Is Hollywood Addicted To Ripping Off Story Ideas From Anime?

Illustration for article titled Is Hollywood Addicted To Ripping Off Story Ideas From Anime?

People often say that there's no such thing as an original story these days, but how right are they? Is it possible, maybe, that a good majority of western blockbusters are actually just homages or near re-tellings of anime? This post from The Daily Beast seems to think so.


David Levesley, who wrote the post, raises some interesting points. It's impossible to say that there aren't similarities between movies like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale or The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell, but it's equally undeniable that the Japanese stories came first.

This discussion seems to be sparked by Transcendence (which pretty much dropped the ball), which has some striking similarities to the anime Serial Experiments Lain. It's here that Levesley makes his most interesting point.

Of course, you wouldn't have Transcendence without Serial Experiments Lain. Yet it will never really be possible to prove it. We can only sit and stew in our conviction that anime is becoming an important port of inspiration. But regardless of the morality behind the art's genesis, its existence raises an interesting question: What does it mean if we in the West, who have spent so long eroticizing the weird behaviors of Japan, are trying to answer the same questions in our art?


There will probably always be some overlap in story ideas between cultures, and it's totally OK for one story to inspire others. But what's interesting is that, as the article points out, few western writers are ready to admit that their works are influenced by various anime and other Japanese stories. It's anyone's guess as to what makes them so hesitant, though Levseley gives plenty of compelling examples to prove it happens.

So what do you think? Is Hollywood ripping off Japan? If they are, is that a good thing or a bad thing? And regardless of whether it's true or not, who is doing it better?


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Come now... Hunger Games = Battle Royale? The two have some similarities admittedly, but they have very different plots, very different settings, and vastly different characters. I've read both and they aren't alike by a mile.