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View Full Version : Why do you think movies based on manga/anime are often worse than comic book movies?


Kasinator
01-17-2011, 10:24 AM
I find it odd that comic book movies like spider man do well compared to live action anime/manga when often manga tells the story in a span sometimes as short as one or two volumes, while the western comics are ongoing sagas that have a lot of ground to cover in comparison.

My main theory is despite similarities, anime and manga are handled much differently than comic book movies. Often because they are less recognizable to westerners as compared to ... say superman, who is more iconic and recognizable. You could easily explain the character despite what little you know about him compared to hardcore fans. Whereas the characters in anime and or manga have creative liberties taken to shoehorn them to be more "related" to common audiences.

Lets take the example of dragonball. I'll try to make this tolerable. XD In the manga son goku is a happy go lucky ten year old, that is blissfully ignorant to whats really going on, but knows when to get serious when conflict arises. To an American screenwriter, this doesn't sound compelling in the least, and therefore not someone to relate to, which is important for a main character. So to make him more compelling, Have him be older, and a nobody in high school. Then by the end f the movie we can establish him as the big hero he is supposed to grow up into.

This sort of thing happens a lot in movies. Take for instances forein imitations of popular movies. Bollywood is full of them. Bollywood often takes the idea of a pre-existing plot with a few changes to the movie and releases it to Indian audiences. Well why not make their own original idea? Because its better to work with an idea they already know was successful. All they have to do is make a few changes in names and characters and make it more relevant to their local audience.

But wouldn't people know it's a rip-off copy of a much better movie? That is the part that surprises more people than you would think. Bellow I listed A bunch of movies released that were US released but are really foreign remakes:

True Lies

Twelve Monkeys

Three Men and a Baby

The Departed

Shall We Dance

City of Angels

Dinner for Schmucks

Vanilla Sky

Bangkok Dangerous

The Magnificent Seven

The Lake House

So while we may or may not have enjoyed these films. The people who saw the originals might have an entirely different opinion than you simply because they know the original. Anime and manga are still the obscure entertainment fields despite growing popularity. But when it becomes something more recognizable to people worldwide, live action adaptations will become more central to the original concept.

That's my thoughts on this. How about you folks?

The Hag
01-17-2011, 10:55 AM
...manga tells the story in a span sometimes as short as one or two volumes, while the western comics are ongoing sagas that have a lot of ground to cover in comparison.

I actually think that this is the reason why movies based on comic books are more successful. The characters have been around for a long time and have gone through many versions and storylines so movie makers have more flexibility. They can use and build on the things that will work well on film and ignore things that won't. But because the characters have been around for so long, there is name recognition even for people who are not huge comic book fans. Some hardcore fans will complain that the movie violates canon, but the vast majority of movies goers won't care.

I'm actually not familiar with live action anime/manga movies but for comparison, let's take The Last Airbender. The fans of the cartoon series knew every little detail of the single story arc so any deviation would be met with howling. But not everything that works well animated, on TV, over three seasons is going to translate well in telling the story live action on the big screen. Personally, I think that it is much harder to adapt something from one medium to another and have it be any good than to develop something original for a specific medium. Quite honestly, I don't understand why everything has to be a movie and a TV show and a comic book and a video game and a card game.... Well, expect of course to milk a single IP for absolutely every cent with as little creative effort as possible.

I think that the question of remakes is a little different, especially remakes from one country to another. I'm not against them in principal, but again, I do think that a lot of times it does come down to wanting to make money with less creative effort. If you are a film maker, why not come up with an original idea? (Well, except for the obvious reason - see above). And I can't think of a remake of a foreign movie that I thought was an improvement. I like The Magnificent Seven but don't think it's as good as The Seven Samurai.

Lithium Flower
01-17-2011, 11:23 AM
Frankly, I think quite a lot of western comic-to-movie's are god awful too, but I digress. -ahem-

A lot of anime, like the above mentioned Avatar series, is not something easily adapted out of animation. Regardless if something is western (like batman ) or a manga (like Death Note) it can and is difficult to be true to your subject matter and make it flow appropriately on screen. Even taking something as popular as Harry Potter and adapting it into films has shown itself to be horrifically difficult and fragile, almost anyone who's read the novels left 'Half-Blood Prince' feeling something like rage and indigestion combined. So taking anything from one form and squishing it down into another is a hard task on its own.

As for remakes, It's terribly unoriginal and creates a frankenstein monster of a movie. Do you know how many jackasses stomped out of 'Pans Labyrinth' because they didn't 'pay to read'? (The film is in Spanish for those who haven't seen it) My mother actually liked that movie so much when I told her about the subtitles bugging some of our fellow patrons she looked at me puzzled and said "Wait..there where subtitles?" and actually argued with me about it xD She got SO into the movie she didn't even realize that she was reading subtitles!

Brsis
01-17-2011, 12:43 PM
Frankly, I think quite a lot of western comic-to-movie's are god awful too, but I digress. -ahem-

So YES I cannot even fully articulate how YES this statement is. Number of comic-to-movies I hated vastly outweighs the ones I liked.

Ultimately, skipping between media is HARD. Adaptations are HARD and are often done really badly. You can turn a serialised manga of fifty-odd chapters into a twenty-six episode anime or drama much easier than you can cram that material into a two hour movie (Animated OR live-action). The problem is that a lot of movies want to stand alone, so you can watch it without having seen/read the original, because they think they'll get a bigger audience. I think this is a load of crap. My favourite (FAVOURITE) serial-to-short so far is actually the second 'Kuroshitsuji' musical, which I think did an awesome job of creating something that you didn't strictly speaking NEED to know the characters and the story, but gave out so much more if you did.

Adapting foreign movies into English is a wasted effort, IMHO (I beat my head against a sign board for five minutes after I realised they'd remade 'Let The Right One In'. No one messes with my vampire movies, damnit!)

FunnyValentine
01-17-2011, 01:50 PM
The DeathNote movie was amazing. I watched it with my brother, whose a big fan, and he shooshed me when I moved. lol. Im so glad they did not go through with the Cowboy Bebop live action. I think most people that try to tackle anime live action movies don't do enough research. Just my opinion. O.O

Eau de Decus
01-17-2011, 02:20 PM
The DeathNote movie was amazing. I watched it with my brother, whose a big fan, and he shooshed me when I moved. lol. Im so glad they did not go through with the Cowboy Bebop live action. I think most people that try to tackle anime live action movies don't do enough research. Just my opinion. O.O So happy I read that about the Cowboy Beebop movie. The thought of Keanu Reeves playing Spike made my stomach turn. *shudders*

FunnyValentine
01-17-2011, 02:27 PM
So happy I read that about the Cowboy Beebop movie. The thought of Keanu Reeves playing Spike made my stomach turn. *shudders*

Same here, I was so happy when they called it off. There were a lot of rumors of Megan Fox playing Faye. I think they were just trying to pick any bad actor for that movie. ><

Brsis
01-17-2011, 02:56 PM
Same here, I was so happy when they called it off. There were a lot of rumors of Megan Fox playing Faye. I think they were just trying to pick any bad actor for that movie. ><

I had not even heard about this, but ooooooooh, the pain...

I have a sudden sense of a humongous catastrophe barely avoided.

SailorEarth
01-21-2011, 08:39 PM
Actually the first time I saw Constantine I couldn't help but think what a good Spike Keanu Reeves would make. *ducks*

Cadmium Polyphony
01-21-2011, 09:08 PM
I find it odd that comic book movies like spider man do well compared to live action anime/manga when often manga tells the story in a span sometimes as short as one or two volumes, while the western comics are ongoing sagas that have a lot of ground to cover in comparison.


A huge, HUGE exception to this are the Ghost in the Shell manga/first film, and the AKIRA film/manga.

Both are examples of manga taking FOREVER to get on with it, yet still managing to produce assrapingly gorgeous icons of cinema. In fact, the AKIRA manga wasn't even finished when the film was released.

Maybe some Japanese directors should tutor other filmmakers looking to dabble in the comic-to-film field?

sam vimes
01-21-2011, 09:15 PM
I dunno. Western bias?

nannyogg
01-21-2011, 09:39 PM
So happy I read that about the Cowboy Beebop movie. The thought of Keanu Reeves playing Spike made my stomach turn. *shudders*

That was how I felt when they cast him as Constantine. I just had to completely put Hellblazer out of my mind and pretend it was something totally new and different to enjoy the movie at all.

sam vimes
01-21-2011, 09:43 PM
I still refuse to see Constantine. Didn't they make him a demon killer employed by the Vatican or something?

It should never have been made.

nannyogg
01-21-2011, 09:54 PM
I still refuse to see Constantine. Didn't they make him a demon killer employed by the Vatican or something?

It should never have been made.

It's been a long time since I watched it, but he had his usual American accent, so right off the bat, it was NOT John Constantine. Then they sort of muddled up the bit and made it incomprehensible about his relationship with upstairs and down below. It was like seeing a crayola cartoon of the Mona Lisa. Might be interesting in its own right, but not a very good caricature of the original.

Cadmium Polyphony
01-21-2011, 10:22 PM
It would be hard to have a proper Constantine film that wasn't rated...whatever the rating above R is.

I wish they'd have got someone with a thick accent, too. Trying to figure out what the hell people were saying through all the slang and vernacular in the older 90's Hellblazer stories was part of the fun for me.

sam vimes
01-21-2011, 10:31 PM
Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis would be rolling in their graves, were they dead.

Shana05
01-22-2011, 01:51 AM
Do you know how many jackasses stomped out of 'Pans Labyrinth' because they didn't 'pay to read'? (The film is in Spanish for those who haven't seen it) My mother actually liked that movie so much when I told her about the subtitles bugging some of our fellow patrons she looked at me puzzled and said "Wait..there where subtitles?" and actually argued with me about it xD She got SO into the movie she didn't even realize that she was reading subtitles!

There was the issue that the ads for the movie were misleading. Many thought it was going to be a family-friendly fantasy movie. Many parents had to take their children out of the theater because of the violence.

Brsis
01-22-2011, 11:31 AM
There was the issue that the ads for the movie were misleading. Many thought it was going to be a family-friendly fantasy movie. Many parents had to take their children out of the theater because of the violence.

That's what rating systems are for >.>

penny_dreadful
01-22-2011, 01:03 PM
That's what rating systems are for >.>

Too true. I don't understand why so many parents apparently ignore ratings, or, if they're really concerned about "family friendly" fare, don't take 45 seconds to do some research. Pick up the paper and read a review. Hop on the internet. Is the movie based on something else? Find out about it. Like when the Bridge to Terabithia movie came out, and people were like OH MY GOD IT'S SO TRAUMATIC WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED. a) I read that book for school in first grade; it's sad, but I got over it. b) Since it's based on a frigging classic, award-winning piece of young adult literature, all anyone had to do was look up a plot summary on Wikipedia before they brought their 4-year-olds into the theater.

People act like it's really frigging hard to "protect" their kids from bad influences in the media, when all it really takes is a little diligence.

Sorry, off-topic.

Volnixshin
01-22-2011, 01:41 PM
No man, that's totally true. Off topic or not, its a good discussion to have

emmisu
01-22-2011, 02:50 PM
((Edit: Please keep in mind all generalizations are on a most cases I have seen basis. Like obviously they're not 100%, unbiased, perfect facts. I just don't want to offend people by saying comics aren't deep or something, cause I like both. This is just my two-cents on the movie adaptation matter.))

I think a lot of it has to do with general story differences between eastern and western concepts.

In most american comics, we tend to focus on a brief history, and lots of macho-man action in our most iconic titles. The character is developed, we can add and subtract, we can make the movie mostly action with little development or vice versa, and it still works. Everything can be an installment, because there is rarely a linear storyline that has to be followed and told for the movie to be made. We can take a section of Superman's adventures, and it's a movie, and that -can- be it.
Whether you decide to chronicle superman's lost origins, study his inner angst, or just bring out the big guns and have a brawl-movie, it will work, and people will like it.

To convert most anime/manga into a movie, you have a short time to do a linear story. In most cases, you have to rely heavily on both action and character development. And that's difficult, to show appropriate levels of both without the movie being several hours long or dragging. And to have the movie, usually you -need- to have the full linear line of action or it feels incomplete.
Sometimes those character drama bits can be daunting to directors, especially in america where we want everything to be more more more, faster faster faster. Something like Kimi ni Todoke would kill our audiences and hemorrhage money because it requires a delicate and specific touch. You really can't choose between action and drama here.

Case in point: The Avatar/Airbender movie:
Yes, it's a western animation, but it has a lot of elements that are common through anime, a definitive style, characters with all five fingers, a linear plot, action, tons of character development and drama.
Why this didn't work in the movie: Almost all of the character development was put aside for action. A single movie, even 2 hours long couldn't contain all of the slow, awkward moments that had to be there in order for the story to work. The directors chose action over character drama and it failed. but it wouldn't have been successful if they had chosen only drama either. It still would have sucked, because the story requires both elements to be whole.


tl;dr:
Superheroes can choose between action and drama. Anime can't.

Cadmium Polyphony
01-22-2011, 05:23 PM
Too true. I don't understand why so many parents apparently ignore ratings, or, if they're really concerned about "family friendly" fare, don't take 45 seconds to do some research. Pick up the paper and read a review. Hop on the internet. Is the movie based on something else? Find out about it. Like when the Bridge to Terabithia movie came out, and people were like OH MY GOD IT'S SO TRAUMATIC WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED. a) I read that book for school in first grade; it's sad, but I got over it. b) Since it's based on a frigging classic, award-winning piece of young adult literature, all anyone had to do was look up a plot summary on Wikipedia before they brought their 4-year-olds into the theater.

People act like it's really frigging hard to "protect" their kids from bad influences in the media, when all it really takes is a little diligence.

Sorry, off-topic.

I remember when children's entertainment had moral value; and not 'good family value' type shit, but the kind of shit that would point out that the old guy down the street who's house always seems to smell like gingerbread, might just be warming up his oven in the off chance you are stupid enough to go into his house without an adult, and cook you.

Life isn't all beer and skittles, and if kids don't learn that early enough, they'll grow into modern Americans.

We need to put a stop to that.

nannyogg
01-22-2011, 05:33 PM
I remember when children's entertainment had moral value; and not 'good family value' type shit, but the kind of shit that would point out that the old guy down the street who's house always seems to smell like gingerbread, might just be warming up his oven in the off chance you are stupid enough to go into his house without an adult, and cook you.

They need more movies like that. What Disney did to The Little Mermaid and the Hunchback of Notre Dame was unconscionable.

Kildread
01-22-2011, 05:36 PM
Life isn't all beer and skittles, and if kids don't learn that early enough, they'll grow into modern Americans.

As I was waiting in line to go to the movies so many weeks, I realized that the obviously 13~14 years old in the line were all going to see Jackass 3D.

Is that good?

Brsis
01-23-2011, 01:43 AM
I think a lot of it has to do with general story differences between eastern and western concepts.

...

tl;dr:
Superheroes can choose between action and drama. Anime can't.

I think you make some excellent points and I agree with a lot of what you said - I'd just angle it away from East/West and rather into the different ways stories can be constructed.

Movies are short. REALLY SHORT. The maximum amount of time you can comfortably show in a two hour movie is maybe ten days, and that's pushing it - many movies make do very comfortably with two or three. In a three hour movie maybe you get two weeks and some scratch. If you need to show a longer time than that, you need to time fugue it - tell your audience you've skipped ahead. You do that too many times and you've screwed over not only your pacing, but your narrative and your audience's patience. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is completely linear and takes place almost entirely within the span of about five days and works REALLY WELL as a film because you can put almost everything in it. Death Note is completely linear and when you chop off the (*cough*unnecessary) second half becomes a story that CAN be condensed into what at least seems to be about five days of actual ACTION, and thus also worked really well as a film.

The East/West divide comes in when most Western writers are thinking 'MOVIE ADAPTATION' or at least 'mass readership', and writing a short, sweet, linear novel, and most Eastern writers are thinking 'ANIME/DRAMA ADAPTATION' and, more often than not, are writing a serial than runs one a week/month/whenever for AGES. In serials, you have the space (And the inclination) to pack in the drama, the action, the character development etcetera which just isn't there in a film.

Superhero narratives are actually incredibly long and complicated serials. They are the most EPICLY HUGE of serials, so that most manga/anime (Seriously, only Doraemon, Astro Boy and Sazae-san - okay, maybe GeGeGe no Kitaro - are making a dent on the kind of lengths that some of these guys are racking up) pale in comparison. The difference is, Western audiences know this story. We know Batman. You don't need to develop his character much at all. We know the Batman villains. You don't need to go into their motivations. You only need to have one, maybe two tops out of a whole CATALOGUE of bad guys to make a Batman movie because there's no way in hell you're getting the ten or so villains that everyone knows into one movie, and that's just the famous ones, and then what do you do about the cross-over stuff, and Arkham, and that one time he dies, and - you get the picture. The problem with 90% of long serials into movies, and this includes manga/anime, is that the audience doesn't already know the story. A lot of superhero movies are still rubbish because they try to include too much, put in too many characters, they try to work massive complicated story lines around their tiny little bit of movie space and budget (I'm looking at YOU, X-MEN) because in reality, there are only maybe three or four superheroes that we know well enough to make an 'instalment' movie really work. Out of my favourite comic book movies, nearly all of them come from series that were painfully short in comparison. Series that were published in one trade paperback - sometimes not even a thick one.

Also: They hired M.Night Shyamalan, of course The Last Airbender was going to be a crap movie >.> Man can't shoot a fight scene to save his life.

sephygoth
01-24-2011, 10:07 PM
Why is it bad? Dude, they'r trying to be real, where the original point was to be the opposite: extreme, baddass,over the top....
movies DULL the original intent, and the endless eye candy? its all DONE for the viewer.
Remaking spiderman....again....will even turn off people that give no shit for superheroes to begin with and will finally roll their eyes at the lack of the Toby.

Give Nostalgia critic a look. Kudos to the classics.