DVD Release Date11 Best Live Action Anime Movies Worth Watching in 2023

11 Best Live Action Anime Movies Worth Watching in 2023

11 Best Live Action Anime Movies Worth Watching in 2023

Live action anime movies often get a bad rap, and it’s not entirely unfounded. Just take a peek at the disastrous Netflix adaptation of Death Note, and you’ll see what I mean. Whether it’s the controversial casting choices or the twisted storylines, most live action anime adaptations just don’t hit the bullseye when it comes to staying true to their source material.

But fear not! Surprisingly, a few hidden treasures have managed to nail it and bring the anime to life. It’s worth noting that most of these successful adaptations hail from Japan, but who knows, maybe someday the Western film industry will catch up and start delivering some seriously epic live action anime movies.

And now, let’s dive into the latest additions to the mix. One that definitely deserves a spotlight is “My Happy Marriage.”

1. Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin
The live action version of Rurouni Kenshin is considered by many as an almost perfect film adaptation. It successfully captures the essence of both the original anime and the film’s protagonist, Kenshin, a former samurai who has made a solemn vow to never kill again after a lifetime of violence.

While the movie deviates slightly from the slapstick humor of its source material, it still manages to maintain the same overall tone. The sword fights in the film are incredibly well-choreographed, showcasing the skill and precision of the characters. Furthermore, the acting performances are exceptional, with the cast truly embodying their respective roles.

However, some critics argue that the film’s only flaw lies in the casting choice for the leading lady, Emi Takei. While she is undeniably beautiful, some feel that she does not quite fit the description of the plain Kaoru, a minor issue that does not detract significantly from the overall quality of the adaptation.

2. Oldboy

Oldboy is a Korean film adapted from a Japanese manga with the same title. In both versions, a man is inexplicably imprisoned and subjected to torture for more than ten years. However, the movie takes the storyline to a whole new level, intensifying the pain and delivering a gloomy and distressing cinematic experience that will undoubtedly leave you trembling in your seat.

While the manga’s main character simply desires to reintegrate into society after enduring a horrifying ordeal, the movie’s protagonist emerges with an unyielding determination for vengeance.

3. Your Lie In April

Your Lie In April
Your Lie in April” is a live action film that closely follows the storyline of the anime. However, there is one significant difference – in the film, the main characters are in their second year of high school instead of middle school. This alteration doesn’t take away from the story; in fact, it adds a deeper emotional maturity that is crucial for such a heart-wrenching tale.

The musical performances in the film capture the same ethereal beauty that defines the original anime. They have the power to transport you to another world, just like before. And brace yourself, because the ending will hit you right in the feels and bring tears to your eyes, just as it did in the anime

4. From Me To You

From Me To You
From Me to You” is an awesome live action film that brings to life the captivating slice of life drama from Kimi ni Todoke. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re in the mood for a well-executed teen romance. The story revolves around Sawako, a shy high school student who struggles to make friends because of her striking resemblance to Sadako from the horror movie “The Ring.” However, things take a turn when her classmate Shota decides that he wants to befriend her.

This movie is a delightful mix of humor and heartwarming moments, just like its anime counterpart. The talented actress, Mikako Tabe, does a remarkable job portraying Sawako, using twisted facial expressions and body language to emphasize her physical similarity to Sadako

5. Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning

6. Lovely Complex

Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex is a rom-com that centers around the love story of an exceptionally short boy and a remarkably tall girl. Although the live action version may seem cliched at certain points and a few characters might come across as unlikable, it’s worth noting that these flaws were also present in the original series. The anime adaptation of Lovely Complex manages to captivate its audience with its unique cinematography and the impressive performances of Koike Teppei and Ema Fujisawa. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, this adaptation is definitely worth checking out.

7. Death Note

Death Note
The American live action adaptation of Death Note was widely regarded as awful. However, for fans who still long to see their beloved characters brought to life, there is another option that is actually really good. That option comes in the form of the Death Note movies – specifically, Death Note and its sequel, Death Note 2: The Last Name.

While these movies do diverge from the original Death Note storyline, there is one crucial difference that might pique your interest: the great Detective L actually survives. This alone should be reason enough to give them a chance.

But it doesn’t stop there – these movies have also garnered recognition and acclaim. In fact, they have won multiple awards, including the prestigious Pegasus Audience Award at the 2007 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, the Hochi Film Award, and the Yokohama Film Festival Prize.

So, if you’re yearning for a Death Note adaptation that does justice to the characters and storyline, consider giving these movies a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

8. My Happy Marriage

My Happy Marriage
Based on the light novel, My Happy Marriage is a live-action movie that came out just a few months before its anime counterpart. Both adaptations were highly praised by fans. The film performed exceptionally well at the box office in Japan, raking in millions in profit during its theatrical run. Its popularity continued to grow internationally, especially after the anime gained a following. Fans particularly appreciate the movie’s casting choices and its faithfulness to the original source material.

The story revolves around Miyo Saimori, who is forced into an arranged marriage with a cruel military leader by her abusive family. However, she soon discovers that he is actually kind-hearted and caring. As their relationship develops, they navigate the challenges of their supernatural world together.

9. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist
The live adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, known by the same title, is definitely worth watching for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it stays remarkably true to the original storyline, which means that diehard fans won’t be left disappointed by any nonsensical diversions. Director Fumihiko Sori expressed his desire to remain faithful to the source material in an interview with the press:

“I’ve condensed the 27-volume original story into a two-hour movie, but we will stay true to the manga. I can’t give away too many details just yet, but I believe you can already get an idea of the main story based on the cast that has been announced. Being a huge fan of the original myself, I have no intention of altering the setting, the world view, or creating a different story, so there’s no need to worry about that. And of course, the philosopher’s stone will definitely make an appearance somewhere in the story.”

However, faithfulness to the original isn’t the only reason why this movie is worth your time. If that were the case, you could simply watch the original series. What truly elevates this adaptation is the incredible CGI and other special effects. Just Al’s suit alone makes the entire movie worthwhile.

10. Bunny Drop

Bunny Drop
Bunny Drop is all about Daikichi, a 30-year-old guy who unexpectedly becomes the caregiver of his grandpa’s six-year-old daughter, Rin. It’s a heartwarming flick that celebrates the special connection between a parent and child. And let me tell you, the young actress, Mana Ashida, is just perfect for the role of Rin – she’s absolutely adorable!

Now, this movie may not revolutionize your world, but it sure does leave you with a cozy, feel-good feeling. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you crave – a dose of warm fuzzies.

11. Mushishi Tokubetsu-hen: Hihamukage

Mushishi Tokubetsu-hen: Hihamukage
The live action version of Mushishi has something truly remarkable about it, and that is its breathtaking scenery. Just like the anime that came before it, this film takes you on a serene and atmospheric journey, prompting deep contemplation on the intricate connection between humanity and the natural world. However, for those who are unfamiliar with the Mushishi universe, the plot might not always captivate their attention completely. The story revolves around the protagonist Ginko and his encounters with the mystical creatures known as mushi. Nevertheless, even if the plot doesn’t grab you, the visual experience alone makes it well worth a watch.