Live action anime adaptations are notorious for not being able to live up to its anime counterpart. While it is a fact that some things that happen in animation can’t happen in real life, people, especially fans, can’t help but still be disappointed. While it’s a dream come true to see our favorite anime shows happen in real life, but some believe that it is better to just leave anime shows be.

However, this doesn’t mean that all live action anime movies are bad. Some movies are so good that both anime fans and non-anime fans praise and like the movie. Here is some of what we believe the best live action anime adaptations you should know!

Ruruoni Kenshin


Ruruoni Kenshin, also known as Samurai X, is famous for being one of the best live action anime movies out there. It is one of those movies that’s known for being loyal to the original manga and anime. As an old-time classic, fans all over the world has praised the live action for respecting the source, and even making the story and scenes the best treatment. In fact,’s Michelle Nguyen describes the film as:

This film is many things: part Japanese historical drama, part action movie, and part nostalgic emotional journey…More than just nostalgia, seeing Rurouni Kenshin in the flesh is a profound coming-to-Jesus like experience for fans of the franchise and newcomers alike. We have at last a film that shows what a live action adaptation of an anime should be like. Rurouni Kenshinbursts forth on the screen with heart and with sword, just as his name implies.

The first movie that premiered in 2012 became the eleventh-highest grossing film in Japan in 2012 and even received critical acclaim. Since then, Ruruoni Kenshin has had two sequels, and a 4th and 5th film was supposed to come out this Summer of 2020 but was postponed to May 2021.

Another thing that makes Ruruoni Kenshin such a good movie is its action scenes. It’s not awkward and it’s thrilling enough to get the audiences’ hearts pumping. What makes it even better is that the actor for Kenshin, Takeru Sato, does his own stunts in the movie which is why the movie is filmed even better without the awkward cuts and shots!



Oldboy is about a man, Oh Dae-su, who is finally released after being held captive for 15 years – without even knowing his captor or his intentions. While the movie is based on a manga, Park Chan-wook decides to take the darkness and violence of the story to another level. Besides changing the names of the characters, the story changes from a man trying to get back into society after years of captivity to a man intent on revenge.

While Oldboy only has a manga and no anime show, it can’t be denied that the Korean movie is one of the best adaptations out there. Adapted from a manga with the same name published in 1996, and was directed by the famous Park Chan-wook, known for his movies such as Lady Vengeance (2005), and The Handmaiden (2016), the movie has definitely gained a cult following. Moreover, Oldboy actually won the Grand Prix during the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Kimi ni Todoke


For those looking for something lighter, Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) is one of the best anime live action movies for romantic comedies. Love, comedy, and school life – three things that any one of us can relate to. Adapted from the manga series with the same name, it is a simple story of a girl who has hard time making friends, slowly coming out of her shell as she makes her first friend – Shota.

Unlike the two others on this list that is filled with fighting, action, and even fancy camerawork to recreate the feeling of when one watches an anime, Kimi ni Todoke is a live action anime that solely relies on its actors to do the storytelling. Some might think that it’s easier to adapt a slice of life anime compared to others like a shounen anime. However, what’s amazing about this movie is that they got the casting right for the movie – even the supporting characters. The cast made a whole lot of difference in being able to deliver the innocent and heartwarming story of Kimi ni Todoke. There weren’t any exaggerated acting or motions – which you would usually find in other live action anime adaptations.



Another great slice of life live action anime is Orange. It is a fantasy romance story that follows a girl who receives letters from her future self – helping her predict what happens in her life.

This movie is another great example that elaborate shots and action-packed scenes are not necessary factors of a great adaptation. The movie is able to perfectly recreate the story that the fans of Orange fell in love with; and even some non-fans would also fall in love with. A great story of love and friendship, with a dose of fantasy, and a great group of actors makes Orange a live action anime must-watch!

You might also enjoy:

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