NATHAN RIVAS WRITES – Once again, anime has come to Tinsel Town. Sort of.
A few weeks ago, Warner Bros. announced that Lana Wachowski will write and direct a fourth
Matrix film, with actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and
Trinity. Never mind that the sequel will have to justify the surprise re-appearance of both
Reeves and Moss — both characters died in the last installment. Nor is it clear how the movie
will continue a story which seemed to have ended. In Hollywood, logic is rarely worshipped.
When Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly originally pitched The Matrix to producers, they
played clips of the classic 1955 Japanese anime film: “Ghost in the Shell.” While ‘The Matrix’ is
not an exact replica, it borrows key elements from that film, including the shifting green text on
computer screens and characters plugging themselves into networks and realities. The two
movies also have similar themes and action sequences.
Over the years, anime has become increasingly influential. In 2013, Warner Bros. released
Pacific Rim, a science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro, which earned a
worldwide total of more than $411 million and became Del Toro’s most financially successful
film. The Oscar-winning director admitted that the movie was much influenced by anime. Since
the sequel’s release in 2018, Netflix has announced yet another Pacific Rim anime slated for
Even the newly released live-action remake of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ bears traces of anime,
with similarities to Kimba the White Lion, the first anime television series in color. In fact, this
year saw the release of three original Japanese titles, including: Alita: Battle Angel, Pokemon,
Detective Pikachu, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Adaptations have also been announced
for classic anime franchises like Naruto, One Piece, Cowboy Bebop, and more.
Hollywood has not yet perfected its brand of anime, but that’s okay. The superhero genre
didn’t become a worldwide phenomenon overnight. Hollywood should keep trying, and the
Japanese should be honored. Isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?