Much like novels and video games, numerous animes have been considered for live action film adaptations by Hollywood. Sadly, the anime adaptations that have been made already, like the Dragonball film, have been rather disappointing. While a myriad of issues arise when it comes to making live action adaptations of Japanese cartoons, like Caucasian actors being cast in clearly Japanese roles, or the obvious ruination of the source material’s plot and themes, the potential for some truly great films exists.
Here are five animes that could, if the universe was just and kind, be equally if not more awesome films:
Set in the distant future on a desert world aptly named “Gunsmoke,” Trigun is a classic sci-fi western/adventure/comedy revolving around the misadventures of infamous outlaw Vash The Stampede. However, despite having the ridiculous amount of 60 Billion Double-Dollars (the futuristic currency on Gunsmoke), Vash is actually a pacifistic misfit who, either by dumb luck or intentionally, gets into seriously dangerous situations.
Vash is an unassuming man who initially comes off as being a moron by many, however through the course of the series the people he comes into contact with learn he is much more than he seems through his unbelievable acts of bravery, skill, and cunning. Said friends include two employees of an insurance agency, Meryl Stryfe and Millie Thompson, who track Vash down in an attempt to cushion his destructive antics. Both Meryl and Millie aren’t pushovers, Meryl carries a plethora of Derringers under her coat while Millie wields a humorously overpowered stun-gun. As such, they turn out to be more than capable of standing up against Vash’s larger-than-life enemies, even saving him on numerous occasions.
Later on in the series Vash and the insurance girls encounter a mysterious priest by the name of Nicholas D. Wolfwood who carries a massive cross on his back. Said cross is a portable armory with numerous pistols, a machine-gun, and a rocket launcher built into it. He is also a gunslinger of nearly equal caliber to Vash. However, he also has unseen ulterior motives for following Vash.
Needless to say, this is one series that would make for a really entertaining film, or possibly a film series that progressively explores the character of Vash The Stampede. I could see a Trigun film being rather similar to Pirates of The Caribbean with its blend of comedy, adventure, and drama in a fantastical version of a classic historical setting.
This is one series that could be the answer to the horrid Michael Bay directed Transformers films. Very much like Transformers, Zoids started out as a series of models and toys that had their own universe built around them, a story which you could find in the instruction manual. Eventually, an anime series was produced that was, partly, inspired by the established universe of the toy line. In fact there were four series produced, so the source material is rich in potential stories.
The basic summary of the Zoids universe is that, on a distant planet simply called “Zi,” a race of bio-mechanoid creatures called Zoids exist that can be piloted by humans. These zoids come in many shapes and sizes, though many are built in the image of Earth animals from dinosaurs to large cats. Human pilots, in conjunction with their zoids, do battle with one another for various reasons. In the first series, titled “The Chaotic Century,” humans use zoids for warfare while in later shows battle between zoids is strictly a spectator sport.
Depending on one’s preferences, a film set in either the Chaotic Century or later centuries would make for some epic films. If Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim is any sign that both mecha and kaiju (giant monsters) are going to enter the mainstream, the next logical step is to mix both together. That mix is the perfect definition for Zoids.
3. Outlaw Star
Do you recall how Firefly’s River Tamm was introduced? Completely naked, in a giant suitcase in suspended animation? Would it surprise you if I told you that Joss Whedon, God of Nerds, shot that scene frame by frame as a nod to this awesome sci-fi adventure series? Well, before Firefly there was Outlaw Star, and the similarities between both shows don’t end there!
Set in a universe where man has taken to the stars and has encountered a myriad of strange aliens, some friendly, some uncomfortably friendly, and others who would happily exterminate us all. Outlaw Star follows a space outlaw with a truly classic sci-fi name, Gene Starwind, as he and his crew attempt to make ends meet with numerous odd jobs and the occasional bounty. However, Gene’s life is turned upside-down when he comes into possession of the most advanced starship in the galaxy, as well as the beautiful bio-android who serves as the ship’s navigation system. Dubbing the ship the Outlaw Star, Gene and his crew take to the stars to discover the Galactic Leyline, a legendary place said to hold unimaginable treasures.
Standing in Gene’s way include a band of Space Pirates who utilize powerful magic spells in conjunction with their advanced technology to dominate the galaxy, the Space Forces who serve as galactic peacekeepers, and a pair of outlaws named the MacDougall Brothers bent on destroying the Outlaw Star. However, Gene thankfully has a crew of assassins, robots, and aliens to aid him in his search for the Galactic Leyline.
Gene’s crew consists of Jim Hawking, Gene’s eleven-year-old business partner who happens to be a technical genius; Melfina, the ship’s bio-android navigation system with mysterious ties to the Leyline; Aisha Clanclan a member of the shapeshifting Catrl-Catrl race with a short temper; and the mysterious samurai assassin “Twilight” Suzuka. While they aren’t the most level-headed of space adventurers, they all are determined to reach the Leyline for their own reasons.
The series literally has everything one could possibly want in a sci-fi adventure, exotic aliens, androids, cyborgs, spaceships that can get into giant fistfights, lost civilizations, and guns that can shoot magic spells! The potential for a really awesome film adaptation is basically limited by your own imagination!