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The Best Live Action Anime Movies Of All Time, Ranked


These Are The Best Japanese Live Action Movies Based On Anime and Manga That Are a Must Watch!

What are the best live action anime movies that Japan has offeres so far? Well, the answer will be availbale in this article that will list out those magnificant live action films that are based or adapted from some anime and manga titles.
Therefore, you have to know that anime is not only an animated art, but also a solid medium that inspires movie’s directors, to adapt such unique stories and make them into real films with real humans casts that are targetting fans of the big screens works.
So, let the curtains opens and see what are those good live action anime movies that worth-watching.

Kinkyori Renai (Close Range Love) 2014

  • Director: Naoto Kumazawa
  • Score: 6.2 on Imdb
  • Genrez: Drama, Romance

Kicking off the list of the best live action anime movies with Close Range Love, which a really good Japanese romance movie based on the manga of the same title. The movie spans genres of drama and romance, and promises an epic story that focus on a smart high school student who falls in love with her new handsome English teacher after she begins to receive a one-on-one tutoring from him.

Kyo, koi o Hajimemasu (Love For Beginners) 2012

  • Director: Takeshi Furusawa
  • Score: 6.1 on Imdb
  • Genrez: Romance, Drama

Seriously this is one of the best Japanese live action movies adapted from the romantic manga series of the same name.. This movie is so good, mature, cheerful and heartwarming! And for those who are not familar with the japaense cinematograpuic works, Love for Beginners will be the best film to introduce you to the Japan medium.

Here we have Hibino, a geek girl wo will be falling in love for the first time with Kyouta, a popular playboy. What will happen when a zero-experienced girl is coupled with a fully experienced boy? The answer is on Love for beginners, so go watch it and learn some love lessons from experienced boys.

8-L-DK 2014

Aoi’s parents moved to anothr city, But she decided to not follows them, thereefore she is living in an apartment by herself. The story twist will ignit as soos as Shusei moves in next to Aoi’s apartment. Shusei is a very popular student, Due to a mistake, Aoi makes the sprinkler go off in his room. Until his room is fixed, he stays with Aoi. From then on, a series of hilarious moments and heartwarming scenes will starts between them, promising a sweet love story for such a pretty couple.

7-Sukitte ii na yo (Say I Love You) 2014

  • Director: Asako Hyga
  • Score: 6.2/IMDb, 7.4/MyDramaList
  • Genere: Drama, School, Romance

Sukitte II Na Yo is one of the best romance anime of all time, thereore, it is no wonder that its live-action film adapatation will be soo good too. This is a sweet love story bout one gloomy girl named Mei who end up hitting on the most popular male student named Yamato. Somehow, Yamato likes Mei, and one day, Yamato saves Mei from a stalker by kissing her. From that kiss, their love story begins.

6- Ore Monogatari  (My Love Story) 2015

  • Director: Hayato Kawai
  • Score: 6.7/IMDb, 7.8/MyDramaList
  • Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Ore Monogatari as known in English as My Love Story is one of the best Japanese romance movies based on and the anime and manga of te same name.
The story of this live action film is the same as that of the anime series, it follows Gouda Takeo is a big guy with a big heart. Unfortunately, the girls are not interested in him and only want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa. Accepting the fact, Takeo is content with his single life. However, one day, after saving a girl named Yamato from a harasser, he unexpectedly turns his life around.

5-Kimi ni Todoke 2010

Director: Naoto Kumazawa
Score: 6.9 IMDb,

Compared to all live action adaptations on this list, this I can say is one of the best ones and brings justice to the anime and manga. Although of course at the time , manga hasnt been completed yet.
A girl that resembles “Sadako” of the movie Ring is feared by her classmates.

She is avoided by everyone.

While everyone is avoiding her, the popular boy Shota Kazehaya befriends her, and their love begins to grow.

Japanese Romance Movies Based On Anime and Manga

4-Kanojo wa uso wo aishisugiteru 2013

A love story between a famous 25-year-old songwriter, who keeps his identity hidden from the public, and a 16-year-old high school student who possesses a gifted voice.

3- Hotaru no Hikari: it’s only a little light in my life 2012

Hotaru Amemiya learns that her boss and now husband Seichi Takano has dreamed of vacationing in Rome, Italy like in the movie “Roman Holiday”.

Hotaru then makes plans to go to Rome for their honeymoon.

Rome, Italy … Hotaru Amemiya and Seichi Takano are coming!

2-Strobe Edge 2015

Ninako confesses her love to Ren.

But gets rejected because he already had a girlfriend.

They promise each other to stay friends. but Some other guys come and confess their feelings to her but she rejects them instantly.

Is it because she still wants to be with Ren?

1-Ao Haru Ride 2014

In middle school, Yoshioka liked Kou who was unlike the other boys and quite gentle.

Kou then moved away and they lost contact but in high school, she meets Kou again.

But now, he is not the same person anymore.

20th Century Boys Trilogy (Yukihiko Tsutsumi, 2008-2009)
20th Century Boys
Based on the highly successful manga by Naoki Urasawa, and with a budget of more than 6 billion Yen and more than 300 actors involved, this trilogy is one of the earliest examples of the trend described in the prologue. Yukihiko Tsutsumi directs a true masterpiece that benefits the most from the script, the wonderful performances of the entire cast, and the great production values, including the set design and cinematography that make clear in every scene that this is a big-budget film. Add to that the humor, action, and mystery and you have a film that satisfies every preference. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

2. Ace Attorney (Takashi Miike, 2012)

In the end, “Ace Attorney” is a very enjoyable courtroom drama and possibly, as many reviewers already said, one of the better video game adaptations out there. Supported by great performances and visuals, this film provides great entertainment and drama as well as some of the most memorable courtroom arguments you have ever seen. (Rouven Linnarz)

3. Air Doll (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2009)
The film is based on the manga series “Kuuki Ningyo” by Yoshiie Goda. Hirokazu Koreeda directs a very dramatic film that focuses on loneliness through a highly surreal script. The film is a little longer than it should be, since he seems to linger at times. However, Korean actress Bae Doo-na gives a wonderful performance as Nozomi, conveying the unprecedented feelings of the air doll with elaborateness. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

4. As The Gods Will (Takashi Miike, 2015)

Takashi Miike directs a paranoid picture that plays out as a video game, with the protagonists having to overcome trials in order to progress to the next stage. However, the fact that those trials are presented by dolls that came to life (as the one with the Matrioska Dolls, in a hilarious concept), the permeating slapstick humor, and the omnipresent bloodbaths, take the film in a whole other direction, similar to the usual Miike aesthetics. At points, it seems like the movie is trying to community a message regarding violence in society, but that is soon buried under violence and humor, in a film whose obvious purpose is simply to entertain all those cult followers of Miike and his style. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

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5. Assassination Classroom, Assassination Classroom: Graduation (Eiichiro Hasumi, 2015,2016)

Based on the homonymous manga by Yusei Matsui, the two films entail a truly preposterous concept in the most excellent fashion. Eiichiro Hasumi managed to incorporate all the absurd characters and notions of the original, drawing as much as he could from the magnificent special effects. In that fashion, the film includes the killer robot that also becomes a student, the extremely sultry female teacher, not to mention the notion of the creature being a great educator who actually gives advice to the students on how to kill it. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

6. Azumi (Ryuhei Kitamura, 2003)
Based on the homonymous manga series by Yu Koyama, “Azumi” tells the story of a band of ninjas, trained from childhood by the old master Jiji, in order to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s three allies: Nagamasa Asano, Kiyomasa Kato and Masayuki Sanada. Despite having a relatively low budget, Ryuhei Kitamura managed to create a thrilling film filled with blood and violence that benefits the most from the impressive action scenes and the depiction of the supernatural characters. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

7. Bakuman (Hitoshi One, 2015)

The film’s dynamics and characters are the same that make Shonen stories compelling: high aspirations, friendship against adversities, success achieved through hard work and team spirit. The inevitable “meta-narrative” of a manga about two mangakas that create a manga (plus the fact that Bakuman’s manga authors, are two, Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba) turns the movie into an intriguing matryoshka and Takeru Sato and Ryunosuke Kamiki are incredibly similar to their ink alter-egos. The addition of Lily Franky and some creative CGI effects complete the enjoyment and make “Bakuman” an adaptation with an extra gear and a fond tribute to a very peculiar aspect of Japanese popular culture, which, besides being one of the most important publishing sectors, has deep roots in the heart of a vast fan-base that goes beyond age and social status. (Adriana Rosati)

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8. Blade of the Immortal (Takashi Miike, 2017)

“Blade of the Immortal”, like “13 Assassins”, belongs to the collection of Miike’s calmer and more well-mannered movies, far from the wacky surreal ones. At the same time, don’t expect a traditional chanbara. The plot is spiced up and enriched by touches of supernatural and frequent comedy shots and the parade of challengers on our heroes’ path is a gaudy bunch of punks, totally oblivious of any historical consistency. (Adriana Rosati)

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9. Bunny Drop (Sabu, 2011)

Sabu splendidly sketches his characters, chiefly Daikichi and Rin, that move on the borders of realism with their choices and general attitude, as is usual with manga adaptations, but within an utterly realistic frame. This frame is the everyday life in the highly capitalistic Japanese society, which is so harsh that actually forbids, in principle, simultaneous professional success and domestic happiness, especially in the large metropolis. The circumstances are even more difficult with single parenting. (Panos Kotzathanasis)

10. Chihayafuru (Norihiro Koizumi, 2016)

Norihiro Koizumi directs a film that would be another school romantic comedy, if not for the main theme of Karuta, which gives the title an additional depth, making it stand apart from the many entries in the category. In that fashion, the love -triangle stands somewhat in the background, as the game is actually the main theme. The characters are very interesting in their variety and their analysis is quite thorough.

Attack On Titan (2015)
attack on titan live-action movie
Director Shinji Higuchi
Rotten Tomatoes Score 47%
Where to Stream N/A
Compared to the manga, anime, and even games, the 2015 live-action two-part movie is undoubtedly the worst way to experience Attack on Titan. The films retain the core beats of the introductory chapters of Hajime Isayama’s story but change just enough stuff to give proceedings a different feel. Most of the alterations serve to only neuter the characters, which were already not the highlight of Attack on Titan’s early hours.

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Despite all of that, thisduology is still rather entertaining in a B-movie sort of way. In terms of visuals, the studio did a respectable job with the budget it had, and the films come alive when the focus is squarely on the Titans rampaging through the remnants of humanity. As a kaiju-themed romp, Attack on Titan is a fine way to kill a few hours.

Gantz (2010)
gantz 2020 live-action movie
Director Shinsuke Sato
Rotten Tomatoes Score N/A
Where to Stream N/A
Gantz might be a classic franchise, but it is also an acquired taste. While Hiroya Oku’s manga is a pretty great gritty sci-fi horror story, the anime does not quite reach the same heights; in certain ways, the adaptation amplifies some of the source material’s weaker elements, including an infuriating protagonist.

2010’s Gantz live-action movie is a more accessible and easier-to-digest experience, mostly opting to play out like a conventional blockbuster and minimize the anime’s more contentious elements. Consequently, the film and its sequel are rather forgettable, a criticism that cannot be made of the manga or anime.

Reportedly, Sony Pictures is working on a new live-action Gantz movie.

Bleach (2018)
Bleach 2018 movie
Director Shinsuke Sato
Rotten Tomatoes Score 71%
Where to Stream Netflix
In theory, none of the long-running battle shonen series should work as live-action movies. Their stories are way too vast to satisfyingly condense into two-hour films, and Bleach’s 2018 adaptation does not dispel this belief. The movie loosely adapts the opening few episodes of the anime, basically serving as little more than a prologue to the larger story.

Bleach has one thing in its favor: the movie is fun. That’s all there is really to it. Sure, the story barely gets going, its special effects are uneven, and the characters do not have enough time to grow in any meaningful ways; these are all valid criticisms, yet, they don’t matter all that much when a film is still entertaining.

Assassination Classroom (2015)
assassination classroom (2015) movie koro-sensei
Director Eiichirō Hasumi
Rotten Tomatoes Score N/A
Where to Stream N/A
Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom manga was adapted into a great anime series in 2015, and during the same year, it received a live-action movie, the first of two parts. Regardless of which version is watched, Assassination Classroom delivers an infectious energy courtesy of its ridiculous premise: an alien who destroyed the moon and plans to do the same to Earth in the future becomes the homeroom teacher of a class of misfits. Koro-sensei tasks his students with killing him before he turns the planet into rubble.

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The live-action Assassination Classroom does a surprisingly admirable job of adapting the manga and anime’s quirky sense of humor. Its 2016 sequel isn’t quite as good, although it isn’t terrible either.

Inuyashiki (2018)
Inuyashiki (2018) movie
Director Shinsuke Sato
Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%
Where to Stream N/A
Hiroya Oku’s Inuyashiki presents a clever twist on the superhero/super-powered people formula. An alien meteor crashes in Japan, causing two individuals – a confident teenager and a depressed old man – to gain cybernetic-themed powers. In a nice change of pace, the down-on-his-luck Ichiro Inuyashiki steps up to the plate to become a hero, a role he is thrust into once the young Hiro Shishigami begins to abuse his new powers.

Like the source material and anime adaptation, the live-action Inuyashiki is predominantly concerned with exploring the humanity of its main character. Although not devoid of battle sequences, action takes a backseat to the protagonist’s growth.

Animal World (2018)
Animal World (2018) movie kaiji anime
Director Yan Han
Rotten Tomatoes Score 69%
Where to Stream Netflix
Animal World is loosely based on Kaiji, one of the best gambling manga and anime of all time. The Chinese movie takes a few liberties such as making its protagonist, Kaisi, more traditionally likable while also giving him a preoccupation with clowns that is, honestly, quite bizarre.

However, once Kaisi finds himself taking part in a high-stakes rock-paper-scissors game on a ship, Animal World does right by its Kaiji roots.

Unsurprisingly, Animal World is at its most thrilling when it sticks close to the source material, and the live-action movie does an impressive job of capturing the edge-of-your-seat intensity of Kaiji’s Espoir arc. Michael Douglas also appears as Anderson, a substitute for Yukio Tonegawa and Kazutaka Hyodo.

Gintama (2017)
Live-Action adaptation movie of Gintama
Director Yûichi Fukuda
Rotten Tomatoes Score 20%
Where to Stream Amazon Prime Video, Hi-Yah!, TubiTV
Gintama is one of the more popular anime series with both Japanese and Western audiences. Because of the attention given to the prospective live-action creation, many fans ended up being genuinely impressed with the film and character depictions.

Fans expecting another mess-up might be pleasantly surprised by how easy Gintama is to digest as a live-action film. They are also likely to marvel at the cast’s ability to capture the natural mannerisms of the source material’s well-known characters.

The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K. (2017)
live-action adaptation of saiki k anime
Director Yûichi Fukuda
Rotten Tomatoes Score N/A
Where to Stream N/A
While many live-action adaptations tend to change many aspects of the source material, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K was not concerned with pulling theatrical punches. This was one of the main reasons the reception of the film itself was so mixed during its premiere stages, and why critics still can’t agree on how the film panned out.

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Regardless of the overall reception, the live-action adaptation does not stray at all from the narrative held within the manga and anime. Throughout the events of the film, the aesthetic and pacing can be described as erratic or just plain crazy. This may be a surprise to many expecting a more realistic depiction of the characters, but the mannerisms of people like Saiki are very on-brand with his anime counterpart.

Death Note (2006 & 2007)
Japanese live-action film Death Note adapted from anime
Director Shusuke Kaneko
Rotten Tomatoes Score
78% (Death Note)
80% (Death Note 2: The Last Name)
Where to Stream N/A
With the recent advent of Netflix’s Death Note live-action remake and the subsequent flaring hatred from critics, it’s fair to acknowledge the alternate version. Japan had already created a live-action version of the famous anime series centering around the characters L and Light Yagami. While the Netflix version took many creative liberties, the Japanese version clung closely to the appearance and behavior of the characters in the show, as well as keeping a close tie to the original storyline laid out in the anime and manga.

Furthermore, many fans related to the overall horror genre present in this version, which was the original intention of the anime. It was never meant to be conformed into a different version, which is why adhering closely to the source material is often key in attaining a level of acceptance from anime fans.

Speed Racer (2008)
Live-Action Speed Racer Anime Adaptation
Director Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Rotten Tomatoes Score 41%
Where to Stream Kanopy
An older anime from the ’60s era, Speed Racer was also known as Mach GoGoGo during its prime. Even though older anime either have shaky adaptations or little audience interest, Speed Racer is often considered an underrated treasure of a movie and something of a cult classic.

This movie came out in 2008 and has since been a stalwart companion for many fans of older anime. To speak more of its credentials, the live-action adaptation was even nominated for a number of film awards and has a sequel in the works with a complete script already finished.

Blade Of The Immortal (2017)
Live-Action adaptation of anime Blade of The Immortal
Director Takashi Miike
Rotten Tomatoes Score 86%
Where to Stream Hulu, Kanopy, Mubi, Pluto TV, MagnoliaSelects
While not a well-known anime for its time, Blade Of The Immortal achieved relative fame for venturing into the live-action arena. The actors were well-chosen for their respective roles and relay the mannerisms of the characters perfectly, and many fans found that the original allure of the anime was carried over into this format. The almost overdone amount of blood, gore, weapon-based fighting, and underlying currents of supernatural power make this film a success.

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Released in 2017, Blade of the Immortal should be one of the go-to live-action anime movies for just about anyone. The movie itself covers the first two story arcs of the series.

Ace Attorney (2012)
Ace from the Ace Attorney Live-Action movie
Director Takashi Miike
Rotten Tomatoes Score N/A
Where to Stream N/A
One of the most iconic games and then anime series in history, there is seldom any young adult who isn’t familiar with the faces of Ace Attorney. This franchise has covered a lot of ground over the years. Because of this unique and mixed heritage, the film had to capture both film and video game attributes at once.

The result of this great experiment in live-action was surprising, to say the least. Ace Attorney was even heralded as the best video game movie of its time. The film came out in 2012 and was primarily based around the second and fourth cases shown in the first game.

Kingdom (2019)
kingdom 2019 movie
Director Shinsuke Sato
Rotten Tomatoes Score 94%
Where to Stream N/A
Yasuhisa Hara’s Kingdom manga has spawned a pretty great anime series that is scheduled to debut its fourth season later this year. The manga proved to be so successful that a live-action movie was also released in 2019. Like nearly everything else associated with this license, the film is something special, even if it is a bit too rushed at times.

Like the manga and anime, Kingdom follows two orphans who aspire to become generals, a journey rife with war. Blending fantastic action and effective character development, the 2019 feature serves as a solid introduction to this universe. Unsurprisingly, the live-action retelling is not on the same level as the anime or especially the manga, but it is a good movie in its own right.


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Much of this is achieved through the intense and lightning-fast sword-fighting scenes that feature tight and elegant choreography. The original trilogy is fantastic, and the Netflix sequels maintain that standard of quality.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Live-Action of the anime Alita:Battle Angel
Director Robert Rodriguez
Rotten Tomatoes Score 61%
Where to Stream DirectTV, Fubo, FXNow, Spectrum
One of the few times that Hollywood took an interest in the world of anime and managed to get it right, Alita: Battle Angel is one of the few outliers in the popular-media world when it comes to live-action adaptations. Many fans of the source material and also unfamiliar critics reviewed the film positively.

A rare feature that also sets it apart from other Hollywood adaptations is how loyal the plot is to the source material, and that carries over into the actor’s mannerisms and behavior. Even the 3D eyes added onto Alita seemed to go over smoothly, something that is normally avoided or shunned in the live-action community.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter 1 (2017)
live-action Jotaro Jostar and Platnium Star from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Director Takashi Miike
Rotten Tomatoes Score N/A
Where to Stream N/A
Released during the prime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure era in 2017, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter 1 was swarmed by the vast amount of anime and manga fans familiar with the successful series. Even on the more merciless critic websites like Rotten Tomatoes, the live-action adaptation got a majority of positive reviews centering around the film’s effects and uniqueness.

The movie manages to capture the style, costumes, and colorful environments of manga and anime. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter 1 is often regarded as one of the best live-action anime movies in history, and for good reason.

Rurouni Kenshin Movies (2012-2021)

The first installment of the live-action series of Rurouni Kenshin movies came out in 2012. The film’s positive reviews led to a sequel being created in 2014, with the hope of more in the near future. The series not only highly respects the original anime and manga but also manages to compete with the high expectations set out by both formats.

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