Cultural Exchange: 10 Weird And Wonderful Examples Of When America Does Japan And Vice Versa

The has sparked conversation about the Japanese/American cultural exchange , but that doesn’t mean that this melding of ideas from East and West is always doomed to failure.

Below are some of the most weird and wonderful creations fuelled by a melding of different cultures and source material that could open up a whole new way for you to meet your favorite characters.

When West Looks East: America’s Take On Japanese Phenomenoms

Dragonball Evolution (2009)


Original Japanese Inspiration: Dragonball Z

Who Does The Adaption Star? Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung, Chow Yun-fat and James Marsters

IMDB Score: 2.7 (ouch!)

Fun Fact: Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama was so horrified at this adaptation of his work that he decided to revive the series with the animated film Dragonball Z Movie 14: Battle of Gods to give his beloved characters their dignity back.

Speed Racer (2008)


Original Japanese Inspiration: Mahha GoGoGo (An animated TV show that screened in Japan between 1967–1968)

IMDB Score: 6.1

Who Does The Adaption Star? Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Benno Fürmann and Hiroyuki Sanada

Fun Fact: Lily and Lena Wachowski’s take on this Japanese icon was perhaps so well received compared to other American remakes because of the passion for the original cartoon that was packed into the project. Lead actor Emile Hirsch was a huge fan of the show when he was a child and many homages to the ’60s original were made throughout including using the original English translation voice actors.

Oldboy (2013)


Original Japanese Inspiration: Yes, yes I know that Oldeuboi (2003) is a Korean movie, but the entire storyline was based on a Japanese manga series by Garon Tsuchiy

IMDB Score: 5.8

Who Does The Adaption Star? Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley

Fun Fact: Both director Spike Lee and star Josh Brolin have expressed their dissatisfaction with their take on the original source material. Lee was frustrated that his 140 minute film was brutally cut down to just 105 minutes and Brolin has also stated he much prefers the longer version. It is unclear if it will ever be released.

Power Rangers (1993 – present day)


Original Japanese Inspiration: Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (1992)

Who Does The Adaption Star? The original ’90s series that most people are familiar with starred Austin St. John, Thuy Trang, Walter Jones, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost and Jason David Frank.

IMDB Score: 6.4

Fun Fact: Billy Cranston (the blue ranger) is named after a then-unknown Bryan Cranston, who was doing voice work for Saban Entertainment. If the name rings a bell, that’s because he went on to become Breaking Bad‘s Walter White.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)


Original Japanese Inspiration: All You Need Is Kill, a Japanese graphic novel.

Who Does The Adaption Star? Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson

IMDB Score: 7.9

Fun Fact: Edge of Tomorrow has multiple nods to the source material scattered throughout. Are few examples are Rita’s love of coffee, the fact that default language setup for Cage’s battle armor is Japanese and the use of the phrase “full-metal bitch” which links to am important plot point in the graphic novel.

When East Looks West: Japan Tackles American Culture

Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z (2006 – 2007)


Original American Inspiration: Power Puff Girls (1998-2005)

Who Does The Adaption Star? Emiri Kato, Nami Miyahara, Machiko Kawana and Taiten Kusunoki

IMDB Score: 4.7

Fun Fact: In the Japanese remake the Powerpuff Girls didn’t become ultimate badasses through a ‘mishap’ with chemical X, instead they are regular girls most of the time and the Powerpuff Girls are their alter egos who get whipped out when the going gets tough.

Iron Man (2010 – 2011)


Original American Inspiration: Iron Man, duh.

Who Does The Adaption Star? Keiji Fujiwara, Hiroaki Hirata, Takako Honda and Unshō Ishizuka.

IMDB Score: 6.6

Fun Fact: Noted comic book writer Warren Ellis wrote outlines for each episode to ensure they had the signature Marvel tone.

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007)


Original American Inspiration: Highlander (1986)

Who Does The Adaption Star? Shun Oguri, Koichi Yamadera, Kosei Tomita, Romi Park and Megumi Hayashibara.

IMDB Score: 6.9

Fun Fact: Highlander: Search For Vengeance has been described as the best thing to happen to the franchise since the original movie and it’s well worth a look for any fans of the ’80s classic.

Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen (1996)


Original American Inspiration: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Who Does The Adaption Star? Hiroyuki Shibamoto, Toshiharu Sakurai, Daiki Nakamura, Hidenari Ugaki.

IMDB Score: 6.3

Fun Fact: In the Japanese version, the turtles get even more mutant by assuming their ultimate form, the Saint turtles. Turtle power, indeed!

Supernatural: The Animation (2011)


Original American Inspiration: Supernatural (2011-present day)