Let’s just get to the point real quick here. Hollywood is an amazing place. They make all kinds of great films. However, when it comes to making movies based on Anime; it’s like they flunked film school. I want to touch on three films; two Anime and one American show. With each one I will explain a little about how the show was ruined and how it could have been saved according to my opinion.
The most recent of these failures was Ghost in the Shell. I never seen it in theaters, but gave it a chance when my local cable company put it up for rent. I was able to get through fifteen minutes before I had to turn it off. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Even though it stared one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, Scarlett Johansson, it lacked in every way. While it seemed to follow the original Anime I just could not get passed the whitewashing in the film or the visuals. I think so much more could have been done with CGI to make this a better film. There are so many great Asian actors and actresses in Hollywood that this film did not need to be whitewashed. If they had used Asian actors I believe more people would have wanted to see it.
Another disaster of a live action anime was Dragon Ball. This one I just refused to watch entirely. To this day I have never seen a trailer for it. The stills and premise of the movie was completely wrong. Firstly, Goku never went to school. The movie has him going to high school. Secondly, in the anime Dragon Ball, Goku was a little kid and not a teenager. I often wonder if anyone bothered to do any research or watch the Anime. This could have been saved if only they had watched the original dragon Ball series and not turned it into a high school rom com. Well to be honest, I don’t think this one could have been saved no matter what they did. It was ruined from the start with the script.
The Hollywood treatment of live action Anime doesn’t stop with these two. There have been plenty more. Hollywood did not only butcher Japanese Anime. There was also an American Animation they completely razed to the ground. Avatar: The last Airbender is an amazing American animation. I call it an American Animation and not cartoon as you would expect because, it has more of an anime feel and less of an American cartoon feel.
For anyone who has ever watched the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, they know the proper way to pronounce Aang. In the movie it was pronounced completely wrong. The firebenders used pots of fire and could not use their abilities if there was no fire around. The director never bothered to watch the show. This is evident in how it was made. If the show had been watched they would have known to split the movies into three. Instead they crammed all three seasons into one poorly made movie. I did see this one in theaters. I took my niece who really wanted to see it. If she had not been with me I would have walked out early. All it would have taken to save this one was to watch the show, pronounce the names correctly, and split it into three movies.
If Hollywood directors took the time to watch the Anime they are turning into a live action and cast Asian actors and actresses in them they would have better outcomes. Hollywood is not in tune with the people who would be watching the films. Hollywood only looks at the bottom dollar and tries to appeal to as many people as they can. With this kind of thinking, live action anime will never be a success in America.