A Live Action Naruto TV Series
With the numerous Marvel Netflix series beginning soon and even a potential live action Zelda Netflix television series in the works, let’s take a look at some anime series that would make awesome transitions from animation to a live action TV show.
These series may be a hard sell to most mainstream channels but would be great additions to Netflix’s growing original program lineup.
The first anime that deserves the live action treatment is the popular anime series, Naruto.
Based on Masashi Kishimoto”s hit manga (Japanese comic book) of the same name, Naruto is both a coming of age story as well as a martial arts epic with a healthy dose of human drama and comedy thrown in to really keep things interesting.
Naruto’s bizarre world, which is a blend of modern day cities and small ninja villages lends itself well to a TV budget with the option to set entire episodes within the modern city locations and while the cast of characters is absolutely huge in the anime, the majority could be cut to focus more on the main trio of characters; Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura with very little impact on the overall plot.
The long-running anime may have recently finished with the animated movie, The Last: Naruto The Movie but interest in the franchise remains strong with several media projects in the works in addition to a live action Naruto rock musical (see image) which proves just how cool a live action Naruto can look if done right.
A Live Action Ghost in the Shell TV Series
Masamune Shirow’s famous manga (Japanese comic book) series, Ghost in the Shell has been adapted several times into animation and the brand remains one of the most respected Japanese anime properties in the industry due to each version’s financial success and the artistic integrity of the original 90s anime film.
With a new Japanese Ghost in the Shell anime film due for release in 2015 and a Western live action one starring Scarlett Johansson due in 2017, Ghost in the Shell’s popularity is only going to grow which makes now the perfect time to start developing a live action Ghost in the Shell TV series.
The series’ mature police drama style of storytelling makes it a perfect match for the episodic nature of a live action television series. The futuristic setting the series takes place in may sound intimidating at first but recent TV shows like Almost Human and Fringe have proven how possible it is to create a believable futuristic world on a limited TV budget.
A Live Action Sailor Moon TV Series
Thanks to the hit anime series in the 90s, Sailor Moon is now one of the most recognisable Japanese characters on the planet. Its story of a teenage girl who discovers she’s a reincarnated princess and a cosmic superhero is a concept that lends itself to numerous mediums and would be great to see as a live action TV series on Netflix.
Sailor Moon did actually get a live action TV show that was never released outside of Japan and it was actually quite good (if you survived the first ten or so super cheesy episodes) but for a Western interpretation we’d need something that’s a little less Power Rangers and more The Vampire Diaries with a superhero twist.
The Sailor Moon manga (Japanese comic book) has some great storylines and characters that could be used for a live action TV show, however the basic premise and visuals of the series are so strong that it would be exciting to see a fresh take on the concept with a new story and even new characters becoming these iconic superheroes. Sailor Moon fans can only watch the Sailor Scouts (or Guardians) kick Queen Beryl’s butt so many times. Why not give the transformation powers to a new teenage girl and have her face an all-new baddie?
The possibilities for a live action Sailor Moon TV series are endless and if done right, could reinvigorate the Female Superhero genre that’s pretty much been dead since Birds of Prey crashed and burned over a decade ago.
A Live Action Bleach TV Series
Fans of the Bleach anime and manga series have been yearning for a live action adaption of the supernatural series for years. A group of good looking, misfit high schoolers who get wrapped up in saving innocent souls and a larger supernatural conspiracy is a very strong concept for a live action TV show and one that has a very broad appeal if marketed correctly.
While Warner Bros has bought the rights and been developing a live action Bleach movie, it’s been years since anyone has heard anything about its progress let alone a release date.
If the Bleach movie ends up getting stuck in development hell (if it isn’t already), a TV series could be a great compromise and possibly even more successful.
Fitting such a long-running series such as Bleach into a 2 hour movie can be difficult but spreading a story arc or two out over the course of a TV season? Much more practical and potentially a smarter move financially.
A Live Action Madoka Magica TV Series
Don’t let the cute character designs fool you. Madoka Magica is a super complex series that deals with aliens, super powers, time travel, friendship and life lessons in a style that’s both heartbreaking and mindbending.
Increase the age of the characters by a few years and you’ve got a ready made concept that’s ripe for a live action adaption. Too edgy for mainstream channels, Madoka Magica would thrive on Netflix in a self-contained 8 to 10 episode series with the potential for further seasons shifting focus to entirely new characters dealing with the same issues around the world.