Between one thing and another over the past couple of weeks I squeezed in a few episodes of Soul Eater. I had no overriding reason to seek it out other than the recommendations of a friend, but it was easy to get hooked on it — it's just plain fun.
After putting about ten episodes away, I turned to the same friend and said something like, "You know, if they decided to make a live-action version of this show, too, I probably wouldn't run screaming."
Me: "Two words: Tim Burton."
He saw what I meant. The show has a very TB-esque vibe to it, the sort of look that we've had a fair amount of practice at rendering as live-action. And the very things you'd use to cut costs would actually make it all the more appropriate-looking: Death City in the show looks like a movie set in the first place, not like a place where people actually live. (Or die, as the case may be.)
I badminton'd it back and forth for a bit with other friends, and finally hit on this question: Is it easier to make something into a live-action production when you can just let it be theatrically unrealistic?
Then again, maybe "easier" is the wrong word, because it's still pretty hard on a technical level to create the costumes, props, FX. Maybe better to say "less likely to be a mess", because you're just following the existing suspension of disbelief created by the material instead of tearing it down and rebuilding it in a new incarnation.
For perspective, talk of Bleach as live-action made me balk not because of what they would show but the ties the show has to its own milieu: a Westernized Bleach is as illogical as a Westernized Akira, which is as illogical as ... etc. Being faithful to the look of the original there isn't as important as the fact that you can't really retell those stories outside of their milieu without turning them into mere dumbshow.
In more than one sense of the word "dumb".