TV Features

Netflix’s Boldest Live-Action Adaptation Could Change Anime Shows Forever With A 26-Year-Old Franchise


  • Netflix’s success with the live-action adaptation of One Piece has opened up new opportunities for the streaming platform in the realm of anime. They now have the chance to grow their reputation in this genre and potentially create more successful projects.
  • The possibility of a live-action Pokémon show on Netflix could be a game changer if done right. Given the massive fanbase of Pokémon, this project has the potential to be one of the biggest and most successful shows on any streaming platform.
  • A live-action Pokémon show would work better as a TV series rather than a movie. The TV format allows for long-term storytelling, character growth, and exploration of the franchise’s core strengths.



Live-action anime adaptations have been an area that Netflix has seldom gotten right, however, one bold attempt could change the genre forever. Despite numerous attempts, the streaming platform has often failed at delivering high-quality live-action anime shows until recently with One Piece being a huge success. If this is a change in fortune for Netflix, a potentially brave attempt could make all the difference. While One Piece season 2’s renewal is a positive step for the streamer, Netflix cracking down on password sharing, raising prices, and their involvement with the SAG-AFTRA strikes means the pressure to find top-quality projects for subscribers is high.

Sports documentaries and dramas have been the platform’s main strengths as of late, but Netflix now has the opportunity to grow their success drastically in terms of their live-action anime reputation. One Piece has outperformed Netflix’s other anime adaptations, finally learning their lesson from all their previous failed attempts. It may just be a one-off hit, or it could be the start of something special for the streaming outlet. With Netflix eyeing up a 26-year-old franchise as their next anime project, it is a bold risk but one that could pay off. Capitalizing on One Piece’s momentum is a must, and this popular IP could make or break the future of Netflix’s live-action anime shows.

Related: All 14 Netflix Live-Action Anime Adaptations, Ranked Worst To Best (Including One Piece)

A Live-Action Pokémon Show Would Change The Game (If Done Right)

Pokemon: The movie versions of Ash and Pikachu.

Netflix is targeting a live-action Pokémon show that would be a monumental change for the genre if done right. So far, Netflix has mainly adapted anime projects better known by the genre’s hardcore fans. One Piece is easily the most mainstream adaptation they have done, and it is no surprise it is the most popular. Attempting a live-action Pokémon show would be a game changer and could be one of their biggest and most successful projects if they pull it off, given how big the Pokémon fanbase is. However, while it was reported in 2021 that the series was in the works, there have been no significant updates from Netflix since then.

The streaming platform going quiet on this might sound concerning, but there has been no official cancelation. This would suggest that they may not be very far along in producing the show, but that it is still in their plans given they recently announced that some of their animated projects had been axed. A live-action Pokémon adaptation could prove controversial with the company’s track record, however, given Pokémon is one of the largest IPs in the world, it would be massive. Getting this wrong could reverse the positive momentum for Netflix granted by One Piece, but getting it right may make it one of the biggest shows on any streaming platform to date.

Pokémon Works Better As A TV Show Than A Movie (& Detective Pikachu Proves It)

Detective Pikachu Lightning Background

Pokémon Detective Pikachu was a box office success and was met with fairly strong reviews, but it failed to make the most out of what the franchise can offer. While the movie’s reviews were on the more positive side, they were not nearly as impressive as the Pokémon TV series that has been going on since 1997. This can partially be explained by Detective Pikachu needing to find a more obscure storyline to fit the length of a movie. It is difficult to tell a more conventional Pokémon story over the course of two or three hours, instead, it makes sense to have a show stem multiple seasons like the animated version.

A live-action TV show would be more suited to bringing out the best of the IP than what the big screen can offer. This way, the series can focus on a character’s journey to becoming a Pokémon master, finding new Pokémon, battling in tournaments, and overcoming rivals. Using episodes and different seasons, the TV format would allow new storylines and plenty of character growth as opposed to the limitations of a movie run time. The franchise is better suited to long-term storytelling, and while a live-action Netflix adaptation is no doubt risky, it leaves far more room for utilizing the game’s core strengths.

What A Live-Action Pokémon Show Needs To Succeed

Pokemon Horizons: Liko, Roy, Fuecoco, Sprigatito and Terapagos.

Following in the footsteps of both its animated series as well as One Piece’s success will be difficult, but a live-action Netflix Pokémon show can succeed by using certain elements. One potentially risky route they could go is introducing a new lead trainer with their own unique Pokémon. For years, Ash and Pikachu have been the faces of the franchise with the anime recently switching to a new protagonist. Trying to replicate the success of this duo will be difficult, especially with how popular they already are. Going down the route of a new lead character could be a way to establish itself as something different.

Most importantly, though, the show needs to focus on the charm and fun nature of the games. While the visuals of the Pokémon themselves will be important, a different medium inevitably opens it up to more potential change-averse backlash. As long as the CGI is done well, the actual story and tone are far more important. The show shouldn’t try to take itself too seriously, instead offering something more uplifting and comforting for franchise fans. The franchise can tell great stories that the show must utilize, but a live-action Netflix adaptation should still avoid being too dramatic and put its attention on the more wholesome warmth associated with Pokémon.


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