Leave Akira Alone: Here Are 7 Anime Hollywood Should Adapt Instead
By Valerie Complex on
Listen to fans, for once
The live-action Akira movie may have a director, with Thor Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi reportedly in talks to take charge. But maybe adapting Akira isn't a good idea to begin with? Hollywood's anime adaptations tend to deviate from the source material, throwing cultural and historical value to the wind, and fans rarely end up happy.
Fortunately, there is a solution, but it involves taking risks with anime titles that may not be as popular as Akira. There are plenty of series with universal appeal that would come without the pitfalls of something as iconic as Akira. Here’s our list of anime that Hollywood should adapt instead of screwing up Akira.
Claire is a warrior out for revenge. As a "claymore, " she travels around a fictional medieval landscape fighting "Youma," which are humanoid shape-shifters that feed on humans. After meeting Raki, a lone man who has lost his family to Youma, the two journey out to kill every last demon, while discovering secrets about themselves in the process.
The armor and weaponry are a point of reference to medieval times but there is no clear indication of where the series specifically takes place. This leaves the series open for any Hollywood screenwriter to create their own set of rules that are digestible for a general audience--unlike Akira, where the rules set in stone and any changes could make the original story unrecognizable.
Attack on Titan
The story of Attack on Titan revolves around the misadventures of Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and their childhood friend Armin Arlert, as they fight for survival in a world overrun with flesh eating giants. It's assumed Attack on Titan takes place in 16th-century Germany (due to some of the language used), but there is nothing concrete that pinpoints what year it is.
As of April 2017, the manga has sold 66 million print copies, and Japan has produced two live-actions films based on the series. Attack on Titan also has a huge fandom in America and around the world. If these type of movies are for fans, why not go with a sure thing that’s easy to adapt and embraced by a large audience?
If you ask anime fans what's one of the most disturbing anime they've ever seen, many will name Berserk. It's a medieval anime centered around Guts, a man who fights demons with an abnormally large sword. What makes this anime unique is it addresses topics like child abuse, physical and mental disability, and sexual assault.
Berserk never hit the mainstream in the United States, but maybe that's a good thing. Hollywood could add a fresh take on the series and adapt it so general audience and fans can enjoy. Recent big budget sci-fi adaptations like Akira have struggled at the box office, with movies like Ghost in the Shell and Valerian flopping domestically, so why not channel that money somewhere else?
Various crime families fight for dominance in the city of Egastulum. Within all the chaos, Nicholas and Worick are "handymen"--more like hitmen--who play all sides as long as they get paid. The duo have the advantage because Nicholas is a "twilight,” a genetically enhanced human with super speed, strength, and agility. When the two cross paths with Alex (a woman with a dangerous past), they are thrust into the center of a turf war they can't escape from. Although the Gangsta manga is ongoing, the anime comprised nine animated episodes before the production company, Manglobe, went out of business.
Gangsta is everything Akira is not. It’s a dystopian, action-adventure that tackles themes people can relate to. Akira is slow, and requires a lot of attention to detail. Akira is a lot to take in for a first time watcher. A Hollywood pick-me-up for Gangsta would mean expanding a great story that's been halted prematurely.
The Rose of Versaille
The Rose of Versailles focuses on Oscar François de Jarjayes, a young woman who is raised as man in order to become her father's successor to the royal palace guard. She is a master swordsman with a strong sense of justice, but she struggles between her duty to the crown and loyalty to the French lower class. As talk of revolution increases, her relationships with Marie Antoinette and other royal authority figures are tested as she decides which side of the law she's on.
The French Revolution has been hit (Le Miserable) or miss (Man in the Iron Mask) for Hollywood, but The Rose of Versailles looks at the historical events through a feminine lens while flipping gender norms, and delivering swashbuckling action. In general, most anime centers around young boys or men. Hollywood could use more female-led action films.
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
While trying to resurrect their dead mother, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric suffer a great loss due to their inexperience with alchemy. In order to restore their bodies they need the Philosopher's Stone, and they launch a worldwide search to find it. On their search they learn of a government conspiracy, as corrupt government officials have other plans for the stone’s power.
The series has elements that Akira doesn't have, like alchemy and magic. There are references to Nazi Germany, and studios love films about World War II. Its episodic nature helps to add depth to the story. There is potential there for more than one movie, where Akira would (should) be a one-and-done thing.
In the year 2071, 50 years after the Earth became uninhabitable, humans took to space to colonize the Moon and several other rocky planets within the solar system. Instead of calling one planet home, Spike Spiegel and his posse of space misfits enjoy drinking, eating, and getting into trouble. They battle various enemies including space pirates, mercenaries, and the infamous Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. Cowboy Bebop is a space western with something for everyone.
This anime has been on Hollywood's radar for at least 10 years. There was once talk of Keanu Reeves being involved with a cinematic adaptation. Deadline reports the series will be made for television, but fans still want to see a feature length film.
What anime adaptations are you aching to see? Or are you in favor of Hollywood tackling Akira? Let us know in the comments below.