I’m sure that by now you all know that there is a Cowboy Bebop live-action movie in the works, and that Matrix star Keanu Reeves is attached to the project. Some of you may also know that Spider-Man himself, Tobey Maguire, is producing and possibly starring in an adaption of the eighties classic Robotech. Even Steven Spielberg wants to get in on the action; he has expressed interest in doing Ghost in the Shell, in 3D!
Well, while reflecting on how amazing these anime are and how awesome live-action versions of them could be, I realized that there are quite a few more anime deserving of being brought to a wider audience via the big, silver screen. So, here is the fruit of much labor: the Top 10 Anime Live-Action Adaptions that MUST Happen.
10. Monster (suspense/thriller)
This would make a superb thriller. The manga/series follows the search of a Japanese surgeon working in Germany for a mysterious sociopath killer who’s life was saved nine years earlier by the same doctor one night after being shot in the head. I’ll admit, I haven’t watched all of this series nor have I read the manga, but what I have seen has stuck with me. I honestly believe there is plenty of material in the show alone to work a 2 hour film, and the underlying premise is just genius. It could be like Da Vinci Code, only with a doctor racing to save lives from a patient gone wrong. The race against the clock, the authorities, and the doctors personal demons would make for a dark and original ride if done right.
9. Witch Hunter Robin (sci-fi/horror/thriller)
I loves me some Witch Hunter Robin, and seeing Robin, Amon, and the rest of the STN-J gang realized in live-action would be pretty cool. The series follows Robin, a young witch with pyrokinetic powers, as she joins the Japanese branch of the STN, a police-like organization tasked with the policing of witches. The premise is very X-Men like and the themes and situations raise the same questions. The first half of the 26 episode show could be condensed into a half-hour setup, the rest of the film’s run time should be devoted to realizing the drama of the second half, the part of the series that shines the brightest.
8. Lupin the 3rd (action/comedy)
One of two on the list that actually has a live-action adaption already, it’s been awhile since Lupin got some love. Detective Conan smash-up notwithstanding, this thief deserves an Ocean’s treatment. Just keep Clooney and Pitt far away from the project.
7. Fate/Stay Night (fantasy)
I’m not sure how American and British audiences would react to King Arthur’s not being, well, a “king,” but Fate/Stay really isn’t about the Knights of the Round anyway. The ancient and mysterious battle between sorcerers and their chosen guardians would look spectacular on the silver screen. The action depicted in the series begs for a CG heavy adaption. It would be even better if the makers of this film adapted the game instead. What better way to get more people playing erotica than to make one a movie right?
6. Mobile Suit Gundam (sci-fi/action)
G-Savior? What are you talking about? That didn’t happen.
What? It did?
5. Welcome to the NHK (comedy)
As the topic of NHK (the hikikomori) isn’t nearly as big a concern here as it is in Japan, the humor here may be a little lost on American audiences. Upfront anyway. If the makers treat the gamer, anime, and nerd cliches right, NHK will find its niche here in the mainstream. Gaming, anime, and geekdom are all becoming mainstream in their own right; and not just mainstream as in pop culture, but mainstream as in it actually acceptable as a part of everyday life for the perceived “average” person. While we true geeks and otaku can tell the difference between one of our own and an imitator, the fact still remains that it’s now cool to be like us.
Welcome to the NHK will educate the masses as to what it really means to be like us…
4. Gantz (action/horror)
Two high school kids save a wasted hobo from an oncoming subway train. They in turn, are run over (and decapitated gloriously) by said subway train. The kids awake to find themselves in a strange apartment with several other folks, locked in with no way out as they can’t even physically touch the doors or windows. In the center of the main room is a large, black metal sphere. Much blood, gore, alien creatures, and female breasts ensue.
3. Outlaw Star (sci-fi/fantasy)
If Cowboy Bebop can hit the big screen, there’s no reason Outlaw Star can’t. A fun romp through space on an intergalactic treasure hunt would be a satisfying way to blow a few bucks and a Saturday afternoon (again, assuming the treatment is fair as with all of these). I could be like, Pirates of the Caribbean in SPACE! Minus the Johnny Depp…
No, Johnny Depp would probably star as Gene Starwin, so it would be Prirates of the Caribbean in SPACE (hopefully) minus the Jack Sparrow.
2. Gunslinger Girls (action/thriller)
Because Hollywood would be too afraid to give nine-year-old girls cybernetic implants and arm them with heavy weaponry and then pair them up in loveless “brother-sister” teams of tactical cold-blooded killing mastery, the girls would probably be made older then they are in the series in order to not piss off too many parent wacth groups. For the pedophiles out there, this is a let down. For everyone else, we get hot barely legals pretending to be not-quite-legal while hardheartedly mercing French terrorists.
Now, there is a compelling story underneath all that, and its the story that (gasp) would make this film. That’s right, I envision an action movie that’s not about the action, but about the characters – and it isn’t crap like Fantastic Four. Indeed, the dynamics between each other the girls and their handlers is what makes the first season of GSG so worthwhile. If the film captures this, it should be golden.
1. Spice and Wolf (drama)
Merchant meets wolf goddess. Wolf goddess makes trouble for merchant. Merchant makes promises to wolf goddess he mostly can’t keep. Merchant and wolf goddess fall in love, but fight the notion humorously every step of the way.
A very character driven and emotional series, Spicy Wolf (as I call it) would make a smart drama, if not a decent romantic comedy. Most of the first season is spent establishing the main characters and how they fall for each other, ever so slowly. The ride is fun, however, and not too serious or too comical. Its a thinker’s rom-com, very subtle, but also very meaty.
It can be a film guys won’t have to embarrassed to admit they like.