Why Live-Action Adaptations of Beloved Animes Seldom Work

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There’s something about anime that really captures anime lovers’ hearts. Those drawn pieces of art made to do motions are just magical and nothing can imitate that. But somehow, production outfits thought that it would be a good idea to make anime come to life. However, the result was killing the excitement of most anime fans instead.

Cowboy Bebop was a well-known anime since its released. The anime classic rose to popularity when it was broadcast in 2001. Since then, it was hailed as one of the greatest anime television series of all time. So you can imagine how fans of Cowboy Bebop got excited after Netflix announced a live-action adaptation. But the fans felt otherwise. Netflix’s butchery the live-action adaptation of Death Note will always leave a mark on anime fans. But fans remained hopeful for the Cowboy Bebop adaptation. That’s until the series was canceled because of overflowing criticisms.

This scene isn’t new though. Live-action adaptations are oftentimes bad. Here are the reasons why they can’t be at par with their original inspirations:

Fight scenes can never be recreated

Anime fights are epic. These scenes keep the fandom going crazy for an anime series. From fight choreography to animated cinematography, it feels like a whole new dimension. However, this is always a challenge for filmmakers who want to do live-action adaptations. You just can’t copy the magic anime fights can bring to its audience. Anime fights are full of energy. Some have lots of magical powers and special forces within the scene. You just can’t replicate those things through CGI for a live-action adaptation. This is one of the many reasons why anime fans aren’t fond of live-action adaptations. The filmmakers couldn’t give justice to fight scenes alone which are a significant part of the anime.

Voices can’t be replicated

Choosing voices for anime characters is always a big deal. You have to have the right voices to give justice to the anime character. The voice should match the character’s personality and gestures. It’s not only a big deal for the anime producers but also the fans. This is true, especially for manga readers. They would want to hear how the voices would give life to their favorite manga characters once the anime version is shown on screen. So you already know what happens when an anime gets a live-action adaptation. They couldn’t just hire the voice actors who voiced the character in anime. Most of them aren’t TV or film actors but some of them are.

Getting actors to play anime characters would somehow make the adaptation inauthentic. While they could get an actor who can give justice to the character, it seldom happens. The problem is the anime fans are already in awe of the voice in the anime series. It’ll be hard for them to digest that another person is playing the role of an anime character.

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Confusing target audience

It’s hard to market live-action adaptation films and TV series. The reason behind it is its target audience. First things first, anime fans love the art behind the anime. Most of them became fans of the manga first before the anime itself. So how can you entice them to watch something that’s visually distant from what they’ve loved? Pretty sure these films went through board room meetings and corporate video presentations.

But how could they miss that fact? They can’t even market the films to non-anime fans because of the storyline. You can’t squeeze in a whole manga or anime series in a TV show, let alone a film. Non-anime fans won’t be able to relate to the live-action adaptation. That’s unless they read the whole manga series or watch the anime first. That doesn’t frequently happen though.

They don’t stick to the original story

It’s a no-brainer. How would you make an adaptation work if you’re going to change the plot? It’ll only ruin the franchise that’ll result in anime fans getting enraged. That’s exactly what happened to the live-action adaptation of the famous Dragon Ball. Dragonball Evolution was a critical failure because of not being true to the original manga storyline.

The same goes for Netflix’s adaptation of Death Note. The main character’s personality was extremely different from its anime counterpart. That’s on top of many other differences the Netflix adaptation had. It didn’t sit well for the fans of the anime version. It’s tricky to make something new out of a material that’s been known and loved by quite a lot already. This is why most production outfits deviate from the original material. However, this causes major consequences in maintaining the spirit of the anime.

It’s hard to replicate a great experience by executing it differently. Redoing something familiar in a whole different way would only generate backlash if not properly done. Unfortunately, that’s always how it’s going to be with live-action adaptations of anime.

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