Anime is a hard genre of entertainment to transfer into live-action, but for some reason, Hollywood has been trying to force these adaptations down our throats and into the pop-culture mainstream for some time now. Many anime adaptations such as Kite, Speed Racer, and Dragonball Z: Evolution, have failed critically and/or financially, but that hasn’t stopped American studios from continuing to try to make this trend happen. One of the high-profile adaptations currently in the works is Paramount Pictures’ Ghost in the Shell. The film was notably met with backlash due to the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of Mokoto Kusanagi, a Japanese cyborg police officer. Fans might hate this idea but more adaptations are coming down the pipeline whether we want them or not. Some of these are pretty surprising (really? Beyblade?) or bring up lots of questions (one of them being WHY?!!). With that said, here are some adaptations you can look forward from Hollywood in the future.
Now, who the hell asked for a Beyblade movie? Does anyone remember what Beyblade even about? Well, here is the commercial to refresh your memory.
It’s just spinning tops. What folks usually don’t know is that Beyblade has an extensive manga and anime. In fact, three anime were created between 2000 and 2005, with over 150 episodes of Beyblade action. The Beyblade manga was written and illustrated by Takao Aoki. It tells the story of Takao Kinomiya, who enters the Japanese Regional Beyblade Qualifying Tournament and ends up forming a team called the Bladebrakers with Rei Kon and Kai Hiwatari.
Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to turn Beyblade into a live-action feature that will be produced by Mary Parent through Disruption Entertainment.
Thanks to Guillermo Del Toro and Pacific Rim, Hollywood feels confident moving into mecha-anime territory. As such, we’ll be seeing a live-action version of the vintage anime Robotech sometime in the future, says Cinema Blend. The series takes place after humanity has developed giant fighting mechs which are used to stave off three successive alien invasions. Much like Pacific Rim, which is clearly influenced by Robotech, the fate of the world rests in the hands of the young pilots who man the transformable machines.
This project has been in development limbo since 2007, but good ole Sony swooped up the rights. Director Nic Mathieu was earlier mentioned to be in negotiations to helm the project, but now Forbes reports that James Wan is attached to direct. Now, the studio is on the hunt for screenwriters who could bring this vast futuristic world together on screen.
AV Club reports that Lionsgate is making a live-action Naruto film. The famed ninja series was written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto and was first published in 1997. The manga and its resulting anime follow adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming Hokage–the leader and protector of his town.
Michael Gracey is said to be directing the adaptation. Gracey is a former visual effects specialist who has moved into the director’s chair. Though he currently has few directorial credits, he is attached to several other projects such as Universal’s adaptation of the New York Times best-seller Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Fox’s P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman on Earth. Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are producing the film through Arad Productions.
LONE WOLF AND CUB
In 2012, Requiem for a Dream director, Darren Aronofsky, announced he was slated to direct the famed samurai story Lone Wolf and Cub. However, the tables have turned and Deadline reports Justin Lin is now attached to helm the Hollywood adaptation of Kazuo Koike’s 1970s manga.
Lone Wolf and Cub follows Ogami Itto, an elite Shogun’s executioner, who is framed for his wife’s death by rival Shoguns. In exile, Ogami travels Japan as a hit-man-for-hire with his three-year-old son while waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill those who have dishonored his family. The beloved manga has inspired American entertainers since its release, with Quentin Tarantino crediting Lone Wolf for inspiring parts of Kill Bill.
As an anime lover, Bleach is required reading/watching, and, along with Naruto and One Piece, holds a spot in the “big three” of the genre. With more than 75 million print copies in circulation in Japan alone, it’s no wonder Warner Brothers leapt at the chance to transform this series.
In Tite Kubo’s Bleach, Ichigo, a teenager with the ability to see ghosts, squares off against Hollow–lost and evil souls–after becoming a shinigami, or Soul Reaper. The teen makes it his mission to protect the innocent and help tortured souls find peace. Throw in some over the top fighting and training scenes, deception, teen angst, and ridiculous enemies, and you have yourself a stellar series.
What we know so far about the Bleach production per IGN is that screenwriter Dan Mazeau (Wrath Of The Titans) will adapt the material, and producer Peter Sega (Anger Management, 50 First Dates) is set to produce.
Like Fetch, Hollywood is really trying to make this trend happen. With Ghost in the Shell slated for release in February 2017, and others like Death Note, and Battle Angel Alita soon to follow, anime fans have to take what we’re being given. It’s clear that the most popular of anime are being adapted because maybe, just maybe, those loyal fans will make the films successful enough to spawn sequels. Could it be times are changing and fans will finally embrace these films?
Image Credits: Viz Media, Angel Kenshin, Harmony Gold USA, Dark Horse Comics
Feature Image Credit: Viz Media