5 Films We’d Love to See as an Anime

Chris Tilly
Movies Anime
Movies Anime

Anime has frequently been remade or retooled for American audiences, from Astro Boy and Speed Racer to Dragon Ball and Death Note. But that practice rarely goes the other way. FANDOM thinks this needs to change, starting with these five titles…

Gremlins (1984)

Kawaii Gizmo is something we need in our lives.

We’d love to see the artistry of anime applied to the Gremlins. Mainly because animated Gizmo has the potential to be the most ‘kawaii’ creature ever committed to film. While an animated Stripe could be scarier than his live-action counterpart. Little would have to change in terms of plot, with the lead character’s father picking a Mogwai up while visiting an antique store in Chinatown, then taking him home to wreak havoc in a Japanese suburb. Indeed genuine Sino-Japanese tensions could underpin the story, with this anime take on Gremlins reflecting some very real-world fears — as all great horror should.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a historical celluloid achievement, technically, in terms of combining live-action with animation. And from a marketing point-of-view, the producers managing to obtain the rights to cartoon characters from competing studios to combine them onscreen for the first time. It would be amazing if a similar deal could be struck in Japan, so that Studio Ghibli characters like Ponyo, No-Face, Porco Rosso and Tortoro could rub shoulders with anime greats like Goku, Kaneda, Naruto, Light Yagami, and Spike Spiegel. In a story about a brand new anime character, framed for a murder they didn’t commit. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t want to see a ridiculously melodramatic version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Forrest Gump (1994)

'Ping Pong Diplomacy' courtesy of Forrest Gump is just one scene we'd love to see get the spikey haired treatment.

Forrest Gump starred Tom Hanks as the title character, a sweet, endearing Southerner who, in spite of his below-average IQ, manages to make his mark on some of the most important historical events of the 20th Century. He teaches Elvis to dance, saves a platoon in Vietnam, kicks off ‘ping pong diplomacy,’ and exposes the Watergate scandal. An anime version could feature a similarly unique Japanese character making his or her mark on the country’s major moments, joining the United Nations in 1956, competing at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, protesting Vietnam from the Japanese side in 1969, or helping Prime Minister Eisaku Sato win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.

Men in Black (1997)

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black.

Anime movies typically combine colourful characters and/or creatures with eye-popping visuals, wrapped in a fantastical storyline. Men in Black is perfect for that specific combo. The original film starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as a pair of secret agents working for a government organization that oversees all alien life on earth. While at the same time hiding their existence from the rest of us. A comedy-action flick, it was a tour de force in terms of the special effects used to bring those extraterrestrials to life. We’d love to see what Japanese animators could do with such a premise, bringing their unique style and skills to all-new alien creations while injecting the franchise with some suitably eccentric anime action.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie watching the anime version of his own film. With Frank the Bunny.

2016 anime Your Name featured elements of romance, drama, fantasy and time travel. And that combination clearly worked, with the film receiving critical acclaim across the board and earning a whopping $355m at the worldwide box office. 2001’s Donnie Darko combined elements of romance, drama, fantasy and time travel long before the breakout anime hit — so we reckon it’s a prime candidate for the remake treatment. We’d also love to see a Japanese spin on the tale of a troubled teen saving the world with the help of a talking rabbit. Amazing things would doubtless be done with Donnie Darko‘s dazzling iconography. While the original’s soundtrack was filled with memorable 1980s anthems, and a redo could do the same with J-pop and rock hits.

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Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.