Let’s start things off by looking at this list:
1991 - The Guyver
1994 - Guyver: Dark Hero (better but it tries too hard to repair things)
1995 - Fist of the North Star
2008 - Speed Racer
2009 - Dragon Ball Evolution
2010 - The Last Airbender (added because of its an Adaptation)
2013 - Oldboy
2014 - Kite
2017 - Ghost in the Shell & Netflix’s Death Note.
Up until recently, these were the only American made Anime films. There has even been some Live Action to Anime Adaptations such as Witchblade, Blade,and even Wolverine. But the road to a decent American made Manga/Anime to Live Action (or as I call them MAtLA) adaptation has been a long painful road for fans. Whether it was because movies were too early for their time, or they didn't do the source material justice, applied a different genre’s standards that had no place being applied or were simply hated because of “whitewashing,” fans have been split over the live action adaptations of their favorite series.
As a Guyver fan, I am happy that not only the 1991 movie started the push to get to where we are now but it introduced me to animes like Ghost in the Shell, Battle Angel, Ninja Scroll, and many others, namely for the reasons I list above. But out of this list, it is atrocious and in my opinion the worst movie on this list. It still holds a spot in my heart because it introduced me to the Guyver anime which then introduced me to more Teen-Oriented Anime. But this post is not about Guyver, or Dragon Ball Evolution, The Last Airbender, Ghost in the Shell, or even Speed Race.
It is about Alita: Battle Angel. The latest and quite possibly the best of the MAtLA movies. I admit that in the US market I didn't expect Alita to do so well. Especially with the competition, it got with How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World and will receive from Captain Marvel (which I expect because it is a Marvel movie) will drown Alita and Hidden World in the Box Office. But that being said, we Battle Angel Fans (or as I have suggested Alitans for our official title - like Whovians or G-Fans or Trekkies) can hold our heads high.
Alita in spite of the critics or horrible reviews it got and continues to get, has supposedly made 350 million in the box office seems to still be making more, this in itself is a success for all MAtLAs past and future because no other adaptation has grossed such a number. Which some say this number guarantees a sequel to be made. But even if it doesn't get a sequel (which I would be sad about), because of the Fox/Disney merger (which I hope only applies to Marvel-based characters), Alita is and will always be a success.
I feel it Alita: Battle Angel has set the standard for any further attempt to make MAtLA adaptations. Sort of like how the Richard Donner Superman movies set the standard for Superhero movies for 30 years and how the MCU has seemingly set the standard for Superhero movies of today. I feel Alita, has set the standards for these movies. This movie was a breakout movie that people hyped Ghost in the Shell to be - but failed to achieve. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell was my second teen-oriented anime, but it crumbled under the pressure of its hype.
Now that Alita: Battle Angel will be leaving theaters soon, possibly with the arrival of Captain Marvel, it will be interesting to see what opportunities Alita opened up for future movies. Will be getting reboots/remakes of some like Guyver or Dragon Ball - or will the failed movies simply fade into the darkness of her shadow? Only time will tell.
But one thing is for sure, the future of a growing industry hasn’t looked brighter. So let’s keep the good work up and support this movie until it leaves the theater. Who has to benefit? We do the fans! When we start seeing MAtLAs become as rampant as movies from the MCU or Superhero shows we will know that we helped Alita do the job she was capable of.
Just think, we can possibly see some movies like Elfen Lied, Tenchi Muyo, Iria, VOLTRON, and many many more popular series brought to life. Think of what a Guyver or Dragon Ball live action would be like, especially if done in 3D like Alita. We can very well be on the precipice of a new era of entertainment. But we need to do what we can to ensure it happens. So go out and see Alita as many times as possible!