Posted by: Nar Williams | April 18, 2008

Anime, Manga go Hollywood — Prepare Yourself

Remember when Anime and Manga was hard to find?

I guess I’m dating myself here, but there was a time (before eBay) when only a handful of anime films were dubbed or subtitled into English, and you generally could only find bootlegs of these films from the mech-nerd that toiled in the back of the local comic shop. It was in this ancient analog era in which I saw my first anime on really bad VHS dubs, among them Robotech, Fist of the Northstar, Akira, and Ghost in the Shell.

How things have changed. Manga has a bigger section at Barnes & Noble than American History, and the classic anime films (themselves often based on popular manga) are now getting the Hollywood regurgitation. Here’s the latest on a few.

  • Akira is being scripted as a two-part live action adaptation, with Leonardo DiCaprio rumored to star.
  • Robotech, always my favorite, is being produced by Warner Brothers and Tobey Maguire. Note to Tobey: Please don’t make Rick Hunter emo.
  • Finally, Variety reports that Dreamworks has acquired the rights to Ghost in the Shell, with plans to adapt the futuristic police thriller as a 3D live action thriller.

What’s next? Ninja Scroll starring Jake Gyllenhaal?

Ghost in the Shell Poster


  1. Thank you, Nar, I’m glad someone else thinks Tobey is douchebag and makes Spiderman into a sap! And as for Akira, well, Leo has gotten better at acting in the last few years, it won’t be Oscar material, but it might be embarrassing anyway…

  2. It used to be that you found anime or manga from some garage sale, a little known corner of the comic shop or borrowed from a friend who happened to vist Japan or Mainland China.
    Don’t worry about dating yourself, the good stuff is still found the old fasioned way 😉

    The best way to keep on top of the latest releases is via the AnimeNewsNetwork. Of course, only a handful of these would be truly epic.

    I really hope that that Akira doesn’t get turned into the Matrix. Granted, I enjoyed the triology, but all the pseudo-philosophical mumbo jumbo kinda went a bit far.

    Akira was good for what it was. A great parable on technological advancements, slight overtones of nihilism, and caution against the rush to reach Human version 2.0. All that would be lost if the story is all about action with minor drivel sprinkled for story-telling purposes.

    GITS is probably the most difficult to “get right”.
    There is a lot that can go horribly wrong during the scripting process (let alone the acting) that I’m not holding out any hopes until I see the final cast, director, and script writer(s).

    As for Robotech, I think they will have a tough time convincing people, this isn’t “Transformers”.

  3. Thanks for the resource, eksith.

    I think you’re right about GITS. It will be very hard to keep the nuances and complexities intact all the way to the screen.

    As for Robotech, my best suggestion is to put a restraining order on Michael Bay so he can’t come within 500 feet of the production.

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