Remakes fully realize the vision that wasn’t met at the time of their creation. It is the remedy to the tragedy of the right person, at the wrong time.
I’m currently watching the anime adaptation of the hit manga series Bleach’s ‘Thousand-Year Blood War’ arc. It is the continuation and conclusion of the narrative written by Japanese writer and artist Tite Kubo. The widely popular show first aired in 2004 and ran successfully until 2012 before taking a decade-long hiatus due to the manga’s inability to keep up with the anime’s releases.
By all definitions, ‘Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War’ is by no means a remake. It does not re-tell the original’s story, it simply continues it albeit while enjoying the benefits of utilizing 10 years worth of developments in animation technology.
But personally, as I was watching the anime, I was reminded of remakes. It took me back to the time when I first discovered Bleach—it was as visually stunning as it was back then, even better now. I was in awe of how beautiful everything seemed to be; how the various characters looked after all these years, how their sword techniques were translated from the page and into the screen, and how much better everything looked compared to when I last watched it. It made me ask how groundbreaking this anime could have been if it were created and released much later on. So while it is not a remake, I’m certainly glad Studio Pierrot took the chance to bring this much-deserved conclusion to Bleach’s story.
As for actual dictionary-definition remakes, these have been around for as long as I can remember—they’re everywhere, from movies to video games. My first encounter with one was with a movie that I didn’t even know was a remake back then, the 2005 King Kong—apparently the first iteration of the IP was in 1993. The difference between the two is night and day, with the original still in black and white and the iconic unnaturally humongous primate looking like a badly made puppet. Compare that to its modern reiteration starring the likes of Jack Black, Naomi Watts, and Adrien Brody, King Kong was intimidating, imposing even. An ape as large as the towering buildings of New York may be unrealistic, but it looked like it belonged, it looked like it could happen.
Other movie remakes include; ‘IT: Chapter 1 and 2’, ‘RoboCop’, ‘Total Recall’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Poltergeist’, and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ among many more. As for video game remakes; ‘Demon’s Souls’, ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, ‘Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver’, ‘Final Fantasy VII’, and ‘Resident Evil 2’ come to mind.
Upon further contemplation on the concept of a remake, I’ve come to the conclusion that these fully realize the vision of their creators, free from the limitations of their time. Although, I also believe that these heavily apply mostly to material relating to fantasy and anything out of this world.
Just thinking of a couple of relatively classic films from the previous century such as; ‘The Godfather’, ‘12 Angry Men’, and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, there is the question as to why these haven’t been remade yet. Well personally, there is no need to do so. If you can look past the black-and-white imagery, and the obviously dated visual fidelity, you can see that their stories are intact, the people in them look like people today, and the world around them looks like the world around us right now— these films have gracefully aged. Compare that to a movie like the original ‘Godzilla’. I don’t think what it looked like back then was the dominating kaiju that they had in mind compared to its modern counterparts.
Remakes exist to fully realize the potential of these fantastic ideas. Creators back then were visionaries stuck at the wrong time, bestowed with the mind to come up with stories and concepts their technology back then could not keep up with. I’m glad remakes are a thing because they ensure that these ideas are not wasted and forgotten for their imperfect release. I’m pleased that because of these, my last memory of some of these projects will not be the overly pixelated and dated look they once had.