Live-action adaptations of popular anime have aired in recent years. Achieving the balance between capturing the essence of the source material and bringing it to life is no easy task. The proof is that many live-action film adaptations have received negative reviews from critics and fans alike.
However, there are still highly rated live-action movies. Here are 10 names that will not disappoint you:
10. Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
Adapted from the 2016 video game of the same name, Pokémon Detective Pikachu features a cast of Hollywood stars, including Ryan Reynolds, Suki Waterhouse and Ken Watanabe.
The plot revolves around a young man named Tim Goodman, who gave up his dream of becoming a Pokémon trainer after his mother passed away. However, when his father goes missing, Tim decides to find out what happened to him. And assisting his investigation is Detective Pikachu.
9. Gokusen (2002)
Based on the manga by Kazueko Morimoto, Gokusen is one of the rare films to have live-action before the anime.
The film tells the story of Yamaguchi Kumiko, the homeroom teacher of Hirokin College’s 3-D class. This school is full of delinquent and poor-achieving students. Kumiko used her martial arts abilities and positive personality to win the hearts of her students and fans.
8. Nana (2005)
Just like Gokusen, the movie Nana (2005) also came out before the anime version, which is probably why it’s so good. Ai Yazawa Nana’s iconic shoujo manga has gotten an excellent live-action film adaptation.
The story revolves around two young girls, Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu, who move to Tokyo to pursue their dreams. All Osaki wants is fame and Komatsu wants is love. A chance encounter on a train sets off a series of events that are both heartwarming and heartbreaking that many viewers can relate to.
7. One Piece (2023)
Netflix’s adaptation of One Piece has been surrounded by speculation and fan anticipation since it was first announced. Despite many concerns that it would not be able to compare to Eiichiro Oda’s shounen masterpiece, the film was a huge success and received many compliments.
Like the manga and anime, the series tells the story of the Straw Hats on their journey to find the legendary One Piece treasure.
6. Blade of the Immortal (2017)
Hiroaki Samura’s hit seinen manga Blade of the Immortal ran from 1993 to 2012 and had an equally popular anime adaptation of the same name in 2008. Famous director Takashi Miike reimagined the anime into movie and created a masterpiece loved by many people.
Just like the anime and manga, the story follows Manji, a master swordsman cursed with immortality. In an effort to make amends for his past and break the spell, Manji sets out on a mission to help a young girl named Rin avenge her family’s death.
5. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Hollywood hasn’t had much success producing anime remakes, but Alita: Battle Angel is one of the rare exceptions where the live-action is better than the anime.
Based on Yukito Kishiro’s Gunnm manga, Alita: Battle Angel is set in a dystopian future. In the film, we witness Dr. Ido accidentally discovering the broken body of a female robot. Ido repaired her and named her Alita, after his deceased daughter. The film tells the story of her journey as she explores this new world.
4. Speed Racer (2008)
The classic anime series Speed Racer has been adapted for the screen by the Wachowskis. Based on the manga of the same name by Tatsuo Yoshia, this sports action comedy stars an all-star Hollywood cast, including Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci.
Just like the anime and manga, the plot revolves around a talented 18-year-old “speed racer” who has just entered the risky world of car racing. However, along the way, he discovers a series of secrets about his family and his brother’s death.
3. Inuyashiki (2018)
Adapted from the 2017 manga and anime of the same name by Hiroya Oku, this superhero film released in 2018 is one of the highly rated works.
The story is about a middle-aged office worker who is living a boring and unfulfilling adult life. He has no friends, his wife doesn’t love him, and his family doesn’t appreciate him. However, that all changed when he was accidentally crushed by an alien spaceship and they turned him into a robot as an apology.
2. Alice in Borderland (2020)
The live-action television series Alice in Borderland is one of the most famous exceptions to the “anime is always better” rule. Because of that, the film has set the stage for several other Netflix adaptations.
Adapted from the famous 2014 horror-thriller manga, the film is set in Tokyo but is a desolate, dilapidated and deserted version. Our main characters are suddenly caught up in bloody survival matches, where the only rules are win or… die. With only 8 episodes, Alice In Borderland has awakened hostile people with a series of “life and death” games in the heart of desolate Tokyo.
1. Rurouni Kenshin (2012 – 2021)
Rurouni Kenshin is one of the most iconic samurai anime series of all time. So it’s no surprise that it got its own great live-action adaptation.
These live-action adaptations include a total of five films released between 2012 and 2021, adapting most of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin manga in surprising detail.