as Section 9; their job is to handle various cyber terrorist crimes across the city. Often working in secrecy as very few government members are even privileged to know of their existence. Led by their fearless leader, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who lost her body as a child and has lived most of her life through various artificial bodies over the years. With each time her mind and memories transfer from one body to the next, she slowly but surely loses bits and pieces of her own humanity. Feeling herself distance from humanity, as she continuously grows to feel more distant from her own emotions. Although depictions of her in the anime have her dressing rather promiscuously, I wouldn't let her looks fool you. She's actually a cold hearted, calculating, highly intelligent, and deadly assassin that always knows exactly how to gain control of any situation.
Economically: It's rather tough to say how well this film will do, as very little details about the film are yet to be released. However, I doubt seriously it could work on the big screen. In order for "Ghost In The Shell" to work, it has to be rated R. No, questions asked. The reason why I say this is the story line tends to often be border line controversial or it is controversial. Depicting various government conspiracies and darkness about humanity itself. How we as humans are always willing to sacrifice bits ourselves in pursuit of some ideology of perfection, but at what costs? If that wasn't controversial enough, most of their their stories often involve a lot violence and nudity. Granted, they can always tone down the nudity and still get the same great story, as they did that with the anime T.V. series, but I don't see how they could get around the graphically violent nature of their stories. As most of their story lines tend to lean towards the violent nature of society.
Although this film is in production by Dreamworks where even founder, Steven Spielberg, claims to be a huge fan of the show, I'm still fairly skeptical about how well ticket sales will do. Seeing as there would be no other way to tell this story than to make a "R-rated movie", it also would require a lot of special effects. And lord only knows, that's not going to be cheap either. As I'm sure Dreamworks is expecting a hefty profit back on this one, or else they wouldn't be planning on making the film in "3-D" style format. Assuming that it does get an "R-rating", another problem would be that "R-rated" movies typically don't make too much money; in comparison to lower rated films. In fact, the highest grossing "R-rated film" would be "Passion of the Christ", at $370,782,930. Whoever gets the task of directing this, is going to have to keep this film on a fairly reasonable budget to see a safe return on it.
Not saying it can't be done as films like "The Matrix", "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Matrix Reloaded" were also rated R and used quite a bit of special effects as well, and saw a fairly reasonable return. Therefore, it really depends on who directs this. Although I am a tad skeptical, it could be a huge hit if the director keeps the film on budget.
Critically: As long as they stick to the original story line as closely as possible, then I don't see how any critic in his right mind would have anything bad to say about it. Unless the newly hired writer, Laeta Kalogridis, along with any other writers Dreamworks hires for the project, decide to make a lot of changes for the sake of modernization and to attempt to westernize the story (ala "Dragon Ball Evolution), then it'll epically fail. Why fix what isn't broken? "Ghost In The Shell" offers possibly one of the deepest stories ever told, and it's roots are founded in Japanese culture. Therefore, if Hollywood dares to change that, then they might find a lot of angry fans out there.
Final thoughts: As I said before, as long as they can find a good director that can keep this film on budget, and understands the story content, then it'll have a great chance to win over audiences, when it hits around 2011. Plus, I'm sure critics will love it, as long as the live action version of "Ghost In The Shell" stays true to it's roots. If not, then I think we can all expect another bomb like "Speed Racer" and "Dragon Ball Evolution." However, if it does fail like the Major Motoko once said in an episode of "Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex": "If this fails, we can always drown out our sorrows at a nudey bar."
Lupin the 3rd
Synopsis: Lupin is the grandson of Arsene Lupin, aka "The Gentleman Thief." Aided by sharpshooter Daisuke Jigen, master swordsman Ishikawa Goemon XIII, and the beautifully deadly Fujiko Mine; together they travel the world in search of various treasures to loot for their own financial gains. Chased to the ends of the earth by ICPO officer Inspector Koichi (The Ol' Man) Zenigataarth.
Although the anime was fairly controversial due to it's excessively violent and sexual content. As Lupin was not only a violent thief, but he was also quite the womanizer. In fact, the only thing he seemed to care about more than stealing riches across the globe, was the rare chances he could have at groping Fujiko's ummm.....well...err...let's just say assets. Yeah, needless to say, Lupin was a giant pervert when it came to sex, so this opened up a lot of comical story lines in the anime, where Fujiko (being the clever girl she is) was able to toy with Lupin's heart a lot of times to get whatever she wanted. Indeed, in the anime, Fujiko and Lupin always had a weird relationship. At times they'd be allies and lovers, but at other times, they'd be enemies where Fujiko would try to use her assets to seduce Lupin to get what she wanted. Unfortunately for her, Lupin always managed to see past her devious charms to still come away with the money and riches he was trying to steal, to begin with. However, as controversial as the anime was, it was nothing compared to the original manga (Japanese term for comic book) version, where Lupin's exploits through both violence and sex was a lot more broader and potent to his stories. Therefore, when he was adapted to anime, they had to tone him down a bit. Yet even a toned down version is still fairly controversial.
Financially: Well seeing as they wouldn't need a lot of special effects like "Ghost In The Shell" and "Akira" would, I think Lupin could work rather well. Although the story might need to be "R-rated" to fully display Lupin's devious yet remarkably charming nature properly. Not saying they couldn't do it with a "PG-13" version of the story, as it could probably work in "PG-13"; just not as well. As the playful banter between Lupin and Fujiko would have to be toned down considerably. Which is rather sad, as that was always one of the best parts about the anime to watch. As it was not only steamy at times, it was also rather comical.
To break down what Lupin has going for it. Hollywood will surely cast some hot girl to play Fujiko, it'll have a lot of action, comedy, drama, suspense, and a lot of sexual ineundos. Which coincidentally films like "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", "Charlie's Angels", and "Bad Boys" had. How did that work out for those films by the way? Anyway, I digress.
Then again it's no guarantee it'll work with audiences as films like "Gone In 60 Seconds" and "Dukes of Hazard (2005)" didn't really fair well. Both basically having the same if not, similar qualities going for them. Although both films broke even, they were hardly huge hits. As even "Dukes of Hazard (2005)", didn't even break beyond eighty million dollars. However, you never know. As long as they cast some young charismatic actor who can pull off the womanizing thief and a hot girl to play Fujiko, then it might work, as most people in America are typically morons for these type of films.
Critically: It honestly depends on who directs and writes this movie, as I can see this live action version going either way. It can either come off as ingenuously clever as "Catch Me If You Can", assuming they play their cards right. Or it can come off as a over hyped hit or miss action film, where the only thing good about it is the action and special effects sequences, along with a fair amount of sexual inuendos.
Final Thoughts: I think out of all the animes being mentioned here, "Lupin the 3rd" has probably the best chance to make it fairly easily into a live action movie. As the storyline if planned out carefully could easily translate well into a movie. Although if they wish to remain faithful to the original source, it might be in their best interest to go for an "R-rating." However, a hard "PG-13 rating" like "The Dark Knight" had, could work just as well. Like I said, this all depends on who ends up with the chance to write and direct.
Synopsis: Based on a series of graphic novels, that later spawned one of the greatest anime movies ever conceived. Even though it's been nearly over two decades since "Akira" was released, it still stands the test of time as one of Japanese animes crowning achievements. On July 16, 1988, an atom bomb goes off and vaporizes all of Tokyo. It's now 2019 in Neo-Tokyo, after World War 3. The story revolves around two young men, Kaneda and Tetsuo, as they both become involved in a government project known as Akira. Kaneda is the leader of a local biker gang, and tries to save Tetsuo from the government. He's soon confronted by anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists, and a very powerful government leader. However, that's only the tip of the iceberg, as the confrontation awakens Tetsuo's supernatural powers. Leading to a bloody death with the final showdown, in the Tokyo Olympiad, where Akira's secrets were buried over thirty years ago.
Economically: Like "Ghost In The Shell", it's going require a lot of special effects and an "R-rating" to tell this story effectively, due to it's rather violent nature. Otherwise, it's not going to work. However, as long the Hughes brothers understand and know the story effectively, it could stand a reasonable chance. Plus, having a name like Leonardo DiCaprio set to star in the live action version, doesn't hurt either. As I'm sure his name alone will be enough to entice audiences to show up to the multiplex.
Critically: Seeing as how the screenwriters, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who both co-wrote such prestigious films, such as "Iron Man" and "Children of Men", are now writing the script, this film does seem to posses a lot of promise for them. Add in the Hughes brothers, Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes, then you might have yourself one heck of a movie with a lot of possibilities.
Some you might remember the Hughes brothers style of directing from "The Book of Eli." Although the film was a bit overly cliched, I found the character development and tone of the movie rather intriguing. Which is the main reason why I believe the mix of the two writers who wrote "Children of Men", hailed by many critics as one of the best films of the last decade. Topped off the Hughes brothers' unique style of story telling, could possibly bring in a lot of justice to the "Akira" franchise.
Final Thoughts: With the way things are shaping up during pre-production, it sounds like Warner Bros. is on the right track so far. I just hope that the rumored policy on how Warner Bros. is now skeptical of releasing "R-rated films" isn't true, as that's the only way I could see this movie not working on the big screen. As "PG-13" or lower would simply dumb it down. However, with the Hughes brothers along with the talented writers of "Children of Men" on board, this movie looks to be ready to take a lot of people by surprise. Plus, having Leonardo's name attached to this, only gives it that much more credibility. The first film is set to based off the first three volumes of the original Japanese manga, while Warner Bros. plans on making the follow up sequel about the remaining three. I guess like me, they must really be expecting a lot of big things from "Akira."
Synopsis: Set in the distant future, in 2071, where "astral gates" make interstellar travel possible. Humanity decimated from a lunar explosion caused by a gate accident; spreading out throughout the universe as does crime. Giving rise for the need of bounty hunters.
"Cowboy Bebob" follows a particular group of bounty hunters that one would think would make for an unlikely team. The cool and savvy leader of the group, Spike Spiegel, is a bounty hunter and former member of a crime syndicate. Aided by his friend Jet Black, former law man turned bounty hunter. Then added to the group is a young teenage girl that's a computer whiz, Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski (Bet no one can say that ten times fast), along with a seductive and mischievous girl, Faye Valentine, who doesn't have a past. Or least one that she can remember.
Needless to say, one of the major appeals about "Cowboy Bebop" was that it was not only full of drama and action, as the show delved deep Spike's troubled past, it lead to a great climax around the show's last episode. Of course, that was only the tip of the iceberg, as all the characters had their own unique back stories to where, you could have easily made a show about any one of them individually. However, they were all in one show, which made it that much cooler to watch as it kept the viewer intrigued by the mystery of each their pasts. As each story lead to a deeper understanding of the characters. Add in the clever humor, witty and suggestive dialogue, and cool jazz and musical scores, then you have yourself one heck of a series.
Economically: It's really hard to say at this point how well it'll do. However, the only thing that's been confirmed about this movie thus far, it's that Keanu Reeves is set to play the leader, Spike. No offense to Reeves, but that doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in me. If anything, it makes me worry about the success of how well this film will honestly do. Unlike the previous animes I mentioned, "Cowboy Bebop" could easily get away with a "PG-13 rating" without sacrificing a whole lot of it's story content. Sure, it would mean the film couldn't dive into some of it's more controversial themes, but they could easily tell this story with a hard "PG-13" approach, as the story content isn't as controversial as the other animes mentioned previously. Therefore, the film could be easily accessible to most audiences, and the characters are a bit westernized in their unique personalities, so it could easily be translated for the big screen.
Critically: However, a lot of that depends on the script though and who else is in it besides Keanu. No offense to Reeves, as I loved his movies "Speed" and "The Matrix", but they weren't good because of him. They were good in spite of him. What I mean by that is fairly simple. If you look at Keanu's track record. All the movies he's done that were even good like the ones I mentioned all had the same things in common when you stopped to think about it. Great special effects, a decent script which required him to use little to no dialogue in various scenes, and he was starring alongside a great actor/actress that carried him. In the case of "Speed", it was Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper, as I felt they were the ones that really carried that movie for me. Then there's "The Matrix", let's just say if it weren't for Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburn, then it would have sucked like it's sequels, as Keanu can't carry a movie on his own. He's not like Arnold Schwarzenneger where he can carry a movie, by saying very little, and get away with it. He lacks the charisma for it, and his acting abilities are very limited.
Hence, why I say it'll depend how well the script is and how good the director is. Plus, they're going to need to get a bunch of solid actors to star next to him, so he can look good. Because if Keanu Reeves turns out to be the best actor of "Cowboy Bebop", then I think 20th Century Fox can count their losses on this one.
Final Thoughts: For the love of god recast Keanu Reeves, as he's just so freaking horrible. If not, then please cast extremely well for the other characters. As long as the director and writers are able to grasp and comprehend the appeal of "Cowboy Bebop", then it should be a giant success, in spite of Reeves.
Synopsis: "Robotech" was a 1980s cartoon series from Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Prods. It was re-edited and re-dialogued to combine three Japanese anime series to give the producers enough episodes to air as a daily syndicated series.
Set in the distant future where humanity has developed the technology to fight inside giant robots, courtesy of an alien spacecraft that crashed in the South Pacific Isle. Unfortunately, due to alien invasion, humanity is forced to take up arms using their newly acquired technology. With the entire planet at war with a deadly alien race, the fate of the world rests in the hands of two young pilots.
Although the storyline may sound fairly simplistic, it offered a lot of strong underlining themes about how how badly war can affect civilization and the aftermath of it.
Economically: I won't go into too much detail over this, as I already covered it mostly in the "80's Cartoon Explosion" hub, but I will say this. As long as they can get a lot of special effects and hype rolling for "Robotech", then it has a great chance at dominating box office sales. Just look at "Avatar." It didn't have the most complex story in the world, but it did have a lot of underlining themes to go along with the special effects. "Robotech" isn't that much different as the story line isn't too complex, but it has a lot of underlining themes to make up for it.
Critically: It's hard to say how well critics will react to "Robotech", as a lot of it depends on the writers Akiva Goldsman and Chuck Roven. Some of you might be familiar with Akiva Goldsman work when he destroyed the previous Batman franchise with "Batman & Robin", or his box office bomb, "Lost In Space." However, he also wrote scripts for such films as "Hancock", "I am Legend", and "Cinderella Man." Therefore, a lot of it depends on how well he takes it seriously. If he views it as a property for kids like he did with "Batman", then it'll surely bomb. However, if stays as closely to the source material as possible, then "Robotech" might actually work pretty well on screen. Plus, it doesn't always hurt to have an actor as versatile as Tobey Maguire on board.
Final Thoughts: "Robotech" could easily turn into a great live action film, or it could royally bomb. A lot of this depends on how well the writers take it seriously, and who directs it, as no official director has been linked yet.
Synopsis: Based on the popular 1980s Japanese animated TV series, comic books and
toy line. The post-apocalyptic tale is set in New York City and Mexico,
where five survivors of an alien attack band together and end up
piloting the five lion-shaped robots that combine and form the massive
sword-wielding Voltron that helps battle Earth's invaders. Of course it also involved a princess, who later joined the Voltron team, when one of it's original members is gone. However, the basic overall story doesn't change that much.
The story line was always pretty much cut and dry with Voltron.
Economically: Let's face it, "Voltron hasn't been popular for nearly two decades, so I doubt seriously that most people even know who he is. Let alone, were even fans of his. Plus, "Power Rangers" already ripped off and did that same type of movie on the big screen. Not just once too but twice, and they both bombed at the theaters. Therefore, what chance does "Voltron" even have?
Critically: Hmmm...seeing as how critics didn't exactly like "Power Rangers" ripped off version of "Voltron", then it's fairly safe to assume they'll hate it. Lord knows, I will too most likely. Even if they choose to use CGI instead of guys in costumes, to emulate the giant robot/monster fight scenes, I still can't see both critics and audiences standing behind it.
Final Thoughts: Don't even bother making this movie. Already scheduled to be released in 2011, according to imdb.com, with no director, writer(s), or actors assigned to it at all. In fact, the only thing certain about this movie is that it's being produced by Atlas Studios. Hence, why it might be best if they just scrap this idea completely as they'd be much better off.
Synopsis: "Gatchaman", was originated in Japan
in the early 1970s as the television series "Science Ninja Team
Gatchaman." Later aired in the U.S. as "Battle of the Planets" and "G-Force,"
it soon became a widely popular syndicated TV series.
Featuring some of the most ambitious action sequences ever seen in animation, "Gatchaman" is set in a future world grappling with environmental and technological issues. The story focuses on five reluctant heroes whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth's only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders.
Economically: Unlike the previous animes I've mentioned thus far, "Gatchaman" isn't going to be in live action. No, Imagi studios (the same studio that brought us 2009's "Astroboy) is going to making "Gatchaman" into a full CGI animated movie. I would love to say this film has a great chance to be a hit, as the animated route will allow for it to remain true to it's anime roots. However, seeing as how "Astroboy" didn't exactly fair well in the U.S. box offices, makes me highly doubtful that "Gatchaman" will be that much different.
Critically: It might garner a few decent reviews from critics, but I doubt seriously it'll be well received in the western parts of the world. As I can only see this animated film by Imagi, doing well in the Asian countries, but not anywhere else.
Final Thoughts: It's a shame the U.S. and other western countries haven't fully embraced anime, as "Astroboy" was clearly much better than a lot of animated films like "Planet 51" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." Don't get me wrong, I loved all the "Ice Age" movies but compared to "Astroboy", the comparisons weren't even close. "Astroboy" offered a much richer story arc, but it was sad that American audiences didn't even give it a fair shake. That's why I'm highly doubtful about "Gatchaman." Sure, with Imagi Studios behind it, you know it'll pay justice to the original anime; that's for sure. However, I just hope it fairs better than "Astroboy" did with American audiences. Otherwise, a great studio like Imagi may not even bother to produce another one.