'My Hero Academia,' 'Your Name,' 'Pokémon,' 'Steins;Gate,' and 'Naruto'

A Parade of Horrors: Every Upcoming Live-Action Anime Adaptation

This is not okay.

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Cowboy Bebop was not okay. Ghost in the Shell was not okay. M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar: The Last Airbender was not okay. They were BAD. AWFUL. HORRIFYING. I HAD TO WASH MY EYES OUT WITH BLEACH FOR WEEKS.

Every once in a blue moon we get a good live-action anime adaptation. Tokyo Revengers was dope. Rurouni Kenshin was pretty sick, too. But those were made by Japanese studios AND are set in the real world, making them easily adaptable. Many anime on this list are NOT about the real world … and to make things worse …

Hollywood is doing the adapting.

Let’s just get this over with. And by “this,” I mean a list of every upcoming live-action anime adaptation.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender
(Nickelodeon)

Because once was not enough. The live action anime adaptation that no one asked for is once again hitting the big screen with what I imagine will be a big, wet, shitty plop. Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, the co-creators of the God-tier original source material, had been originally slated to be executive producers and show runners, but soon walked away from the project after realizing that Netflix was going in a “different direction” with the series. Evidently that direction is straight off a cliff. This is not gonna be flameo, hotmen.

Death Note

L with Ryuk lurking in the background in 'Death Note'
(Madhouse)

Didn’t this JUST HAPPEN? YES. IT DID. AND NOT EVEN WILLEM DAFOE COULD SAVE IT. Netflix is taking another crack at Death Note, because they are gluttons for punishment and they haven’t yet eaten their fill. Stranger Things co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer are apparently taking a stab at the adaptation. Let’s just hope they don’t stab us all in the eyes while they’re at it. I’m not saying a good live-action adaptation of Death Note can’t be done … I’M SCREAMING IT.

Hellsing

Seras from Hellsing Ultimate bloody but unbowed
(Gonzo)

Wait … this one is being written by the guy who wrote the script for John Wick

Okay, that’s … somewhat assuring? I mean, Hellsing is a high-octane thriller about a gun-slinging vampire, but … NO. YOU CAN’T FOOL ME. Just because a talented guy is writing the SCRIPT for this adaptation doesn’t mean that it’s gonna LOOK good. I mean, C’MON. This series is about as anime as anime gets. Dark. Violent. Stylish. Over the top as all hell. Literally. John Wick wouldn’t last 10 seconds against Alucard. Sorry, them’s the breaks.

Related: Top 10 Best Harem Anime of All Time on Twinfinite

Mobile Suit Gundam

'Mobile Suit Gundam'
(Sunrise)

Oh, it’ll be mobile, all right. The live-action Mobile Suit Gundam adaptation is gonna mobilize people up off their couches and out of the windows of their apartment buildings. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the director of Kong: Skull Island, is directing the live-action Mobile Suit Gundam movie. He’s also long been developing ANOTHER live-action anime adaptation that should never see the light of day: Metal Gear Solid. That’s a solid “no” from me.

My Hero Academia

Deku looking alarmed in 'My Hero Academia'
(Viz Media)

Netflix strikes again with a live-action adaptation of My Hero Academia. I’m convinced that they’re attempting to solidify a reputation as anime’s greatest villain. And they’re doing a damn good job. This movie will be written by Joby Harold, the executive producer for John WickEdge of Tomorrow, and the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. Harold was also the head writer for Obi-Wan, and wrote the screenplays for … reads chicken scratch … ah, yes, Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie and Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. Those are definitely live-action movies.

Naruto

Naruto and Sasuke in the kiss or kill zone
(Pierott)

I’m gonna throw up my ramen.

But there is a slight silver lining here. Apparently, director Michael Gracey is only going to move forward with the live-action Naruto adaptation if the script is approved by Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of the original source material. “Everyone knows how precious this property is and to me it’s incredibly exciting, and I love the work that I’ve gotten to do on it to date,” Gracey said in an interview with Collider. “At this stage, no one is going to go into production until we’ve got a script that excites everyone.” Let’s hope he keeps his word.

One Piece

Luffy in 'One Piece'
(Toei Animation)

Uh-oh. The One Piece live-action movie is too far along. It cannot be stopped.

Silver lining: Series creator Eiichiro Oda made a statement on Twitter saying his team is working closely with Netflix on this one, and that he’s actually very excited about the upcoming show. This could be because it’s actually good, or because Netflix operatives put a literal gun to his head and forced him to write the statement. We’ll find out soon.

One Punch Man

Saitama looking nonplussed in 'One Punch Man'
(Crunchyroll)

The live-action One Punch Man adaptation is being written by the guys who did Venom. One punch me in the face.

Pokémon

Ash Ketchum with Pikachu on his shoulder in the Pokémon anime
(The Pokémon Company)

Now wait just a Pokéminute, if this live-action series doesn’t have Danny DeVito as Pikachu, then I am not interested. As far as I’m concerned, DeVito is the true magic behind Pokémon live-action adaptations. If he’s not there, this whole shebang is gonna fall apart.

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac

Knight battle!!! in 'Knights of the Zodiac'

Despite a surprising amount of revamps, I’ve never heard of Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac. What’s even weirder is that the live-action adaptation is lousy with Hollywood actors. Actors who should have probably known better. I mean, SEAN BEAN is in this thing. What are they PAYING these people?

Steins;Gate

Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate looking shy
(White Fox)

You know… this might actually be okay.

Steins;Gate is a sci-fi story that’s not really all that “anime-y,” if you get what I’m saying. It’s just scientists and time machines. In fact, I’d argue that Altered Carbon is even MORE anime-like than this series, which is good, because the team behind Altered Carbon is producing it.

Sword Art Online

Shino from Sword Art Online smiling (A-1 Pictures)
(A-1 Pictures)

The hopes that Steins;Gate gave me have been dashed by the knowledge of a live-action Sword Art Online adaptation.

This is the anime adaptation that NO ONE asked for. Doesn’t Netflix know that SOA is the butt of almost every joke in the anime community? No one likes it. And you and I both know that this is gonna be lousy with CGI. It’s an anime that’s simply “too anime” to look good.

Tokyo Revengers sequel

the cast of Tokyo Revengers
(Liden Films)

Sometimes a blind squirrel finds an acorn, sometimes the world finds a good anime adaptation. This film is gonna serve as a sequel to the well-received Tokyo Revengers flick that dropped in 2021. And guess what? It’s gonna be a two-parter.

Your Name

The characters of no name with a star between them
(CoMix Wave Films)

They just had to pick one of the greatest anime films of all time, didn’t they?

This body-swapping, time-traveling love story is going to be produced by J.J. Abrams, who I’m not sure has a romantic bone in his entire body. Your Name creator Makoto Shinkai seems ambivalent about the announcement according to a recent interview, adopting a “we’ll see” type of attitude. We certainly will.

Yu Yu Hakusho

The cast of 'Yu Yu Hakusho'
(Viz Media)

Yu Yu Haku-no.

Yu Yu Hakusho is an iconic ’90s tournament anime. How do they expect to do this well in the modern era? I don’t care how handsome the cast is.

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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.