Netflix powers Japanese influence with manga adaptations

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The Future. Anime and manga adaptations are skyrocketing in popularity around the world… and Netflix is ensuring that it becomes the go-to platform for glossy, big-budget adaptations (which, in previous years, didn’t work so well). With the era of the superhero seemingly on the way out, the heroics and scale of anime and manga could make the genre a worthy blockbuster successor.

Graphic novel approach
Netflix is on a hit parade with live-action anime and manga adaptations.

  • Shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, One Piece, and Alice in Borderland have become monster hits on the platform, ranking as the most-watched shows in dozens of countries upon their release — sometimes more than Stranger Things and Wednesday.
  • The success led Netflix to start commissioning anime adaptions of English-language franchises, like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Scott Pilgrim Takes Off ), King Kong (Skull Island), and The Terminator (the upcoming Terminator: The Anime Series).
  • The streamer also kicked off its first original anime series last year — the critical darling Blue Eye Samurai.

What’s to credit for the sudden surge in demand for anime and manga adaptations? It’s a mix of factors, including Netflix’s massive global subscriber base, modern audiences’ comfort with subtitles, and, of course, the fact that the IP already has huge fandoms built over decades.

But there’s another fascinating reason: current adaptations are embracing the aesthetic of anime in live-action, made possible by advances in VFX… creating some wild (but accurate) imagery.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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