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6 Best Japanese Live Action Anime Movies 2021

best japanese live action anime movies

We curated a list of the best Japanese live action anime movies. Check it out!

People have been quite skeptical about a live action movie remake. This is due to the terrible story plots and a lack of emotions directors fail to depict in a live action movie.

Hence, several live action movies have received major backlash over the course of years. However, fortunately, some live action movies have turned out to be better than our expectations and have received great feedback.

If you’re looking to find the best Japanese live action anime movies to watch, don’t worry you’re in the right place. We have a curated list of some of the best live action anime movies down below.

Best Japanese Live Action Anime Movies — Quick Summary

Best Japanese Live Action Anime MoviesGenreEditor’s Rating
Alita Battle AngelAction, Sci-Fi, Thriller9/10
Death Note (Japanese Version)Adventure, Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery8.5/10
Tokyo GhoulDark Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller8/10
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is UnbreakableAction, Adventure, Fantasy7/10
ParasyteFantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror7.5/10
Battle RoyaleAction, Thriller8.5/10

Best Japanese Live Action Anime Movies

Alita Battle Angel

This live-action movie features a range of famous stars and it has been one of the favorite live action anime remakes. The story takes place in the year 2563, which is 300 years after a catastrophic event that struck the earth. 

A scientist called Dr. Dyson Ido looks for valuable parts in a scrapyard and comes across a disembodied cyborg with a human brain. Ido replaces the damaged parts of the cyborg’s body and names it Alita, the name of his deceased daughter.

Best Japanese Live Action Anime Movies

Alita has no memory of her past and becomes friends with a few people. She grew very close to a man called Hugo. When Alita is faced with multiple challenges she decides to become a Hunter Warrior. 

She participates in duels and fights off other Hunter Warriors. However, she gets herself severely damaged in a brawl and Ido replaces her body with a nanotech designed body. Alita makes countless enemies along the way and she overcomes all the obstacles by using her top-notch combat skills.

This movie has fabulous action scenes and is shot using performance capture animation. It also features a hint of romance and depicts how even a cyborg can have emotions such as love and grief.

The movie was directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron who’s well known for his work in Avatar. Some of the famous celebrities starring in this movie are Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly.

Related: Best Romance Anime Movies

Death Note (Japanese Version)

Death Note anime has been quite the favorite for most anime enthusiasts. However, the Netflix adaptation of this anime as a live action movie has been a controversial topic among the fandom. 

Besides the Netflix adaptation, the Japanese version of the live action remake has been a remarkable success. 

This movie was released in 2006 and features the protagonist Light Yagami, a university student. One day he suddenly comes across a bizarre book with the instructions to use it. The instructions state that if a person’s name was written on it they will be dead. Light writes the name of a criminal to test its credibility.

When the criminal dies Light perceives the power of the book and meets the owner of the book, who’s the death god.

As Light uses this book to eliminate all the criminals on the face of the earth, Interpol gets alerted by the sudden murder of criminals. The Interpol and a detective called L to find out that the suspect is from Japan. 

The detective puts all the puzzle pieces together and figures out that the suspect doesn’t physically harm any criminal. This movie gave life to the events that happened in anime and did great justice to it. The death god in this movie looks exactly the same as the anime version and has very spooky features.

Related: Best Makoto Shinkai Anime Movies

Tokyo Ghoul

This live action movie is based on an anime series with a similar name. It was released in 2017 and features the events occurring in an alternate reality. In this reality, ghouls and humans prey on human flesh. They do this in secrecy to evade getting charged by police authorities. 

The protagonist of this movie is Ken Kaneki, a college student. He went through surgery and his organ was replaced with an organ that belonged to a ghoul. As a result, this caused him to be a half-ghoul. After this surprising discovery, he now has to learn to adapt to his current nature. He finds it tough to live as a ghoul where he has to prey on human flesh without being noticed by his friends and people in society.

The movie was directed by Kentaro Hagiwara and has received positive feedback from the anime fans of Tokyo Ghoul. It has pleased most people with its excellent character arcs and interesting story plots. The success of this show also led to making a sequel of this movie called Tokyo Ghoul S which has improved character development.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

This movie is based on the anime series Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It was directed by Takashi Miike and was produced by Toho and Warner Bros. The protagonist of this movie is a handsome young man called Josuke Higashikata. 

He’s a high school student who befriends Koichi Hirose, a new student. Josuke possesses strange powers and he helped Koichi fix his bicycle. 

The story features fictional powers like time manipulation and wielding different weapons. Josuke comes across multiple mysterious murders and finds the people connected behind these incidents and they are called Stand. 

A Stand user called Anjuro Katagiri who’s a serial killer is a creature that’s responsible for the gruesome murders across the city. 

The movie features different magical abilities between people living in the city and how they misuse them. It’s a great pick for fantasy and mystery thriller fans as it contains mystical beings and magical elements.

Parasyte

Parasyte is a very popular award winning anime manga that was written by Hitoshi Iwaaki. This sci-fi horror anime was adapted into two live action movies which were released in 2014 and 2015 respectively. 

The protagonist of this film is 17 years old high school boy named Shinichi Izumi. The movie features alien creatures called Parasites that are in the form of worms. They are able to enter into the human body through the nose and ears and make them their host bodies. 

When Shinichi was dozing off a parasite attempted to crawl into his nose but as he wakes up, the parasite falls into his right arm and buries itself in it. 

Since the parasite didn’t enter into Shinichi’s brain, it has no control over him and they both are two separate entities in one body. 

Shinichi encounters other parasites which try to infect him and he tries to fight them using his and the parasite’s strength. They continue to learn about each other’s intellect and utilize their strength to ward off the parasites. Shinichi encounters humans infected with parasites who have wide mouths and can devour an entire human body.

The Parasyte live action movie was directed by Takashi Yamazaki. The parasite in the movie has an obnoxious face and is able to see through Shinichi’s hand and attack other parasites. The VFX makes the parasite look so real and it can give you shivers when you see the movie. 

Battle Royale

This is an action thriller film which was released in 2000 and directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Battle Royale was a controversial movie during the time of its release and was banned for portraying the Japanese totalitarian government. 

However, it was released in Japan and other countries during the same year after lifting the ban and was one of the highest-grossing movies in Japan for six weeks after its release.

The storyline of the movie revolves around Japanese high school students who were abducted by soldiers when they were on a field trip.

They were gassed in the vehicle and taken to a remote island where they realize they have been chosen as participants in the annual Royale Battle. To win the competition the students have to fight each other to death until the last student remains. 

Students have an explosive collar around their neck to make sure they don’t try anything silly and they are being watched over by countless soldiers.

They are also provided with supplies such as food, weapons, and a map to survive on the island.

The movie gets really dark as the competition begins. The students are faced with complex challenges and they have to kill each other brutally in order to win the competition. The movie also portrays the cold-heartedness of humans and the betrayal between friends.

The cast of the movie has done an incredible job in playing the characters and the movie is quite thrilling to watch and will definitely keep you nail-biting towards the end.

Best Japanese Live Action Anime Movies: FAQs

Why is anime live action so bad sometimes?

It’s not entirely possible to replicate the anime into a movie and some aspects may not make sense when it has to be incorporated in a movie.

Does Japan make live action movies?

Japan does make live action movies adapted from famous anime and most of them have been successful.

Are anime live action movies good?

Anime live action movies aren’t known to be the best but there are some live action movies that are worth the watch and they are Battle Royale, Death Note, Alita Battle Angel, etc.

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