This post was inspired by an awesome blog post I read over the holiday break. The post Recasting Gremlins with Anime Characters by Matt Doyle Media was much like the title says, a post about which anime characters they would cast as the characters of the 1980’s monster movie classic Gremlins. It was such a fun post! I could totally see some of the anime characters doing a great job in their new monster movie roles. And reading that blog post also got me thinking. What other movies could be “improved” by casting anime characters in the lead roles? A lot of movies popped into my head that I would love to see anime characters in, but I had to narrow it down, so I went with a movie that most people are likely to have seen or at least know what it’s about, a movie with a big enough cast so I could pick a variety of anime characters, and one that I know by heart. So that means that it would have to be the classic isekai that nearly everyone the world over (including non anime fans) know and love, The Wizard of Oz! So who is going to be prancing down the yellow brick road to see the wizard? You might be surprised!
Glinda the Good Witch
All Might (My Hero Academia) It might be a little difficult imagining the muscle bound All Might in a sparkly, pink, poofy dress and brandishing a star topped wand, but there certainly isn’t many anime characters that carries the spirit of the supportive Glinda the Good Witch quite like he does. Glinda’s role in The Wizard of Oz isn’t to solve all of Dorothy’s problems or to give our girl hero all the answers, but rather to gently cheer Dorothy on and protect our intrepid travelers when needed. And that’s really what All Might does in MHA, he doesn’t just declare Deku a hero, he makes his young apprentice work for it. He inspires so many at the school and he protects his students when needed, even to the detriment to himself. All Might wouldn’t just make a great Glinda, he might even make the best Glinda!
The Wizard of Oz
Hotaru Imai (Gakuen Alice) Though Hotaru is not exactly the most expressive character in Gakuen Alice, the girl genius certainly knows how to get what she wants, much like the Wizard himself. The whole movie TWOO might have been named after this character, but the “Wizard, great and terrible” is no mighty ruler, he’s really just a ingenious conman that managed to trick a whole country into serving him. Likewise, Hotaru is quite clever at building robots and designing plans to ensure that she is getting paid as often as possible and that others are serving her and not the other way around. Fortunately, her schemes usually have good intentions behind them!
The Wicked Witch of the West
Petra (Flint the Time Detective) From fiendishly rubbing her clawed fingers together to her historic cackle, there are very few characters that love being evil quite as much as the Wicked Witch of the West. Well . . . accept for Petra. If Petra and the WWotW ever met they would probably be fast friends. Petra also has a hallmark evil laugh. Though she lacks flying monkeys, Petra does have two loyal henchmen. Instead of flying on a broomstick to terrorize the heroes, Petra gets by just fine with her hover vehicle. And though Petra is low on magic curses, she can more than make up for it in an unlimited budget for weapons! And one strength Petra has that WWotW doesn’t? Petra can be soaked with all the water the hero can throw at her, and she will be just fine, no melting involved.
The Cowardly Lion
Usopp (One Piece) At the beginning of the anime series One Piece, the story telling sharpshooter Usopp is hardly the bravest pirate around. He is usually the first to throw up his hands and shriek then run for the hills, but it wasn’t Usopp’s lack of fortitude that made him the top pick for this role. It was the rare occasions when the Straw Hat Crew was really in a bad situation, and Usopp stood up against unbeatable odds to defend his friends. Much like how The Cowardly Lion was willing to fight for his friends despite how frightened he was. These two characters, though they are considered cowardly, are all the more brave for fighting back even though they are so easily frightened.
The Tin Man
Alphonse Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) Who else could fill the role of the man made of metal with a heart of gold? Alphonse is the calm and gentle counter part to his brother Edward’s often explosive personality. Much like how the Tin Man tirelessly works to hold the WOO teem together, watching after everyone and caring for those in need. Alphonse also often works in the background using social skills his older brother lacks to help people work better together.
Kyoko Mogami (Skip Beat) Out of all of Dorothy’s friends, the Scarecrow is probably the most complex of the characters. Perhaps it’s because he sees himself so clearly and finds so much lacking in himself that the Scarecrow seems the most human of the teem. And much like the Scarecrow, Kyoko from Skip Beat is a lot more complex than the average revenge seeking celebrity wanna-be as she appears at the beginning of the anime series. In the first few episodes of Skip Beat, Kyoko seems excitable and not exactly the brightest teen out there. But as the series deepens we learn that she holds a strong inferiority complex concerning her school studies and has very low self esteem from when she dropped out of school. Much like the Scarecrow, Kyoko yearns to pursue education so she can feel like she’s as intelligent as her peers.
Sarasa Watanabe (Kageki Shojo) Dorothy is the cheerful, helpful, effervescent hero of the Wizard of Oz adventure. Though she isn’t strong, or super smart, nor does she have magic, she has the ability to pull people together and get them excited about becoming friends. In the anime world there are a lot of characters that do just that, but I think Sarasa is probably the most Dorothy of the candidates for the role. Sarasa is the kind of character that just overflows with joyfulness. Whether it’s her huge smile or her bouncy poofy hair, it’s hard not to be happy when she’s on the screen. She’s like a Summer sun, her warmth thawed the frozen heart of Ai Narata, brightened up strict and somewhat gloomy classes, and brought everyone she came in contact with just a little bit closer than they would have been.
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Do you have a favorite movie that could use some “Anime Improvement”? Leave a comment below!