By now, I guess you may have already
seen marvelled at the awesomeness that is Pacific Rim, Guilliermo Del Toro’s love letter to Japanese pulp SF conventions. The question is, now that Hollywood has thrown down the gauntlet, what is Japanese cinema going to do? After all, they practically invented the concept of the kaiju – not to mention the humongous mecha developed to combat those beasts.
Not to say they have been asleep at the wheel – there have been notable attempts such as:
Karate Robo Zaborgar (2011) Japanese trailer
Awesome, yes, but as Pacific Rim stands to dominate the global box-office, maybe Japan can teach Hollywood or two how to treat big-screen Super Robots™
The top 5 Japanese mecha properties that should be developed as live-action films
- Mazinger Z
Shin Mazinger Z opening 2
Original flavour Mazinger Z opening
I have grown up watching Japanese Super Robots™ as a kid, and I have thought that Mazinger Z – along with the rest of Go Nagai‘s stable of Humongous Mecha (Getter Robot, UFO Grendaizer) – trumps the likes of Voltes V and Daimos. Seems that I am more impressed by minimalist displays of raw power over Swiss Army Knife-style weapon sets.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Lagann-Hen Final Fight Scene – Naruto, eat your heart out!!!
This series, along with King Of Braves GaoGaiGar, are true heirs to Mazinger Z when it comes to Super Robots™ being driven by the sheer badassitude of their pilots. One can count on Japanese filmmakers to properly translate anime badassness convincingly into live action.
- Code Geass
Code Geass R3 Akito The Exiled movie/OVA trailer
Top 10 Knightmare Frames from the seriesThis saga set on an alternate history timeline where Japan is conquered by a resplendent British Empire reinforced with fast-moving mechas has been lauded not just for the innovative design of the Knightmare mechas but also for its adequate mix of political intrigue, personal drama and kick-ass FIGHTS. No wonder even Leonardo DiCaprio is a fan (can he be drawn, Nick Fury-style, on an upcoming story arc – or can he use his Hollywood clout to back up a live-action adaptation)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
OP (official full version)
End Of Evangelion; Asuka’s Final Battle (EVA 02 vs. mass-produced EVAs)It has long been circulating that Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital has been trying to get this off the ground for the longest time. Given the sheer bulk of work that has to be done on the Lord Of The Rings prequels, don’t count on it yet. Meanwhile, here’s hoping that the said rights be eventually reclaimed by Japanese hands.
- Aim For The Top/Gunbuster
Gunbuster 2 OVA trailer
Diebuster ep. 6 – where the Earth itself is literally kidnapped!!!Awesome is as awesome does, particularly with Hideaki Anno at the helm. Wouldn’t it be asking a tad too much if he can cross-over both GunBuster/Diebuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion? That’s gonna be the ultimate, dai-ichi, most awesome-sauce team-up EVER!!! What more if live-action – after all, he already did an awesome live-action version of Go Nagai’s Cutey Honey
Cutey Honey movie OP
It may be too soon to tell, but the challenge posed by Pacific Rim may be in ensuring that any live-action version of, let’s say, franchises like Macross (Robotech) and even Gundam be translated onto the big screen with enough reverence to the source material, if applicable, but still able to pass muster with the demands of IMAX and/or 3D screens around the world.
Your call, Japan!