Welcome back, Militia! Today we are going to talk about something I’m sure each of us have an opinion on in some form or another. Yep – today’s topic is all about Netflix’s live-action adaptations of classic anime.
By now, I think we have all heard about the short-lived Netflix Original adaptation of Cowboy Bebop. There was a ton of anticipation for this. I mean, the anime is a 90s classic with a strong fan base and following even after nearly thirty years since it first aired. With each announcement as the release date drew nearer, it was obvious that a lot went into this remake. But in the end, it suffered harsh criticism and ultimately was not renewed for a second season.
Why? Well, I know we could all make a list of the pros and cons to having our childhood favorites revived in a way that seems… well, superficial. Real live people are expected to act as animated heroes and that does not always translate. As a matter of fact, it rarely does. Netflix is making a solid effort to give it a shot, though. It’s been announced that 2022 will be a huge year for live-action remakes, and then in 2023 we are to expect Yu Yu Hakusho to also join the ranks of the living and breathing.
What is Netflix missing when it comes to these releases to be met with criticism? Many argue that it boils down to casting. I agree that finding the perfect actor to embody the part is critical for the success, but that is definitely not all. Staying true to the original storyline is also important. Now, I know many will argue that a live-action adaptation should be modified in order to appease a variety of audiences – not only those who watched the anime. And while this may be sound reasoning from folks who try to cater to a large demographic at once, I disagree. At the end of the day, a live-action remake is going to ultimately be watched by those of us who loved the manga or the anime it was originally based on. Sure, others may enjoy it who might not live that otaku life, but come on – we will be the ones who will anxiously wait for the release and hope beyond anything that it will live up to the high expectations and give new life to that universe.
I’ve mentioned it before in an article from earlier this year, but Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Erased from 2017 was almost frame by frame to the anime, and it worked. It is my favorite live-action series and the reasons are very basic: the actors do an incredible job of staying true to their characters, the sets and the scenes match wonderfully to the anime, the content is nearly identical to the anime’s storyline, and ultimately – though there are subtle differences that needed to be made to make it work in a live world – it embodied the core message of the original source. This tells me that Netflix absolutely has the potential to create great live-action content that will please both anime lovers and the general populace.
We want to hear what you have to say about this! Do you think there is hope for future live-action adaptations with Netflix? Let us know in the comments below and keep the discussion going! 👾