10 Classic Anime That Have Influenced Hollywood

By Editorial Staff in Geeks and Gaming On 15th October 2015


Similarities between Kimba and Disney's The Lion King are far from subtle, to the point where Matthew Broderick (who voiced Simba) thought that Disney were remaking the show he watched as a child.

Kimba animators Tezuka Productions opted against a lawsuit, believing they'd never win against the House of Mouse's top lawyers.


As the first fully transforming robot in anime, Brave Raideen was just as much an influence on future anime as it was Hollywood. Though many transforming robots would follow, without Raideen we may not have ever seen Transformers come to life.

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From tiny soot spirits to an enormous cat-bus, My Neighbour Totoro is a heart-warming story of friendship and fantasy.

Disney/Pixar's chief creative officer John Lasseter cites this one as his favourite.

Totoro's cameo appearance in Toy Story 3 was done to let "Studio Ghibli know how much they mean to us," says Lasseter.

Elsewhere, George Lucas revealed he turned to classic anime and manga when coming up with ideas for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ahsoka Tano's face markings are partially inspired by San from Princess Mononoke.


Though he denies any direct influence, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan the very similar theme of a star blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

Aronofsky is also rumoured to have bought the live-action rights to the film in order to stage a similar scene in Requiem For A Dream

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Both the film and its original manga were an influence for director Alex Proyas' 1998 neo-noir film Dark City .

In fact, the final sequences of the film, in which buildings begin to restore themselves, are a direct homage to Akira .

Josh Trank was also inspired when making Chronicle, admitting in an interview to be a "fan of all things Akira " telekinetic teen Andrew's attack on police forces mirrors Tetsuo's rampage through Neo Tokyo.


Another entry from the late great Satoshi Kon, Paprika is set in a world where a child-like genius has invented a machine named the DC-Mini, which allows the user to view people's dreams.

Doctor Atsuko Chiba illegally uses the machine to aid psychiatric patients under the guise of a dream avatar known as Paprika.

Though a more sombre approach than Paprika's psychedelic dream world, her dive into the human subconscious was one of the primary influences for Christopher Nolan's Inception .


Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films played with the Western perception of Japanese over the top action sequences.

So it's not hard to see a little bit of Ninja Scroll in the finished product without counting the anime-style segment in the first film!

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James Cameron has made no secret of being a huge anime fan, and plenty of similarities can be seen in his record-breaking Avatar.

The Pandora landscape looks like the Valley of the Wind brought to life, and the Na'vi's Ikran riding seems to take a few visual cues from Nausicaä's windriding.

The floating landforms of Pandora also take influence from classic anine work from Ghibli: Castle of the Sky .


The Wachowski brothers have both said that the cyberpunk aesthetic of Ghost In The Shell is exactly what they wanted when making The Matrix.

Even the opening credits for The Matrix mirror the opening credits for Ghost In The Shell.

James Cameron has also called the film "a stunning piece of speculative fiction"


A key player in reviving the interest in anime in the West during the '90s, Dragonball 's popularity led to a live-action Hollywood adaptation called Dragonball: Evolution in 2009.

But that was terrible and best forgotten, unlike some of the classic anime's less obvious influences on Hollywood.