While sitting myself down on the couch, my thoughts were of anime. Some adapted from American-based cartoons looked good. So, it was worth checking out. What I discovered made me laugh, cry, and even watch another episode. It’s rare that something keeps my attention for that long, unless it gives me enough of an emotional response. It’s not the fact the voice acting was good or bad, although it’s safe to assume they did their job. Primarily it has to do with the animation. There are no words to really describe the over-the-top action sequences and over-the-top humor each episode can possess.
Everything is moving by so fast that it can be a little overwhelming. Well, not to point out any stereotypes, but that is Japan. The things about Japan that make it truly unique is definitively the art style. Another thing is how everything feels more open and welcome. Swear words in a cartoon? Nonsense, just throw in a few because why not.
It’s certainly different in Japan than here in the US. Millions of people enjoy Japanese animation, and they enjoy the expression that comes with that. Some might not know the adaptations derived from their American-based counterparts. We’re here to point them out. These are American-based cartoon shows that have adapted into anime worth watching!
American-based Cartoon Show: TMNT
That’s right! This is fitting considering the title, the turtles’ master, and location in which the show takes place in. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was adapted from the American-based show known today into a two-episode OVA in Japan. This show was produced for the Japanese audience in order to sell toys. The four mutants all received a buff into more superhero-like figures. They were able to transform to the degree of a Super Sentai (Power Rangers) or Saint Seiya transformation. April kept her yellow jumpsuit, although her body was more defined than in the American-based version. Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady also had radically different transformations. With design changes, it was all over the place.
With American-based cartoons, people forget how tame it can be with dialogue. As with the Japanese, they truly embraced the characters, as well as taking a few liberties. There’s the occasional swear word, out of nowhere jokes, and of course lots of crazy scenes. One moment Shredder is fighting, and the next thing you know everyone is transforming. One person makes a mistake, and suddenly you get everyone freaking out.
Not going to spoil the plot, but let’s say there is a self-aware nod within the first episode. Everyone wants this one thing to happen, then they don’t because one person realizes what will happen to them. There is constant back and forth with things like this, but it did come out in 1996. The episodes were made specifically to sell toys, so most of it is filler. It gets crazy, and it has filler, but it’s a must watch. It only takes an hour of your time!
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland: The near-R version of Alice.
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland is directly influenced by 1951’s Alice in Wonderland. There are references from the American-based cartoon version, from the Cheshire cat to the Queen and from the way Miyuki herself goes down the “rabbit hole” until the end of the story. There are so many references, but it’s not as ripped from the original American-based cartoon version as you may think. It goes deep, very deep. Not so much in a violent sense of the word, but more sexualized than that of the original animated film.
One would think that Miyuki-chan in Wonderland would not have been that successful, having been American-based. That assumption would be correct. TMNT didn’t even fare that well in Japan. Yet, Miyuki-chan in Wonderland was possibly more faithful to the source material than the Disney live-action version. It was just as nonsensical as the original American-based cartoon, and it shows. If you can get through the excessive sexuality, it’s an interesting OVA to watch. It’s also only two episodes, but it’s a weirder version of Alice in Wonderland than most adaptations.
Wait, there’s more?!
There are quite a bit more of these adaptations. These are just some personal choices, as they are never talked about. They’re two of the most iconic American-based cartoons, adapted into anime. Each one of these only released two episodes, and in my opinion it’s not enough.
With TMNT, there are villains which still need exploring. One of which was Baxter Stockman. We need a mutated transformer-like Baxter. That would have been awesome to witness. It would make playing Turtles in Time all that much more enjoyable.
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland rolls off the tongue. It was also such a treat to watch, even though it wasn’t for me. Let’s face it, this adaptation is probably not for most people. There are much better anime adaptations coming out of American-based cinema. Perhaps we can even cover those at some point in the future or do a full retro review.
For now, time to go back and watch the classics! No Japanese influences at all. Let’s see, where did I put that Lion King?
See also: Dragon Ball Announcements
YouTube TMNT anime full episodes here.