Although it was just announced yesterday that this project is back on track, I really can’t see the live-action adaptions improving upon the existing fantastic film, sequel, and series.
Vintage: 1989 (manga), 1995 (anime)
Announced: 2009, reconfirmed in 2014
Director: Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman)
2. Death Note
Live-action movies were made in Japan, and were actually distributed in the United States by Warner Bros., who are also making the adaptation.
Vintage: 2003 (manga), 2006 (anime), 2006 (live-action film)
Announced: 2009, reconfirmed in 2013
Director: Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Studio: Warner Bros.
This on and off again?movie is still in the news, again tied to Warner Bros. There were rumors that Leonardo DiCaprio was in the movie, but worry not, he’s the producer.
It has been a while since Voltron hit the TV waves, but it definitely has a cult following. Looking forward to some cheesy acting! Did you know that Voltron was actually two shows in Japan, GoLion and Dairugger XV?
Announced: 2005, reconfirmed in 2011
Studio: Relativity Media
Bleach has been losing steam, but it was still quite popular when the series was at its peak. The possible director has be worried though, as he’s at heart a director of comedies.
Robotech is actually another mashup of three distinct anime series: Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada. Regardless of its strange beginnings, it has a big following with older anime fans, and should translate well to the big screen.
Announced: 2007, reconfirmed in 2013
Director: Nic Mathieu (television commercials)
Studio: Warner Bros.
This film was planned for a 2013 premiere, but it sure missed that window! Looks like it’s back on the shelf for the time being.
Vintage: 1978 (manga), 1982 (anime)
Announced: 2008, reconfirmed in 2011, missed 2013 release target
Director: Alex Aja (Piranha, The Hills Have Eyes)
Studio: Valhalla Entertainment
Already receiving the live-action treatment in Japan, it’s Hollywood’s turn to make something of this great manga. Unfortunately the Japanese movie is quite bad, so I’m looking forward to the Western adaptation.
Vintage: 1967 (manga), 1969 (anime), 2007 (live-action film)
Director: Ernesto Foronda (Sunset Stories)
Kids growing up in the ’70s may recognize Gaiking from the Shogun Warriors line of toys that featured greats like Mazinger Z and Combattler V. Seems that the creators loved the toys and comics too, though I wonder why they didn’t pick Mazinger Z instead.
Producer: Gale Ann Hurd (The Walking Dead)
This film was a bit controversial when it came out due to its graphic violence and sex scenes, including scenes of rape. International releases cleaned it up to cut the running time by 15 minutes, with subsequent releases getting less and less censored, with uncensored cuts now in the market. I wonder how the adaptation will handle those scenes?
Announced: 2011, 2014 release
Producer: Ralph Ziman
Distributtor: The Weinstein Company
This manga has surprisingly never received an anime adaptation, but many TV series and movies have spawned from it, as shogun-era dramas are relatively easy to adapt in Japan (due to existing sets, costumes, and experience). Judging by recent efforts by Hollywood like 47 Ronin that depict Japan, I’m a little concerned.
Vintage: 1970 (manga), 1971 (live-action film), 1973 (live-action series)
Director: Justin Lin (Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6)
Writers: David & Janet Peoples (Unforgiven, Blade Runner, 12 Monkeys)
Studio: Kamala Films
12. Mardock Scramble
Prostitute-turned-cyborg revenge story that parallels Kamen Rider. I would love to see this in the style of Blade Runner.
Vintage: 2003 (novel), 2010 (manga), 2010 (anime)
Announced: 2012, rights still in negotiations
Director: Michael Davis (Shoot ‘Em Up)
Studio: Angry Films
13. Star Blazers
Known as Space Battleship Yamato in Japan, it recently was made into a live-action film in Japan with above-average reception. I’m not sure why it needs to be remade, since the crew is supposed to be Japanese, after all…
This 3D animated Japanese film itself had average reviews, comparing it to the plot of Resident Evil and Ghost in the Shell. Will Hollywood strike gold this time?
Pluto is a reinterpretation of perhaps Japan’s most influential manga of all time: Astro Boy. Winning numerous awards, the manga series was even localized for Western audiences. Hollywood’s take on Astro Boy was awful, so I’m not looking forward to this one.
Studio: Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me)
16. Black Jack
By the way, this is the third adaptation on this list by the late Osamu Tezuka, others being Dororo and Astro Boy. Tezuka, a doctor-turned-manga artist, shares his expertise with a story about a talented underground doctor who treats patients for the greater good. Hollywood has plenty of experience with medical drama on television, so we’ll see how this pans out!
Vintage: 1973 (manga), 2004 (anime), numerous live-action series
Executive Producers: Taka Ichise & Doug Davison (The Grudge, The Ring)
Studio: Entertainment One (Rookie Blue)
17. Captain Planet
Yes, it’s real.
Source: Animated series
Announced: 1996, rebooted in 2007, reconfirmed in 2013
Producers: Don Murphy (Transformers, Reel Steel), Susan Montford (Shoot ‘Em Up, Reel Steel), Mark Gordon (2012, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
Studio: Sony Pictures