Enders Game the movie: wouldn't it be better in anime?

So it is supposedly in the works works and will be out in the next few years.

BUT, I just don’t know if they will be able to capture the books essence, especially using real-life kids. I’d expect that they would have to use older kids portraying that they are 6 to ??? which I feel would take something away from the film. Plus, I doubt they would execute the truly violent parts (which are necessary) realistically…

So I wonder if an anime version would be better. You would be able to really develop these characters in ways that the movie won’t be able to using accurately aged kids…

I guess we’ll see soon enough, and I am excited about it. I just wonder if a cute cherubic 6 year old (which 99% of 6 year olds are in reality) will be able to carry off the calculating mind and ruthlessness that is required.


While I agree that an animated film would probably be a better vehicle for an Ender’s Game adaptation than would a live action film (Probably. I mean, there is a chance, however slim, that they could pull it off in live-action), I bristle at your use of the term anime.

I’ve never been more than a minor fan of Japanese animation, liking only a small fraction of what I’ve seen, and I feel like just because Japan has a corner on mature animation, the idea that all animation that deals with serious subjects should look like it came out of Japan annoys me.

Besides, not that I think it’s the direction the film should take, but were it animated it would much more likely be in the form of a CGI film as that’s all the rage these days and much more commercially viable than traditional cel animation, anime style or not.

Fine, but I feel that the anime/manga styles would add a dark element when needed better than others- BUT, of course, I am not an expert nor do I want to seem like one. If changing the OP from anime to the catch-all “animation” or “animated” would soothe your bristles, then so be it.

Of course a computer generated version would seem logical due to the sci-fiction aspect of the book. However, “Animatrix” was pretty darn cool and pulled off the futuristic apocalypse perfectly, in all of that movies different styles.

It will be neat to see how the special affects are done for the Battle School…


If anime-style is the form you’d like to see an Ender’s Game film take, don’t change anything on my account. I’m just sharing my opinion. It wasn’t my intention to offend or to act offended, just to share my concerns.

Now, I haven’t watched Animatrix, but from what I’ve heard it is a series of short CGI films whose look and style are heavily influenced by Japanese animation, with many of the sequences directed by well-known Japanese animation directors. Is this correct?

At any rate, I think the ultimate form an Ender’s Game movie could take, both for commercial and “nerdy” reasons, is a CGI film with visuals on the level of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Yes that film was a huge flop, but I think that had more to do with the subject matter than anything else. The average American filmgoer seems to have an aversion to movies that make you think, and people who think seem to have an aversion to movies that make no sense no matter how much you think about them.

Most of the shorts are not primarily CGI. I think “Final Flight of the Osiris” is the only one of the nine that is.

I’m not sure what you mean by “heavily influenced by Japanese animation”, but according to what I’ve read, The Animatrix is anime.

Oh, and I’ve never read Ender’s Game. :slight_smile:

I think something more like Futurama with a bigger budget and more realistic character designs would be better, or maybe like Titan AE, where they didn’t have cel shaded ships. The other problem FF had was that the realistic-but-not-quite humans were hard for people to get used to.

Tomcat makes a valid point when he mentions that the anime style lends itself better to darker subject matter, but part of me can’t help but feel that if anime itself weren’t often so dark I wouldn’t necessarily have that perception.

In all no honesty, I can’t see that Japanese style animation is any better than any other style in portraying dark subject matter in any way other that the fact that Japanese animation itself is known for its dark subject matter.

At any rate, whatever the style I do honestly believe animation would be the way to go for this, but the chances of it happening are nil for several reasons.

  1. This is gonna be a big budget movie, and history has shown that big-budget animated sci-fi movies (or animated sci-fi movies period, for that matter) do not do well at the box-office.

  2. I have the sneaking suspicion that the main reason for Ender’s Game being adapted now of all times is that the producers looked at the book’s focus on children in an unusual school setting and see it as a Sci-Fi Harry Potter.

Not offended, didn’t mean to either. Just point/counter-point.

Y’know, that’s a really good observation. But if it is true, the implications will serve my point that they will water down the violence. I see Ender’s Game as AT LEAST PG-13, but preferably NR-17 (is that the correct level above PG-13? Been over here a long time). If they turn this into a G-rated movie for the kids to enjoy…shudder


Well, the Harry Potter movies are PG and reasonably dark for children’s films but yeah, I’m almost certain the producers are gonna try to market this film as a Sci-Fi Harry Potter, which means that any violence will be implied and there’ll be no real blood or gore.

Of course, making Ender’s Game into a Sci-Fi Harry Potter (if, indeed, the film takes that route) actually makes sense from a commecial standpoint, but that won’t make us fans any happier about it.

It’s NC-17.

And I simply can’t imagine Ender’s Game being in movie form at all. The book was more about the psyche of these children and less about the war with the aliens.

How they intend to bring that to movie format, I’ve no clue.

Psychic Predictions:

I think its going to suck. And all of you are goignto go see it and then in and complain that george Lucas made the character whine way too much, and that the 12-year old moppet they hired cannot act in the same league as 30-year old Broadway stars.

Uh . . . okay.

I think smiling bandit’s post was an attempt at humor, but my failure to so much as crack a mental smile has me confused on that point.

Maybe he seriously has Ender’s Game confused with Star Wars?

Or maybe the joke just fell flatter than a guy jumping off the Empire State Building.

Methinks smiling bandit was referring to Jake Lloyd, who was seriously considered for the role of Ender at one point. Yes, it’s true – OSC even rewrote the screenplay, envisioning Lloyd in the title role. Thank GOD he’s too old to play the part, now.

The biggest obstacle is finding talented kid actors, not just for Ender but for the 7 or 8 other kids in Battle School, plus Valentine & Peter, depending on how much of that subplot got cut. There just aren’t that many talented kid actors available at any given point in time – heck, I can’t think of any current ones right now, except Haley Joel Osment, who’s already too old for this movie.

Anime, of course, would get around the kid factor. But that’s not gonna happen, from what I understand.

OSC sold the movie rights to Fresco in 1997, before Harry Potter was published. So I doubt that played a factor…although it might explain the renewed interest in getting the film made now. Oh, and it’s going to be PG-13 – it’s in the contract. :wink:

More information: http://www.philoticweb.net/movie/

I’ll go a step further than Ender’s Game. I think that anime (or at least high-end animation) is the way to go to adapt any number of classic science fiction texts, from Rendezvous with Rama to Ringworld to Gateway. Animation (and the hard truth is that the Japanese are doing this better than anybody right now, Fiber, but except for Cowboy Bebop the scripts either aren’t very good or don’t translate very well into English) has the advantages of being cheap (or at least, much cheaper than live action productions), and the less money risked on the venture the more chances you can take and thus the more faithful you can be to the spirit and the letter of the text.

That’s my $.02

Okay - here’s the plan:

Pixar starts a subsidiary called Pixar Prime specifically for more mature CGI films, ditches the unrealistic, purposefully-cartoony depictions of humans and adopts more of an Osiris look for this subsidiary. They then approach Ender’s Game with all of the credibility and story integrity that marks their existing films and turn out a PG-13/R movie that rocks and is true to the book. They market it completely separately/differently than regular Pixar movies so nobody confuses this with a kiddie/family movie.

When they realize bountiful success with this, can other movies be far behind - Dune? Snow Crash? Neuromancer? Oh man, would that be great or what???

The “hard truth”? :rolleyes:

I fully acknowledge that the Japanese are at the top of the heap as far as serious animation goes, but that’s mainly - and probably only - because serious animation plays better in Japan than it does in the United States. Here, the only kind of animation that does well on the big screen is of the animated family-comedy/musical variety.

Just imagine if the resources of a Disney or a Dreamworks took an interest in doing a serious and faithful animated adaptation of Ender’s Game. I mean, an anime Ender’s Game is never in a million years gonna happen, so as long as we’re wishing and hoping and imagining, might as well go all out. I wish for a world where everyone took animation as seriously as Japan, in no small part because as much as I admire the Japanese dedication to the form, I enjoy so little of what they actually produce. You have to go through a lot of drek and/or good stuff whose meaning is lost in the translation to find the gem that truly speak in a universal language, stiff like the works of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli the only consistent source of anime I truly enjoy.

A nice dream, but the reality is that sci-fi is a niche genre in whatever form it takes - literary, cinematic or . . . televisual? :smiley: - and sci-fi films that don’t water things down with heavy doses of stuff blowin’ up real good generally doesn’t do so well on the big screen. Make a faithful animated Ender’s Game, even one with the Pixar name behind it, and you’d likely have a flop of epic proportions on your hands. Serious sci-fi is hard enough to market to the filmgoers of America, let alone animated serious sci-fi, and that is the hard truth.

It is nice to dream though, and as dreams go yours is very nice.

Dune has been done too many times, but Neuromancer would be perfect. Perhaps Snow Crash could be done Roger Rabbit style, with the virtual reality sections done in CGI and the real world sections done live action. Childhood’s End, the Larry Niven Known Space stuff, Caves of Steel, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Martian Chronicles, could all be done anime style. Maybe even the Foundation books.

Also, in retrospect, I think the intense sexual relationship between the protagonist and his lost girlfriend in Gateway is so important to the story that it would be better done live action.

By the way, I started thinking about this one night while watching Blue Gender on Adult Swim. I thought, man, this has some similarities to Starship Troopers (the book), except it sucks. Then I thought, well, why not just do Starship Troopers anime style? I’m no otaku (sp?), but it seems like the anime I’m seeing on TV now is borrowing lots of ideas from classic science fiction, so why not make anime of the originals?

Ah, Fibber, we seem to be agreeing more than you think. Yes, science fiction is a niche genre. But it’s a niche genre that has a non-trival built-in audience.

But why doesn’t serious animation play better in the States? I submit that it is because most American’s exposure to it is limited to boderline-nonsensical Japanese translations. My SO is typical in this regard. She has wide-ranging tastes which include but is not limited to science fiction. She thinks the anime stuff I’m watching looks cool, but the plot and dialoge is laughable. If you could produce serious animation that looks as good as the Japanese stuff and has a good script and story, I think it could connect with a wider audience. From your post above, it looks like it would work with you.

My second point is that if you were able to create the product on the cheap, then you wouldn’t have to connect with the widest possible audience, only the science fiction audience. It kept the Star Trek franchise alive for thirty years, and that stuff wasn’t cheap to produce.

I’ve always wanted to see Gateway as a motion picture. I thought the artificial intelligence programs like the shrink were the best part of the story- second is the Heechee mystery. They shoudl tell the story in flashback, like the book is written, and the makers would need to show the desperation of the prospectors. Could you imagine getting into an alien spaceship with almost no room to move, and sending yourself off to a random destination, never knowing where you are going or how long it will take to get there?