Live action adaptations of anime have had a bit of a rough ride among anime fans, but don’t dismiss them just yet! While some adaptations can be a letdown, there are others that truly bring beloved series to life in a whole new way. And you know what? The secret ingredient behind these successes is none other than the actors themselves!
Prepare to be amazed by some truly fantastic portrayals of anime characters. In the realm of awesomeness, we have Miyavi as the enigmatic Byakuya Kuchiki, and let’s not forget Kenichi Matsuyama’s mind-blowing performance as the quirky detective L. These actors not only capture the essence of their characters flawlessly but also sprinkle their own magical touch.
But wait, there’s more! We have some exciting new additions to this star-studded list. Mackenyu Arata steps into the shoes of the fearless swordsman Roronoa Zoro, while Iñaki Godoy takes on the role of the lovable Monkey D. Luffy. Brace yourselves for some serious talent!
Now, it’s your turn to join in on the fun. Who are your favorite actors among this extraordinary bunch? Share your thoughts and let the excitement unfold!
1. Takeru Satoh as Kenshin Himura
The live action adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin is frequently hailed as one of the best adaptations ever made, making it a solid trump card for anyone defending the merits of the medium. A major factor contributing to its acclaim is the film’s ability to amplify the greatness of the original source material. Takeru Satoh’s portrayal of Kenshin Himura stays remarkably true to the character. He effortlessly captures Kenshin’s introspective demeanor, his smoldering anger, and even his playful side, never skipping a beat.
2. Miyavi as Byakuya Kuchiki
If you’re a fan of both Bleach and visual kei, you were probably pretty thrilled when you heard that Miyavi would be taking on the role of Byakuya Kuchiki in 2018. Miyavi has been involved in the music scene since 1999, starting out as part of the band Dué le quartz before venturing into his solo career. But he’s not just a musician – Miyavi has also made a name for himself in the film industry, and his portrayal of Byakuya is definitely one of his standout performances.
Interestingly, Miyavi wasn’t initially familiar with Bleach since he tended to prefer older anime like Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, and Captain Tsubasa. However, he found himself captivated by the character’s dynamic with his sister, which struck a personal chord with him. This emotional connection allowed Miyavi to deliver a truly impressive rendition of Byakuya.
3. Kenichi Matsuyama as L
In the early 2000s, most anime fans had a decent impression of L, but Kenichi Matsuyama takes it to a whole new level. He flawlessly embodies L’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, all while exuding an air of power and authority. Matsuyama’s portrayal of L has a distinct vibe compared to the anime version – he’s more serious and less likely to get sentimental out of the blue. Nevertheless, Matsuyama has managed to craft a version of L that is truly unique and original.
4. Sota Fukushi as Ichigo Kurosaki
Adapting sprawling shonen series like Bleach can be quite a challenge, but the 2018 rendition of Bleach managed to hit the mark. One of the key factors behind its success was Sota Fukushi, who portrayed the protagonist, Ichigo. Fukushi skillfully captured Ichigo’s distinctive snark, delivered believable fight scenes, and even pulled off the iconic bright orange hair. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t Fukushi’s first time in a lead role. He has previously portrayed characters like Yamato Kurosawa in Say “I Love You”, Gentaro Kisaragi in Kamen Rider Fourze, and has undertaken many other noteworthy roles.
5. Shun Oguri as Gintoki Sakata
Shun Oguri is a veteran actor with an impressive career spanning since 1994. This extensive experience makes him a perfect fit for the complex role of Gintoki Sakata. Gintoki is a character who oscillates between being emotionally scarred, using laziness as a shield for his PTSD symptoms, and becoming one of the funniest characters in anime history. It takes an actor with great versatility and range to bring this character to life, and Oguri truly delivers. With his diverse background, which includes commercials and dramas, Oguri skillfully pulls it off.
6. Yūsuke Iseya as Jotaro Kujo
The characters in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure are larger than life, making it seem impossible for anyone to authentically portray them. However, there is one standout in this Part 4 adaptation: Yūsuke Iseya as Jotaro Kujo. Iseya not only captures Jotaro’s tough guy attitude perfectly, but he also nails his distinctive fashion sense. Kudos to both the actor and the costuming department for pulling it off, even though the CGI Stands might look a bit weird.
7. Jun Matsumoto as Tsukasa Dōmyōji
Tsukasa Dōmyōji is a classic character that might not ring a bell for modern viewers, but those who are into old school shojo will surely recognize him. In Boys Over Flowers, he plays the role of the “bad boy with a heart of gold” love interest. Jun Matsumoto not only embodies the character’s rugged charm but takes it to another level. His emotional investment in the role is so palpable that it’s impossible not to be swept away when he stands up against his controlling, wealthy family for the sake of his beloved.
8. Mackenyu Arata as Roronoa Zoro
Mackenyu, known for his previous roles in live-action adaptations such as Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of the Scar and Peach Girl, has now taken on the iconic character of Rorona Zoro in the One Piece Netflix series. This portrayal has truly earned him a spot on this list, as he effortlessly brings the Pirate Hunter to life. Not only does Mackenyu physically resemble Zoro, but even off-script, fans have noticed the uncanny similarity in their personalities, as mentioned in interviews.
9. Aoi Morikawa as Hana Midorikawa
Hana Midorikawa, the secretary of the Underground Student Council, may come across as a total sweetheart at times, but there’s another side to her. She possesses a seriously sadistic nature, and when she’s angered, she unleashes her martial arts skills to subdue those who have earned her wrath. Additionally, she tends to get physically close to others.
Portraying Hana’s unique combination of sweetness and scariness requires exceptional acting skills, and Aoi Morikawa undoubtedly delivers. It’s no surprise that she also takes on the role of Mary Saotome in the live-action adaptation of Kakegurui.
10. Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy
One Piece, a beloved series that has been cherished for decades, recently surprised fans with the announcement of a live-action adaptation. Understandably, there was a sense of skepticism among the fanbase. However, there was one aspect of the adaptation that not only met expectations but surpassed them: the casting of the energetic and endearing protagonist, Luffy.
Iñaki Godoy, the actor chosen to portray Luffy, truly shines in his role, capturing the essence of Luffy’s optimistic and determined personality flawlessly. His performance on the big screen is truly remarkable. Even Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, expressed his approval, stating that he simply cannot imagine anyone other than Iñaki bringing Luffy to life.
This casting choice has been a highlight for fans, as it adds another layer of authenticity to the live-action adaptation. With Iñaki Godoy’s portrayal, fans can rest assured that the spirit and charm of Luffy will be faithfully represented in this new medium.
11. Yûki Furukawa as Satoru Fujinuma
Yûki Furukawa takes on the role of Satoru Fujinuma in the TV drama adaptation of ERASED. Satoru, with his subdued and mysterious nature, presents a challenging character to bring to life, but Furukawa manages to pull it off effortlessly. He truly convinces us as a young adult manga artist who travels back in time to save his friend from a tragic fate they experienced in their childhood. While Tatsuya Fujiwara played Satoru in the movie version (featured in this list for another role), Furukawa, being part of a multi-episode drama, gets more time and opportunities to fully develop his character’s story arc.