What do you do when you want to write a top ten list, but you’re too lazy to come up with ten whole entries? Just ask your friends to chip in! Our Two Cents is a feature in which the writers of The Glorio Blog take turns to throw in their proverbial two cents on one topic at a time. That’s one far-fetched question, with up to ten entirely unsolicited answers! Today, we’re discussing those creators from outside the anime industry we’d like to see attempting a transfer.
Anime has never been more popular, and liking it has, in spite of everything, never been less of a taboo. Heck, even celebrities are at it nowadays. Actor Michael B. Jordan joked about his character in Black Panther wearing a similar outfit to Dragon Ball’s Vegeta. Popular rapper Lil Uzi Vert sampled the Death Parade soundtrack on his song “New Patek”. Heck, even former press secretary and full-time poor sap Sean Spicer (remember him?) is on record as being an otaku, cosplayer and regular con attendee. The list of directors, actors, writers, musicians, athletes and politicians with a particular fondness for our beloved medium is so extensive, it’s a bit of a surprise so few of them have actually gotten involved in the production process.
That’s why the question for this Our Two Cents is: Which celebrity could you see making a great anime? In other words, is there anyone not working in the anime industry whose talents could be a benefit to it, be it in writing, directing, acting, composing or who knows what? Iro, Aqua, Marlin, Euri, and Artemis are here to throw in their two cents.
Guillermo del Toro
Is there any more obvious choice than the director of Pacific Rim? I’m hard pressed to think of anyone else off the top of my head who seems like they really get the weird appeal of anime; hell, Trollhunters only doesn’t count because it’s western-made. Though considering his style of special effects, maybe he’d be better suited to tokusatsu? Either way, I think Guillermo del Toro’s talents would easily make the leap, and his recent mainstream clout as filmmaker would lend some legitimacy to any project regardless of content. The line between “pulpy” and “meaningful” has always been blurry when this guy’s been involved, and that’s exactly the kind of vibe I’d like to see. Make it mecha, fantasy, sci-fi, whatever. Guillermo del Toro will make it work.
Honorable mention(s): A bunch of Brandon Sanderson‘s novels would work better in animation than live action, I’d say.
Chris Pratt has always had a lot of energy as an actor, so I think he’d make a great VA. Since I first met him through Parks and Rec, my immediate thought would be for him to play some nice comic relief characters like an Issac Dian or a Jyushimatsu, but the great thing about his evolving career is that he really could work with any roll. Need a cocky male lead? He’s your man. Need a laid-back mentor figure? He’ll bring the motivational speech. Just like how I came back to My Hero Academia’s dub every week for Christopher Sabat’s All Might, I could totally see me getting impatient to see what awesome line Pratt would have coming next.
Honorable mention(s): I’ve always thought James Earl Jones would put Jamieson Price out of business if he ever brought his talents to the craft.
If you know Gerard Way, you probably know him as the frontman of My Chemical Romance, a band was unfairly derided as perishable fodder for emo teens and scene kids for as long as it existed. What you probably don’t know, is that Gerard Way is also a huge nerd. My Chemical Romance were essentially a band out of time, a 1970s act forced to make it in an era when ambitious rock operas, stage personae and bombastic grandeur were frowned upon by those guardians of good taste — and it showed. Way and his cohorts loved to envision themselves as a marching band carrying wayward souls over the river Styx as much as they did running around firing customized NES zappers at masked mooks straight out of a Super Sentai show. They wrote a song about a giant mech being worshipped as a literal god, for crying out loud.
It’s no wonder, then, that the world’s biggest comic book publishers have offered Way countless opportunities to bring his melodramatic zaniness to their pages. He rebooted Doom Patrol for DC, created now-a-hit-Netflix-series The Umbrella Academy and created Peni Parker and her beloved Sp//er mech for Marvel’s Spider-Verse event as a blatant Neon Genesis Evangelion parody. In his writing, Way specializes in shaking up beloved tropes with his own brand of high-concept lunacy, which would make him a perfect fit for anime. I could see him working with Shinichiro Watanabe on a retro-infused sci-fi romp à la Space Dandy, or even with Bones on an anything-goes, balls-to-the-wall spectacle like Concrete Revolutio. On any project that wants to shake up the traditional anime aesthetic with a healthy dose of punk spirit, he should be more than just a good fit. Plus, he can provide the theme song, too!
Honorable mention(s): I’m just saying, but if Elon Musk loves anime so much, maybe he should spend his money on paying animators a fair wage than on launching cars into space.
He may seem like someone who’d turn his nose up at the idea of making an anime, but I’d love to see what Kitano could come up with. You may only know him as that guy from Yakuza 6, or the man in which Takeshi’s Castle is based, but his career has spanned many mediums. Of course, it’s his work as an actor and film director that makes me most curious about what he could do in an animated work. He seems to enjoy writing films that focus on police drama, the yakuza or both, and has a tendency to include long dialogue sequences and hard cuts. To me, it’s a style that would lend itself well to an episodic series, animated or not.
It might not be that hard to find a gritty crime anime, but the idea excites me in a similar way to, I don’t know, Gen Urobuchi doing a Kamen Rider show, or Hideaki Anno doing an Ultraman. I do, however, think he’d do a better job making an anime than he did directing a video game.
Honorable mention(s): I’d love to see something from Hitoshi Matsumoto. You can watch Big Man Japan on Amazon Prime Video if you’ve not seen anything from him before.
The Wachowskis are certainly no stranger to Japanese pop culture – a preoccupation that’s made itself very evident through visual tropes and general storytelling in the likes of The Matrix, Ninja Assassin, and of course their live-action adaptation of 1960s anime/manga Speed Racer. And let’s of course not forget The Animatrix, which was produced (albeit not actually directed by) the Wachowskis back in 2003. I have to assume the siblings have an already very healthy respect for anime, and the absolutely superb direction and dedication to craft seen in Cloud Atlas has now made them one of my favourite directorial teams of all time. I’d love to see them direct an actual anime at some point, be it an original work or a reworking of a classic title – perhaps a sleek cyberpunk or ninja-centric action piece like, say, Ghost in the Shell (anything to wash away the sour taste of that 2017 live-action monstrosity), Basilisk, or Ninja Scroll.
Honorable mention(s): Robert Rodriguez. His recent direction on Alita: Battle Angel, as well as his previous work on Sin City, has me convinced of his apt style and respect of source material.
What’s your answer to this question? Which question would you like us to answer? Make sure to let us know in the comments!