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News: General

A Look At Anime's Troubled History With Representation

Friday, May 13, 2016   (0 Comments)
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From The Verge: 

In January of 2015, it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would star as Major Motoko Kusanagi in Paramount's live-action adaptation of the beloved anime and manga franchise Ghost in the Shell. The reaction at the time was mild to positive —€” mostly because it seemed to make a lot of sense if we're just talking about Johansson's career. The actress starred in a slew of sci-fi roles that allowed her to delve deep into the relationship between a woman and her body and her consciousness: she was an AI turned omnipotent being in Her, a lonely alien turned carnivorous sexpot in Under The Skin, and a drug mule turned omnipotent being in Lucy. Her career was an IRL thinkpiece, and assuming the role of a cyborg supercop seemed like the next logical step.

As usual, it took a picture for the outcry to start. This month, over a year after the casting announcement, Paramount Pictures released a still of Johansson in costume as Kusanagi, and the internet did not take it well. The image of a famous white actress in Kusanagi's signature black bob seemed like another depressing example of Asian actors being removed from Asian narratives —€” the insult of M. Night Shyamalan's Avatar adaptation and Emma Stone playing a half-Chinese character in Aloha were still fresh in our collective memory..

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