George Takei to Hollywood: “Quit Whitewashing Anime”

george-takei

Actor George Takei (aka “the guy who played Sulu from Star Trek”) has spoken critically of Hollywood’s penchant for taking Asian film, manga and anime and recasting everyone with white actors, citing the upcoming and thoroughly purified Akira as a particularly egregious example.

He was recently interviewed about the adaptation, which transposes Akira from Neo-Tokyo to “New Manhattan,” features a cast of handsome white men in place of the 2D yellow dwarves of the original, and according to supposed leaks takes radical liberties with the script:

Were you surprised to find out Warner Bros. is courting white leading men for roles in the adaptation of Akira?

[…]

It’s an old Hollywood tradition that we’ve always been battling, not just Hollywood but Broadway too, if you remember Miss Saigon and the furor over that.

So, no, I really wasn’t surprised, but the audience has changed now, and I’m surprised Warner Bros. is not keeping up with the audience.

The manga and anime phenomenon is mostly white in this country. It originated in Japan, and, of course, it has a huge Asian fan following.

But it’s the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of Akira and manga. The idea of buying the rights to do that and in fact change it seems rather pointless.

If they’re going to do that, why don’t they do something original, because what they do is offend Asians, number 1; number 2, they offend the fans.

The same thing happened with M. Night Shyamalan. He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped.

I should think that they would learn from that, but I guess big studios go by rote, and the tradition in Hollywood has always been to buy a project, change it completely and flop with it.

I think it’s pointless, so I thought I would save Warner Bros. a bit of failure by warning them of what will most likely happen if they continue in that vein.

What would you ideally like to see happen with the Akira adaptation?

Well, ideally, they should do it properly and get Asian-American actors cast in those roles.

In the adaptation they would of course be speaking in English and understandable to a popular American audience. That’s the whole point. They bought a project that is popular and enormously loved by its fans, and if they want the fan following to support the film, that’s the way you do it.

Of course, from the perspective of actual Asians (most of whom hate each other) rather than the happily undifferentiated “Asian” Americans, the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…

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  • the biggest problem I see is that when the “purified” (nice touch, that) movie inevitably flops, the financial backers don’t see it as a failure by the producers or director,

    but rather as “proof” that you can’t turn anime and manga into a successful movie.

    same thing thing that’s basically happening to game-into-movies… all/most of the movies based on games have sucked, and so now it’s accepted as gospel that games can not be turned into movies.

    • Not really, this is not a Hollywood phenomena, it happens all the time when stories spread to distant geographical locations where people look different.

      People imagine the people in the stories to look like themselves do, and they have a easier time to take a movie or picture to hearth if the characters look the same way they do.

      Japanese animators does this too, for example take the Earthsea adaptation done by Ghibli. In the books Le Guin makes a point of describing the people in the book as red-brownish akin to Native Americans, in the Ghibli adaptation though they are all “white”.

      Another example would be Jesus, that somehow is portrayed as a snow white caucasian man, even though he was a jew and likely quite brown if he would have existed.

  • Ghostchase says:

    I agree with Sulu wholeheartedly, why does America insist on doing their classic “white-wash rape” to anything/everything Asian, anything foreign for that matter! You just can’t take the script/premise of a foreign film and cast some white actors and some half-assed director and think going turn some major profit in America. These animes and films are good because of few, yet major reasons… THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOOD… CONTAIN ACTORS/DIRECTORS/PEOPLE THAT HAVE PASSION FOR THE PROJECT AND… (get this) TALENT!

    I’ve about had it up to here with this “white-wash rape money grab” American been getting away since formation of the United States of America.

    AND PLEASE TELL ME THE LIVE ACTION COWBOY BEBOP WILL NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY?

  • Why don’t they hire some god damn American otaku’s who know what the fuck will cater to the audience rather than a bunch of Hollywood idiots who think they make it big by alienating said audience. They honestly don’t understand how fans of Anime think.

    It’s almost as if they figure that since it will fail anyways, they male as well make the leads white so maybe they can trick non anime fans into thinking it’s a unique movie.

  • Sigh. The way I see it, if the original story is intended to be Asian in nature and setting, then an adaptation should be as well.

    Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo, meaning it has an Asian setting with Asian characters.

    Another example would be Ryu ga Gotoku. If they were making an adaptation of that, changing the setting to New York City and replacing the yakuza with the mafia is DOIN’ IT WRONG.

    However, take something like Metal Gear. It is a Japanese production, yes, but dominantly western in nature. Therefore, casting Caucasians would be the completely right thing to do in that case.

    • Akira has a Japanese setting with Japanese characters. If they made the movie with Chinese-American or Korean-American actors, it would no different from using caucasian actors.

      A faithful adaptation would require shooting the movie in Japan with Japanese actors, and at that point you’re better off paying a Japanese studio to do the movie for you.

      • Yes, I agree with that completely. The key word is ‘American’. Even if they look Asian, there’s no doubt going to be Americanisms in there as well as numerous cultural inaccuracies.

        However, if that’s the crossroads we’re at, I think most people would definitely choose the lesser of two evils. :/ Anything for a quick buck these days, sigh.

  • More like, since when has Hollywood portrayed Asians other than as stereotypical martial artists, triad gangs or helpless females?

    The same goes for American games. How often do you see Asians in American games? As in, proper Asians, not “let’s slap on slanty eyes and call it an Asian” Asians.

    • There was a badass azn mercenary on The Substitute 3, not like anyone watches any of those after the first. He was a knife nut, a role typically reserved for hispanics. Also had a fat old guy black knife nut. Shame two great action characters got stuck in such a cruddy movie series.

  • Only a right-wing Japanese would complain about random Asians playing Japanese characters (as if Japanese looked that different from Chinese or Koreans). Mexicans don’t mind playing generic latino roles, neither do whites of any country.

  • I agree with him, though the “Asian-American” point does let him down since it makes it sound more like he wants a role. Imagine if Frodo was played by a Japanese guy and Aragorn was black. You can do the whole “It doesn’t matter as long as they’re a good actor” thing, but where do you draw the line? Could Aragorn be played by Dakoto Fanning as long as she does a good enough performance? Could Legolas be played by Vin Diesel and Gandalf by Justin Bieber?

    • I could be wrong, but I do believe he’s arguing for proper context.

      Story deals with Asian characters? Then use Asian-American actors, and not regular WASP looking folks.

      Story deals with say Medieval English folks, than casting an Asian-American or an African-American actor, unless there’s a damned good reason for it (example, Morgan Freeman playing a Moor in Prince of Thieves), is just lunacy.

      So LotR as it was made with English folks (Tolkien did write it as a sort of alternate mythology for England) in mind, wouldn’t fit with the type of cast that you’ve outlined.

      Let’s take Kurosawa as an example. Ran, which is a mix of the legends of the daimyo Mōri Motonari, combined with Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear.

      And yes, I know he discovered the similarities only after he’d preplanned the story, but the influences are there nonetheless. But the point, I’m trying to make is that King Lear was adapted in such a way, that it actually fit within a Japanese framework, thus providing the proper context to use Japanese actors.

      Not quite the case with Akira, Dragonball and a host of other works.

      Then again, not respecting the Lore of the work they’re basing their movie on. Hollywood does have a nasty habit of that, whether it be Alien vs Predator, Max Payne, Akira etc.

      • They let their actors look like their target audience. This makes them easier to relate to.
        Hollywood’s target is the western market, go figure… If the story does not allow for this, they would rather change the story. This usually ends bad.

        Anime is a completely different thing. I know that those characters are supposed to be japanese, but they don’t look like it, at all.
        So when watching anime, I never imagine them to be asian (me being a “white guy”).
        Akira is a notable exception, with it’s rather realistic character designs.

        • >Cowboy Bebop, multi-ethnic.
          >Witch Hunter Robin, multi-ethnic again.
          >
          >Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo, mostly >Japanese with some Europeans tossed into the >mix.

          I would put Witch Hunter Robin on the same level as Ryoko, in that they both were heavily dominated by Japanese characters, with Europeans or half-Europeans thrown in mostly for flavor.

          By contrast, Cowboy Bebop showed a highly-mixed, vibrantly multi-ethnic fictional world. The soundtrack highlighted extremely diverse styles and called attention to the visual diversity.

        • I’d argue that it rather depends on the anime in question.

          Example, Macross (the first series), it’s clearly multi-ethnic and would thus allow for a varied cast.

          Black Lagoon, again, multi-ethnic.
          Burst Angel, also multi-ethnic.
          Cowboy Bebop, multi-ethnic.
          Valkyria Chronicles, Mock-Europeans.
          Tytanis, multi-ethnic again.
          Witch Hunter Robin, multi-ethnic again.

          Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo, mostly Japanese with some Europeans tossed into the mix.

          Meanwhile, something like Himitsu: The Revelation is firmly set in a Japanese context. Same goes for Genshiken or City Hunter.

          And yes, there are plenty of series where it’s rather obscure a la Chrome Shelled Regios, Claymore or the Sacred Blacksmith.

          But even then, it’s not that hard to figure out what may be the appropriate choice based on the relevant context.

  • People are bitching about Hollywood putting white actors in anime and manga roles. Don’t the Japanese do the same thing in the manga and anime. Hardly ever see any “Asian” looking characters. They all look western to me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t think The Last Airbender flopped because it had a white cast. Anime in general doesn’t feature Japanese-looking characters, and The Last Airbender wasn’t a particularly Asian story as much as it was a universal one. If I had to pick a reason it flopped, it would be because in so many ways it missed the point of the “anime” (or American cartoon in the style of anime, if you prefer). The Fire Nation was played by Indian actors, all of whom overacted their parts and came off as charicatures rather than characters, when in the anime (for lack of a better word), they were as white as anyone else, save the water tribes (who strike me as a Native American/Aleutian ethnicity more than anything else).

    It’s also impossible to fit 6 1/2 hours’ worth of story into a 2-hour movie. It really should have been either a longer movie or a movie in several parts.

  • lols man , seriously if they gonna change it so much dont even keep the same name just say in credits inspired by akira would be less uproar about it but I just dont get why they dont understand that it better not to change too much stuff I mean the god awful dragonball evolution movie like I dont even know how fox thought it would be a success seriously are they so detached from reality ? Its hilariously stupid.

  • I was gonna say something about adaptations, who I think this movie is supposed to appeal to, what I think should be done to make an adaptation work and how Takei sounds like a fan of Akira and is more annoyed that Asian-Americans won’t be well represented in this as they should be than anything else BUT he had to mention The Last Airbender and that it flopped because it was an Asians with no Asians.

    I have to ask, did he see that movie?! The cast’s ethnicity is nowhere on the radar when it comes to The Last Airbender’s problems!

  • god damn you hollywood, always ruining anime and other asian films, seriously why fucking english? it’s supposed to be japanese in the first place, second why asian americans? there are tons of asians that actually know how to act instead of those wanna be’s in hollywood.

    fuck hollywood

  • Para mi la mejor solucion a todos estos problemas, es EL BLOQUEO CULTURAL.

    Que ningun asqueroso anime/manga,artista etc…salga de japon, y que nada de lo que ellos llaman “basura occidental” entre a su territorio. Asi ni los japoneses, ni nosotros, nos tendremos que quejar de la “JAPONIZACION” de lo “occidental” (que mierda con los pendejos y esta palabra) por un lado, ni de la “OCCIDENTALIZACION” de lo japones, por el otro lado.

  • Bakamoichigei says:

    This is pointless and counter-productive.

    The target audience of such a thing isn’t going to watch it.

    And, it’ll suck no matter what color the actors are.

    The more mainstream the thing Hollywood adapts and ruins, the more likely it is that people are simply going to stop letting them adapt stuff. So fuck ’em. Let them ruin Akira. We weren’t going to watch it anyway.

  • Leave manga/anime to Japan, period.
    The only way I want to watch those live action adaptations is if Japan is able to build up a movie industry and adapt the stories themselves.
    Some dramas already do it right, but limited themes and genres.
    But if it absolutely has to be done, Takei has it.
    Hollywood will never keep the original language anyways, though this would be best to keep all cultural aspects on… but the least they could do is hire actors with asian lineage for the roles. Plus not modify the entire thing ’till it gets completely screwed up beyond all recognition.

    Unfortunately, much like what happened to comics, we can only expect several years of flops, misundestandings, offensive adaptations and other crap ’till they get it half-way right.

  • This is exactly why I buy only import Japanese games, due to the whole piss-poor Anglo-dubbed crap versions of the original Japanese games. And thankfully most anime is subbed, with the original voices, instead of going the pathetic English dub route of utter and absolute failure. I really think George Takei is right. Why do Caucasians feel the need to go all Hollywood on great things like Dragonball and Akira? What the hell are they thinking? The same thing for anime: what, they couldn’t anyone Japanese-American to voice act for purely Japanese characters? To me, it makes a lot of sense. Especially when they have to change a certain character’s name (for instance Tomoyo Daidouji being known in the West as Madison Taylor…wow, really?). Only Caucasians can pull off stupid retarded shit like that.

  • What Caucasian actors? Are they from Armenia, Azerbaidzan, Czechnya, Georgia of lesser Asia, and other countries around Caucasus mountain range?
    We swedes are certainly not caucasians, yes, most of us are blond, but not caucasians, They are from Middle east, darkish people. Just as most Americans of today, come to think about it.

  • “just another asian whiner” i believe that’s the exact same statement they’d be saying. you know as fans, you could bash the adaptation if you don’t really like it and if the whole fandom is with you on it. how? internet.

  • it’s funny. the entertainment industry in japan is funny. separate industries try to knock each other out of the business. the music, and television industry view video games and anime as a huge threat during the 80’s and 90’s. but thanks to a little lobbying and strict regulation rules from the government, the anime and video game industry lost a huge amount of consumers and stocked drop.

    whereas in america the industries collaborate with each other. it’s homogeneous, but everything here sucks. video games have a standard of cinema quality presentation and philharmonic grade soundtrack. music doesn’t require talent at all as the companies recycle the safest formula to produce music and profit off of it. movies and television, they’ll be dead in a couple of years.

    so yeah fuck the media. you are the sheep, the media is your molasses.

  • WTF? Aang from Last Airbender was never ASIAN, he was an AIR NOMAD. I know Last Airbender concept were based from Asian cultures, but was never, or has been developed a character such as ASIANS. I hate how they make white actor for AKIRA, but Last Airbender is way different concept if you guys KNOW THIS… This ASIAN bs in Last Airbender is just plain ignorant. PLus, The white kid from Last Airbender was the only one who had martial art skills and able to act Aang out in the “AUDITION”.

  • “Of course, from the perspective of actual Asians (most of whom hate each other) rather than the happily undifferentiated “Asian” Americans, the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…”

    Actually, the only people who care about that are the Japanese… Chinese and Koreans could care less.

  • uthdentroll says:

    Hollywood… PLEASE STOP ANIME ADAPTATION…. JUST STOP… Guyver… Dragonball… Godzilla… I just cannot stand it anymore…. People in Hollywood just make all anime adaptations look bad

  • As an American I have to agree with him. Pretty much the only time we see an Asian actor on the screen is when they know martial arts or can appear really dorky. Same thing used to happen a lot with black actors being either really dorky or a gangster role. It’s annoying to say the least, we all have the same basic structure inside of us, no reason to generalize and stereotype to the point of racism.

  • Kitsune9Tails says:

    /Of course, from the perspective of actual Asians (most of whom hate each other) rather than the happily undifferentiated “Asian” Americans, the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…/

    As for this editorial opinion, I’m not so sure it has any basis. After all, Kill BIll was quite successful, and a lot of people liked Vol. 1 because it took place in Japan and had a “live action-anime-esque” feel, despite that the main (half-)Japanese yakuza villain was played by the Taiwanese-American Lucy Liu. I don’t think Asian Americans’ racial preferences are quite as stereotypically cast in stone as Artefact seems to believe.

    Aside from that, George Takei still rocks! Keep preaching the good word!

  • George Takei is win. He’s just an awesome guy.

    If you haven’t looked up his vid on YouTube where he bashes that homophobe, do it. I’ve never heard the word “douchebag” said so eloquently.

  • [size=7]correction[/size]

    George was the Original Sulu in Star Trek the Original Serries and the first Five Movies. So thats Captain Sulu to you!

    The fellow who played Sulu in the recent movie was a gook! And that redneck cracker that was used to play Kirk, wasn’t even Canadian. Also, the flunkie that played Spock was fatty!!

    But JJ Abrams had a free hand at jacking up the Star Trek canon – so that as they say is that.
    ):

  • Well he does have a point about white washing asian manga and anime but really if you’re going to appeal to an American audience you better have some white guys in it even if it is japanese.
    It’s kind of like that movie The Last Samurai in all of Japan Tom Cruise a white dude became the last surviving samurai.

  • Plain and simple.

    Americans love to ruin Asian art mainly because they pretty much know Asians are greater and America is just “all” about Profit and Exposure. And some will hate me but saying that why are you in this site? Damn, even in porn. You think those american pornstars greater than AV idols? Out of league. LOL! just sayin..

  • “Of course, from the perspective of actual Asians (most of whom hate each other) rather than the happily undifferentiated “Asian” Americans, the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…”

    What nonsense is this? Yes, while some of the older generation Chinese and Koreans may still be unable to forgive Japan for what it has done to them during WWII, most of us Asians today are cool with each other. Except China and Japan due to the Senkaku Islands issue, but besides that, you’ve got Takeshi Kaneshiro, a Japanese-Taiwanese, cast as the greatest known strategist in Chinese history; at the other end of the spectrum, there’s Chow Yun-fat, a Hongky, cast as Master Roshi.

  • What’s wrong with re-making the anime movie into a new anime movie with an other talented Japanese director such as Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Cell) or Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed). How much did the Americans paid for raping the masterpiece Akira? Is money this important to sell out the cultural heritages of Japan?

  • Hollywood needs to die for committing their shitty acts towards good quality anime, manga, and other good things that come from Japan and other far east countries. Seriously, they just need to stop want their doing and focus on things made in this country ONLY!

  • “The same thing happened with M. Night Shyamalan. He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped.”
    In fact the movie did pretty well ($$$).

  • It’s kind of like when they remade The Grudge, still set it in Japan, and yet had it star all white people anyway. I mean what the hell. I was actually surprised when the new Karate Kid came out, was set in China, and actually had Chinese people in it.

    Even when Hollywood tries they fuck it all up, like the mostly Chinese cast in Memoirs of a Geisha, which itself is a kind of offensive fairytale written by a white man that doesn’t reflect reality.

    Still, I would kill someone for an Akira movie that more closely follows the manga, actually set in Japan, starring Japanese-American or at least Asian-American actors.

  • “the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…”

    Except for ultra-nationalists, I don’t agree with this at all. In fact, this has happened before and aside from a few peculiar examples (such as Memoirs of a Geisha; which makes sense given the cultural significance), never really sparked a whole lot of controversy.

    I’m Chinese, and if they did a Hollywood interpretation of Journey to the West, I’d much rather a convincing Japanese or Korean actor take the main role than give it to some prissy award winning yellow-faced Caucasian actor.

  • Personally I find it more annoying that Hollywood likes to “remake” shit in general.

    Why can’t you Americans just watch the original movie with subtitles? Is the nation’s literacy rate that low?

    “The Departed” … What the heck was wrong with “Internal Affairs” ?

    Yes, it’s a different culture, but most of you Americans could use some “culture exposure” and learn that there are people beyond your borders who may or may not think the same way you do.

  • A lot of Anime was already “WhiteWashed” to begin with. A buddy of mine watching “Outlanders” years back went something to the effect of “They are trying to be white”…

    I think Sulu’s point is that if you have a fiction that uses Asians, you should have them play one, not a white character. More protection of “Asian” actors in a corrupt Hollywood market where 95% + of all aspiring and qualified actors don’t work. Of course, thanks for the article pointing out how “Western” “Asians” tend to stick together while the real “Asians” are so racist against each other they’d rather a white person play a movie character from an Anime.

    Frankly, I wished they’d used a Chinese woman for Chun-Li who’s supposed to be Chinese, btw. Like get a martial arts woman or if you can’t find a cute one who can act good, get a gymnast or stripper who can and put her through the same “Physical Therapist” used when Angelina Jolie played her big fame ticket with “Tomb Raider”!!! And give da babe some ASS implants so she’s got BOOTY!

  • Only the Japanese have been able to turn anime to live-action with any success. The bigwigs in Hollywood simply do not understand anime and invariably try to ‘fix’ it (they call it ‘re-imagining’…I call it ‘stupid’).

  • I disagree with Takei on one point. Honestly, I don’t care if they change the ethnicities of the actors. What I DO care about, is who plays and who directs. The film is for fans. The best way you make a film for fans, is to make it WITH fans. Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies is probably one of the best acted in it of not THE best acted character in the movie. Why? Because the actress is a major Luna Lovegood fan.

  • The thing is…even if Dragonball had asian actors, it’d STILL suck. It’s just not a good pick to be adapted to live action. At all.

    I DO think Akira has potential to be a good movie, if I rightfully ignore all the other anime flops…cuz I mean, none of them were of an adaptable genre.

  • You know, I have a hard time imagining a whitewashed Akira. One of the things that I’m sure anyone who’s seen Akira remembers, first thing, is the goddamn soundtrack. The heavy taiko components to the songs in the movie.

    You know this is gonna get chopped out too.

  • I was surprised to hear my Asian friends comment negatively on seeing non-Japanese actors in Japanese roles. I don’t freak out over whether or not Mel Gibson is Irish in Braveheart, or whether or not Harrison Ford is really Russian in K-19: The Widowmaker. I suppose in America, ethnic divides between people with white skin would ebb because they can’t tell the difference anymore, and everyone is ridiculously mixed.

  • Yea, I am sure what he says will strike the movie indistry at the core and change everything! Riiiiight. I am guessing the fact that most asians look alike to most rednecks dosent help either.

    The racial changes that hollywood makes these days are just stupid anyways. It seems that even if a movie should be mostly asian, or white, they feel the need to stick a black guy in just so they dont get called racist.

  • The real problem is that there’s not many known talented Asian actors in America. And if they do get an Asian cast, it’s always Chinese because they make up the largest percentage of Asian Americans. That POS Memoirs of a Geisha is a prime example of using Chinese in place of Japanese.

    Anyway, adapting Akira without changing the location would be incredibly stupid. Well, even making a movie based on it is incredibly stupid. It’s an over hyped movie from a past era, leave it alone!

    • The original movie was actually released to america over 20 years ago, in fact when I was a child I actually ran into a theater doing the scene which Kaneda was in the void and it was pure white and silence by accident.

      I actually went there to see the first ninja turtle movie but I was like 4 so I wandered into there without realizing, I find it funny that I first saw anime when I was actually 4.

  • silly george
    hollywood only buys title screens to lure in millions of idiots
    if you are not one if the idiots, you are a commercially inferior minority, and thus dont matter
    deal with it

  • “..the prospect of seeing a bunch of Chinese and Korean actors play faux-Japanese in a Hollywood production may be even less appealing than seeing a bunch of big-name Caucasian actors in any case…”

    Umm.. Gotta agree with this somewhat.., since I seriously will kill myself if Hollywood adapt Darker Than Black with Rain as Hei…

    (Yes, I know Hei is Chinese and I don’t even say anything about him should be only casted by a Japanese guy.)

  • “The same thing happened with M. Night Shyamalan. He cast his project [The Last Airbender] with non-Asians and it’s an Asian story, and the film flopped”.

    The Last Airbender is an American animated television series… The series was created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko… LAB was created by two white guys which, makes the fore quote moronic!

  • When directors and studios take the “ethnic” route, they receive critical acclaim, look at slum dog millionaire. That shit won best picture. Why are they so hesitant to use people other than blacks or whites?

    Is it because action movie = make for stupid, uncultured Americans = must use white actors = money?

    It was bad enough to ruin dragonball and every fighting game franchise in existence with movies but a classic like Akira should be done right, or left untouched.

  • The problem is the fact we have very very few big name Asian actor/actresses in hollywood. Instead of trying to dig up Asian actors (many of whom are rather substandard actor, cause let’s face it, Asian Americans aren’t exactly know for their accomplishments in the entertaining industry), it’s way more realistic to just get White/Black/Hispanics instead. And instead of basing the story in somewhere foreign, it’d be easier to just change the city to something American studios are more familiar with. Cause otherwise you’d just end up with a corny halfassed foreign city.

    Of course, the best option is to just not make a movie based on this at all.

  • I see no qualms with “white-washing” a cast as long as the acting and directing is good.

    The only problem is that Hollywood equals bad news, and includes bad acting and bad directing.

  • In Anime the only race that is usually clear is Chinese which often actually do look Asian and Africans.
    Everything else is usually so vague who knows what race it’s supposed to be unless the race / origin is officially given.

    Though I seen a native American in Dragonball and Bulma looks white,and Chichi looks Asian.
    Goku and Vegeta they look sorta asian but lets face it they’re aliens so race should be kinda vague with them.

    • Japanese have two distinct features from rest of the world, the fact they’re race is so segregated from other humans is the reason, they have dark black hair and dark black eyes. Besides the obvious fact their eyes are crescent.

      Most of the time for shojou and shonen the characters hair and eyes are unlike the real world counterpart unless we dyed our hair and wore contacts. Americans are a diverse looking bunch they on average would look more like their anime counterparts then the japanese regardless of origin.

      And finally goku’s world is not our world, so who is japanese exactly? japanese looking for some maybe, but not japanese.

        • I’m talking in general to the post I replied, while a minority of the characters may actually look japanese for instances goku and vegeta (like he said) with crazy hair gel, the majority of them aren’t.

          List 10 who look actually japanese in DB to prove me wrong.

          “Well, ideally, they should do it properly and get Asian-American actors cast in those roles.”

          More like

          “Well, ideally, they should do it properly and get Japanese-American actors cast in those roles.” Because DB originally came out of Japan, and well the US won’t cherry pick races for their movies.

  • George Takei is a crazy man in more ways then one;
    http://howardstern.com/rundown.hs?d=1302062400

    He’s fought for his “rank of captain” on Star Trek, thought he was an amazing actor and was going to be a star from Heroes, and loves to go on Howard Stern and give guys hand jobs.

    All while complaining about treatment of asians, and agreeing with people like Jessie Ventura that there’s a “conspiracy” against asians..

    Don’t look at the person, but the point I guess..

  • 1. The whole point of Akira is not that they’re asian. That is the last thing that matters. The comics happen to be set in Neo Tokyo, but it could just as easily be set in New York.

    2. There are a lot more non-asian actors in America than there are asian actors. If you cast the movie by picking names out of a hat, you would be whitewashing the movie.

    3. George Takei was only cast in Star Trek because the setting was supposed to be an idealistic egalitarian future where everybody got along and didn’t recognize race (except for the aliens).

    4. If you want to take an existing property (anime, whatever) and make a new movie version, first make a good movie. Everything else should be second.

  • >But it’s the multi-ethnic Americans who are fans of Akira and manga.
    lolwut

    I’m so white I have to turn ghost-hunters away from my door.

    Why would I have to be “multi-ethnic” to appreciate a good story in anime?

    Or tits.

        • That a lot of Americans, because of the whole melting pot concept, can appreciate foreign material like anime and manga.

          That’s what it boils down to, and that while there will be plenty of Heartland folks, who don’t give a rat’s behind for foreign stuff, that trying to make the movie in such a way that they’ll want to see it too, is ineffective, and will only lead to a bad movie.

          Pardon the run on sentence there. 😛

    • Persians actually look pretty caucasian. I’m sure you guys have seen pictures comparing Jake Gyllenhaal and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, with the beards they actually look quite similar. Persians are also famous for having green eyes where most “middle easterners” usually have brown ones. Also as was mentioned, the Prince in the original games looks quite like Jake Gyllenhaal, especially in Sands of Time. I thought that movie was quite good, especially for a blockbuster and ESPECIALLY for a video game movie.

      As for Akira…well, if the script commented on by a writer on cracked.com is accurate, it will be an abortion of a movie. I agree with Artefact on the casting of “Asians” though, Asian-Americans and others may not know or care about the difference and there may indeed be little or no genuine distinguishing characteristics (the “eye” thing is kind of dubious). However, Japanese Chinese and Koreans definitely notice when one of the other groups is cast as one of them.

      On the other hand, the movie’s not being made for them, it’s being made for westerners and the international box office, which includes lots of countries who don’t give a shit. While casting white people in Asian roles is just dumb because they look nothing like the characters should, limiting the casting pools to separate ethnicities because of old hatreds in countries halfway around the world would be almost as stupid.

        • You posted that from you comcast account in your basement located in good ol’ howdy-doody texas, didn’t you?

          Those americans that you’re insulting so hatefully would know how to spell “indians” and “whitewash.”

          Hey, let’s go kill germans as well. Oh, and the japs. They bombed Pearl Harbor, remember. Fuck, let’s kill all them there squinty-eyes. They all look the same anyway, who’ll miss them? That’ll take the edge off china’s impending invasion.

          Man, you’re a generalizing p.o.s.