My sister and I went on a Japanese live-action binged spree. She was amazed at all the live-action movies that she didn’t know about, which are based on some of her favorite anime that she has seen. In fact, the reason why I didn’t watch any of these live-action series earlier is because I wanted to watch them with her. She has some of the best reactions.
Rather than going in full detail about each movie, I decided to write just my brief thoughts on each one.
Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師)
What bothered both of us in this movie is Ed’s hair. It was too blonde and too noticeable that it is a wig. However, we did love the fact that they paid great detail in the costume and wardrobe of each actor and actress. They definitely brought to life each character’s physical appearance from the manga/anime. Furthermore, some of the actors and actresses did a great job performing these characters. The first character I would like to mention is Maes Hughes, played by Ryuta Sato. He definitely brought this character to life by thoroughly displaying his love and affection for his daughter and his best friend, Roy Mustang. Just like the anime, I teared up when he died. The other character I would like to mention is Lust, played by Yasuko Matsuyuki. Yasuko Matsuyuki really brought to life the elegance and femininity that Lust had in the anime. Also, out of all the Homunculi, Lust, was the one that I felt sorry for. Her only desire was to be human. Even though she was able to pass as human with her looks and actions, she was unable to feel human emotions or die, until Mustang burns her to death and takes her philosopher’s stone.
Also, the movie did a great job in adapting the first volumes of the manga and first episodes of Brotherhood which mainly covered Ed and Al’s search for the Philosopher’s Stone. The one thing that I wished they did though was added some details on the Ishval civil war since it becomes a major issue later on in the series. However, if the writers did that, they would have a longer movie and they wouldn’t have time to fully flesh out the details, so I understood why they didn’t add that story arc into the film’s plot.
So the Bleach live-action was a bit of a disappointment for me. The film focused only on the first season: Ichigo Kurosaki becomes a substitute soul reaper for Rukia Kuchiki so that he can save his sister from a Hollow. Unfortunately, after defeating the Hollow, Rukia is unable to return to the Soul Reaper Society, and so she begins living as a human until she can. However, her brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, and the lieutenant, Renji Abarai, go to the human realm to retrieve her back so that she can seek punishment for breaking the law of letting a human become a Soul Reaper.
I was disappointed about this live-action because I honestly thought that there would be a lot more fight scenes and Soul Reaper action. Also, we didn’t get to see much of Ichigo’s friends who are a big part of the series. I wished his friends like Orihime Inoue, Uryū Ishida, and Yasutora “Chad” Sado had bigger roles. I understand that there isn’t enough time to show how Orihime and Chad get their spiritual powers, but they could have at least develop Uryū’s character and how he helps Ichigo. These characters felt more like extras as opposed to having any contribution to the storyline.
Also, the ending implies that they could have another film or they could just leave the film as a standalone.
Erased (僕だけがいない街, The City Where Only I Am Missing)
I forgot how traumatizing this series is and just like the anime, the live-action is intense. It’s been a long time since I watched the anime series, but the live-action did a good job in adapting the story and I slowly was able to recall parallels between the anime and this series. However, the ending in the anime is quite different from the live-action. I think the live-action is much more dramatic. We see an epic plan to catch the perpetrator. (I am not going to reveal details about the ending. You will have to watch it for yourself.)
Also, I have forgotten how badass, Sachiko Fujinuma, Satoru ‘s mother is. She really cares about her son and his friends. In the live-action series, you see Sachiko constantly looking after Satoru’s friends even though she doesn’t know what is going on. And in this live-action, I felt that Sachiko has a much more prominent role. For example, when Satoru was hiding Kayo Hinazuki from her mother, Sachiko would act like a loving mother because Kayo isn’t getting that in her own household. Sachiko is my favorite character in this series because she’s the representation of motherhood.
You can check out my anime review for Erased here.
Overall, I enjoyed all of these live-action adaptations. Yet out of the three, I would put Erased as the must-watch one. You can watch all these series on Netflix.
(Sidenote: I didn’t force my sister to watch the live-action, Death Note. I never want to waste my sister’s time watching garbage.)
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