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Top 5 Bad Live-Action Adaptations of Anime and Manga


Wong Jing’s live action adaptation of City Hunter is considered a poor adaptation due to the inconsistencies with the source material (the tall, young, and broad-shouldered Ryu Saeba is played by Jackie Chan, for starters.) However, once you get past the fact that it’s different from the manga/anime, you’ll find that the film is actually watchable and par for the course as far as Wong Jing’s action comedies are concerned.

On the other hand there are films that are universally hated because they are poor in quality regardless of how consistent they are with the source material. Here are 5 examples of bad live-action adaptation of anime and manga franchises:

5. Dragonball: The Magic Begins (1986)

This is an unofficial live-action adaptation of the first Dragonball feature film, The Legend of Shenlong. On the one hand, it tried to stay true to the story but on the other hand, it was produced in Taiwan at a time when even Hollywood would have encountered difficulties bringing Dragonball’s action scenes to life.

4. Casshern (2004)

If you just caught snippets of this film while channel surfing (especially the part where Casshern fought an army of robots and tanks), you’d mistake it for a really kick-ass adaptation. It’s got style up the wazoo. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the story failed to understand what “substance” really means. They tried to be all deep and philosophical, but what we got was a disjointed mess.

3. Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

The live action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato is another example of people “fixing things that ain’t broken in the first place.” The spaceships and weapons, which are some of the more recognizable parts of the franchise, were completely redesigned. The redesign made Space Battleship Yamato look more like Battlestar Galactica than an adaptation of the beloved franchise. Even the Gamilus was changed from humanoid aliens into insect type ones. There are also unnecessary plot changes and senseless fight scenes between the prettyboy crew members.

2. Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

Technically, Dragonball: Evolution has higher production values and is definitely easier to watch than Dragonball: The Magic Begins but we’re ranking it higher (re: worse) because it was made in a time when movie magic is already capable of bringing Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece to life, plus it had a number of talented actors in the main cast. It simply didn’t have any excuse to suck as much as it did.

1. Fist of the Northstar (1995)

Fist of the Northstar’s OTT action scenes already look silly for most people, but the 1995 live action adaptation is simply…wait, we’ll just leave you with this clip:

Corrections? Disagreements? Suggestions? You can use the comments section below or chat with us at Toonbarn’s forums!

worst anime adaptations


Neil Raymundo

A cowardly and treacherous Toonbarn blogger who can transform into a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. Secretly wants to replace Toonbarn Rob as leader of the Decepticons. Also wrote some stuff for The World Comic Book Review.

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