5 Classic Live-Action Movies/TV Shows For Anime Fans (That Aren’t Adaptations Of Anime)

Clue (The Original 1985 Film)

A relatively small cast of quirky off-the-wall characters that are constantly all but (or actually) at each other’s necks?

Off-the-wall stupid death/arrest-defying shenanigans?

Re-watching something again and again to find hints and foreshadowing?

The original Clue movie’s got ya covered on all of these bases. Seven strangers are stuck in a mansion trying to figure out who committed a murder before the police come… in the absolute most iconic ridiculous case of trying to fix something yourself only to make it over 9,000 times worse every second.

Me and the fellow weebs when new people come to the anime fandom.

In short, things get very out of hand, and it’s an absolute joy to watch.

The only low-point is I have to give a moderate content warning for sexual harassment, homophobia and exoticism (the maid is Russian and often treated like exotic eye-candy, although she does have an impressively involved role later in the film in spite of this). It’s an old movie that did not age very well in these departments.

On another note there’s also, I kid you not, boob-jiggle fanservice at the beginning which just looks downright dumb for live-action. It just doesn’t belong.

MacGyver (1985-1992 original series)

Think taking a sword to a gun fight was cool?

This man brings bubble gum to a gun fight and wins.

If that’s not enough to sell you on this 7-season-strong TV show I don’t know what is, but for the sake of the blog I’ll tell you more about it. A redneck gets a chemistry degree, drives a taxi for a while until he accidentally gets scouted into some James-Bond esque super-spy hi-jinks.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Macgyver will surprise you with another come-from-behind super-move in the form of problem solving and thinking outside the box.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term mcgyverism, this show is where that term comes from. He uses obscure chemistry & physics knowledge to solve pretty much any problem with whatever random stuff he picks up off the ground and just a few things he keeps in his backpack. From chemical plants on the verge of meltdown, guerillas terrorizing third world countries, to helping a real voodoo practitioner take down a fake voodoo cult, very few things are off limits for this show.

The main character is very likable and human with some quirky flaws, namely that he’s afraid of heights and hates guns to the point that he will never ever use one even if his life depended on it. You’ll find out why he hates guns later in the series as well.

It can feel a bit formulaic at times and even a bit naive about foreign affairs near the beginning, but it’s one of those shows that actually get better as it goes on. My favorite female character in the show is in-fact Penny Parker. Her description on Wikipedia does not do her justice. Although she seems like a ditz in her first appearance she actually helps Macgyver a lot and her long-term platonic friendship with him is both wholesome and ahead of it’s time. The episode writing gets more clever, creative and generally how much the series had improved by the 7th season made me downright depressed when it was over.

At the end of the day they took this gimmick surprisingly far and it’s legacy lives on even today as the verb we all know. Why not see the TV show that gave birth to it?

Hero (1992 film)

The original ***-hole who isn’t really that bad.. well… sometimes.

Think Seto Kaiba from Yugioh levels of evil but of course he still finds a way to rationalize doing the right thing on occasion anyways all the while still being a bit of a jerk while doing said right thing. That’s the main character of this movie, Bernie LaPlante.

You will hate his guts with a burning passion in the first ten minutes but grow a soft spot for him later even though he didn’t actually change much. Sure, he still steals people’s money any chance he gets but there’s enough nuance shown later in the film to get the audience interested in him as a character. Even if that nuance in this case is more-so the humor of seeing this jerk cursing about his ruined shoe while doing something heroic than anything else.

It’s an interesting mix of comedy & drama. You got your typical (for American cinema) criminal dad trying to bond with his estranged son subplot, and something interesting happens in the aftermath of his big heroic moment.

Of course, our Mr. Jerk isn’t interested in taking any credit… at least, not until money got involved. One of the people he saved happened to be a well-established journalist, and she announces a huge cash reward for the hero should he identify himself. She did not get a good look at his face when he saved her, she only had his missing shoe to identify him with. She literally tries to Cinderella this crap. It goes exactly as well as you would expect.

The role of the media in celebrity and heroism is explored and satired quite a bit, as well as the pressures of celebrity itself. Things never get too heavy though due to Bernie’s comically gruff viewpoint and commentary. Definitely an underrated gem of classic film.

M*A*S*H

Behold, your new favorite cross-dressing icon: Corporal Klinger.

Just want some wholesome slice-of-life comedy with super quirky & lovable characters? This one is for you.

You’d never expect anything set in the time and place of the Korean war to be wholesome,

but it turns out there is quite a bit of potential in exploring how people cope and keep their spirits up in the quieter moments…

…with laughter.

The doctors and nurses stationed at a temporary army hospital in Korea serve as the main cast. Plenty of workplace hi-jinks and the occasional somber moment. Some of the more memorable characters include Radar, the lovable, innocent shy kid who ends up in an organizational role with an impressively large amount of responsibility for his stature (he’s the supply clerk, the supply clerk does a lot),

and then you got Klinger who tries everything to get kicked out of the army including but not limited to cross-dressing. The man doesn’t half-ass this cross-dressing though, he legit wears a different dress every episode.

Although Klinger’s character was probably intended to be a homophobic joke, he ended up gaining such a large fanbase of people who loved seeing what he had the guts to wear next that this initially minor character was given a leading role after season 3.

Undercover Blues

An action flick so bad that it’s good with a quirky premise and a likeable Team-Rocket-style secondary villain.

Two super-spies get married, have a baby and are trying to retire, which is easier said than done. They get dragged back into the game from maternity leave to stop some major arms dealer and end up bringing the baby along for the ride.

The beginning can be a bit overly lovey-dovey but once you get past that the couple’s banter during the action scenes and overall casual handling of this impromptu bring-your-child-to-work-day are a joy to watch.

In addition to a main villain, there is some amateur mugger who calls himself Muerte that keeps trying to mess with them. The poor guy always fails miserably and more-often than not the couple end up helping him (or mess with the poor guy after a certain point). This guy is the best part of the show. What? I told you this is so bad that it’s good.

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