You only have to look at the box office to see that there’s no shortage of Western adaptations of (much better) anime properties. Ghost in the Shell is just the latest anime classic to get brought to Western shores. While that movie was a disappointing (but visually appealing) mess that doesn’t hold a candle to the original, it still got us thinking about the times when Japan flipped the script and tried their own hands at popular Western franchises. Here are five times it happened—and the results were actually pretty good.
The sole non-comic adaptation on this list, The Animatrix brought some of the biggest names in animation together at the absolute peak of the Matrix’s popularity for an anthology film that still remains impressive today. The film featured direction by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), Mahiro Maeda (Gankutsuou: The Counte of Monte Cristo), Peter Chung (Aeon Flux), Takashi Koike (Redline), and Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll). With such an all-star team behind it, it’s no surprise that the film was a success and helped to lay the foundation for many of these director’s future works, notably Koike and Kawajiri. The two Second Renaissance films in particular do a great job of expanding the Matrix mythos and further explain the circumstances that led to the rise of the robots and creation of the Matrix. (more…)