With superhero film series like "Spider-Man" and "Batman" done and redone to death, it’s become a cliche to say that Hollywood has run out of ideas.
So what do you do when you run out of ideas? Get them from someone — or in Hollywood’s case — somewhere else. For many years now, Hollywood has been trying and mostly failing to adapt popular Japanese anime and manga for the big screen. Likewise, television networks and streaming services have followed suit trying to produce live action television remakes of the same. A good example of this would be Netflix’s live action series "Erased."
Sadly, good examples of American live action adaptations are few and far between. Whether it be the difficulty of adapting stories between very different mediums or failed attempts to please both Japanese and American target audiences, it seems like Western production companies just can’t seem to get it right.
While good live action adaptations may be few, there are some gems out there that definitely deserve a watch. The films or shows on this list comprise three of the biggest failures and three of the most well-done Western remakes of popular Japanese anime and manga.
1. Death Note (2017)
There are very few manga that captured my interest — and scores of others around the world — as quickly as "Death Note" by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
From the same duo that brought us the hit series "Bakuman," "Death Note" is a perfectly-paced, heart-pumping crime-thriller about a boy named Light Yagami who finds a death god’s notebook. The story revolves around a “death note” from the journal that has the power to kill whoever’s name is written within it.
As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Light starts his journey by using the death note to rid the world of evil and heinous criminals. However, while being pursued by police and FBI investigators, his sense of morality becomes clouded and eventually he has no problem eliminating anyone who stands in his way.
Following the manga’s release, both anime and live-action film adaptations in Japan were met with marginally high reception and positive criticism. While the American remake rights were initially held by Hollywood powerhouse film studio Warner Bros. Entertainment, it was ultimately Netflix that ended up purchasing the film for its anime category. "Death Note" was officially released solely on Netflix on Aug 25, 2017 and could not be seen anywhere else. It bombed. Receiving a 37% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it had less than half the score of the Japanese live-action "Death Note" film of 2007.
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