So the recent Ghost in the Shell movie wasn’t exactly bad, but it was a far more diluted and empty film that many people were hoping. Sure, it wasn’t exactly a surprise; it’s more of a shame that it didn’t turn out differently because the build-up to its release did seem to hint at a Hollywood anime adaptation with a bit more bite to it.

Still, there are more live-action anime adaptations on the horizon. (Don’t worry, they’re not all coming from the United States!)

Because anime often takes so much from Japanese culture, both for their characters and plotlines, it often seems difficult to really get the ‘magic’ across when it’s adapted in the States. Blogs like Japan Ryan can clue you in further on Japanese culture. But anime is also often inspired by American culture – so it’s a shame that a truly great live-action anime adaptation still hasn’t emerged from Hollywood. The potential is there, if only the studios involved had a little more faith in audiences appreciating stranger and more adventurous action movies.

Having said that, it’s not as if Japan have a great track record for adapting their own anime for live action cinema! Maybe such adaptations are just doomed to rarely be particularly great. There are a bunch on the horizon for 2017 – maybe some of these will buck the trend?


Death Note (U.S.)

We may as well get this one out of the way, right? Netflix is releasing a live-action adaptation of Death Note this August, and a trailer for it has already been released. The production values certainly seem to be there, and there’s certainly some great talent on board: Willem Dafoe and Keith Stanfield are great actors, and Adam Wingard is certainly a talented director. Any red flags? Well, Light seems to have a troublemaker vibe about him before he even discovers Death Note, as opposed to the clean-cut and studious boy who eventually becomes twisted by new powers. And the emphasis in the trailer seems to be on action as opposed to mind games. Still, we’ll see soon enough!

Blade of the Immortal (Japan)

The fantastically violent anime Blade of the Immortal is now coming up to ten years old. It’s been more of a cult smash than an international phenomenon, but the premise definitely sounds like prime material for the director, Takashi Miike: a samurai criminal is granted immortality by a nun, and vows to make amends for his past by killing 1000 evil men. With Miike on board, we probably won’t have to worry too much about the violence being diluted!


Fullmetal Alchemist (Japan)

Finally, right? 2017 will see the release of the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist, directed by Fumihiko Sori. Interestingly, many were happy to see the announcement of a Japanese live-action film of the franchise due to the casting of Japanese actors; many of these critics were sick of the “whitewashing” they accuse the likes of Ghost in the Shell of perpetuating. But, as anyone who actually paid attention to the series knows, Fullmetal Alchemist is essentially set in Europe, with Germanic characters. Still, who cares, right? Let’s hope it’s the start of a franchise worthy of the Fullmetal name.