Anime That Could Work Live Action

Most of the time, anime fans tend to have one universal reaction to live action: vomit and fear. That hasn’t stopped the industry from trying – over and over again – to bring these outrageous stories to the big screen. Sadly, even with semi-successes like Ghost In The Shell and Nana fans still treat these announcements roughly the same.


But there’s also a part of us that, deep down, really want to see an anime live-action film do well. Sure, we have a backlog of horrendous titles that make hope rather slim, but we also have a handful of good examples that tell us there is gold to be found here. Maybe that’s why this particular year has been flush with announcements for live action versions of well-loved animes.


I don’t have high hopes for this one 

So with this giant rush of films that may or may not take a nosedive, I racked my brain and the internet for anime I think could become a successful live action movie or tv series. I do believe there’s gold to be had in the hills if you just find the right claim to strike. These were the four I could come up with.


  • Outlaw Star



Hate to dig out an oldie that I drone on and on about, but I can’t stress enough how awesome this would be on the big screen. Of all the sci-fi anime to make live action, I cannot understand for the life of me why this underrated gem hasn’t been considered.

If you’ve avoided every mention of this anime I’ve ever made (impressive work) then all you really need to know is that it’s an old-school space western. Odd-job man, Gene Starwind, inherits a ship after helping space outlaw Ice Hilda and gets to travel the vast reaches of the cosmos for adventure. In words, they’re seeking the “Galactic Leyline” for the enigmatic crewmate, Melfina, but the show’s biggest focus has always been seeing what crazy smuggling adventure the crew could get into.

I can’t understand for the life of me why this doesn’t exist yet. We’ve got shows like Firefly and all variations of Star Trek, so why not a red-headed crack shot that shoots magic, a space samurai, and an alien werewolf? I think the SCIFI crowd would really take to it if the right TLC were applied.



  • Samurai Champloo



We drift from a Much Ado About Oldies to Oddball Mentions. I don’t talk about this anime as much as I should, After all, it’s one of the most unique titles you’re gonna find in a sea of weirdness.

Samurai Champloo is Shinichirō Watanabe’s claim to Genius infamy. The framing plot of two wandering swordsmen being roped into helping a waitress find a man is really just the tour-guide, as the show’s main attraction comes from the smashing together of Chanbara Samurai films with hip-hop and gangsta culture. Mugen fights via breakdancing; the anime’s littered with hip-hop beats; people are wearing bad-ass chains and rings that shouldn’t exist for several hundreds of years. Even if you aren’t that into hip-hop and rap, you’ll get a kick from the visceral action and crack timing on the comedy.

Japan has a long history of Chanbara – it’s basically their answer to the obsession we have with the Old West. Then, with Watanabe onboard with writing and directing, they could grind in those references to hip-hop culture and make lightning all over again.



  • Hellsing



I’m not crazy. But I do think people, deep down, have a love of cartoony and gratuitous gore and destruction. How else would a series like this every get as popular as it did?

Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate are rest stops for people like me who love both the tragedy of the vampire-type character and the massive amounts of violence one would find in the Mortal Kombat series. Both anime tell the tale of a secret sect of Her Majesty’s forces, the Hellsing Organization, who fight the awful monsters we all recognize: vampires, werewolves, ghouls, etc. When things get particularly bad, they send in their prized possession: Alucard, a vampire, soft-science nightmare who regenerates from anything and has lost his damn mind. You might recognize him from the Twilight memes that wanna challenge Edward’s dick status as a vampire.


Image from Comic-Vine

Why do I want an anime so light on story and heavy on blood? It’s because we’ve already shown that we are willing to stomach a lot of horrendous special effects when it’s edgy vampires and lots of action scenes. If we can combine Hellsing’s crazy-awesome antics with the kind of movie magic that Blade had, we could see a cult-classic overnight.


  • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust



Oh yes, I did just go real old school.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is the second film based on the novels by writer Hideyuki Kikuchi of the same name. They tell the very long and very steampunk, very old school story of the enigmatic monster hunter, D, and his many adventures in the steampunk Wasteland that once was Earth. Overrun by the Nobility (nobles) and creatures originally thought to be extinct, D’s invincible hero status serves more or less as a way to explore this heavily atmospheric setting rather than tell a compelling story. Bloodlust is the second attempt at making a movie from the novels and of far greater success. 

I am picturing Mad Max with vampires when I think of this in live action. Mechanical horses, energy and moisture farms, werewolves and silk-cloaked vampires; it just sounds like delicious eye candy.  Much like the source material, I see this film being more visually compelling, like the source material, but I dearly hope they would go with the movie version rather than the original book. Not unless they wanna depress half the nation.


What anime do you think would survive translation? Feel free to comment below and don’t forget to like and follow!

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