Let’s just get something straight; anime is animated for a reason. Namely, because the concepts, ideas and tones don’t work particularly well in live-action. So why then do clueless film producers keep trying to turn traditionally animated stories into live-action? We can’t answer why film producers are clueless, what we can do is talk about the worst attempts by film studios to turn great animated series into live-action. Let’s hope that Hollywood has at last learned to stay out of genres it has no chance of recreating.
The Speed Racer anime is weird, even by anime standards. Originally airing in the 60s, trying to watch the show now is entertaining, but only because it’s so difficult to believe that the product did indeed air to Western audiences. The term lost in translation will spring to mind repeatedly as you try to make sense of what the original creators were going for.
Imagine, then, trying to turn this anime into a live-action film. To be fair, the Wachowski’s did their best, though perhaps shouldn’t have tried in the first place.
Understanding who thought it would be a good idea to turn the notoriously bombastic and reality-shattering Dragon Ball series into live-action is an act in futility. Surely no rational human saw Goku flying, screaming as he punches enemies through mountains, and said yes, let’s make that into a live-action movie.
Dragon Ball Evolution is notoriously awful, not even coming close to understanding the charm and outrageous action-packed nonsense of the original series. You’re far better off browsing NBA betting odds on your phone. Thankfully, attempts to greenlight a Dragon Ball Evolution sequel did not succeed.
Fist Of The North Star
Don’t look now but Dragon Ball Evolution isn’t the worst attempt by Hollywood to make a live-action version of anime. The worst of the worst crown goes to Fist Of The North Star, released in 1995. At least Dragon Ball Evolution had some production value, which can’t be said for the abomination that is the Fist Of The North Star disaster.
But how could something be so bad, based on an original story that is loved by anime fans everywhere? Simple; take out everything that made the story so loved, remove almost all of the hard-hitting action, and hire some of the worst actors you can find.
The Fist Of The North Star live-action adaptation must not be seen at all costs.
Bio Booster Armour Guyver
The Guyver, adapted from Bio Booster Armour Guyver, isn’t the worst on this list by a long shot. As far as animation adaptations are concerned, it isn’t bad at all. It’s the most passable attempt by a Western studio, though still fails in a few key areas. Lead actor Sean Barker falls short, and there is far too much focus on goofy humour.
But, believe it or not, the direct-to-video follow-up of The Guyver is seen by many as the best Western anime adaptation to date.