Animation, a limitless genre that can tap the emotions of all ages. Worlds are created without limitation and are products of an endless imagination and childlike thrill through minds of adults. Japan has been able to make a stable style of animation for those who aren’t aware which they call anime. Anime spread widely across the world and is one of the most beloved styles of animation to date. Inspiring innumerable amounts of animators across the globe along with big name movie makers, anime still doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves.
It is shocking and overwhelmingly common for film studios around the world to borrow from Japanese storytelling and if examples were laid out in front of you, you’d squint you eyes in confusion then open them in amazement. Usually this thievery is accepted simply because everyone does it to everyone else, but two wrongs don’t make a right and there should always be credit given to the proper people. Take Inception for example, a story about stealing dreams inside of dreams. Tell me this isn’t inspired, if anything, by the film Paprika whose synopsis reads:
Dr. Atsuko Chiba works as a scientist by day and, under the code name “Paprika,” is a dream detective at night. Atsuko and her colleagues are working on a device called the DC Mini, which is intended to help psychiatric patients, but in the wrong hands it could destroy people’s minds. When a prototype is stolen, Atsuko/Paprika springs into action to recover it before damage is done.
Sound familiar? There are endless fan favorites that we’d all like to see become live-action, but it seems to be nearly impossible for studios to get it right. Genres like this include the infamous video game genre that we’ve yet to see come to life or at one point, the now popular superhero/comic-book genre. The lack of limitations through books and cartoons have been the reason these genres have yet to hit a high point in their conceptions and stories borrowing concepts are the ones cashing in on the ideas. Anime is high flying, often fictional, adventures full of blood, magic, or unfathomable fiction, and making it realistic enough to not be ridiculous is a task in of itself.
There are definitely stories and anime that make for great films that have yet to be mined for their material. For me, it doesn’t come down to if a studio is capable of creating a story from anime, but if that story can make that studio money, and anime has proven to be a failure in the live-action department. I think of popular anime like Fullmetal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop as films that could bring a renaissance of live-action anime films. They are concepts not far from what we’ve seen while still maintaining their originality with characters people can relate too while being entertained.
Ghost in the Shell seems to be the film to look out for to help this genre blossom. It has star power signed onto it with Scarlett Johansson as the lead and is a story that audiences wouldn’t be completely unfamiliar too – think of it as the inspiration for The Matrix – and it has a fair following whom are aware of its impact on new or old anime fans out there. Can they do it? Well, eventually I suppose, but I’m scared that that day will come once Donald Trump gets a buzz cut…or dies.