Year of the Live Action Anime: 6 Anime Movies Coming 2017

Gintama live action movie

Promotional image for the upcoming Gintama movie.

Hollywood has a long history of making movie adaptations of everything including books, video games, and even board games. Some adaptations do well. Others… not so much (Super Mario Bros. will be in our nightmares forever). And starting with the recent Ghost in the Shell adaptation, Hollywood is taking on anime. We don’t have too much hope for future anime-to-big-screen transitions… at least, in America.

Japan’s anime to movie adaptations, on the other hand, are another story altogether. Anime is often adapted into other mediums, generally in one big marketing scheme to milk a franchise for all it’s worth. There are anime-based video games, collectibles, theater plays, and much more. Anime themselves are often an adaptation from manga, light novels, etc. It’s one big game of telephone, but with generally less terrible results (and with that analogy, the author is officially dated). So when we hear about an anime movie adaptation from Japan, we expect something… well, at least something that doesn’t suck.

This year has an abnormally large number of live-action anime adaptations in the works. We’ll be taking a look at 6 of the biggest anime coming to the big screen in live-action movie adaptations. Here are the trailers for your perusal, and our thoughts.

Live-action Anime Adaptations Coming 2017

Blade of the Immortal

Official Movie Title: Mugen no Junin (Blade of the Immortal)

Release Date (in Japan): April 29, 2017

Blade of the Immortal live-action movie adaptation

Our Thoughts:

Technically, this movie is not “upcoming” since it’s already out, but we’ll draw our thoughts from the trailer anyway. The anime had a lackluster reception, but the trailer looks like it’s more balanced. It’s bloody, action-packed, and includes plenty of hacking and slashing, but it also has heart and treats the characters right. We also love the trailer’s quip: “Immortality is so boring, I could die.”

How Similar is it to the Anime?

Both have blood and gore galore but the movie has a hint of humor which the anime, by all accounts, lacked.

Death Note

Official Movie Title: Death Note

Release Date (worldwide, via Netflix): August 25, 2017

Death Note live-action movie adaptation

Our Thoughts:

Netflix is getting into the anime game, but this trailer makes us worry. It’s neither Hollywood nor Japan and seems confused about its identity. None of the actors look like the characters they’re meant to portray. It’s… pretty. Will Netflix turn Death Note into an empty action flick? We hope not, but the trailer doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence. We’re hoping the movie’s great, and the trailer’s just cut that way to appeal to a Western market.

How Similar is it to the Anime?

Anime, meet Hollywood. The anime is about clashing characters and intellects; the movie looks like it’s about cinematics. And seriously, what is with these casting choices!?

JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken TV (JoIo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Official Movie Title: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable — Chapter 1

Release Date (in Japan): August 4, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure live-action movie adaptation

Our Thoughts:

How do you capture the essence of JoJo? It’s more than fabulous hairstyles and fabulous chins. It’s about spirit. The trailer makes this one look surprisingly dark. We’re hoping it has more fun than the trailer suggests.

How Similar is it to the Anime?

If it weren’t for the crazy hairdos, we’d question if this is a JoJo movie at all. Where is the spirit? The chutzpah? The Stands!?

Fullmetal Alchemist

Official Movie Title: Fullmetal Alchemist

Release Date (in Japan): December 1, 2017

Fullmetal Alchemist live-action movie trailer

Our Thoughts:

This movie has been confirmed to cover the entire manga, making this the third attempt at adapting the manga into moving pictures. Can it beat the anime versions? We’re not sure, but we’re hopeful — the trailer looks fantastic, promising lots of action and cinematics but also plenty of feels.

How Similar is it to the Anime?

Pretty spot on!

Tokyo Ghoul

Official Movie Title: Tokyo Ghoul

Release Date (in Japan): December 30, 2017

Tokyo Ghoul live-action movie adaptation

Our Thoughts:

There isn’t enough to go by on this short teaser trailer, but from what we can tell the movie looks sufficiently dark. And the mask looks great! Seriously though, that’s all we can gauge. The trailer features a bunch of famous actors, and a pretty neat, concise description of the premise. The movie looks high on action, low on gore, but maybe that’s just the trailer. Hopefully it’ll strike a good balance between drama and action.

How Similar is it to the Anime?

The mask nails it. Otherwise, pretty similar — as far as we can tell from the short trailer.


Official Movie Title: Gintama

Release Date (Japan): Sometime in 2017

Gintama live-action movie adaptation

Our Thoughts:

How do you adapt one of the most gag-filled, widely-beloved comedy anime of all time? You start with a great cast (we took a deeper look at the cast when it was revealed in this article). The trailer takes a more serious tone than we’d have liked to see, but redeems itself with some sword-butt-slapping and Shinpachi’s perfectly bewildered expression throughout. Though with all the possible story arcs to choose from, why do Benizakura?

How Similar is it to the Anime?

It tries to be epic (due to the nature of the story arc), but there seems to be plenty of silliness thrown in as well. Needs more visual gags!

Final Thoughts

Just this.

Neko Atsume live action movie trailer

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