Mad Max Anime Announced by Original Director


George Miller, original director of the Mad Max series of movies, has revealed plans to make an anime sequel to the classic post-apocalyptic, petrol-scavenging movie that propelled the then unknown actor Mel Gibson to stardom.

This comes as the latest news in a recent trend of Hollywood involvement with anime, which includes the Dragonball film and the upcoming Cowboy Bebop live-action film that will star Keanu Reeves.

This news was released on the MTV website yesterday, with little in the way of concrete details other than the Australian director’s declaration that the next Mad Max film, the first in 14 years, will be an anime, and will not involve Mel Gibson.

Miller, who directed all three films of the series, [Mad Max (1979), Mad Max 2, also known as The Road Warrior (1981), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)] is quoted thusly:

“I see myself as someone who is very curious about storytelling and all its various media…I’ve always loved anime, in particular the Japanese sensibility. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

No information is given on possible studios, producers, or cast, so the project may well still be in the early stages of planning and take years to materialize, but Miller has recently worked as a director in Warner Bros. projects that include the 2006 Oscar-winning family friendly animated CG movie, “Happy Feet”, so the 64 year-old director does possess the clout and wherewithal to make his announcement be taken seriously.

Information is definitely scarce at this point, but one interesting, additional nugget is the following quote from Miller:

“The anime is an opportunity for me to shift a little bit about what anime is doing because anime is ripe for an adjustment or sea change…It’s coming in games and I believe it’s the same in anime.

There’s going to be a hybrid anime where it shifts more towards Western sensibilities. Kurosawa was able to bridge that gap between the Japanese sensibilities and the West and make those definitive films.”

Putting aside the immediate concern likely to result by the implied conceit that an Australian director’s vision for Japanese-style anime might be preferable to that held by the Japanese anime studios themselves, one conclusion that may be reached is that the Mad Max anime might not even involve any Japanese anime studio at all, as Miller has previously worked on an animated film and that he seems determined to not make the adaptation a traditional anime.

In any case, further news of the Mad Max animation will likely be of interest to many, if for no other reason that live-action to anime adaptations are (for obvious reasons) much more palatable to otaku then when the process occurs in reverse.

Via MTV.

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  • I’m amused how easily that picture reminded me of Fallout. I never happened to watch Mad Max, but the game was outstanding for me and it’s nostalgic to see the combination of that leather jacket and the dog.
    Fallout has a replica of it, which is the first and lightest armor you find (robes notwithstanding). And each time I’ve played it, it was always particularly satisfying to put on that first armor, as I clear out Vault 15.

  • That was then, this is now.

    People need to stop going on how this film is to be some kind of cartoon-it was only briefly considerd as an option by the producer/director.

    We know by now that the film will be live action and will be filmed in Australia (not Namibia) in 2011/2012, after Happy Feet 2 and Justice League.

    Budget will be only AUD $50 million, down from the original $100 million USD, but $50 mil goes along way in OZ when it comes to movie making.

    Mel Gibson will not appear as Max but possibly as a cameo in a dream sequence or end of life sequence.

    40 year old Aussie actor Steve Innes is set to be cast as Max, if he has not been already.

    The film will be set about 20 years after Thunderdome, when Max is about 60, not 200 years into the future with events set around Max’s great, great Grandson!!!!

    The film should be released in 2013.

  • Anonymous says:

    i think an anime mad max has potential, not to just point out ultra violent anime but black lagoon has a western feel and is very popular if the same kind of work that went into that went into this then it could be somthing good. i’m not gonna miss mel but i hope they bring back that iconic 1974 ford falcon XBGT with that push button blower super charger.

  • Hiddenshade says:

    Is highly probable that this anime of Mad Max will be a hybrid like the good cartoons of the 80s.
    -Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
    -G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
    -Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light.

    • I second this, I can’t wait to see how this turns out, hoping he isn’t going to use many western studios, producers and dicking around.
      I got a good feeling about it, it won’t turn out like anime as we’re generally used to but he does know who he’s catering to.

  • Kinny Riddle says:

    Intriguing, I wonder if they’ll be getting Mel Gibson to reprise his Mad Max role by doing the voice.

    The only other voice-over role that I knew Gibson has done was in Chicken Run, the stop-motion animation movie by the creators of Wallas and Gromit.

  • Riot Gear says:

    i’d give it a shot.I hope they produce filler episodes between Mad Max:Road Warrior and Mad Max:Beyond Thunderdome or after that,but it’s been years although a cult favorite,i worry about how they reach to new younger audiences.

  • If this isn’t made by japanese for japanese with a japanese synchro, than it is NO anime. And if it’s no anime, I’m not interested.
    “more towards Western sensibilities” the F*CK?

    I watch anime because it isn’t ‘more towards Western’ taste. I like my loli and pantsu and tsundere and pettanko and everything. Don’t sully anime!

    • Anonymous says:

      Shouldn’t be too hard to imagine — Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the North Star is probably one of the most blatant and long-lived homages/rip-offs in the history of Japanese animation. And it basically = Mad Max/Road Warrior.

      • Not at all. In Ken, the main plot is centered around martial arts, the relationship between Ken and his brothers/the backstory of various badguys, etc etc.

        Mad max doesn’t do martial arts, he keeps getting beat up by baddies that Ken would dispatch with his fingertips.

        The only real homeage is the setting of the story – post apocalyptic world populated by mutant bikers-gangs, and that is only really true for the first Shin-arc, after which the armies of Raoh/Souther replace them as the generic badguy, and they have a much more medival/ancient Rome feel to them.

  • Anonymous says:

    YES!! Could this be the return of some of the good old animation that have been lost for years now?
    The guy is smart, calling “anime” this project, he knows that in the western world, “animation” is for children, but “anime” is commonly related to nasty and perverted stuff.
    Damn, I remember Akira, G.I.T.S., Ninja scroll, Saint Seiya, DBZ, Lupin, etc. I stopped watching anime when all this moe/loli/girlie bulshit started. Man I feel sorry for the actual otaku generation.

    • All the titles you mention are works specificly picked for foregin markets by various B-video companies, in an effort to sell anime as hyper-violence to the west. In no way does Akira, Ghost in the shell etc. represent the mainstream in anime, not now, nor did it back in any “good old days”.

      Those titles you liked where nothing but the crop of the most violent crap the anime industry produced over the span of 20-25 years.
      “all this moe/loli/girlie bulshit started” as you toughtfully put it, has been around since before you where born.

      Whatever you enjoy, is surerly is not anime, which leaves me wondering what brings you to this site, when you should be down at your local rentalstore/torrent site getting your fill of B-action movies.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mmmh, are you fucking kidding me? Akira not anime? AKIRA or gits, are only an example of the good old times, do you want a list? Captain Harlock is not anime? Robot carnival is not anime? Look, I’m just saying that today anime means a bunch of underage girls showing their asses and rubbing each other in the bath, and that sucks. I’m saying that anime is having a bad time, and you are calling legendary titles not anime as a response? How dare you? Ok, lets put aside the “violent shit” like Macross or Evangelion, wich you said it is not anime just because were popular outside Japan. What about the Miyazaki work, like Nausicaa or Mononoke, doesn’t this movies represent the japanese culture? I bet you think it’s not anime cause the chara design are not “sexually appealling” and doesn’t have kiddie girls having sex.
        Anyway, at the end the real masterpieces will remain, and not the moe/loli perverted crap, but that’s obvious. What annoys me is the lost of a beautiful artcraft, and that now otaku means a guy fapping on nine years old girls god dammit.

        • You weren’t aware of ecchi stuff back then (since it wasn’t easy to get in the west). It has always been around, nothing has changed. The ratio of “serious” to “ecchi” shows (what on earth makes you think those works are not targeted towards adults?) is the same as ever. Although I’m not aware of any statistics to back this up, I’m pretty sure that the ratio only fluctuates over time at best.

          You think there are no serious/artful/meaningful productions anymore today? Let me name a few more recent ones:
          FLAG, Tytania, Bounen no Xamdou, Sennou Chousashitsu, Denno Coil, Vexille, NHK ni Yokoso, Sunabozu, Seirei no Moribito, …
          I could recall many more if I tried hard enough, and obviously GitS 2 and all new Miyazaki stuff also counts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wow, you’re right, maybe is time for someone in the busissnes to say something like this again. I know, I know, ten years from now, people will talk about FMA, One piece, Naruto(?).. but watching it now at a closer view it wasn’t THAT GREAT. Certainly not compared with how BIG Robotech, DBZ, SS and Eva were in their time. Anime is failing somehow…


        • I remember hearing such comments over a decade ago, and Hideaki Anno also said something similar around the time he directed Eva in 95-96.

          Having rose-colored memories of the past is normal, and I’m sure 15 years from now the same things will be said about how great this generation of anime was.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m refering more to a STYLE than an era. I’d named Lupin and Harlock, that’s the 70’s dude, Cobra, Akira, Gunbuster, patlabor, that’s te 80’s, Gits, Cowbe, Eva, Ninja Scroll etc, 90’s.
          I’m talking about now, this decade. Adult oriented anime seems to be extinct or something. The latest mostly known work is Higlander-Vengeance, that’s just SAD, that’s all I’m saying.
          We have to wait till some guy decides to do a movie in anime style, or Hollywood to buy the rights of some anime, to do shitty live action adaptations. What the hell happen all of a sudden?

        • Scrooge McDuck says:

          It should be noted that Akira came out at the same time as Gunbuster, which is actualy more received amongst the otaku community and depends on its cutesy factor amongst others.

          And the first GITS movie? Heck, it is from the era of Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Tenchi Muyo, Saber Marionette and Oh My Goddess, all of which utilize sex appeal and moe extensively.

          The thing is, you refer to the era of Akira and GITS (which are quite far apart, mind) as though as they are some “good, old time”, while in fact that those two titles are not in any way represents the Japanese anime trend at the time.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah I know, that’s the problem. I wish I could go out with a t-shirt about some new cool anime, and tell everybody HEY! Look anime is awesome! Take a look at this! You could do that some time ago with shows like Cowbe or Eva, and it worked, people who hated the word “anime” becomed hard core fans! But now to talk about anime is fucking embarrasing!

          And now “anime fans” say, “all of that shows are not anime, because were meant to be a product for foreign countries” Wtf? That’s what actual fans think of anime?
          So now we have Disney shit on one side and Loli crap on the other? Of course I’m a romantic, I wish there would be new anime in the style of Cobra. But when most of the fandom prefer “MoeMax” then, yes I should go and rent some B action movies.

        • I think you might be romanticizing about the past too much here.

          In any case, 25 years ago “otaku” was an even worse label than it is today, to say nothing of the especially negative attitude during the early 90s…

      • Anonymous says:

        I mean, I watched G.T.I.T.S, DBZ or Akira with my father, and he said: WOW how cool is this shit son!! I couldn’t believe that he asked me to record the DBZ episodes! My old man enjoyed anime as I did. Do you realize what that means?! Today, go show your parents, or enyone else, crap like Strike witches, my god. I DO fell sorry for the actual anime scene, no doubt about it. Last decent things I saw was, Vampire hunter D and APPLESEED EX.
        This got nothing to do with any Macho thing.
        I loved Ranma and CCS, but today the whole scene has been taken by one fucking gender, wich honestly really sucks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Err, I know that show already is ok for small kids, but not so long ago same kids were watching Saint Seiya, and if you didn’t saw it yet; What are you waiting for? Be a wise otaku.

    • Typewriter says:

      Because Akira and Ghost in the Shell definitely represents all the anime from their respective (rather far apart) erae, none of which utilize the cute appeal of their female characters?

  • Well, we’ve seen how video game to movie came out. (horribly)
    We’ve seen video game to anime. (so-so?)
    We’ve seen anime to video game. (depends)
    We’re getting anime to (western) movie.
    Now movie to anime?

    I’d give it a shot. You never know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously. And Hokuto no Ken is remembered by Japanese Gen Xers with a GAR fondness that it’s practically sacred.

      This seems like a really bad idea if he means to try to hook a Japanese audience because I’m sure a lot of them just disregard it as a Hokuto no Ken rip-off (just like that hilarious guy a few posts down that said this looked like a Fallout rip-off).

      I guess if he means to market exclusively to Westerners, maybe it will have a chance, but he’d probably gain more acceptance if he said he was going to make it like the Heavy Metal movies and not animu.

    • Indeed, they have some really tough competition there. If no Japanese director is involved, I can’t see how it could possibly turn out decent enough to compete with that masterpiece.

      Besides, there are already a few precedents as to what happens when non-Japanese try their hands on anime… *cough*Robotech Shadow Chronicles*cough**cough*

        • The character designs were gorgeous (the female ones at least), but that’s about it. Story was as cliche-laden as your average Saturday-morning cartoon, and this coming from someone who thinks for a cheap rip-off, Robotech as a whole was actually well thought-out and features an interesting universe. I’ll admit some interest in the follow-up series because of this.

          At least they used a Korean studio for character designs and animation production, George Miller better does the same if he wants to avoid total failure.