MovieBob - Intermission
Film This Chick Stuff! Part Two: Film It!

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 19 Nov 2010 16:00
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Sailor Moon

Premise: It's pretty much "Girl-Manga Zero" as far as much of world anime fandom is concerned; a fusion of "magical girl" and "Super Sentai" (aka Power Rangers) genres that became a genre unto itself. A group of teenage girls, intergalactic princesses in past lives, gain magic powers and fight interdimensional villains as a superhero team.

Prospects: Complicated. It's certainly popular enough, and the visual/thematic appeal is readily apparent: big-scale superhero action fought by a (literal) teen girl squad with weapons and powers based around sparkly lightshows, weaponized magic jewelry and talking cats. Problematically, it's an anime series afflicted with the usual anime problem when it comes to adaptation: Just who/what are these girls, again?

The series is set in a candy-colored version of modern Japan, complete with Shinto temples and plenty of Eastern cultural flavor, plus the characters all have Japanese names, but show any casual observer an image of the Sailor Scouts and they'd guess they were looking at a lineup of caucasian heroines. The title character, in particular, is a blonde/blue-eyed aryan uber-femme. So how does one cast this without either offending its country of origin or looking even more visually preposterous than it already does? (a live-action series, leaning on self-parody, was recently done in Japan featuring Japanese actresses in multi-colored wigs - the result would probably not fly in a big-budget international movie. Remember: While everyone agrees that the Dragonball movie sucked, fans are still divided over whether it was wrong to cast a caucasian actor as Goku.

For what it's worth, Japanese filmmakers have recently gotten into live-action anime in a big way. The live-action version of Cutie Honey is probably the most accurate translation of shoujo-style visuals to reality. I can sort of see Moon being pulled off in this context. (Yes, you can get that on DVD. Yes, it's as good it looks.)

My Little Pony

Premise: Diminutive, rainbow-colored, sentient equine mammals hang around a utopian valley somewhere in an undefined fantasy world, occasionally getting into mischief and solving personal conflicts. Think gender-inverted Smurfs, except they're horses.

Prospects: Maybe. My Little Pony was set up as the girl version of the Transformers back in the day, premised on the idea that boys/cars = girls/horses. As with a lot of stuff in this genre, they were essentially blank-slate dolls that didn't get personalities or story until they made a TV series to promote it. I've honestly never quite gotten the woman/horse thing, but if The Smurfs or Yogi Bear can get movies I don't see why this can't, though someone would probably have to come up with something resembling an antagonist.

Or maybe not. The initial 80s TV series was started off by the same folks responsible for the famously grim Dungeons & Dragons series; the pilot movie certainly introduces a villainous centaur (okay, that's five kinds of brilliant) who kidnaps the Ponies to turn them into slaves to pull a chariot. Take a look here (baddies turn up at 1:40.) Yeah, I can see that working.

The Sylvanian Families

Premise: And here's one I completely forgot existed - essentially a line of Victorian-style doll/dollhouse characters, only with anthropomorphic forest-critters instead of humans.

Prospects: Why not? It's technically a Japanese franchise, and was bigger in Europe than the U.S., but it did spawn at least two TV series already. And even if the nostalgia market isn't necessarily there, it'd be sure to find an audience with furry fandom.

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