The Anime Pulse #12 – Oh God, They’re Doing It Live!

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Anime Pulse!

While the spring season is trudging along, I’ve noticed a large trend that’s starting to gain some ground; it’s live adaptations of animes. Now, this isn’t exactly a new trend as live adaptations have existed for quite some time, but the biggest thing I’ve noticed lately is that lots of animes and mangas are getting turned into stage plays and/or musicals. Now… I’m not the type of person that goes out of their way to indulge themselves in a bit of Broadway so it is kind of hard for me to envision something like Naruto being done on stage (it is being done, by the way).

Perhaps I’m a bit skeptical about live action in general because the live action that I have seen… well… it was pretty terrible. It doesn’t just stop at anime, either as I’m sure a lot of reader will remember the American live action Super Mario Bros. movie or Street Fighter. If you remember those, then I’m sure I can imagine your faces cringing right about now as you think back at those very painful memories, but despite those adaptations being complete and utter garbage, it didn’t deter me from trying to give live action another shot.

The first live adaptation I watched was of Ryukishi07’s Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Now Higurashi is quite possibly one of the greatest animes to ever be produced in the history of mankind and in a past column, I talked about how this anime was the catalyst for a lot of the censorship that we have today, but who cares? It was still amazeballs! So when I heard that there was a live-action adaptation, I was pretty excited to see how they would pull it off and boy was my expectations shattered (and not in a good way.)

First off, I’m all for equal opportunity, but why would you cast someone in the main role of Keiichi with a lazy eye? The entire film, one eye was looking at the character, the other at the camera. It was damn distracting! The plot was followed; however, but the acting and mannerisms were easily entry-level at best. It looked like these were just some young actors fresh from their first acting lesson, thrown into a low-budget film in an effort to try and rake in some money from a popular series, but hey… at least it had an amazing theme song performed by Eiko Shimamiya, so that’s something to sing praises about!

So I got burned once, surely it wouldn’t happen again, right?

Wrong.

Along came the live action adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note. Again, like Higurashi, this was an AMAZING anime series and one of the best created in the history of anime. I was wondering how they planned on fitting a 37 episode series into a movie; I didn’t stick around for the entirety of the film because the acting just wasn’t all that great and that CG Ryuk… yikes. It was like watching Keiichi’s lazy eye from Higurashi all over again… you just couldn’t take your eyes off of it. The fact that they made a sequel puzzled me, but at least I wasn’t alone in my thinking as many preferred the anime by leaps and bounds over the live-action adaptation.

Having been defeated twice, I was really skeptical when 2009’s Dragonball: Evolution was slated to be released in theaters. Needless to say, I didn’t even bother going to see the film and I’m pretty glad I didn’t as the feedback on the film has just been atrocious and the 2.8 / 10 rating given to it on IMDB kind of backs up all of those negative reviews. So I dodged getting burned for a third time, thankfully, but it left a really sour taste in my mouth when it comes to live-action adaptations and with the rash of musicals and stage plays of popular anime coming out, I’m really skeptical about trying any of them out because I’m just afraid that it’s going to be complete and utter garbage.

I also bring this up because the trailers for the live-action Attack on Titan movie are running and so far, they’re getting mixed reactions. Hajime Isayama is overseeing the project, but it has an original story involving new characters. I will be the first to admit that, right of the bat, to me, that’s a let down. I know a lot of fans wouldn’t want the same old story told over and over again… especially with the animated movies coming out that are re-telling that story, but I would have liked to see a live action adaptation that stayed true to the manga. I’m a fan of source material.. what can I say? So I’m left wondering if this film should even be worth my time because now, for the third time, I would be watching an adaptation of an amazing anime and I don’t want to be set up for failure once again.

I guess when the time comes, I’ll do the same thing I’m doing for video games now. I’m going to wait for some of the reviews to come out and if the majority of them are indicative of me needing to check the film out, then I will, but if there’s a mixed bag or a lot of negative reactions, I’m just going to save myself from the disappointment and skip it.

So last week I asked you all a question. I will go ahead and post some of your responses.

Q. What made you get into anime?

Ryan Billows wrote:

“There was an anime club at my school and one day I decided to check it out. I didn’t know much about anime, but they were cool enough to take me. I learned a lot while watching Air Gear and Code Geass… those were the two that got me into watching anime and I’ve been watching since then. It got me hooked!!”

Tyler Bushong wrote:

“Bleach was what got me into anime. I loved the fights in there and I liked how they made Kenpachi look like a legit badass all the time. I heard that the manga covers more but I was never into reading. Maybe I’ll read it one day, but I liked the anime better. Yes even the Bount arcs were fun to watch. I didn’t know it was filler but people keep telling me it was but I don’t care. It’s Bleach and its awesome. So yeah, that’s my answer.”

And I’ll include one from a friend of mine, Christopher Cortes.

“Anime was a mistake – Hayao Miyazaki”

Thanks for the troll, Chris.

As promised, I’m going to answer the question myself, as well!

My Answer:

My friend Mike was the one who got me into watching anime. I had watched some of Sailor Moon when I was younger along with Samurai Pizza Cats, but I wasn’t aware they were anime back then; I simply thought they were just other cartoons. He kept talking about anime and such so I watched The SoulTaker… I think it was on Adult Swim or something.. I actually forget where it aired. The show was pretty bad, but I watched it anyway. Then he got me into Naruto and it was kind of funny because I would ask him so much about the Naruto story and then he stopped watching and it got flipped around where I was the one telling him what was happening on a week to week basis. He would give me shows to watch and I didn’t really care for a lot of them, but it encouraged me to go out and look for new anime on my own and the rest was history. I’ve been an anime fan for about seven or so years now and I have no intention of ever stopping!

So that brings me to this week’s question:

Q: Out of everything you watched, what was the most shocking moment in anime to you?

I’ll include your answers along with mine in next week’s column.

That’s going to do it for me this week. To answer the question, send feedback, make general comments, or just to say hey, send a message to joshpiedra@theouterhaven.net! You can also DM me on Twitter if you wish, but first you’d have to follow me! You can do so @PulseIn.

Until next time,

Ja ne!!

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.