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Worst Live Action Anime which shouldn’t have made it to the big screen!

Anime is a massive part of Japanese culture which has extended its influence and inspiration to various parts of the world. 

The globalization of anime has not only bought in an influx of worldwide fans but also given many movie creators a different segment to showcase anime s’ artistic rendition in the form of live-action anime movies.

Live action anime movies have remained a controversial topic within the fandom which by common consent aren’t often the greatest as they fail to capture the emotions and interest that the original anime series did. 

Undeniably, we all have dreamt to see our favorite shonen character or slice-of-life romantic hero in real life and live-action anime is the closest way to make that dream come true.

But not every aspect of art and its execution isn’t successful as live-action anime is often cited as the perfect example of creative failure.

Adapting a popular anime series into a movie agreeably comes with its challenges but why hasn’t anyone been overcome this obstacle as live-action continues to remain uninspiring and unpopular, let’s find out.



First and foremost, live-action anime adaptions are extremely difficult to set up plot-wise which is in contrast to the anime wherein multiple episodes cover various aspects of the story and characters.

The viewers are able to understand the world and form connections to their favorite characters, root for their success consequently follow their journey throughout the series. 

The same can’t be said with live action movies which albeit sourced through the original anime fail to establish a link through either bad acting, choice of actor, or just subpar screenplay.

Secondly, more often than not the creators aren’t familiar with the original source material which leaves them ill-informed about the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the context of each scene.

The live-action movies are either incomplete in adaption through ill knowledge of source material or simply skipping to benefit the director‘s personal creative freedom.

Either the creators are looking for a big payday or just to get notoriety as a director through the already-established fanbase of that particular anime which often retaliates heavily on what’s been served up.

Thirdly, live-action anime adaption is often made for popular shonen series which involves high-octane fighting scenes that act like a massive pull to most fans who follow the particular series.

Sadly, live action anime just can’t translate the computer-generated animation battle into real life through CGI which honestly is barely employed through budget constraints.

Pulling off a fast-paced battle sequence with stunt actors often results in lackluster and awkward viewing.

Finally, music and voice cast form a very important aspect of any successful anime franchise. Even if the anime fails, fans remember can still remember the series for its intro-outro and the memorable voice cast.

Unfortunately, this aspect gets lost in live action anime adaption which even the most talented actors fail to pull off and makes it a hard sell.

There is a reason why voice actors original or dubbed are massively more popular than their characters themselves. The pauses, cries, and change in tone are some aspects that the actors portraying the character fail to execute in live action anime movies.

All in all, live-action anime adaption movies remain an uncracked code, and those who have attempted to crack it have given us some of the worst live action movies.

But what are the worst of the worst one might ask, so here is the list of the top 10 Worst Live Action Anime movies which should have never made it to the big screen.


Source by Digital Frontier

The first one on the Worst Live Action Anime list is Shinsuke Sato s’ adaption of Hiroya Oku s’ manga series, Gantz. 

The anime adaption by studio Gonzo of the phycological-action thriller wasn’t a smashing hit, to begin with, but the live-action took it to a different level due to listless acting from bland actors.

Gantz as an anime series is mostly sex and violence from a bunch of high schoolers thrown into a rampant game. The essence of this series was its gore nature which was stripped off in the live-action movie and as a result, the characters felt monotonous and drab.

The only saving grace and partially why it is so low on the list is visually the movie ticked all the boxes. Despite the failed execution of the plot, outfits and locations were translated perfectly.


Source by Robot Communications

One of the most popular body thrillers animes in recent times has been the anime adaption of Hitoshi Lwaaki s’ sci-fi manga Parasyte. 

Ranked 8.3/10 with more than 1 million members on MyAnimeList coupled with 25 million manga copies in the sale, there was genuine excitement when a live action movie of Parasyte was announced.

Sadly, once again, excitement turned into disappointment as director Takashi Yamazaki s’ Parasyte live-action film was nothing short of “atrocity in motion”.

Lack of character development rushed plot, and inconsistent creative license made sure the two-part film was looking through the window of doom.

The biggest criticism the movie faced was the terrible CGI and special effects of the action sequences which felt underwhelming. The CGI was so worse that many fans were able to notice the plasticity of the Parasytes.

The actor playing the lead looked out of touch and one-dimensional as like many other live-action films on this list, failed to capture the essence of the source material.


Source by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan

Kentarō Ōtani and Keiichi Satō s’ 2014 live-action adaption of period-style anime Black Butler had high expectations from the get-go. But like most other entries on this list of Worst Live Action Anime, it failed to live up to those expectations.

Ciel is played by a girl assuming a male disguise, Earl Kiyohara Genpu is replaced by Earl Ciel Phantomhive, 15 mins rip off of the second episode, and the absences of Bart and Finnian are some of the criticisms labelled towards the movie.

Hiro Mizushima playing Sebastian looked awkward considering he was new to acting and thus had no chemistry with the female lead.

Finally, for some weird reason, the movie was set in 2020 Easter Nation as opposed to 19th-century London in the original manga which just contributed to the confused and convoluted plot.


Source by Toei Company

Taking the 7th spot in the list of worst live action anime movies is the 2004 atrocity, Devilman.

The Devilman film was universally panned by both critics and fans of the original manga, citing reasons such as the CGI being hideous and the poor use of inexperienced actors in the form of idols such as the Izaki twins as the main drawbacks. 

Due to trying to force the whole story into a short run time, many have also criticized the progression of the film as the events had moved so fast that making little to no sense, there is no time used to develop the characters. 

Domestically, the film did much better in terms of box office however, in terms of critical reception, it was given three rewards for recognition as the worst film of 2004. 

The only remotely good award received was for Best Special Effects at Asia-Pacific Film Festival in 2004.


Source by Videovision Entertainment

Considering the gore, violence, and graphic content of the story adapting the 1998 Yasuomi Umetsu s’ Kite was always going to be challenging especially with a low budget.

Director Ralph Ziman takes the revenge drama and turns it into a slugfest which feels cliched and tedious coupled with a “never mind” twist in the end. It’s no wonder why it is 0% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and even the likes of Samuel L Jackson couldn’t save its demise.

Kudos to the production design for maintaining some semblance with the source material but all in all 2014 live-action adaption of Kite failed to take off.


Source by Nickelodeon Movies

M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series was another botched attempt that failed to make any sort of lasting impression except for disappointment. 

Shyamalan takes the beloved source material, strips the characters of all emotion, throws in intrusive narration, douses it in CGI, and tries to pass it off as a viable effort.

The dialogue is tin-eared in the extreme, the 3D is used in a strictly tokenistic fashion and the absolute lack of a sense of irony or humor makes the more solemn scenes all the more laughable.

Needless to say, if 3D was a rating scale, Last Airbender would be a 0D for its dumb-and-dumber approach to an iconic series.


Source by Paramount Pictures

For many, an entry into the neo-noir cyberpunk genre would have most likely been through the 1995 anime adaption of Masamune Shirow s’ manga series, Ghost in the Shell.

So, when 22 years later, a live-action movie was announced featuring Scarlett Johansson as the lead, there was more than something to look forward to for the return of the 90s thriller.

Disappointingly, the movie was a failure in every aspect and exposed why ill-informed American directors should stay away from animes.

Ghost in the Shell was a Japanese cult manga centered around Asian philosophy which by common consent demanded a Japanese female lead. Even the filmmakers went experimented using CGI on Johansson trying to make her appear Asian.

Ghost in the Shell (2017) was a poignant representation of what happens when Hollywood gets its hands on cultural classics with no care except for the Box Office race.


Source by Netflix

Breaking into the Top 3 of Worst Live Action Anime movies list is what s’ unanimously considered an abomination of the popular anime series, Death Note.

Netlfix s’ attempt to bring the cat-mouse game between Light Yagami and L to the big screen was undetermined and underdeveloped coupled with $50 million down the drain. 

Whoever thought of translating an epic series like Death Note into 100 mins of insufferable creative freedom needed sacking. 

The lackluster casting, absurd change in plotlines such as Ryuk asking Light to use Death Note, and absence of tension compared to the original anime series are some of the reasons why Netflix should think twice before considering making a live-action movie.

A few months after its release, it was discovered that the images of the train accident in the movie were real footage of a 2010 train collision in Buizingen, Belgium in which 19 people died. Both the rail operator and survivors have criticized this as disrespectful to the victims.

Director Adam Wingard had to delete his Twitter account due to the backlash from the fans. 

Furthermore, if the 2017 live-action adaption wasn’t enough to fry your brains, a sequel is in development that promises to take fan criticism into account *sigh*.


Source by Toho Pictures

Taking the runner-up spot in the Worst Live Action Anime movies list is Attack on Titans (2015) which unlike its anime adaption was a unsinkable ship at first glance but which eventually sank like the Titanic. 

Attack on Titans is one of the biggest anime franchises in history and it was always going to be a challenging task bringing it to the big screen. 

While the filmmaker did try their best to give the Attack on Titans experience, the movie was a painful watch with corny dialogues and forced humor. 

Altered character sketches, deviation from the source material, atrocious acting and clueless direction made sure the live action adaption was nothing short of a sickening insult to the fans.


Source by Dune Entertainment

Finally, that brings us to the #1 Worst Live Action Anime movie in the form of Dragonball Evolution which, to be honest, should not come as a surprise considering how it managed to piss off an entire fanbase.

This train wreck journey of one of the most beloved anime characters was driven by creators who had absolutely no clue or understanding of the source material

Director Wong who came in as a replacement for Stephen Chow admitted he wasn’t a lifelong fan of the Dragon Ball franchise and struggled to balance the storylines.

Writer Ben Ramsey who admitted chasing a payday claimed Dragonball Evolution was a painful creative point in his life as he apologized and took full responsibility for the disappointment it caused to many fans.

Right from casting an American as Goku to wiping out his entire Saiyan history, Dragonball evolution was a recipe for disaster that’s etched into many DBZ fans’ memory to date.




So, folks that was our countdown for the 10 Worst Live Action Anime movies. Creators should be well-versed in the source material and understand the theme and emotions of the story before making a live-action movie is what most fans demand.

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