Top 10 Worst Live Action Movie Adaptations

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It is tricky to make good live adaptations of manga and anime due to the limitations of what real humans can do. Therefore, there are a slew of not-so-great live adaptations even though we do not have high expectations and can accept any average or decent adaptations. However, there are live adaptations which completely suck to the point that we think they should not be created in the first place. Here is the Top 10 Worst Live Action Adaptations list which we have compiled:

10. Casshern

Casshern is a film adapted from the 1973 anime of the same name. Casshern is the movie about genetically-modified human mutants which threaten the peace of mankind. Mankind’s only hope is Casshern, a reincarnated warrior. Casshern is directed by Kazuaki Kiriya, the ex-husband of Utada Hikaru who had created colorful and avant-garde music videos for the songstress.

Like the colorful music videos directed by Kazuaki Kiriya for Utada Hikaru, Casshern has a similar stunning art style. The cinematographic is fantastic with beautiful colors but it is not enough to save the movie. The plot has obvious loopholes meant to make the flow of the story convenient. For instance, the character Tetsuya can miraculously travel quite a distance. Don’t expect anything more than the beautiful visuals in this movie.

9. Liar Game

Nao Kanzaki receives 100 million yen and a black postcard stating that she is selected as a participant of the liar Game Tournament. The first round of the game is to trick the opponent into handing the 100 million yen. As Nao is honest and naïve, she was tricked by her opponent into handing the money, so she gets the help of Shinichi Akiyama to win the game.

Despite the brilliant methods to solve the puzzles, the acting is so cringeworthy that you may want to bring along some grip squeezers while watching the drama series. Virtually everyone in the drama series tries too hard to act like anime characters. It does not help that the main character, Shinichi Akiyama, is the most cringeworthy of them all due to his tendency to act all cool but he really just appears annoying. By the end of the drama series, you would have developed some pretty strong hands.

8. Black Butler

Shiori Genpou is a descendant of Phantomhive. As only males can be the heir of the family, Shiori disguises as a boy and takes on the pseudonym Kiyoharu. Alongside her is a faithful demonic butler named Sebastian who protects her.

Ignoring the hairstyle, the director had picked a really cool-looking Sebastian so we have no complaints about that, although, in all honesty, he looks more like a hairdresser than a butler. Unfortunately, they had to ruin it by casting a girl to be Sebastian’s master. Make no mistake, that girl is not Ciel Phantomhive, but Kiyoharu, who looks almost every bit like Ciel that we wonder why the name change and gender change. The main attraction of the original series is the chemistry between Sebastian the butler and his 12-year-old master, Ciel. The film lacks such chemistry, and the choice of casting a girl in place of Ciel’s character is probably a lame attempt to create a silly teenage romance story.

7. Attack on Titan

100 years ago, the appearance of titans had devastated most of humanity, that mankind decided to build walls to protect them from being harmed by the titans. The peace does not last for long as the Colossal Titan suddenly attacks and causes a hole in the wall. Eren Yaeger and his friends join the Scouting Regiment to fight against the titans.

With the existence of tanks and helicopters in the film, why the heck does the Survey Corp still use the crappy 3D gear? In the original series, the 3D gear was made based on the best technology available, but if you can have tanks, why sacrifice yourself by going solo and flying around the titans and risk getting slapped like a mosquito? The characters aren’t like the ones in the manga and anime series despite the same names that you kinda root for the titans to eat them up. We are actually thankful that Levi does not appear in the film as it would spoil the image of our beloved character.

6. Gatchaman

The world is threatened by Galactor which is a mysterious organization. Galactor threatened to eradicate the human race and has occupied half of the earth. Meanwhile, the International Science Organization discovered some stones containing mysterious powers which can be harnessed by individuals known as “Receptors”.

Gatchaman’s only saving grace is that the special effects are not too bad compared to live-actions made in the olden days. In an attempt to make this classic 70s series cater to the modern audience, it is unfortunately filled with uncreative plots which do not steer away from the movie clichés we often seen nowadays. Just because such movie clichés are so overplayed does not mean the young generation loves them. We are pretty sick of them actually.


Nana is the tale of two different girls who have the same name, Nana. One is a bubbly girl while the other one is clad in black who is interested in getting into the rock and roll scene. They rent and share the same apartment and develop a strong friendship.

The manga and anime of the NANA series are simply wonderful in portraying the friendship between the main characters. However, the film simply falls short as it tries to squeeze everything in such a short time, which is understandable as the manga series is very long. NANA works better as a series than as a 2-hour long film. The audience simply could not care or make a connection to the many characters introduced in the film as it all felt too rushed. The film ends up looking like it is just filled with characters in attractive clothes so you may be better off watching a runway show instead.

4. Devilman

After the death of Akira Fudo’s parents, Akira lives with the Makimura family and falls in love with Miki Makimura. Akira is a weak teenager so he is constantly protected by his best friend, Ryo Asuka. Ryo’s father accidentally open the gate to hell which releases the demons that would then merge with humans.

The method of storytelling is so poor that it is hard to make sense of what has happened. To solve this problem, off-screen events which are implied to have happened are referenced in the movie so that the audience can make a connection between all the messiness. And that’s not all. The acting was kinda bad seeing that the main cast were comprised of teen idols with no experience in acting.

3. The Guyver

Dr. Tetsu Segawa hides an alien device known as the Guyver among a pile of garbage. When Sean Barker is attacked by a gang in the back-alley, the Guyver suddenly activates and merges with him. From then onwards, strange creatures appear and try to take the device from Sean.

The trailer of the movie does not seem too bad considering the year it was made. However, the trailer is a huge misrepresentation of the movie. The Guyver manga has a serious tone to it but the movie attempts to inject some humor which would be decent if it isn’t coupled with mediocre acting. Despite the terrible movie, it manages to spawn a sequel, Guyver 2: Dark Hero, which is, fortunately, better than the first one.

2. Fist of the North Star

The effects of World War III render the earth barren so human race has to fight for survival. The tradition is that the martial art schools known as The North Star and The South Star should not fight with each other, but Shin from The Southern Cross broke this rule in pursuit to be the strongest man. Shin defeated Kenshiro and wounded him badly, and took his fiancée.

While many may argue about the use of the actors which mainly comprises of white people, we do not see a problem with that. We actually think that Gary Daniels is a good fit for the role of Kenshiro due to his very buff appearance and strong jawline. Kenshiro does not look very Japanese anyway but we admit that it still feels a tad strange to call a white guy Kenshiro. The main problem in the movie is the fight scenes which look ridiculous and silly. There is nothing badass about it, and it seems like your average fight with your sibling when you were a kid. Moreover, the villains act like the villains in Power Rangers which would definitely work in Power Rangers but just NOPE for a movie like Fist of the North Star that is known for its hyper-violence.

1. Dragonball: Evolution

When Lord Piccolo came to earth 2000 years ago, he wrecked havoc so he was then sealed. However, he manages to breaks free from the seal that contained him and goes searching for the 7 dragon balls alongside a female ninja, Mai. Son Goku is given the 4-star dragon ball by his grandfather when he turns 18. He sets on a quest to find the rest of the dragon balls.

If there’s anything you cannot afford to screw up, it would be a big franchise like Dragon Ball. Otherwise, the atrocity will be remembered. FOREVER. Even though most fans already expected the movie to turn out bad, we went ahead and watched it anyway, because it was Dragon Ball and we didn’t want to miss anything related to the franchise. In that sense, the crew involved in the movie production achieved their goal, which is to reap profits from the usage of a big name. Obviously, the director did not watch the Dragon Ball series at all, and that the only similarity with the franchise is the characters’ names. This would be a perfect movie for Dragon Ball haters.

Final Thoughts

These are only 10 of the worst live adaptations of manga and anime, and we don’t doubt that there are much more than this list. Which other live-action adaptations are a huge disappointment that does no justice to the original series? Tell us in the comment section below!

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Author: IngoKnox

My ultimate dream is to be a pampered dog or a really cool anime character. Perhaps being an anime dog would work too.

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