Anime's Best Live-Action Films: How and Where to Start

Netflix is all-in when it comes to bringing some of the biggest anime franchises to life in a brand new way, with Cowboy Bebop releasing on the platform earlier this fall and the streaming service set to launch the likes of One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Avatar The Last Airbender in the future. With the denizens of the Bebop arrived to mixed reviews, we thought now would be the perfect time to dive into some of the best live-action anime adaptations in both the East and the West. 

To start, Hollywood has created a handful of amazing movies that have brought anime stories to a new medium, with the Wachowskis' take on Speed Racer often referred to as one of the best examples of the genre. Starring Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, and John Goodman to name a few, the 2008 film captures the aesthetic of the original to such a wild degree, that the film is often thought of as one of the best representations of how the medium of anime can be brought into live-action. When it comes to the West, anime fans can also check out 2019's Alita: Battle Angel which uses a major Hollywood budget to help bring the cybernetic story to life.

(Photo: Warner Bros)

Of course, the most successful live-action anime film in North America, though it can be argued that it is a video game adaptation more so than the former, is Detective PIkachu, which saw Ryan Reynolds voicing the electric rodent that has a mysterious past and is seeking to learn the answers behind what had happened to its former master. 

In Japan, there have been plenty of examples of films that have been able to properly capture the spirit of their respective source materials. The Rurouni Kenshin movies performed the Herculean task of capturing the aesthetic of the anime series, while also throwing in fighting that might just do one better than its predecessor. Along with Kenshin, Assassination Classroom and Blade Of The Immortal are also able to bring to life their stories in their grim detail. Needless to say, we definitely wouldn't be surprised to see more live-action anime movies and series coming our way in the future, past what has been announced by Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services.

What is your favorite live-action anime adaptation to date? What future adaptation that has been announced are you most looking forward to? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of anime adaptations.