Ghost in the Shell : Whitewashing or not?


Ghost in the Shell is an animated feature length film from 1995. It also happens to be one of the most well known and loved “Anime” movies pretty much ever. It  has also been in much talks recently for a live action remake of the original. One of the biggest headlines however out of this was who they were looking to, to play the lead. That actress being Scarlett Johansson, which lead to instantaneous cries across the internet of “hollywood being racist again”. And while i certainly am NOT saying that there isn’t a bias in hollywood towards to white everything, i am saying that i think sometimes, as funny as it may sound, everything is not so black and white. So hear me out a bit here. So i think firstly to answer this question we have to look at the source material, and that is anime. Anime is defined pretty much as any type of animation out of Japan, which then lead it to be used to define animation of a certain style, that would be considered to have an “anime aesthetic”. This aesthetic was mainly considered the juxtaposition of very realistic environments with over the top almost satirical characters. Most of these characters had one major feature in common, and that was being drawn with very large eyes. Some people even view this as the Japanese white washing themselves, in order to gain both a broader appeal, as well as a way to portray aspects of their lives and cultures that may not be strictly aligned with the cultural definitions of japanese life. And it is that last point in particular, which lends some credibility to the casting here. Is something whitewashing if the use of a white actor is more or less what anime has been trying to do all this time? Now i’m in no way eligible to answer that question, but i do think it warrants being brought up. The second point to make here is the business side of things when it comes to Hollywood. The real colour Hollywood sees in is green (as in money for us multi-coloured denominational folk), and when they have a film in front of them that needs green-lighting ( lol ), the first question is always the same; Can this make us a shit tonne of money? And as much i would love to see Rinko Kikuchi play the role here, the suits at hollywood are going to look at the same thing over and over. Who’s going to earn them more money. And yes i am well aware that Rinko would no doubt draw a very large audience in the East (which recently makes up 40-60% of most big movies’ final money haul) she will most certainly not make as much as Scarlett in the USA (which is always 40-60% of the haul). Now baring that in mind, the other difference is that while Scarlett can make the money on her home soil as can Rinko, Scarlett has proven that she can ALSO make the money in east. Just this year, in the very sub-par film Lucy, she managed to rack up an impressive 459 MILLION USD. With only 130 or so million from USA and the rest from the rest of the world. Those numbers are ALL anyone in charge of getting this movie made is going to see. So while i’m not saying this movie isn’t being whitewashed, I’m just trying to ask people to maybe look a little deeper. If you don’t want these types of movies to be made, make sure and don’t go when they come out, because money is a universal language.


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