The anime has enjoyed enormous popularity almost everywhere in the world for decades, but its live-action adaptations have not been able to do justice to the stories and characters that have captivated the public. The most recent case was that of The Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya – The Beginning – 5%a film based on the successful franchise created by Masami Kurumada and the contempt of the public towards the film has been so great that its failure at the box office far exceeds that of Dragon Ball Evolution – 14%.
Until a few years ago, the pseudo-adaptation of dragonball to the cinema was considered the worst of the worst, and the premiere of The Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya – The Beginning doesn’t seem to have changed that perception, but even if this last tape was less hated than dragon ball evolutiondid not have the support of the fans, since the movie theaters were empty, and in the United States they canceled functions due to the zero sale of tickets.
The film based on the work of Akira Toriyama it was released in 2009, and with a budget of US$30 million and a gross of US$56.5 million, it was considered a complete failure. In the case of The Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya – The Beginninghad a budget of US$ 60 million, and according to information from Box Office Mojoglobally raised US$ 5.77 million, almost 10 times less than what it raised dragon ball evolution (not adjusted for inflation), and less than a tenth of your budget.
Anime has had a significant cultural impact globally. However, despite their popularity, anime film adaptations fail to successfully convey the essence and charm of the source material. There are numerous factors that contribute to this recurring phenomenon.
A major challenge in anime film adaptation is the attempt to condense an anime’s complex and often lengthy narrative into a two-hour film. Anime series often have multiple seasons with rich and well-developed characters along with intricate plots that evolve over hundreds of episodes. For example, the anime Death Note consists of 37 episodes full of psychological complexity and mind game strategies between its main characters. By adapting it into a film, as was the case with the Netflix version in 2017, the plot lost its depth, resulting in an unfavorable reception from fans and critics.
Another factor is the difficulty of translating anime’s unique visual style to film. Anime is famous for its distinctive and stylized artistic expression, which often plays a crucial role in portraying the characters and telling the story. However, when translating these elements to live theater, they can be lost or misinterpreted. Future Watcher: Ghost In The Shell – 44% (2017), starring Scarlett Johansson, is a clear example of this. Although the film had impressive visuals, many argued that it did not capture the spirit and philosophical complexity of the original anime.
Also, film adaptations often fail to capture the cultural essence of anime. This problem is not only present in the Hollywood adaptations, but also in the Japanese ones. Attack on Titana popular anime that was adapted into a live-action film in Japan in 2015, was criticized for not conveying the atmosphere and tone of the anime, despite being produced in the country of origin.
If the multiple failures (among which The Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya – The Beginning notable for its paltry box office take) are of no use in teaching Hollywood to do a better job, we don’t know what will. To overcome these challenges, producers, writers, and filmmakers must seek greater fidelity to the source material, respect anime’s rich culture and tradition, and strive to develop characters and plots with the depth they deserve.
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