Death Note Remake: Here’s Why Live-Action Anime Adaptations Don’t Work

July 17, 2022

The Duffer Brothers, who created and produced  Stranger Things, are remaking Death Note, and I have a lot of thoughts. With Stranger Things popularity and good reviews, it’s safe to say they do justice to their projects but enough to recreate anime? I don’t think so. This is a live-action anime remake, and Death Note has had seven remakes, each with worse reviews than the last,  since its release in 2006. 

If the Duffer Brothers must put us through another torture of a remake, here’s everything we hate about live-action anime and what they can do different. 

Death Note has a huge pop culture impact. Everyone, aka me, wanted to have a death note where they could write names of people they hated so they could die as the main character Light did. I even wanted to be friends with Ryuk; he was super chill. But, anime is a very tricky art form to turn into live-action. It’s popular enough that many Hollywood directors draw inspiration from it or remake it and, most of the time, ruin it for fans. 

The thing about anime that makes it attractive to its fans are things that can never translate appropriately in real life, from fight scenes to breaks that introduce new scenes, or even weird characters Like Ryuk from Death Note, who looks like a sleep paralysis demon. 

Live-action writers and producers either remake the anime with the budget of a Nollywood epic movie or deviate from the script entirely. I understand wanting to try something new, but does it have to become plotless? My G, please copy. Word for word, copy the anime to the best of your budget. 

Don’t take something people love and ruin it. No one is asking you to make them speak Japanese, but don’t whitewash the characters or ruin iconic scenes with lousy acting. Trying to do too much while not doing enough will end in tears.

It’s not like it’s impossible to make great live-action anime movies. Your Lie in April, Alita: Battle Angel and Speed Racer were some good ones, and that’s a lot because even they had their problems. But, we don’t talk about Dragon Ball: Evolution, Netflix’s Death Note, and the Devilman movie. 

Watching a lot of anime has given me enough insight on things you need to note if, for any reason, you have to make a live-action anime. I am Nigerian, and sharing advice no one asked for is our thing. Anyway, here are questions I think producers and writers should ask themselves before making life-action movies. 

1. Can my budget recreate those incredible fight scenes? 

2. How do I make sure the original voice is not lost?

3. Should I keep the intro and outro? The answer is yes, but if you don’t get the rights for it, don’t do the movie. Thanks. 

4. How good am I at world-building?

5. Should this be a movie or a series? 

If you are adopting from a series, you already have your answer. Trying to fit a twenty or more episode anime into one movie will end in disgrace. 

Sitting down to ask yourself these questions might just give insight into the original creator’s thought process. Doing good work is difficult and expensive, but what’s the point of creating if everyone hates your work just cause you couldn’t be bothered? 

I won’t say I’m excited about this remake because live-action anime always disappoints. Still, I’d like to see what the Duffer brothers will do differently. They have eight reference points to look at. Fingers crossed it won’t become one of those things we pretend didn’t happen. 

READ ALSO: Why Watching Anime With Nigerians Is Always Hilarious

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