Live-Action 'Akira': Are Anime Remakes Hollywood's Next Comic Book Treasure Trove?

According to reports from The Tracking Board on Wednesday, Warner Bros. has tapped Get Out director Jordan Peele to direct a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's iconic 1988 anime film, Akira, for Warner Bros. As the rumors suggest, the studio was impressed with the successful release of Peele's Get Out, which not only created social commentary but also made over $100 million on a $5 million USD budget.

The original 1988 'Akira' anime film, by Katsuhiro Otomo.
The original 1988 'Akira' anime film, by Katsuhiro Otomo. ‎Tokyo Movie Shinsha

And while it's definitely exciting to see Jordan Peele's career blossom after the end of his show Key And Peele on Comedy Central, it's also worth noting Warner Bros. is very seriously making moves to create an Akira adaptation, even though it's too soon to determine whether Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson will be a box office success, not to mention the criticisms the film has faced in regards to white-washing.

An Akira film has been rumored for years. In 2015, reports claimed a script was in the works. George Miller of Mad Max and The Dark Knight trilogy's Christopher Nolan both had their names attached to the project. With the latest reports suggesting Warner Bros.' talks with Jordan Peele, we definitely hope Akira won't be delayed indefinitely all over again.

Beyond the anticipated Ghost in the Shell and Akira rumors, Netflix also recently shared a trailer for its upcoming live-action adaptation of the highly acclaimed Death Note manga as well. If this becomes a trend, we could potentially see many manga and anime adaptations at a far more frequent rate in the years to come (especially since we're starting to see long-running franchises like Hugh Jackman's Wolverine come to an end).

Of course, creating adaptations from Japan's treasure trove of manga and anime will likely spark more white-washing controversies in the future. Personally, all I'd like to see is a director who is a passionate fan of the original manga and is completely emotionally invested in the project. Instead of selecting a cast to appease what the fans think is right or to meet what the studio is looking for, live-action adaptations are simply more enjoyable to watch when it feels authentic and cohesive to an artistic vision.

Are you excited to see an Akira live-action adaptation? What are other manga or anime series you would like to see get adapted in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.

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