Hi everybody! Welcome to Sunday Drama (I know it’s Monday, but you know…school and Persona 5). Instead of talking about specific TV shows or movies, I want to speak about live action anime movies. I have a few thoughts about this but more importantly, I want to know how you feel. I feel like every time I read or watch someone review live action anime movies, they hate it. They feel violated and disrespected because their faves are being desecrated. So, let’s take some time today to explore live action anime movies.
Last year, Netflix announces a live-action Death Note. This was not a re-creation but a re-imagining of the beloved show. They moved the story to America with American characters. There are some whitewashing accusations surrounding the movie. I don’t think so but I’m not going to get into that. The hub and I sit down to watch the movie, and it’s absolute garbage. It’s not just a terrible live-action or terrible re-imagining. It is a terrible movie…period. We could not finish the movie it was so undigestible.
So, this year Netflix brings us the live action Full Metal Alchemist. Once again, this show receives terrible reviews. Unlike Death Note, I watched it from beginning to end. I have to say, it is not that bad. Are there some cheesy CGI moments? Yes. Is Edward’s wig awful? Absolutely! But overall, the movie isn’t bad.
The high bar
I think Alchemist may suffer from trying to compete in a world where Marvel exists. Marvel movies have outrageous budgets and usually have a return on their investment. The movies stay at the top of the box office. The effects and fight scenes are spectacular and they look expensive.
Live action anime movies do not have Marvel movie budgets. They usually do not have the star power or gigantic fan base to constitute a Marvel movie budget. Further, a big budget does not mean the movie is going to set the world on fire. Did you see Suicide Squad? Garbage. Also, though Wonder Woman wasn’t bad, that lasso effect looks like I did it in Powerpoint. And, a movie that does less can have a huge impact (Logan).
This is mine!
We anime fans are possessive. These are our shows with our characters. We want the writers, directors, and producers that do live-action to respect our faves or we will drag you all over social media. Because we are so possessive, any changes to our faves bother us. It is hard for us to have an open mind. The live action characters have to have the same experiences, same relationships, and the same ending.
What can be done?
So how can we remedy the live-action plight? First, I think that we the viewer need to be a little more understanding. We have to give the movies a little latitude and know that the studio may not have Disney (who owns Marvel) money. But, if we are going to forgive this, the movie needs to have a decent story, some decent acting, or decent action. Movie makers cannot expect people to digest something like Death Note and not receive scathing reviews.
Speaking of reviews, we have to be cognizant of who we believe when it comes to reviews. Some of my favorite movie reviewers do not like anime. Or, they like Dragon Ball and this is about the extent of their anime viewing. So, they may view live action anime through Marvel lenses which is not a fair comparison. I’m not saying they are always wrong. I just think that sometimes they view anime and their live-action counterparts with a great deal of prejudice.
Wrap it up!
I remember in the late 90s and the early 2000s when indie movies became this huge deal. A movie made on a college kid’s budget was considered edgy, or groundbreaking. Critics couldn’t wait to be the first to praise some 8 mm coming of age story or The Blair Witch Project. Nowadays, we are here for the spectacle and are lukewarm about the story. I think anime gives you a good story whether there is a spectacle or not. Because of this, we should suspend our judgment, and give live-action anime movies a chance, except for Death Note on Netflix because it is really terrible.
Well, that’s it! I will see you tomorrow for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Also, let me know how you feel about live action.