Top 10 Live-Action Film Adaptations of Manga [Linwood’s Picks]
My first introduction to anime was watching ‘Fist of the North Star’ with my father when I was a baby. Hilariously, my mother forced him to pick more child-friendly shows to put on, as she deemed what we were viewing “too violent”, so one could say that my love for anime and manga is almost hereditary as he was quite fond of both during his childhood as well. With the cancellation of the horribly received Netflix adaptation of ‘Cowboy Bebop’ only after one season, many have been left wondering if Japanese manga and/or anime should even be touched. I heavily disagree, as I find there to be very little difference between doing so and the cornucopia of successful live-screen American comic book adaptations outside of the superhero genre that general audiences aren’t aware have made impacts on the small screen. ‘Happy’, ‘Preacher’, ‘Deadly Class’, ‘The Boys’, ‘Resident Alien’, ‘Vagrant Queen’ and ‘Wynonna Earp’ to name a few.
Simply put, manga is just comic books from Japan. No better or worse than American graphic novels and should not be pedestalized as sacred forms of text. I personally judge the adaptation separately from the source material as changes can either improve or lessen the overall work of art. Not everything translates well, no matter the country.
With that little rant aside, I’m a cinephile, first and foremost, so this list will be focusing on my favorite live-action adaptations of manga. Unless the anime definitively represents the property, I also don’t compare how well a series translates into cinema. I’m not a big fan of intentionally remaking an animated series when there is more to interpret from the book.
Linwood Storm is an American musician, executive producer, filmmaker, director, actor, publisher, voice-over artist and comic book writer from Fredericksburg, Virginia. He is currently the host of the ‘Black Grindhouse’ podcast and founder of GameCargo.