I went to an interesting panel at Anime Next about how Anime or Manga series gets Americanized. Some series that we all know and love should never be replicated. America seems to fail when attempting to recreate an Anime series or movie adaptation with their own spin on it. Sometimes it is not all bad but they still fall short even with the help of A-list directors and screenwriters.
A popular anime series that they mentioned in the panel was “Speed Racer“. Originally by Tatsuo Yoshida and American adaptation was produced, by Peter Fernandez. The American film of Speed Racer (2008) was produced by Lily and Lana Wachowski.
In comparison, The film had a lot of Computer-generated imagery (CGI) which made the film feel fake. The movie was supposed to be a live action version but the only thing that was not CGI was the actors and the monkey (Chim-Chim). The film felt more for kids.
The movie took $120 million dollars to make but the film lost almost $30 million. The movie itself was not bad but, it tried to stay close to the story line which was okay with me. If not for the heavy use of CGI, I think it would have been better.
Another series that was mentioned, was Dragon Ball Evolution (2009). Dragon Ball Evolution was such a huge disappointment that the director and creator apologized. It was the worst adaptation of an anime series that I’ve ever seen. I believe that many people would agree that this film should have never been made. It does not even deserve the title of Dragon Ball.
Dragon Ball Z is a very popular anime, and you would have hoped that the live action version would have at least been mediocre. And it was not. Some anime’s should never be made into live action films. I agree with the people hosting the panel, this is the worst movie ever to exist. During the panel, the host revealed that Dragon Ball F was an attempt by Akira Toriyama to make up for the movie.
But, not all the anime remakes in America are bad for example, Kite (2014). The movie had many famous actors and the action scenes were great. Though Kite the movie did not follow the animated movie’s story line.
In the animation, Sawa showed no remorse. She was an orphaned assassin who kills with no mercy. When Sawa meets Oburi, a fellow assassin and, he gives her a reason to want to escape from her foster family and their abuse. In the live action, Sawa is all about avenging for her parent’s death which is completely different from the animated version. Also, Sawa had a sexual relationship with her legal guardian, Akai which is different from the American movie. The film was not bad, it was just different from the original animation.
Another animated film that was mentioned was The Lion King. Many people believe that the Lion King was adapted from Kimba The White Lion. Even their names sound alike, “Simba” and “Kimba. The Lion King was a very good movie and sold a lot at the box office. Some people may even argue that the American version is better. But like I said not all American adaptations are bad.
My main issue with America trying to recreate series or make movies, is that they never stick to the original story. Many times they change the story around from what you know. I would like to see a movie or series closely based on the series it’s based on. I’m a firm believer, that if you’re gonna remake something you need to learn everything about the thing you’re remaking. You can’t mold a sculpture without studying it first. America needs to work on making movies or series based on the actual series.