There are certain things I will never understand about Japan, like their fascination with the number of creases a person has in their eyelids. Eyes that are 二重 futae, with two eyelid creases resulting in a larger “gaijin-style” look, are said to be preferable to 一重 hitoe, eyes with only one eyelid crease creating narrower “Asian” eyes. I’m also at a loss as to why the Japanese love making live-action versions of popular anime series so often. Whether it’s a stage musical version of Steins;Gate, the drama adaption of Ouran High School or the upcoming Kiki’s Delivery Service film, live-action versions of already-beloved anime series seem guaranteed to receive negativity from many fans. This is an interesting question to ponder: why are the Sailor Moon musicals considered classics by most fans while production stills from the upcoming I Have Few Friends movie resulted in much groaning and facepalming online. One reason might be the strength of our existing attachment to the characters in anime form. I hadn’t seen the anime version of Nodame Cantabile so I had no problem enjoying the live-action series, and the 20th Century Boys film trilogy (based on the manga, with no anime series made) is among my favorite Japanese films. Spending money to create live-action versions of anime series despite low interest by fans is one sign studios are ネタ切り neta-giri, a phrase that can be translated as “out of fish pieces for making sushi,” or in this case, out of fresh ideas.
I’m not a fan of most live-action anime adaptions.