Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Live Action adaptations of Anime should be Serialized

My love of Anime greatly overlaps with my love of serialized fiction.  And since people are looking for a common denominator to why Live Action adaptations of Anime, particularly Western/Hollywood ones (PGSM is pretty well received), tend to fail.  I think it may be a good idea to look at how they tend to be based on Anime that was serialized originally, but abandon that structure for being a simple 90 minute to 2 Hour film, or hopefully a series of them.

Death Note is the current hot topic on the subject of Anime being adapted into live action.  I don't know if the Netflix Death Note is going to be a series like the Marvel Defenders shows or just a movie, I've heard it called both.

There have been two Live Action adaptations of Death Note in Japan, a fact I've mentioned before.  A Pair of movies, and then more recently a TV series in 2015.  Both have their strengths and weaknesses in how the adapted the story and cast the characters.  But the 2015 series edges out as the better one for me precisely because it was a TV series and was somewhat able to capture the original story structure better, and had more time.

Anime itself is often adapted from other source material.  If it's Manga it's definitely best serialized.  Some feel the weaknesses of the Akira movie comes from needing to cut a lot by condensing the story to just a film.

Meanwhile Gankutsuou is in my view the absolute best adaptation of The Count of Monte-Cristo I've seen, in-spite of how much it changes including dropping my personal favorite story-line by dropping Louise d'Armilly, because it is Serialized like Dumas original novel.

On the other hand it may be that most of these much decried Light Novel adaptations would have been better if they'd been movies instead on TV Series-es.  Both Sword Art Online and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya changed the structure to fit the format by having the short stories of their second novel pad out the plot of the first.  I happen to like how the first Arc of SAO was structured in the Anime, and I don't dislike Haruhi's, but The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya does feel like a much more satisfying Anime.  And I love that it was an animated movie willing to be nearly a full three hours.

Meanwhile the light novel Washio Sumi wa Yuusha de Aru is being split into three less then 50 minute movies, when perhaps it would have worked better to just be one big movie.

But an adaptation of Noir, or Witch Hunter Robin that left out the case/mission of the week format of the first part of the story I don't think could word.  Likewise with the Monster of the Week format of most of the Magical Girl genre.

I could maybe see Code Geass or Gundam 00 working if you made three movies of three hours each for each season, but that would be a huge investment.

There is still a bias to see a Big Screen movie as the ultimate goal of any franchise.  I do love the Big Screen and wish I could watch something more serialized on it.  But is it worth how it changes the nature of a story since we can't really be serialized on it?

Back in the day Movie Theater serials were a thing, but the advent of TV caused them to die out.  A lot of serialized Anime is kind of more like what the old serials were then your average Western TV show.  Like Code Geass, Gundam, Eva and other Mecha shows, and perhaps to an extent Death Game animes like Future Diary and Fate/.  And also Dragonball Z with the whole 20 episodes for one fight meme.  I could maybe add Madlax.  I'm still not to familiar with Space Opera animes like Legends of the Galactic Heroes.

A lot of DC fans feel DC on Television is satisfying them more then the movies right now.  And the people who had the rights to George R. R. Martin's Saga of Fire and Ice knew that TV would suite that story better, and that decision paid off.

When you adapt a serialized story to a movie formula two things happen.  You will probably have less screen time to work with.  And the very structure of the story changes.  Either one of those could result in lovable minor characters being dropped, and similar loss of nuance.  Together it's guaranteed.

Caprica was a TV show that it really saddens me failed.  It appealed to me for some of the same reasons SAO does.  I've already said I feel Hellsing could be a good fit for the BBC.

Slice of Life shows could make good Sit-Coms, particularly Dragon-Maid, though I'd hate the thought of Lucky Star or K-On with a laugh tract or studio audience.  And I'd like it if ABC Family.. excuse me FreeForm, could replace Pretty Little Liars with a live action Pretty Cure.

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