Anime Goes Hollywood

Hello everyone, Justin here and welcome to the Otaku Mind where we discuss anime/manga topics going on in the world today and today we’re talking about anime and Hollywood. With the Ghost in the Shell movie set to come out this Friday and Netflix announcing a live action adaptation of Death Note set to premiere this August it’s clear to me that Hollywood and filmmakers in general are taking an interest in anime and realizing there’s money to be made here. But at the same time this idea has a lot of people worried since Hollywood is notorious for taking things we love and ruining them. I mean, the last time an anime got a movie adaption done by Hollywood we got that horrible Dragonball Z movie which was an insult and a betrayal to the author and the fans of the series so you can understand why a lot of us are worried or concerned about this. Is Hollywood turning our favorite animes into movies a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s talk about this.

Hollywood is notorious for taking things we love and ruining them but also bringing them to life

As I said before Hollywood is known for taking things we love and ruining them. Such as Dragonball Z, Avatar, TMNT, The Mario Bros. and Transformers just to name a few but at the same time it also takes things we love and bring them to life. Take for example comic book movies. I remember as a kid, comic book movies were awful. They were seen as just for kids so they had to try harder to appeal to their audience. Thus, they were all dark, gritty, painful, repetitive, boring, and not fun to watch. That’s not to say this is bad in today’s world. The Dark Knight movies are very dark and I like them a lot but the difference is they were smart, clever, had excellent writing and characters that you got invested in and wanted to know what happened to them next. As time went on Hollywood started to see that if they took their audience seriously and instead focused on telling a good story with intriguing characters, and stayed true to the source material, they would start to get positive reviews and such. Sure enough it worked. It’s gotten to the point now where comic book movies are the best movies of the year and everyone loves them because of their good and clever writing, interesting characters, and fun stories. If comic book movies can go from being awful and being seen as a child’s movie to some of the most entertaining movies of the year than the same can be said for anime movies. I haven’t seen the Ghost in the Shell movie yet but just from the previews it looks good and just from seeing that Death Note teaser it looks good as well. Hell, when they announced the new Power Rangers movie I was afraid it was gonna suck but I liked it. I only had 2 complaints with the whole movie and one of them can be seen as a nitpick. My point is, is that while anime movies got off to a rough start there’s always a chance for people to see the mistakes they made and take the necessary steps to fix them in the next project which leads us to the next point, filmmakers and actors are fans too.

Filmmakers and actors are fans too

Despite what a lot of people may think filmmakers and actors are people too and just like us they have things that they like and dislike and a lot of famous actors like anime. Quentin Tarantino, big fan of Ghost in the Shell. Keenu Reeves, loves Cowboy Bebop and even tried to get a live adaption made with him as Spike. My man Samuel L. Jackson is a fan of Black Lagoon and even helped in the making of Afro Samurai. Zac Efron, loves Death Note and I’m sure he’s involved in the Netflix film. Robin Williams, one of the greatest comedians and actors of all time loved anime and was a fan of Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion. This is only just naming a few of the actors and filmmakers who love or are fans of anime. I like to think that filmmakers and actors are fans of whatever project they’re working on. Just like us they too grew up watching or reading whatever project they’re working on and just like us they too have a passion and love for it and want to make it a success. In the past I think why some adaptions don’t work out so well is because the actors or filmmakers working on the project just don’t understand the source material and because of that they took liberties with it and change a lot of stuff which winds up pissing people off. Sometimes these liberties are a necessity due to time and money and can’t be helped. I believe however that if you get an actor or filmmaker involved in a project that they really like they’ll give it their all.

The adaptation won’t be better than the original

Well that’s pretty much a given for just about anything you adapt. No matter how good an adaptation is chances are it won’t match up to the original which is understandable. Adaptations aren’t usually the work of the original writer but instead the work of a fan or someone interested in the work of the author. But even if it is someone taking the work of someone else that doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a way to the promote the original work. A lot of anime out there is used as a promotional tool to get people interested in the original work, that’s what happened to me. I started off watching One Piece, Naruto, FMA, and other animes first before I started reading the original mangas. But after watching the shows I got interested in the original work and wanted to see what would happen next. Sure enough, I found myself more interested in the mangas than I did the animes. If anything, the animes were just there to help me picture and hear their voices so that when I go to read the manga I could hear their voices in my head as I’m reading or just seen how a scene plays out when animated. I don’t know if the movie adaptations of Ghost in the Shell and Death Note are gonna be better than the manga. Maybe, who knows. But the one thing I’m sure of is that when people go to see them whether they’re a fan or just a casual movie goer who saw the trailer and thought it looked good, they’re going to walk away interested in the series and want to learn more about it. That means that they’re gonna go out, find the manga, and buy it and that’s gonna help the author out big time as well as show Hollywood that what they did worked and that anime isn’t something just for kids and otakus, it can be for everyone and when it’s done correctly and taken seriously it can make them profit and make us happy.

Fear of whitewashing

Please don’t do this, don’t give me that crap, I am so sick of people calling movies out on this. Look, I get it, casting choices are always questionable but come on folks. Just because something comes from Japan doesn’t mean we need a Japanese lead. Look at Dr. Strange. They casted Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One who in the comics was an old man. People were whitewashing on this movie yet when they went to go see the movie they admitted that Tilda did a good portrayal as The Ancient One and I thought she did good as well. I get that people want someone from a different race to represent a particular character but you’re missing the point of acting. The whole idea of acting is bringing a character to life. It shouldn’t matter what ethnicity they are. For me, all that matter is, is this actor gonna be a good fit for this role and I think Scarlett is a good fit for Motoko. Scarlett is a good actor. I liked her in Lucy and I love her as the Black Widow in the Marvel movies. Truth to be told, I’m hoping they make a movie starring her because I’ve never seen a good representation of a female superhero movie and I think with the way Marvel has handled the Black Widow character they can make a good movie focusing on just her and her character. Bottom line, as long as it’s a good actor I don’t care what race they are. Are there times when we should consider race for a role? Yes, but for something like this that’s trying to reach a wide audience and not just the fans of the series, I think we’ll be alright.

So is Hollywood making movies of anime a bad thing or a good thing

Personally, I think it’s a good thing. I admit that in the past Hollywood has taken a lot of the things we’ve treasured and ruined them but at the same time it’s given us things that we loved when we were younger or still love now and reminded us why we love them so much. Plus, the landscape of Hollywood has changed. Comic book movies are now being done seriously and manga is basically a Japanese comic book so who’s to say they won’t take this seriously as well? I know that for some of us out there we get panned for liking anime because people just don’t understand it and I think that’s why having movie adaptations are a good thing. It can serve as a way to get people interested in anime and help you shed light on why you like it so much. Is Hollywood gonna make mistakes on these adaptations and put stuff in we don’t agree with? Yes, it’s Hollywood it’s what they do! But that’s where we the fans come in. As fans, it’s our job and responsibility to be there and try to explain to them what they did right, what they did wrong, and explain to them why this was good or why this was bad. Thanks to social media we now have a way to get our thoughts out there and heard for everyone to see and I say we use that to our advantage and help other people understand and appreciate our joy for anime.

That’s all I have to say. What do you guys think about the idea of Hollywood doing anime adaptations, good or bad? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

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