5 Japanese Properties We'd Like to See as Movies
What do last year’s Pacific Rim and this spring’s Godzilla have in common? Aside from featuring colossal terrors with a proclivity for wanton destruction, both clearly illustrate that audiences are developing a taste for films based on or inspired by Japanese pop culture. And with so many anime and live action series, studios have a deep well to drop their buckets into. Now, for your consideration, here are our picks for five Japanese properties we’d like to see as movies!
It’s okay, you can say it: Gamera’s an unrepentant ripoff of Japan’s original king of the kaiju, Godzilla. The immediate success of 1954’s Gojira (as Godzilla’s inaugural film is known in the East) inspired a giant monster movie boom in Japan and abroad, with studios scrambling to cobble together the next big hit. Only one managed to meet moviegoers lofty expectations—and that monster was Gamera. In an odd twist, the terrifying terrapin was embraced wholeheartedly, even rivaling Godzilla in terms of public adoration. That being said, it’d be nice to see Gamera given a long overdue 21st century reboot.
4) Kamen Rider
For over forty years, the Kamen Rider franchise has been delighting children (and, yes, some adults) since 1971, making them all wish they could pull off wearing such ostentatious neckwear. Flaunting a four-decade legacy, we think it’s high time Kamen Rider be given the Hollywood treatment. By virtue, the concept of an insectoid crusader of justice zipping around on a motorcycle is strange and a product of its time. So to avoid coming off as juvenile, setting it in the ‘70s—in conjunction with an infusion of grindhouse flair—would generate mass appeal (and justify the absurdity). Think Quentin Tarantino would be up to direct?
3) Voltron: Defender of the Universe
For years there have been reports—whether they were substantiated or mere products of the Internet rumor mill—of a Voltron movie in the works, each one of them whetting our appetites for a film that would never come to be. Here in 2014, we say that studios have sat on their hands long enough and should get around to bringing everyone’s favorite feline gestalt to theaters. Pacific Rim sort of acted like a prototypical Voltron flick, seeing as how robots beating the snot out of monsters is the cornerstone of the franchise. Placed in capable directorial hands, it’s a sure bet we’d have another fantastic robot romp to look forward to!
Never in a million years would anyone think that a show about a giant alien defender in silver spandex would become a cultural phenomenon. Well, here we are. Before Kamen Rider and the Power Rangers, Ultraman was the granddaddy of them all, judo-chopping actors in rubber monster suits before it was in vogue. The idea is, in all honesty, on the silly side, but Ultraman is every bit a pop culture institution as Godzilla. Applying the law of the transitive property, this essentially means he’s an ideal candidate, if not ready now, for a movie to call his own. Today, not many children know who Ultraman is, though a film would certainly help rectify that.
1) Robotech: The Macross Saga
This truly was a tough call to make considering the influence of Mobile Suit Gundam on all subsequent mecha-centric anime. But measured in respect to complexity, scope, and design, Robotech: The Macross Saga is grade-A film adaptation material. Telling the story of mankind’s epic struggle against a race of war-mongering giants known as the Zentradi, the series went far beyond its own plot via an interconnected narrative web that included romantic drama, the expedited entry into adulthood during wartime, and the discovery of mankind’s own ancient origins. It goes without saying that a movie of this magnitude would need to be split into multiple parts à la Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings, but if it means a Robotech film that can branch out and evolve at a reasonable pace, then it sounds mighty fine to us.
Would you see any of these movies?