I haven’t yet come across an anime fan who actively dislikes, or who is at least unable to appreciate, the works of Studio Ghibli. The likes of My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away are often cited as some of the best anime films of all time, and understandably so – the studio is well-known for producing beautiful artwork, memorable soundtracks, and emotionally impactful stories with an often very dreamlike quality to them.
Still, there’s something to be said for variety, and it would be a shame to overlook some of the other magnificent anime films that have been created over the years. The below titles aren’t an official list of any kind, but simply a nod to those films that have likewise made a significant impression on me – a handful of non-Ghibli movies that I personally feel deserve just as much recognition for their craft and emotional impact. Continue reading
Yeah, that’s my face whenever I see most Japanese live-actions films too.
It’s pretty easy to critique the Japanese live-action film industry. While the number of domestic products being made has steadily increased over the past couple of decades, comparatively few of them have made enough money to be deemed mainstream hits while many struggle to even recoup production costs. It’s an industry riddled with earnest but terrible acting (because flavour-of-the-week models, TV personalities, musicians and idol group members are often hired in place of professional actors) and littered with a huge amount of derivative content (since so many films are based on flavour-of-the-week anime and manga franchises aimed squarely at already-established fanbases). In terms of available budgets and overall quality, the Japanese film industry simply cannot be compared to its American counterpart. Continue reading
At least in part because of the difficulty that directors, writers, actors, and other production staff face when it comes to adapting something into an entirely separate medium, the majority of manga/anime-based live-action films out there seem to be overwhelmingly average. The general style of many (if not most) anime and manga is unrealistic, extremely dramatic, and simply not suited to easily be transferred straight to live-action format, with characters and stunts that would come across as parodical at best, and at worst completely nonsensical.
For this article, I’ll be pinpointing a few titles that have been among both the best and worst of contemporary (say, post-2000) live-action adaptations from anime or manga. However, since there are already plenty of lists already floating about the place on the top 5 or 10 best and worst of these, I’d like to make things a little different by picking only one title for best and worst Japanese live-action film, as well as best and worst non-Japanese film. Continue reading