Celebrities may have the eyes of the world on them, but they also have their their eyes on the world. Movie stars can be geeks as well, and more than a few Hollywood stars have said they’re proud otakus.
Okay, maybe not with that kind of language, but the point is the same. Anime is not the niche medium it once was; There are millions of anime lovers around the world, so it should not be surprising to hear some A-list celebrities identify with that group.
ComicBook has rounded up a list of ten celebrities you didn’t know liked anime, and we’re breaking down their top titles. So, if you thought Samuel L. Jackson signed on to Afro Samurai just to get a paycheck, think again. The man says he’s a big fan of anime, and he has a thing for hentai too…
Those are his words, not ours!
Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime! Do you know of any other anime-loving celebrities out there?
Fans may know Megan Fox best for her stint on Transformers, but the Hollywood starlet may have a future with live-action anime if Hollywood ever gets its act together. In the past, Fox told fans she got into anime and graphic novels thanks to Adult Swim.
“It was an artwork thing for me at first. But when I was 12, Adult Swim on Cartoon Network started, and they had a lot of anime cartoons on, like Cowboy Bebop and InuYasha, and that's when I first started seeing it in cartoon form and actually started researching it. I'd also been a fan of graphic novels, so it's that kind of art as well as Japanime art that I'm in love with.”
There are few actors in Hollywood who are as loved as Keanu Reeves. The down-to-Earth actor made his mark in films like The Matrix, and Reeves had wanted to carry his action movie prowess over to Cowboy Bebop back in 2008.
Way back when, Reeves pushed 20th Century Fox to develop a live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop as he believed in the genre-bending series. As a fan of the anime, Reeves signed on to play Spike Spiegel and worked closely with Sunrise Animation to adapt the project. However, the film fell apart by 2013 due to budgeting and script concerns.
Robin Williams is known as one of Hollywood’s brightest comedic talents, and anime fans should know he was also an otaku at heart. Not only was the actor a vocal fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but Williams had a whole slew of favorite anime titles.
During a Reddit AMA, Williams was asked if he enjoyed any other anime series aside from Evangelion. The actor listed off plenty, but he said titles like Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Cowboy Bebop were his top picks.
You don’t have to be a fan of hip-hop to see how anime has influence the genre. Plenty of rappers like Zombie Juice and Chris Brown have a thing for anime, but Kanye West may be the genre’s most famous otaku.
In the past, West has said Akira is tied as his top film of all-time with There Will Be Blood. The rapper once said he was frustrated when he saw Akira ranked below other anime films like Spirited Away, and West even borrowed imagery from Akira for his “Stronger” music video. So, if Hollywood ever finalizes plans to adapt the series, West should be their first call when it comes to creating a soundtrack.
Jamie Lee Curtis may be one of Hollywood’s most unexpected anime lovers to-date. The star made it big with franchises like Halloween, but the iconic scream queen has since traded in slasher flicks for series like One Piece.
Last year, Curtis made her otaku origins public when she attended the red carpet for One Piece Film: Gold in Hollywood. The actress appeared at the event with her son, and she tweeted she loved the dub voice actress for Tony Tony Chopper.
Samuel L. Jackson’s interest in anime will not be surprising for otakus, but the general public may not have seen his fanboy side coming. The A-list actor is busy playing Nick Fury these days for Marvel, but Jackson did lend his voice to projects like Afro Samurai in the past.
When it comes to anime overall, Jackson has said his favorite series are Ninja Scroll and Black Lagoon. Oh, and hentai. Jackson didn’t shy away from his interest in that NSFW genre when asked during an interview.
Quentin Tarantino is in the news a lot these days thanks to his interest in Star Trek, but Hollywood may want to approach the director about a live-action anime title. The legendary talent would no doubt draw in audiences if he took on such a project, and his bloody style perfectly suits franchises like Berserk. Oh, and he is also a big fan of the medium.
In the past, Tarantino has talked about his interest in anime during interviews. The director said he drew inspiration from its classic series when working on Kill Bill, and he even asked Production I.G - the studio behind Ghost in the Shell - to do animation on the film.
Avril Lavigne has moved away from skater boys and embraced the world of anime pirates. The pop singer has kept a low profile in recent years, but Lavigne did not step away from music entirely. After all, the star did create two songs just for One Piece.
When the movie One Piece Film: Z was brought to North America, Lavigne wrote two songs for the film. "Bad Reputation" and "How You Remind Me" were added to the film's soundtrack as she redid the tracks for One Piece. Lavigne has said she's a big fan of Eiichiro Oda's work and even work on a manga-inspired comic titled "Make 5 Wishes" for awhile.
Ronda Rousey could definitely take you down in a fight, and she could probably level some anime heroes if given the chance. However, if you put her in the ring with Vegeta, Rousey would not fight the Saiyan. No, she's probably try to kiss the guy instead.
In that past, Rousey has said her biggest celebrity crush is none other than Vegeta. The UFC and WWE star has proved her love of franchises like Dragon Ball, but it is Vegeta who she cannot get enough of.
"Vegeta. For sure. Goku is such a f--king goody goody that he’d be fun to be friends with but I’d get annoyed hanging out with him after 2 weeks, let alone after a whole year. I’d imagine that Vegeta and I would have many an interesting debate."
Zac Efron was launched into the public spotlight with High School Musical, but the actor has since found his own footing in Hollywood outside of Disney. The actor recently starred in Baywatch and The Greatest Showman plus he will soon play serial killer Ted Bundy in a biopic. So, you can bet Efron is preparing for his new role by watching Death Note since he is a fan and all.
In the past, Efron has said he's a fan of manga like Death Note. The actor was even in talks back in 2009 to star in a live-action adaptation of the series, but the project fell through. Netflix moved ahead with the project without Efron last year, but many had hoped the former Disney star would take on the project. After all, the guy does look like he'd do Light Yagami justice if given the chance.