Netflix has a number of live-action anime adaptations in the works, and here’s every series to keep an eye out for. The streaming behemoth will continue to release an unprecedented amount of original content throughout the remainder of 2022, as well as overseeing the continuation of its most successful original shows. Netflix’s plans to develop live-action adaptations of popular anime series is yet another long-term strategy from the streamer. Although Netflix recently lost many subscribers with rumors of tiered membership being brought to the platform, the streamer does not appear deterred in its plans to set more benchmarks for original content.
Netflix has overseen live-action adaptations of anime series before. The streamer produced Death Note in 2017, an adaptation of one of the most well-loved anime series of all time, and also distributed live-action films for the equally popular Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist. None of those movies lived up to the original animes and were generally slammed by their respective fandoms. In terms of quality, Netflix’s best live-action anime adaptation to date is Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, and Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, which were both released in theaters in Japan alongside their stints on Netflix.
Why Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop Isn’t As Good As The Anime
Most recently, Netflix adapted the cult anime Cowboy Bebop into a live-action series. The series received mixed to negative reviews and was canceled swiftly after the show’s first season dropped on the streamer. The high production costs incurred in these adaptations are partly responsible for why none are yet to be considered successes. Nonetheless, Netflix still has several exciting anime adaptations in development. While the streamer must trust its strategy, several of its upcoming anime adaptations must be renewed for several seasons to be considered a success. Given the size of some of the IPs and animes that Netflix will be adapting, the success of these shows will truly make or break Netflix’s anime strategy. Here are all of Netflix’s live-action anime adaptations currently in development.
Pokémon, After the commercial success of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, it was inevitable that more live-action Pokémon stories would come to the big and small screen. The Ryan Reynolds-led movie is said to have a sequel in the works; however, Netflix also has its own live-action Pokémon on the horizon. Netflix has become the home to several series of Pokémon anime in recent years, with Pokémon Indigo League and Pokémon Master Journeys available to watch on the streamer. The series was announced in 2021 but very little information is available about its development. The development of a Pokémon series poses an interesting challenge for Netflix, which must simultaneously please its young audience, and the now-adult millenials that loved it in their childhood and still hold a fondness for it. The Pokémon company has had a similar dilemma when producing their games, with elder gamers crying out for a more mature entry into the franchise. Whether Netflix nails the landing with the Pokémon show or not, Pokémon’s gigantic pull makes this adaptation the one with the best chance of success and renewal. Alongside Netflix’s live-action Pokémon series, a live-action Pokémon film has also been rumored.
One Piece, One Piece mangaka (artist) Eiichiro Oda announced back in 2017 that Netflix would oversee the transformation of Luffy and his misfit pirate crew into a live-action series. Although there has been no release date for Netflix’s One Piece season 1, production began in September 2021. The first season will feature 10 episodes, and the main cast has also been revealed. Making their way onto the Grand Line is Iñaki Godoy as the main protagonist Monkey D. Luffy, Mackenyu Arata as the swordsman Roronoa Zoro, Emily Rudd as the Straw Hat’s navigator Nami, Jacob Romero Gibson as Usopp, the Straw Hats’ sniper and compulsive liar, and rounding off the original Straw Hat crew is Taz Skylar as Sanji.
Avatar: The Last Airbender, The original Avatar: The Last Airbender is technically not an anime since the show was produced in the United States rather than Japan, it is still an exciting adaptation of a hugely popular animated series that shares many qualities with typical shonen anime shows. Originally created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko for Nickelodeon, Avatar: The Last Airbender is generally considered one of the greatest animated shows of all time. It follows the titular Avatar, Aang, who awakens from an iceberg after 100 years to find the world in turmoil after the Fire Nation declared war against the Earth, Water, and Air Nations. Netflix’s adaptation is supposedly covering much of the original story. However, after the departure of Avatar’s original creators from Netflix’s live-action remake, it appears that some changes will be made from the original.
Sword Art Online, a live-action remake of Sword Art Online has been talked about for several years, and in February 2018 it was reported that Netflix was in charge of the series. Even before Netflix, Skydance Productions flirted with the idea of transforming the Sword Art Online light novels into a live-action television series. Sword Art Online stems from humble beginnings, as the novel series was self-published by author Reki Kawahara before the series boomed in popularity and spawned numerous video games, anime series, and multiple manga adaptations. Despite the isekai anime’s popularity, no details have been released about Netflix’s adaptation in several years. As it stands, any live-action series of Sword Art Online appears to linger in development hell and may never see the light of day.
Yu Yu Hakusho, One series that will release in 2023 is Netflix’s live-action remake of Yu Yu Hakusho. The Yu Yu Hakusho anime is considered one of the shonen greats, and it was adapted from the manga by Yoshihiro Togashi, who also created the equally popular Hunter x Hunter. Should Netflix’s live-action version follow the same story, it will center on Yusuke Urameshi, a young delinquent who sacrifices himself for a young child. Shocked by his act of altruism, the Spirit World gives Yusuke a second chance in the world of the living, where he becomes a detective of spirits and the paranormal. Takumi Kitamura, who also appeared in the live-action Tokyo Revengers movie, will play the lead role. Although Netflix has not announced this, Kitamura has been seen in set photos wearing Yusuke’s iconic green outfit. Production seemingly began in Japan in July 2021, however, Netflix has remained quiet about the development of Yu Yu Hakusho.