Movie Reviews

All 16 Netflix Live-Action Anime Adaptations, Ranked Worst To Best (Including One Piece)


  • One Piece is a successful Netflix live-action adaptation, exceeding expectations and setting records.
  • Previous attempts like Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist fell short of expectations.
  • Netflix has improved in adapting anime, with series like Kakegurui and Alice in Borderland receiving critical praise.

One Piece (2023 – ) is one of the biggest releases in a long line of Netflix live-action anime adaptations. The streaming service has been trying to bring popular anime to life for the last decade, though not all have been as successful with audiences as others. It takes a lot of work to adapt the larger-than-life stories from different series with (often) hundreds of episodes to a live-action movie or TV series, and Netflix has proven that they can do it as well as anyone.

Though One Piece has shown that a good live-action remake of an anime is possible, several of its predecessors had audiences feeling it couldn’t be done. Early attempts like Death Note (2017) let fans down, while others like Fullmetal Alchemist (2017) and Bleach (2018) failed to leave much of a mark. However, the right anime and the suitable adaptation format could mean a work of art that long-time anime fans and casual viewers alike can appreciate. The complete collection of Netflix live-action anime adaptations demonstrates that the streamer is improving.


8 Reasons Why Live-Action Anime TV Shows Are Better Than Movie Adaptations

Live-action TV anime adaptations have proven to be more successful than movies. For various reasons, the TV adaptation model should be the standard.

16 Death Note (2017)

A high school student finds a notebook with supernatural powers.

The Netflix live-action anime adaptation of Death Note had a lot of promise, with a great cast and a decent budget to get the job done. The problem is that the complex and philosophically interesting anime was grossly simplified in creating a live-action adaptation. The story follows a high school student who finds a supernatural notebook that causes the death of anyone whose name is written in it, and gets into questions of morality, self-preservation, and mind-games.

However, in the adaptation, Light Turner’s moral arc amounted to little, Mia Sutton was entirely different from the manga, and Ryuk’s motivations remain confusing. Overall, Death Note was a disappointment. The movie received terrible reviews, with a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an even lower 23% audience score. While director Adam Wingard redeemed himself with his work on the last two Godzilla MonsterVerse movies, he missed this one. There is hope that the planned Netflix’s Death Note sequel may set these wrongs straight.

15 Cowboy Bebop (2021)

A group of bounty hunters track down the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals while avoiding their pasts.

As a classic anime from 1998, scrutiny was already high for Netflix’s version of Cowboy Bebop. It had the opportunity to be a great success, what with the cult following the original series has developed over the years and fewer episodes compared to newer anime like One Piece, Bleach, and Death Note. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out how Netflix had hoped. The series followed the same story as the original anime, with a ragtag group of bounty hunters chasing criminals across the solar system.

A petition was created to bring back
Cowboy Bebop
for a second season despite bad reviews (via

However, the audience was not there, and the reviews were brutal. The series was canceled after only one 10-episode season, with critics calling it out for its writing, pacing, special effects, and action sequences. The only praise went to the cast, which included John Cho in the lead role as Spike Spiegel. While the first week was great, with over 74 million viewing hours, it dropped drastically the next week, and Netflix canceled it three weeks after its release (via THR).

The finale reveals truths about the past for the Elric brothers.

The poster for Fullmetal Alchemist: Final Alchemy features one person with a cybernetic arm in the center of wrecked buildings and a green sky

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy was the final film of Netflix’s live-action Fullmetal Alchemist trilogy, none of which performed exceptionally well. Still, this last installation was the final nail in the franchise’s coffin. With a poor 48% audience score and a 0% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, the live-action sequel was accused of forcing too much plot into too short a time.

Both versions of the original anime were so layered with subplots and massive reveals that even attempting to summarize it into a film trilogy was a massive undertaking. The plot itself is so bloated that not even the interesting twists and turns in the movie can help save it. It also doesn’t help that the movies are based on the popular anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and critics pointed out that it pales in comparison.

The Elric brothers face off against a mysterious serial killer.

The man with the scar on his head wearing sunglasses in the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist: Revenge Of Scar

Netflix’s second Fullmetal Alchemist movie, The Revenge of Scar, focused a good deal of its plot on the familiar villain from the anime, which made it better than the last movie in the trilogy. It is more streamlined than the installment that would come after, and this film maintained more of a rise and fall with its plot and wasn’t trying to be too much more than it was.

Still, with complaints of poor acting and subpar CGI, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of Scar only managed to pull a 54% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, while critics mostly ignored it, so it has no recorded rating on the site. It also faces strong competition from other Netflix live-action anime adaptations, and the bad reviews and fan complaints ensured the entire trilogy would remain disappointing for fans of the anime.

This brought the start of the Elric brothers’ story to live-action

Fullmetal Alchemist - Poster

Fullmetal Alchemist

Ryosuke Yamada , Tsubasa Honda , Dean Fujioka , Ryûta Satô , Misako Renbutsu , Yô Ôizumi

Release Date
December 1, 2017

Hiromu Arakawa , Fumihiko Sori , Takeshi Miyamoto

Fumihiko Sori

135 Minutes

The Fullmetal Alchemist anime was undoubtedly full of action, but a good deal of the plot existed in the dialogue and impactful moments in between. Unfortunately, this wasn’t how Netflix’s live-action adaptation went about things. Since the anime had two versions — both of which were mostly the same for the first few episodes — fans are very familiar with how the start of Ed and Al’s story should go.

Unfortunately, Netflix’s version rushed through everything to dive into the action, resulting in a superficial movie with no clear target audience. When the movie trilogy chooses to ignore the part of the movie where fans get to know the characters, it makes it harder to care about them when the action starts. With a rough start, things just went downhill with the sequels. This movie might be the best of the three, but none compare with the better Netflix live-action anime adaptations.


10 Best Live-Action Anime Adaptations Not From Hollywood, Ranked

Hollywood has had a difficult relationship with anime, but Japan boasts a wide breadth of great live-action films based on anime and manga.

11 Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead (2023)

One man decides to get through a bucket list before he’s turned into a zombie.

Zom 100_ Bucket List of the Dead (2023) - Poster

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023)

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023) is a Japanese comedy-horror film directed by Yusuke Ishida. The story follows Akira, a young office worker who decides to embrace life after a zombie apocalypse frees him from his soul-crushing corporate job. Fueled by newfound freedom, Akira embarks on an adventurous quest to complete a hundred-item bucket list while navigating a world overrun by the undead.

Eiji Akaso , Mai Shiraishi , Shuntarō Yanagi , Yui Ichikawa , Mayo Kawasaki , Akari Hayami , Miwako Kakei , Kazuki Kitamura

Release Date
August 3, 2023

Yusuke Ishida

129 minutes

Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead has a premise that is bound to catch audiences’ attention for at least a moment. A man realizes the zombie apocalypse is underway. However, instead of fighting for his life, he decides to set out and do things that he never got to do before in his life.

Unlike the Netflix live-action version, the anime holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Though fairly unremarkable for an anime, bringing the idea of an eternally optimistic hero trying to get through a “before I become a zombie” bucket list is rather bizarre for live-action. Still, the Netflix series has proved that it can make it work. Unfortunately, Zom 100 missed out on driving home the point of the manga that being a zombie is preferred to being a mindless corporate monster. The anime was a fun social commentary, but Netflix’s version missed that point and failed to find an audience as a result.

10 Bleach (2018)

A teenager fights evil spirits and tries to help souls to the afterlife.

Bleach 2018 Movie Poster


Bleach is a 2018 live-action movie based on the anime and manga of the same name. The film was directed by Shinsuke Sato and starred Sota Fukushi and Hana Sugisaki. The movie follows the same premise as the manga, focusing on a teenager who gains the powers of a being called the Soul Reaper.

Shinsuke Sato

Release Date
July 20, 2018

Tite Kubo , Shinsuke Sato , Daisuke Habara

Sota Fukushi , Hana Sugisaki , Ryo Yoshizawa , Erina Mano , Yû Koyanagi , Taichi Saotome

108 Minutes

The Bleach anime ran for 366 episodes, so Netflix could not condense the plot into a single movie. Therefore, the platform’s 2018 adaptation stuck to the series’ initial arc, which was the right choice. The film ended up well-rounded, and audiences gave it a fair 75%, with the critics agreeing with a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie follows Ichigo, a 15-year-old high school student who can see ghosts.

Since this only approached the first arc and did it in a movie under two hours, a lot was left unsaid, so although Bleach was a fun ride, it could have been more satisfying. It might have done much better as a live-action anime TV show like One Piece. At least, unlike other anime that made it into live-action movies, it mainly remains faithful to the story it is adapting.

9 From Me To You: Kimi Ni Todoke (2023-)

A shy teenager develops feelings for her more outgoing classmate.

A teenage boy cups the cheek of a teenage girl in a classroom in the live-action From Me To You Kimi Ni Todoke

From Me to You: Kimi ni Todoke (2023)

From Me to You: Kimi ni Todoke (2023) is a live-action adaptation of the popular manga series, focusing on the story of Sawako Kuronuma, a high school student often mistaken for being scary but is actually kind-hearted and looking to make friends. The series delves into her evolving relationships and the challenges she faces in trying to express her true self to those around her.

Release Date
March 30, 2023

Oji Suzuka , Sara Minami , Rinka Kumada , Jin Suzuki , Atsuhiro Inukai , Shôhei Miura , Kaito Sakurai , Naho Toda


Though most of Netflix’s anime adaptations have stayed within the action genre, the platform took a stab at a romance with From Me to You: Kimi ni Todoke. Overall, it seems to have worked relatively well. It might have functioned fine as a movie, but the original anime was adapted into a live-action TV series, making it an even more true-to-source adaptation.

Still, it’s hard to say that Netflix’s version has had much to add, making the new series seem difficult to justify. Despite this, fans seemed to like it, as it has an impressive 86% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The coming-of-age drama had 12 episodes, all dropping on the streaming service in 2023. The anime had 38 episodes, so it is unclear if there will be more or if Netflix will end things with just the one season.

8 The Ingenuity Of The Househusband (2021-)

A former Yakuza member becomes a househusband.

A man puts laundry on a clothesline in his yard in the live-action The Ingenuity Of The Househusband

The anime The Way of the Househusband is a funny series of short episodes about an ex-Yakuza member turned househusband. Of course, this means it isn’t quite as heavy-hitting as series like One Piece or Cowboy Bebop, but there is something extraordinary about watching the main character, Tatsu, get so much delight from domestic tasks. One of the best things about Netflix’s live-action adaptation, The Ingenuity of the Househusband, is that Kenjirô Tsuda, who voiced Tatsu in the anime, plays the character in the flesh.

This fact makes it a delight, but this version still lacks the original’s comedy. What makes this Netflix live-action anime adaptation so interesting is that the episodes are all so short, each checking in at between four and six minutes. That means the entire season is less than an hour in running time, not even the length of a feature-length movie.

7 Kakegurui (2018-)

A teenage girl gambles to bring down the student council president.

a teenage girl smirks at a teenage boy next to her in the live-action Kakegurui

The manga Kakegurui follows a high school whose social structure depends entirely on gambling, which makes it a reasonably simple premise to adapt into a live-action TV series. For this reason, Netflix’s Kakegurui succeeds where others have failed. Without the larger-than-life aspects that typically make up anime, this series didn’t require too much budget. Moreover, the writers managed to adapt Kakegurui almost perfectly from the source material, with very little left out.

Of course, without all the action and camp, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but its two seasons are still a relative success for Netflix. Not only was the TV series a hit, but it was so successful that two live-action movies were also made, the first hitting in 2019 (Kakegurui) and the second in 2021 (Kakegurui 2: Ultimate Russian Roulette), both of which also received critical praise.


8 Live-Action Anime Adaptations That Actually Respected The Source Material

Live-action anime adaptations can be hit or miss, but the most successful ones tend to respect the source material that they’re based on.

6 Yu Yu Hakusho (2023)

A dead boy becomes a spirit detective

Yu Yu Hakusho netflix poster

Yu Yu Hakusho (2023)

Yu Yu Hakusho is a live-action adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi manga series of the same name. The series focuses on a teenager who dies while trying to save a young boy only to be resurrected and become a supernatural investigator. The series stars Takumi Kitamura, Shuhei Uesugi, Jun Shison, and Kanata Hongō.

Release Date
December 14, 2023

Tatsuro Mishima , Yoshihiro Togashi

Takumi Kitamura , Shuhei Uesugi , Jun Shison , Kanata Hongô


Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho got a lot of things right about the anime, especially the costumes and the fight scenes. As one of the most influential action anime of its era, Yu Yu Hakusho asked for an adaptation that lived up to the original. The manga is about a teenager who dies while trying to save another child from a car and is hit instead. However, he returns to life as an “Underworld Detective,” investigating supernatural cases in the Human World.

Unfortunately, the live-action Yu Yu Hakusho had issues, namely with the pacing. Multiple arcs were combined into just five episodes, and the series rushed through important moments that could’ve been its own season. It almost seemed like the creators assumed they wouldn’t get a second season and tried to cram everything into one.

5 Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024)

After being frozen for 100 years, Aang must train to restore the world’s balance.

Avatar: The Last Airbender remains one of Nickelodeon’s most beloved animated series ever. Netflix making the animated series available to a new generation only increased the number of fans. However, M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action theatrical adaptation received brutal reviews and was a box office flop. For long-time fans, there wasn’t much hope for a live-action adaptation living up to expectations.

Opinions about the Netflix series remain divided since it premiered. The consensus is that how the live-action series has been able to streamline the story effectively keeps the series’ pacing on point, but some moments in the show feel slighted. Some of the Avatar changes (like Sokka not being as misogynistic and not having the same arc) haven’t been well-received, but the show keeps the spirit of the original alive. It’s been so successful for the platform that it will get to finish its story, renewed for two more seasons.

4 Rurouni Kenshin – The Beginning (2021)

The prequel movie details a tragic romance.

A man and woman stand in falling snow in Rurouni Kenshin Final Chapter Part II - The Beginning

The live-action Rurouni Kenshin movies, which started in 2012, weren’t initially produced by Netflix. However, after their success (both independently and on the streaming platform), Netflix decided to create its movies using the cast of the live-action trilogy. Rurouni Kenshin – The Beginning recounts the titular samurai’s early years and the tragic romance that made him turn away from his life of killing.

The film is artistically done and it recalls samurai movies of old while never losing sight of the original anime — all factors that helped it earn an impressive 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also was a success when released, hitting number one at the Japanese box office, while Rurouni Kenshin – The Final finished in second place, showing the public’s love for the franchise. Critics praised both movies, and Netflix showed great care and faithfulness in the adaptations.

3 Rurouni Kenshin – The Final (2021)

The end of the saga sees one final face-off.

A warrior stands in front of fire and damaged houses in Rurouni Kenshin Final Chapter Part I - The Final

Perhaps the best thing that Netflix could have done with its Rurouni Kenshin adaptation was to split the ending into two parts — one to fill in the details of Kenshin’s past and the death of his wife and another to explore how the consequences of this time seeped into his later life.

Rurouni Kenshin – The Final saw the Battosai finally face off with Enishi, with all the emotional impact that this entailed. This decision made for a well-rounded film that showed great respect for the source material — and even managed to enhance it. This success is why the movie managed to score a perfect 100% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (but an 88% audience score). Critics praised the action, emotion, and characters, while the audience reviews praised the acting, fight scenes, and story.

2 Alice In Borderland (2020-)

Gamers compete to survive in a parallel version of Tokyo.

Though the Alice in Borderland anime miniseries is undoubtedly popular, it’s the manga that has solidified itself in fans’ minds. This fact benefited the Netflix series since it had more freedom to organize its adaptation in the best way possible. Ultimately, the streaming platform made a great choice in keeping this a series rather than a movie (it’s clear the movie adaptations have a more difficult time).

Alice in Borderland’s first season kept audiences binging, and season 2 kept the ball rolling, allowing the Netflix series to claim a 99% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also a giant success with viewing numbers, as it was one of the most watched shows worldwide and received awards at the Asia Contents Awards and Asian Academy Creative Awards. Netflix also renewed it for a third season.

1 One Piece (2023-)

The Straw Hat Gang sets sail on an adventure across the seas.

One Piece Netflix Teaser Poster

One Piece (Live-Action)

Based on the popular manga/anime series, One Piece is a live-action Netflix adaptation of the story from Eiichiro Oda. The show follows the exploits of a band of pirates, the Straw Hats, led by the energetic and adventure-loving Monkey D. Luffy. Luffy is a young man cursed with strange powers after accidentally eating a mysterious fruit. With his friends Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji, Luffy will head across the vast ocean to find the legendary treasure, the One Piece.

Iñaki Godoy , Mackenyu , Emily Rudd , Jacob Romero Gibson , Taz Skylar

Release Date
August 31, 2023


Matt Owens , Steven Maeda , Tom Hyndman

Matt Owens

The One Piece anime is absolutely massive, with over a thousand episodes released since the series started in 1999. It also has one of the largest fanbases of any anime, meaning Netflix was set up to fail with its adaptation. With a mixed bag of failures and successes in the world of live-action anime, no one was entirely sure what to expect from One Piece.

If One Piece lasted six seasons, it would only include half of the anime’s stories (via

However, it seems that, through trial and error, Netflix figured out how to make something spectacular. One Piece was one of the most expensive series the streaming service ever made, and it was a huge success. In its first week, 18.5 million subscribers streamed it for 140 million hours, which rose to 285 million hours after two weeks (via Deadline). It won a WGA Award, and Netflix renewed it for a second season.

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