Masi Oka Talks About How Hollywood Is Now Changing Its Anime Strategy

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Netflix recently released their own live-action adaptation of Death Note this past weekend, and although the film wasn't as well-received as the classic anime series, it looks like there are still hopes for a sequel. Producer Masi Oka talked about how the film took an approach to the source material not previously seen in previous blockbuster anime adaptations.

During a recent interview with Buzzfeed News, the former Heroes star addressed the failures of previous live-action films based on anime series, and pointed out how those films had little consultation to the creators of the source material.

"I think in the past they were saying, ‘We got the rights, we're Hollywood, we know what we're doing.'" Oka said.

According to Oka, a collaboration between the Hollywood and Japanese markets is essential to the anime adaptation's success.

"In Japan, the domestic market is big enough [that] they can survive internally. Dealing with global stuff is kind of tedious: They're safe in their own environment," Oka explained. "and they don't know how to communicate [with Hollywood], so that's where I want to be. At the end of the day, I just want the world to live in peace and harmony."

Oka said that the new Death Note film impressed the original creators of the series, writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata.

"For me, the defining moment from this film [was] when we did a private screening in Japan [for the senseis] ... and it just really brought tears to my eyes when the senseis were really happy with the film," Oka said. "It just made me realize everything I did for the film, it paid off. The senseis' smiles mean the most to me."

According to Oka, the essence of the original anime and graphic novel is present in the film.

"We don't want to take advantage of Death Note fans." Oka said. "We want the fans to know this is going to be a different film, [but] it's going to have a lot of [the original property's] core principles."

Do you agree with Oka about Netflix's Death Note?


What if you had the power to decide who lives and who dies? We suggest you obey the rules. Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone's name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.

Death Note is now available to stream on Netflix.

Read more: Death Note Director Wanted David Bowie For Ryuk