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Ghost in the Shell vs. the evil white man.

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  • Ghost in the Shell vs. the evil white man.

    I work with a ton of Asians and recently there’s been a lot of buzz around "Ghost in the Shell" particularly the whitewashing of it's cast. I was a big fan of anime growing up but frankly, I think Ghost in the Shell is generic, sci-fi, eye-candy devoid of any real story or plot. However, regardless if your fan of the film or not I’m curious if you think Paramount is rightfully accused of whitewashing the film? Although almost every article I’ve read says yes I don’t particularly agree. The images attached are from the original anime of Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett Johansson’s character) and her team. Clearly you can see that the original character has light skin and blue eyes. How many Asians do you know have light skin and blue eyes? Furthermore, the supporting roles have distinctly European traits (blonde and light brown hair, round eyes, face shape, etc.). Therefore it can be easily surmised that the original creators might have intended for characters of European decent. If so, is it the fault of the Paramount for casting actors that… looked liked the anime’s original characters?

    Not to mention, just about every Japanese and Asian recreation of a US film has been casted with entirely Asian actors. For example, the Japanese recreation of the US film “Sideways” -

  • #2
    "Oh excuse me, I know about a billion Asians that would beg to differ." -Dwight Schrute

    lol...sorry, when I read your opening line this was the first thing I thought of.

    In all seriousness, I don't think it's racist. Personally I am getting tired of the racism talk everywhere I look to; radio, tv, internet. People have their biases and a movie isn't going to change that one way or the other.

    I'm sure Paramount has done their research on this film and they are simply producing something catered to the majority of their intended audience. It's the same as when American movies are re-made in other countries as you have pointed out.


    • #3
      It's absolutely no different than cross casting any major play or musical or movie. At least in my book.

      Jeez, even Battlestar Galactica changed Starbuck into a woman!
      Come on!

      For an interesting read, try this on the another buzzword ''cultural appropriation'':
      Think of the ramifications if you are unable to create anything geared in any way toward a subsection of the population unless you are a member of that subsection of the population.

      This is totally opposite of the direction we need to be going. Any citizen of the US should be an American. No hyphenation needed. Otherwise the wedges just drive deeper.


      • calebninja
        calebninja commented
        Editing a comment

    • #4
      Right, it’s almost surreal we’re actually approaching a point in history when people of European decent are so shunned and hated on their own land that casting their own people can be construed as racist. I can’t imagine the absurdity of a European going to Japan and demanding the Japanese cast European actors.

      It’s like the saying, if you help someone long enough eventually their appreciation of you will fade and they will start to expect what originally a favor.
      Last edited by Protagonist; 04-07-2017, 02:06 AM.


      • #5
        I wouldn't go that far. That is the current perception if all you read is media bias and internet vitriol. That ''hate'' is very overblown and out of proportion to the average Joe on the street. There are very small groups of very vocal ''activists'' shouting loud enough to get attention right now. And with the current state of social media, they are getting far more attention than is usual. Not that grievances don't exist or shouldn't be addressed, just that a little wider view needs to be taken other than the concept of ''I am offended, and therefore you should be too.''

        Artists should be able to do what they want. That is what art is. If the art sparks a dialog, all the better. But dialog is a two-way conversation, not an opportunity to bludgeon the other side with your offendedness. The people criticizing the film have every right to criticize. In this particular case, on seeing the imagery of the original graphics, it’s just as easy to criticize in the other direction and skewer the anime creator with cultural appropriation as well. Is any non-Asian artist who draws anime appropriating part of Japanese culture?

        Don’t take a side because you are offended. Look at ways to solve the issue beyond, ‘’''No, you can’t do that.’’''


        • #6
          Hollywood is a business first and not many of the participants would characterise the output as 'Art'.

          The 'western' look of characters in anime and other forms of Japanese art is not a signal that the original artist meant for the characters to be portrayed by actors of European descent. This is a long standing trope in Japanese comics. Pale skin and round eyes are seen as desirable in Japan - not least in the fashion industry.

          Let us not forget that several of Kurosawa's masterpieces were remade as westerns ( 'Seven Samurai' was remade as 'The Magnificent Seven' ) and that Kurosawa remade several of Shakespeare's plays as samurai epics (Throne of Blood, Ran etc.)

          I see it as cross-cultural re-fertilisation and yes, some of the results are laughable but that should not be used as an excuse to say it should not happen.
          Last edited by StudioMonkey; 04-10-2017, 08:06 AM.
          Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana


          • PrintDriver
            PrintDriver commented
            Editing a comment
            Pale skin and round eyes are seen as desirable in Japan
            If this is the case, who is complaining then?

            Hollywood films used to be an art.
            They are still representations/social commentary/imaginative (sometimes)

            I think they classify as ''art.''

          • calebninja
            calebninja commented
            Editing a comment
            The people who feel the need to be offended for Japanese culture; who most likely are not Japanese.

            I live in Kansas City. Awhile back we had protesters at our football stadium because our team name is the "Chiefs". They were protesting that such a team name was offensive to Native Americans. Not a single protester was Native American.

            Not saying you have to be part of the group that is being offended to protest. But what I am saying is that the average Japanese person could probably care less that they are using a non-asian actress as the lead for this film.

          • B
            B commented
            Editing a comment
            Calebninja, there was a similar controversy here in Salt Lake with the University of Utah. Their athletic teams are called the Utes (an Indian tribe). A few years back, some people were up in arms over the university supposedly denigrating native Americans. The Ute tribe finally weighed into the controversy by saying they were fully supportive of the school continuing to using their name.

        • #7
          Right, my point is there's a double standard and increasingly anti-white narrative so blatant you are either biased or blind not to notice it.

          For example the Oscar winning 2015 film The Revenant was suppose to be the "true story" of Hugh Glass. That is, the true story of Hugh Glass who, unlike the film, never had a Native American son (or wife) and never had a grudge with Tom Hardy. The real Glass actually fought battles against the Ree Tribe and the Pawnee tribe portrayed as his friend, in real life, captured him and tortured his comrade to death.

          The film had to be reconstructed to fit the “evil-white” narrative in which whites are bad, minorities are good, and white are only redeemable via minorities. The real life human sacrifices, cannibalism, and enslavement that occurred in Native American tribes during that time went by the wayside.

          Taylor Swift is probably the most well known example. All Swift had to do to be humiliated was win an award. I don’t think she nor anyone else deserves to be humiliated for being European but the "evil-white" narrative is so powerful that someone feels he has the right to stop her acceptance speech and discredit her in front of millions. Would he have done that to her if she wasn't anglo-saxon?

          I can list examples all day. These are pop-culture icons but, unless your living in a cave somewhere, I think they do parallel our daily lives. Why is racism aimed at Europeans when Asian nations like China and Japan are almost entirely homogenous and refuse non-citizens from buying freehold land or obtaining citizenship? Why is slavery synonymous with the United States when Asians countries like N. Korea and China maintain labor camps on par with any form of slaver slavery or indentured servitude in our past? The hypocrisy and double standard is ludicrous.
          Last edited by Protagonist; 04-10-2017, 11:51 PM.


          • #8

            I get what you're saying, but I think you are going to drive yourself crazy compiling a list of White injustices. I'm sure other races could compile the same type of list.

            Full disclosure, I'm White and I too have seen some of the things you are talking about, but I think a lot of this is brought on by social media. Maybe you need to take a break from social media and pop culture; the world isn't really the way it's being portrayed by those outlets (at least to me it's not). Personally, I think we are over connected as a culture. It's good to be informed, but if some guy stubs his toe half-way across the world, we all hear about it. There are so many negatives in this world and social media highlights all of them and very rarely highlights the positives.

            I never run into anyone who mistreats me because I am White. Granted I live in a predominately White suburb, but nonetheless, I've been to the city plenty of times and never experienced this White injustice.


            • #9
              There are plenty of injustices to go around, but an honest assessment would have to recognize a recent increase in anti-white sentiment. That's not to say "whites," whoever that may be, don't bring some of it on themselves.

              As the world is divided up among the various us and them groups, some degree of ignorance often prevails, almost as a rule it seems. For instance, consider the way "Asian" has come to mean "everyone oriental." People who use the term that way appear to never consider that the Asian continent is so much more diverse than that. People of Afghani, Indian, Israeli, Iraqi, Lebanese, Turkish, and Saudi descent, to name a few, are all "Asians".
              I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


              • #10
                @calebninja Staying away from social media or pop culture isn't going to change anything. In fact, I barely use either - I don't even own cable TV. My point is the media reflects our daily lives. An anti-white narrative in film emanates from an anti-white sentiment in society.

                The media is gas-lighting and telling us that we’re racist or sexist when in fact Anglo-Saxon nations are far more tolerant of multiculturalism than any South East Asian country. Yet how many films portray SE Asia this way? At least if they were to portray SE Asia as racist they could bring attention to the human rights abuses. But they instead they pick on the us, the people who are doing everything right. They're destroying the good guys, it makes absolutely no sense.


                • #11
                  Originally posted by Protagonist View Post
                  But they instead they pick on the us, the people who are doing everything right. They're destroying the good guys, it makes absolutely no sense.
                  No one does everything right, and yet everyone believes in their cause. You don't think ISIS thinks their the good guys? (Not to change the subject, just making a point)

                  Again, I agree with you to an extent. I've see the anit-white narrative building and it frustrates me too. But what can you do? If you think about every time someone hates on White people in the media or pop culture, you will drive yourself mad! Seriously, I can tell just by your posts that you are taking this issue very personally.

                  And please don't misinterpret what I am saying. I agree with most of what you are saying. I just choose to live differently because I too at times can feel myself overwhelmed with emotions.

                  Let me give you an example:

                  My wife and I saw Beauty and the Beast recently. I felt there was an undertone of anti-white people and anti-man. Throughout the movie I caught myself pointing these things out to my wife. 75% of the way into the movie I stopped myself because I realized that instead of enjoying a date night with my wife, I was too focused on the way Disney portrays White people and men.

                  To me it's just not worth it. I want to enjoy my time with my family and not spend time being upset about these narratives being thrown around, especially when I never see them in my own life.


                  • #12
                    I am of the belief that this argument is a non-issue. I agree with OP that Major, in the original, was distinctly ambiguous in terms of ethnicity, and I think that's what was intended.

                    — — —

                    I also don't understand the argument fully. They don't cast someone like Scarlett Johansson because they doubt the ability of Japanese actors. They want to sell tickets, and household names do just that.

                    It's not about RACE (and very rarely is), it's about MONEY.


                    • PrintDriver
                      PrintDriver commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Wow, there's a reach...

                    • Protagonist
                      Protagonist commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I wouldn’t discredit it. This “evil-white” campaign creates a smoke screen for aggressive immigration, one sided trade deals, and free hold land. We all know SE Asia loves the kiwis so much - they’re close, they buy free hold land (Crafar farms). China owns hundreds of millions of acres in NZ to supply it’s homeland. If New Zealanders were smart, or rather if NZ politicians weren’t so inept and self-serving, they would pass the same regulations China has on us and forbid them from purchasing freehold land. This would force China to play by the rules and buy on the global market (like everyone else). They stand to make a fortune, but the Chinese lobby, buy a few inept politicians (Jenny Shipley), worm their way in to the government, buy a few more. Today the Chinese have cut New Zealanders out of the equation. They own their dairy farms, their renown farming technology, forests, and now vineyards. Aside from the land sale itself, the kiwis have been completely excluded from the Chinese market. All to minimize spending on… white people. And with racism accusations paralyzing many white people from speaking out on this blatant and one sided idea of trade it’s no wonder we keep seeing the “evil-white” narrative in the media.
                      Last edited by Protagonist; 04-27-2017, 12:27 AM.

                    • B
                      B commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Protagonist, I just did a quick bit of research on the New Zealand issue you mentioned. This page from the New Zealand Herald ( ) says that Canada is the biggest foreign investor in New Zealand (22%), followed by China (14%), the U.S. (13%) and Australia (11%). Of those four biggest foreign investors in NZ, you're only complaining about the country that isn't mostly Caucasian. Why is that?

                  • #13


                    • KitchWitch
                      KitchWitch commented
                      Editing a comment
                      ''Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand, as well as being a relatively common self-reference. The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird, which is native to, and the national symbol of, New Zealand.''

                  • #14
                    "Staying away from social media or pop culture isn't going to change anything. In fact, I barely use either - I don't even own cable TV."

                    For someone who barely engages with social media and doesn't own cable TV, where are you getting your information from?

                    You stated "We all know SE Asia loves the kiwis so much" I didn't know this, nor did I know the kiwi trade was fueling an international race war on white people.

                    Honestly you're now sounding like a conspiracy theorist; like some kiwi trade truther.

                    What good is any of this doing for you? I really feel as if you're overwhelming yourself with every little possible circumstance of white injustice. Not saying to put your head in the sand regarding every issue, but I really think these things are eating away at you, by your comments and the level of detail in them.


                    • StudioMonkey
                      StudioMonkey commented
                      Editing a comment
                      No, Kiwis are people from New Zealand. People from Australia are usually referred to as 'Aussies'.

                    • HotButton
                      HotButton commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ah right. Thanks for setting me straight, Monkey.

                    • calebninja
                      calebninja commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I honestly had no idea; thought we were talking about fruits; shows how much I know lol. Although I am kind of disappointed to find out there isn't a conspiracy theory surrounding kiwis.

                  • #15
                    It's actually insulting to a New Zealander to be called an Aussie.

                    I guess my sarcasm wasn't apparent.
                    No matter how endearingly used a nickname for a people may be, it's all part of the problem.






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