Believe it or not, manga and anime have been inspiring Hollywood for decades. However, in the last 10-15 years, there have been a surge of films in Tinseltown that clearly have an anime influence, but no one wants to admit it. It’s not easy to recreate some of these stories for the American audience, but that hasn’t stopped movie studios from desperately trying to force these adaptations into American pop-culture, and hoping it’s the next big thing.
Some adaptations have been flat out failures such as Kite, Speed Racer, and Dragonball Z: Evolution. While others like The Matrix and Inception have been a huge success. If you’re an anime fan, you’ll find influence all over, but to the untrained eye, some are less obvious. You’ll be shocked to know anime has inspired some of the most famous films and franchises in Hollywood.
Inspired by Ghost in the Shell
Directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski are not shy about admitting the heavy influence the Mamoru Oshii anime, Ghost in the Shell, had on The Matrix. The two went straight to producer Joel Silver and explained the concept and to their surprise, Silver was totally down with it.
Snow White and the Huntsman
Inspired by Princess Mononoke
The story of Snow White is pretty straight forward. Director Rupert Sanders decided to add an element of environmentalism which added a new spin to an old fairy-tale. The visuals follow suit and make the film less like Snow White, and more like Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.
Inspired by anime Gundam Wing
Mecha anime is one of the most popular subgenres. The majority of the genre is made up of robots in battle, mainly against alien invaders. One of the most popular titles in the genre is Gundam Wing, a series which Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro has clearly expressed his love for.
Inspired by anime Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue is not your typical anime featuring ninjas or epic robot battles. This is a psychological thriller. The plot revolves around a talented young woman with a weak grasp on reality, just like The Black Swan. It’s rumored that director Darren Aronofsky bought the rights Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue anime back in 2010 in order to adapt it to live action. However, instead of making a live-action adaptation, he took the premise and turned it into an Oscar-winning hit!
While these adaptations can be hit or miss, instead of doing a scene for scene remake, the proper way to pay homage to the source material is to take key ideas from the source material and add something new. But that won’t stop Hollywood from trying to make these live-action remakes successful. Fans can only hope that studios stick to the source material as much as possible to create something everyone can enjoy.
The next time you watch a new movie ask yourself about its origins. You never know what hidden anime gems you might find along the way!
Movies: Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures,
Anime: Madhouse Studio, Studio Gainax, studio ghibli, Production I.G
Featured Image: Warner Bros./Production I.G