CNN: “Hollywood Steals Asian Jobs for Whites”


CNN has been reporting controversial complaints about Hollywood’s unwavering propensity to plunder Asian anime and cinema and recast all the characters as whites, quoting complaints that this amounts to “stealing the jobs of Asian actors and insulting their origins.”

From a recent CNN Japan article:

In the US, anime enjoys much popularity and many anime works are being adapted into movies by Hollywood. However, in most cases the cast is repainted entirely white. Criticism of this practice amongst anime fans and civic groups is growing.

Warner Brothers currently has two such projects underway – one is an adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s [Yoshitoshi Abe illustrated SF] light novel All You Need Is Kill [which happens to be available in English], where the lead is to be Tom Cruise.

The other is Katsuhiro Otomo’s SF manga Akira, made into an anime movie in 1988. In this case, the entire cast consists of whites. In this case, lead character Kaneda will be played by Garrett Hedlund.

Professor Kent A. Ono of the University of Illinois says a great many Asian roles have been taken by white actors over the years, with such examples as Mickey Rooney playing a Japanese role in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Yul Brynner playing the king of Siam in 1956’s The King and I.

Some even replace the entire roles with Americans, such as the 1954 remake of The Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven. Recent examples are Dragonball Evolution and Speed Racer.

Professor Ono say that “the production staff likely maintain that as anime characters aren’t even real people, there’s no problem with changing their race.”

He is critical of the practice: “This doesn’t just steal the jobs of Asian actors, it’s an insult to their origins.”


In the case of Akira, the whole setting has been switched from Japan to Manhattan. Animation historian Jerry Beck says this is a major mistake: “The fans they are targeting all feel the Japanese elements to be one of the most appealing elements of the work, the producers don’t get this at all.” He fears this will merely “cheapen” the film.


As for All You Need Is Kill, the lead will become a young American. Director Doug Liman has said in an interview that the cast will be “completely American.” One site criticises this, saying “Even if you change the setting to America, there’s no need to replace the whole cast with whites. It doesn’t reflect the fact that there are many ‘completely American’ Asians.”

No less than George Takei himself has been complaining about the practice as well, not that anyone in Hollywood pays attention to such trifles.

Japanese seem practically resigned to having America routinely plundering their culture, although it might surprise some “Asian American” advocates to learn that Chinese, Japanese and Koreans actually consider themselves distinct nationalities:

“Who cares. America has no history of its own, so it is stuck making movies using material from other countries.”

“Hollywood just has Chinese people play Japanese roles anyway.”

“It might be interesting to see Kaneda played by some poverty stricken Hispanic.”

“If they don’t pack all their dramas with people of every possible race over there, they get accused of discrimination.”

“Cast them as whites. Every time they cast a Japanese role over there, it ends up being some dirty slant-eyed Korean!”

“Make it in Japanese with English subs!”

“What’s wrong with localising these titles?”

“Well, basically it would be best if the originating country made the adaptation, wouldn’t it?”

“There’s no way any American could understand Japanese history. It’s the same with China. You can’t really translate it into English. That’s why they can’t understand any of the subtleties. They can only reproduce the most superficial elements, which is why none of what they produce is any good.”

“If it’s good it doesn’t matter who you use as actors. In the case of Dragonball they just ignored the whole original work though…”

“It looks like we have another great adaptation to look forward to!”

“If it were made in Japan it would just end up like Gantz…”

Leave a Comment


  • Group population by size: #1 Asians, #2 Indians, #3 Africans/Black People (Worldwide), #4 Everyone else. Even in the U.S.A, anglo/white people are or will become a minority, so quit whinning, if the movies are made or re-made by anglo/white people, let the characters look like the people making or re-making the movie. EVERYONE ELSE NOT WHITE IS A MAJORITY WORLDWIDE!!!!

    • Its based on “Journey to the West” a Chinese Story, but is the stories arent similar at all. The only similarity is that they have the same name, he rides a cloud and has a monkey theme. In “Journey to the West” Goku is an actual monkey.

  • I have to agree. I always cringe when I see a Chinese actor playing a Japanese role in a film, and I’m sure the Japanese are not pleased to see this. If you’re going to have an anime movie I think at the very least a good Japanese actor should be the main character, even if they speak in terrible Engrish.

  • I just don’t understand why Hollywood can’t come up with original concepts. They’re putting out movies for the sake of money, and not for the love of it. At least let Japan make live-action adaptations of anime such as Dragonball and Akira.

  • Was just thinking about what the reaction would be if they had Bruce Willis as Shaft, instead of the BMF.

    But seriously, don’t watch the fucking movies and make sure you’re friends don’t watch them either.

    Unfortunately Hollywood will just blame the loss on piracy and never admit how badly they fucked up.

    But whatever you do, do not watch and do not pirate these movies, just let them die!

  • Just to understand how the public works we need to go back to an earlier issue. Japanese see the characters as Japanese unless stated other wise. Well Americans see American made films as Americans. To site there and cast an all Asian setting with an Asian back drop and culture reference will remove 90% of the viewing audience. Its like going to Asia as a comedian and doing nothing but red neck and blonde jokes. The reference is lost on most of the public there. Why because the general public can not relate to the context of it. Thus why anime films that are adapted for release in America usually have American actors.

    Then people complain well they are mainly white. And as of 2010’s last census its 72.4% of America is white. So say Akira set in New York is more then likely going to be a white biker gang. Its an area all Americans can relate to, but that doesn’t mean the whole gang is white. But odds are it will have a majority. Just because of its location and background setting and adaptation it is more realistic here in America that way.

    But hey not all movies are made white only. It used to be a big issue back in the day. But now Hollywood is really diversifying the ethnic back ground of everything.

  • I agree with all of these issues. That being said, the studios want people to come see the films. Non anime fans may not come to see an anime adaption if it has an all Asian cast. Also,without a big name in the cast, they have less pulling power.With this, they are looking at less profit and that is what the studios are in it for. I’m not trying to excuse it but these are facts that can’t be argued.

  • CNN Reports this….just now. I’ve been saying it for years. Well..not just whites, but also any asian who can pass for a Japanese as well.
    Dragonball is an example of whites/non-japanese typical hollywood movie. Don’t forget street fighter…actually do forget that 😀

    Anime/games into movie should be Japanese actors only unless the character in the anime/game is specifically from a different country.

    Next thing, they would want to do Bleach and Naruto…and hollywood would probably choose Justin beiber to play Naruto…GRRRRRRRR F**K!! Hollywood, leave anime and Japanese games alone

  • Look if a white actor can pull off the role then so be it, a mans skin should have no bearing on how well they can act…..

    Hollywood and the PC idiots need to get this through their greedy hands and heads.

    I like a good scifi, no one has good scifi anymore, its all fuckin vampires and werewolves, hell, last good scifi i saw in theaters was serenity…

    • Yes, because a Black Kingpin worked so well, even though the guy is supposed to be white, and got to be a major player in the NT criminal Underworld by working for an Italian Don.

      And the chances of one of those hiring an African-American as their right hand man is about as likely as 2ch saying something nice about Koreans for a whole month.

      Oh, I know, let’s make Othello white.
      Not as if his skin colour really matters anyway right? Long as he can act..

      • You missed the point entirely, If a black lagoon movie was made(God forbid), you sure as hell wouldn’t cast anyone other than a black dude to play Dutch(samuel l jackson), thats blatantly obvious, but shoving “random skin color” in a spot just for the sake of doing it is ridiculous.

        Kinda like how they are thinking about using a “token” to play jet in the new bebop movie.

        PC BS can suck a rotten toilet.

  • Fuck! instead of ruining a good anime with white phoney actors, why not just just make something close but different based off the anime. that way no is complaining about the whole white actor deal on anime characters. dont make a bad movie hoping that the anime fans will watch because it is based after the anime.

    make a movie like how the game, “enslaved” is inspired by the ancient chinese story of “journey to the west.” but made into a modern reiteration. or americanize it without us knowing its origins like how people watched “the ring” not knowing it was based after a japanese movie withe same title. make a movie based or inspired by the anime instead of a bad blatant Americanized copy of the original.

  • Boo-fucking-Hoo, Japan. Hollywood has no originality, and your studios are more than happy to sell their rights to the “dirty Westerners” in the first place. You don’t want to see Hollywood butcher your favorite loli-drama? Tell the studios/publishers to stop selling off movie rights overseas.

    Second, bitching about Hollywood using non-Asian actors for your favorite anime-to-live-action adaptation is akin to Americans bitching about Toho using Asian actors for our favorite cartoon-to-live-action adaptations.

    Get over it, or go slice off your collectve dicks. Anything to keep you from breeding.

  • The live action movies adaptation (USA or Japan, …) are usually bad. That’s why Spielberg didn’t do a live action of “Tintin” but a 3D movie instead. He wanted to be faithful to Hergé’s Universe.

    Switching the setting of “Akira” from Japan to Manhattan, It’s like switching the setting of “The Three Musketeers” from France to China… We lose the original essence in the process.

    Well, It’s all about money! If the producers of Akira thought they could make more money with asian actors, It would be full of asians…

  • Does it really matter? Hollywood butchers everything they try to “adapt.”

    Besides, how often do you actually see characters in anime and manga actually drawn -Asian-? Hardly fucking ever.

    People are just trying to be sensationalist for ratings over every little fucking thing.

  • I think American Studios shoot themselves in the foot whenever they try to “Americanize” anything originating outside of America. Much of the appeal is the non-Americaness of the story. Whether it’s screwing up classic Anime or British Science Fiction (Doctor Who comes to mind), the American Studios have a remarkable knack for taking something good and crapping all over it.

  • EVERY country does this. Recasting to their own majority ethnicity.

    It’s just that america went through a lot of empowerment for minorities, etc. through its history and laws, so theres tons of people will cry foul when they see lack of equity, racism, etc.

    However most actor is white people only, not because racism, but it sells more tickets. The thing is the standard white dude will not watch a movie mostly asian cast … they will only watch if it is white dudes like themselves for most the roles. (talking about blockbuster movies not gimmicky kung fu shit with low box office numbers)

  • I would never defend Hollywood for all of its atrocious deciscions, but to be fair, if I’m a big name English-speaking director with a green light to blow a few hundred millions of dollars on a film, I’m hiring the best talent I can get who also speak my language. I have to direct them and know they are doing a good job afterall, and I’m filming for the most profictable market. I won’t be spending a fortune making a film with a cast that speaks a language only spoken by the people of one of the smallest countries in the entire world, which will gurantee the majority of the world audience won’t even bother with it. That kind of project would never even be given the funding to be a hollywood blockbuster. It would likely not be given the funding enough to hire even a top shelf director.

  • This is not new Hollywood white washes every thing not just anime. The real life MIT black Jack team in the Movie “21” was all asian. The last Air Bender cast all the kids as white when in the cartoon they are clearly asian or in the case of the southern and northern water tribe some sort of Eskimo. Prince of Persia, Twilight(Jacob), or White actors playing Indians in westerns.

  • This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen.
    1. Anime characters are pretty much their own race.
    2. Live Action movies are piles of shit anyway 99% of the time.
    3. CNN… know what? I’m not even going to finish that sentence.

  • Am I the only one that thinks japanese actors are terrible. At least by american standerds. Its a cultral thing Im sure, but the japanese overact everything. So much so that it looks like slapstic comedy.

    Im not a fan of Tom Cruis, but at least he can act serious.

  • If they can find an ass load of good Japanese actors who can speak perfect English then I’m sure they would cast those people. As for the rest of the stuff, just accept it’s an adaptation meant to reach a general audience. They already know we all made up our minds to go see it or not when it was first announced.

  • American films use the races most commonly found in America. It’s nothing against the Japanese people, but America is a melting pot of races, and it would be hard to meet their tastes using a homogenous cast.

  • Hollywood just doesn’t understand anime.

    Take “the last airbender”(because at the time they released it right next to avatar, a major major hit).

    They couldn’t even produce the characters name right. The WHOLE movie, i’m just facepalming. Forget the racist everyone in _______ land is indian, asian, or white, no exceptions.

    But the worse part, its a bloody AMERICAN cartoon. Its on fricken nick. I could just turn the channel and find out how to say every characters name in 5 minutes. HOW DID THEY MESS THAT UP. Idk……..

    But thats hollywood, they’ll fail to make it any good anyway, just like DBE.

    Then again, its not like Japan did a great job either, *cough* gantz.

  • This complaint is idiotic no matter how you look at it. The producers think about their targeted audience first and it simply is true that people normally find it easier to relate to people who look like them.
    For the very same reason Thermae Romae has a mainly Asian/Japanese cast when it comes to the main actors completly ignoring the fact that there were no Asians in Rome.
    It is common practice to do stuff like this, no matter the origins of a work/adaption. Bollywood is casting about 99,9% Indians, Japanese movie makers are for the most part only castin Japanese actors and so does about any nation that produces movies.
    Yet for some obscure reason white people are evil when they do the very same thing that is completly normal and ok when anybody else does it?

  • American’s could never understand Japanese history? I hope this guy is referring to the general public, and I hope he means culturally. The real problem is America’s inability to take cartoons seriously as an art form – only the geeks or artsy people do. The general public would look at Akira, the original anime, and wonder what was wrong with Japanese people.

    I do agree with the original article. It’s retarded that these things become so whitewashed, and they lose the vast majority of their appeal when they do it. Some things just don’t translate culturally, and trying to put Akira in America would be an entirely different beast.

    • Americans have taken cartoons seriously as an artform for years. What century are you from? Because you sound like someone’s grandfather.

      The problem has more to do with the costs of creating long term projects, which is my most of our serious animation work is imported.

  • Professor Ono say that “the production staff likely maintain that as anime characters aren’t even real people, there’s no problem with changing their race.”

    In that case stop defaulting to one specific skin color.

  • Consider the following.

    They want the best actors they can find for these roles. Skin color is pointless.

    If it all goes to whites then they were simply better actors during auditions. We are a meritocracy. We shouldn’t set aside certain roles for certain races because someone gets butthurt.

    • Ok, make an African-American play the next Superman then, if colour of the skin doesn’t matter.

      Oh, I know, remake Roots with just white actors, because obviously they’re better actors.

      The days that the US was a meritocracy are long gone.
      It’s all about who you know, not what you know these days.

  • When Akira was released in theaters in America during the late 80’s they did the same thing! They changed the city from Tokyo to New York. That’s why the Streamline version dub has New York accents! It failed miserably! When Streamline brought Akira to video, they changed the city back to Tokyo.

    The moral of the story is, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

    If the Akira movie ever comes out, I hope it makes less money than Dragonball Evolution!

  • Hollywood budgets + Japanese actors = would-be win for me. I still think Japanese womans are the most beautiful womans in the world. And what is considered beautiful in america is fucking ugly whore to me.

  • If Hollywood can’t do the X-Men right, then don’t even begin with adapting the manga/anime into Hollywood films. GTFO!!!

    Just imagine that Haruhi is an American girl!!! Or Sailor Moon & Co are from Beverly Hills 90120!!!!

  • Well, it’s not like they steal their jobs or dignity. It’s more like Hollywood is happily ignorant and Caucasian-centric when it comes to their choices.

    Think about it, over the last years their has been a trend to include lots of “racial placeholders” in movies. Sort of like, a nod to “political correctness”. Of course, those actors are usually relegated to playing typical stereotypes and they end up looking rather bland in the long run.

    Then again, think about it from a different angle. Bollywood, Hong Kong Cinema and all the other local hot spots usually cater to their own hemisphere and you usually don’t hear Hollywood complaining about that.

    Sure, it’s NEVER good to change a certain base material so that it fits the expectations of the masses versus the expectations of the true fans. BUT, that’s all a matter of finances. Money will always be the defining factor in the end.

    Would i have preferred a Japanese Dragonball live-action movie? I don’t know. It would depend on what they would have come up with. Do i like the American movie? Hell no! It sucks on many more levels than mere originality.

    • “It’s more like Hollywood is happily ignorant and Caucasian-centric when it comes to their choices.”

      mmm, not exactly.
      at least, not in the sense that it’s some sort of institutional stupidity.
      it’s more like the reality of the American industry “leading man” is he’s still white.

      the changing demographics of America don’t matter.
      the origins of the source doesn’t matter.
      what matters is the way the industry works is a movie is sold on a lead actor or actress (that person is on all the PR material, they do all the interviews, their name is plastered all over the sales material, etc etc).
      and the vast majority of those actors and actresses are white.

      but it’s not that industry execs are somehow too stupid to see beyond white. it’s that they want to sell a film and they can’t sell it without a big name.
      and those big names are largely white.

      and it gets worse if we are talking about some sort of asian project.
      there is a decent number of black actors/actresses who could carry a film.
      a smaller number of hispanic.
      and no asian american actors (that i can think of at least) who could really claim to have the star power to lead a film.

      realistically the only asian actor who could lead a film in the US is probably Jackie Chan, and he’s not American, and even then we’re only talking about a specific type of film.
      what he’s done in the China/HK scene is a lot more diverse than what Americans know him for.

  • The cause of this problem is that Japanese firms actually license the works to Hollywood without making requests and standards about what to put in the films.

    Take the example of a Metal Gear movie. Hideo Kojima, besides being spammed by Hollywood to make a Metal Gear movie many times, outright refused at all times.

    His reason was simple, if he didn’t like what he sees, then there will be no movie. Note that the Metal Gear cast is almost all whites, but Kojima refused a movie adaptation because he believes it can only do more harm than good for the name.

    I doubt the mangaka and animation firms of Akira and All You Need is Kill care that much about their intellectual properties and just want some cash.

  • Professor Ono say that “the production staff likely maintain that as anime characters aren’t even real people, there’s no problem with changing their race.”

    Loli’s aren’t real people, so there’s no problem!

  • Sigh… The promblem is not that the cast is white ( well anyway in Hollywood movies it is rarely purely white anyway – a lot of blacks and asians too), but the thing, that the people responsible for adaption completely don’t understand anime… Director that doesn’t feel “the magic” of thing he works on, will never make a good adaptation.

  • Americans won’t watch yellow men in leading roles. Casting an Asian actor to play the lead in a film other than the occasionally Jackie Chan type flick, because he’s a screwball (you China man so funny, hah ha), would almost certainly be a guarantee of box office failure.

  • infernal affairs = the departed

    it won oscars including best picture and director that year.

    And they say western adaptations/ remakes of foreign/ asian movies are not successful…I beg to differ.

  • – Stay true to the design and use a whole whack of relatively unknown Japanese-American actors and hope for the best.
    – Use the current western big shot/pretty boy to draw in the drooling masses.

    Local star power > authenticity when selling tickets.

    Ironically when Japan does borrow movies they do the same thing.

  • “If they don’t pack all their dramas with people of every possible race over there, they get accused of discrimination.”


    “Cast them as whites. Every time they cast a Japanese role over there, it ends up being some dirty slant-eyed Korean!”

    I love racist 2ch users. They’re the proof racism exists in every country.

  • The fact is, most anime characters are racially ambiguous so that anyone watching, white or asian, will more easily relate to those characters. Anime characters walk around with unnaturally shapen faces and blue green pink purple or silver hair; and no one on the show ever thinks twice about it. Idk about this specific show, but the anime industry generally makes racially ambiguous characters to net as many viewers as possible.

  • It’s not like Anime is Japan is completely innocent in all of this. Ghibli released ‘Arrietty’ in 2010 moving the setting from the UK to Japan and casting it with Japanese voice actors. I don’t hear anyone complaining that it was ‘yellow-washed’.

  • hollywood tend to target their movies towards international audience while thus make billions, while japan only target their movies towards other japanese thus make very little.

    Until Japan start casting their movies with black and whites, I think this is a stupid protest

  • whitewashing is not the problem. It’s more like “let’s do some shallow look alike and cull whatever makes it stand out in spirit”, even if the budget is comfortable, because “we want to have a broader audience, and fast cash from fanboys” even if it’s getting ridiculous.

    Alas, financially, this works :/

  • Im sure anything hollywood has far more production value then any japanese studio.

    We already knew america was white washing everything its like when Tom Cruise became The Last Samurai in all of Japan.

  • I hope that the movie cost more to made then what it will earn. Hollywood are running out of ideas. Right now they are just remaking old movies and for some it is just terrible. New ones are just terrible too.

    Soon they’ll be releasing old movies in 3D with additional stuffs, charging you $20 for a movie you already seen. Hollywood will wait til someone made a original CGI movie and then start copying it. Shark Tale copying from Finding Nemo, Surf Up, Happy Feet copying from March of the Penguins.

  • Such a wank. Asian countries do just as much localisation. Japan had the manga/drama “Hana yori dango”; the Chinese made a local version called “Meteor Garden”, and the Koreans made “Boys over Flowers”. Same fucking story, three different countries.

  • My complaint is why Holliwood is still doing the crap they do?
    after major flops like dragonball, streetfighter and DoA, you’d think they’d learned their leasson and listened to what the fans wanted.

    it worked for narnia and lotr because the readers gave insight to the directors on how to deliver

    • But if you license a given IP, you can take the generic piece of crap script you already have and find and replace the names in the script with names from the IP. Then you film the crap and make money because it has the same name as the IP.

  • “If they don’t pack all their dramas with people of every possible race over there, they get accused of discrimination.”

    America is a place with all sorts of races, telling a story with only whites is realistic only if the setting is in the past. But setting a story in modern American and only including whites is unrealistic.

  • “the production staff likely maintain that as anime characters aren’t even real people, there’s no problem with changing their race.”

    Weirdly enough, when it doesn’t involve CP, anime characters aren’t considered as real people.

  • didn’t dragonball evolution have everyone in the cast as asian, except goku, who was a fucking alien to begin with?

    in that case, i think the casting was right on, the movie raped my memories and i had to re watch dragonball, not z just ball.

  • I agree that the practice is idiotic, and I think Hollywood should use the opportunities of anime adaptations to develop a better stable of Asian-American headliners. Yes, I said Asian-American, as the old country cares about prejudices that no one in America really does just like in Europe–for instance, was anyone here really complaining that Russell Crowe was an Aussie playing a Roman Spaniard in Gladiator? No, they were complaining about Russell Crowe being an enormous douche, but I digress.

    I don’t think the executives and casting people are inherently racist, at least no more than any other big city businessman. I do think, however, they are merely reflecting prejudices of Middle America that, while they themselves don’t mind or care, they have to pander to these people for the movies to do well. It’s the same reason you rarely see a homosexual main character, and such a high percentage of movie stars are white–Hollywood thinks Middle America won’t be able to relate to the characters otherwise. I call that stupid, but they’re the ones that spend their entire lives making those kinds of decisions, so maybe they’re just a sad reflection of reality.

    Then again, these are often the same folk who insist that any adaptation of anything be completely watered down and changed from the source material. There’s something to be said for having to change it to make it work better as a live action movie, but they always take it too far, and neither the original fans nor anyone else who sees it has liked the results. Still, I’m not one of these people who generically insult Hollywood and say to watch foreign cinema cuz it’s so much better etc etc, for instance almost every single Japanese actor I’ve seen is terrible at acting and many European films are rather pretentious.

  • They do it with ANY good (or not so good) material.

    Has anyone of you guys watched “The girl with the dragon tattoo”? No, I don’t mean the stupid Hollywood remake with Daniel Craig cast as the lead. The original Swedish flick. And its two sequels.

    For whatever reason, it seems foreign flicks don’t sell in US theaters. So Hollywood remakes them with US actors and in a way they think the movie should be.

    Don’t count me wrong, there’s a bunch of really, really great Hollywood productions, but their remakes are nothing more than a waste of time and money.

  • geeze, everytime I check on one of these posts, it always results in people trashing another country when they have nothing to do with movie producers….”America had no history of it’s own” lol jackass

  • Hollywood’s Akira was recently shut down again.

    Anyway, there are two things I have issues with in regards to Hollywood adaptations.

    The first is that when companies license something, they are rarely fans of it and don’t have any respect for it. They see it as their own creation and make all sorts of terrible changes to the point that it becomes something else entirely. This also occurs with other forms of localization, such as games. If they want to make something different, they should stop stealing well-known names and just call their shit something else.

    The other issue is when they cast Asian actors/actresses from different countries (or even non-Asians) to play the parts of specific types of Asians. I know that many Westerners say, “they all look the same”, but the differences are immediately obvious to me. I wouldn’t mind as much if the film was made by a small country with few actors… but this is HOLLYWOOD. It’s difficult to believe they can’t find decent actors/actresses of specific races that can speak English.

    I bet the reason they can’t is because they treat budding actors/actresses of minority races like shit. I’m under the impression that many of them become good actors/actresses elsewhere before ending up in Hollywood. They don’t even end up in decent roles when they do.

    In any case, there’s no reason for Hollywood or anyone else to give a rat’s ass about these issues, so we’ll have to continue to put up with awful bastardizations.

  • I understand that movies attempt to appeal to a wider audience. However, by making drastic changes to the original works, they create the risk of alienating their target audience. Also, by altering the works to make it “culturally fit”, it leads to some mediocre, detached end result.

    Give us the chicken that’s still on the bone, none of this silly chicken nugget junk.

    Or…we can replace them with robots. Robots work, too.

  • This is a dance that’s bee going on in Hollywood blogs for a while.

    Regarding the actors, I only blame those who decide to hide.

    Regarding the movies, if the adaptations retained their roots they would most likely be considered international productions, condemned to be projected in universities’ film clubs.

    Besides, those NEET denizens arguing of America stealing foreign cultures, there are also many animes with overseas settings, so that’s not a real point of discussion.

    This is kind of an unavoidable issue as long as copy rights are being granted to producers. But who’s there to blame for that? Some people may not like the issue.

  • Hollywood remaking anime and replacing all the Asian characters with whites is like raping someone and cumming inside them. Filling the victim with white stuff is easily overshadowed by the more serious offenses at hand.

  • Those comments featured are the most dramatic ones and the CNN journalist seems to suggest that only Asians can play certain roles in movies.

    The “steals the jobs” part takes the cake when he refers to Mickey Rooney. I would love to know which Asian actors he has ready to replace all those A list actors with Asian counterparts.

    Maybe they take those actors because they are GOOD, instead of because they are WHITE.

    • One problem with your argument is that, one of the reason why the pool of Asian American actors is so small, is because they’re often not given the chance to do any big time work.

      What with the characters changed to white ones.
      So how do you know, if they’re good actors, if you never got to see them, because the director preferred working with already known white “stars” in an attempt to try and further box office appeal.

      You can’t become an A-list actor, if you never get the chance to practice your craft on s big movie and work together with other A-list actors, as well.

      Making your argument a self-fulfilling prophecy in the end. You can’t become an A-list actor without acting in a movie, and you can’t get into a movie without being an A-list actor.

      Catch 22.

  • “If it were made in Japan it would just end up like Gantz…”
    I must agree, the movies didn’t go according to the manga( which I am currently reading), but it had a good story for a two part movie. My friend who criticizes that Japanese movies may not always be good, he enjoyed Gantz.
    Also don’t forget what they did to Prince of Persia and Avatar the Last Airbender.

  • I could care less about the race of the actors or even if they reinvent the story some the same thing happens to Western stories in Japan.
    My gripe is the Hollywood adaptations are usually shit no matter who plays what role.
    Sure there are exceptions like the The Magnificent Seven which was actually a great movie.

    • I challenge Hollywood to adapt Jin-roh, unrated. Whitewash and localise it if they wish so, they can portray the collapsing government, conspirators and the rebels as their own, but keep true to the story, (spoiler!) the wolf in sheep clothing and the black sheep in white sheep clothing.
      I know at the very least Hollywood can keep the actions intact.

    • Yeah, but that was a remake into something which actually resonates with Americans.

      Just as the Samurai movies were something quintessential Japanese, so is the Western so for Americans.

      Plus a slight adaption of some of the characters, merging two, introducing another, and making changes to who survives at the end. (Yanks don’t like downer endings much, whereas the Japanese don’t mind them and sometimes even prefer them.)

      Biker gangs aren’t exactly such a emblematic theme for the Yanks, as they’re pretty International.

      Although the Japanese Bōsōzoku do differ from other Biker gangs, due to their affiliations with various Yakuza groups, which isn’t something normally seen with Biker gangs. Which tend to be more self-contained as opposed to being a recruiting pool for a larger organization. But that’s a story for another time. 😛

  • just when did hollywood movie ever got a success when adapting japanese 2D fiction, be it anime, novel or video games to real action movie? NONE!

    dragon ball, dead or alive, king of fighters, street fighters, and many more… all of them are SHIT! just a waste of bugdets!

  • What? This has been going on for years and they’re complaining now? I’m amazed they haven’t already gone clear through the “This is an outrage!” phase and into the “You know what? **** it. Do whatever you goddamn want. I’m not gonna see that movie anyway.” phase by now.

  • I know they are speaking an asian language and name local regions that everyone knows is in an asian country, but I havent seen many animes that are like “YES WE ARE ASIAN” most of them have been “YES WE ARE HUMAN”. Yeah I can get what the asian actors are getting at, but its so hard to find that many asian actors who can prununciate their “R”s

  • “The fans they are targeting all feel the Japanese elements to be one of the most appealing elements of the work, the producers don’t get this at all.” He fears this will merely “cheapen” the film.

    I soo agree with this quote. reason why i’ll refuse to watch those movies if it’ll ever be out.

  • That’s why i refuse to watch anime to live action movies, it’s all about money and never quality.
    It’ll end up like that horrible tekken movie or street fighter or dead or alive.
    Just leave it alone!

  • I don’t care if the role is taken by Asian, Caucasian, black, Indian etc… as long as its WATCHABLE, I’m fine with whoever playing the role. Though, just how many adaptions by Hollywood were successful? I believe it was none…

      • Scott Pilgrim isn’t anime dude. It’s a spoof/parody of anime/manga made by a Canadian Cartoonist. The art style is bug eyed, but as we all know here, big eyes and chibi characters don’t make it anime.

        so back to the point; nope, there aren’t any successful adaptations of anime/manga made by Hollywood yet.

        If they ever have to make it successful however, they should think of doing it like recent marvel comics adaptations, where 80% of the movie is Good quality CG. It could do some of the Manga titles justice at least.

        and 2, they should stop think about ” the AMURCANN Audience” and stick with the original plot and design more, instead of putting together whatever’s convenient and call it “fill in character name”

        That old model of selling movie titles with a star used to work, but not when the title ITSELF is actually the bigger thing.

        I mean, LOTR was a adaptation. Although not manga, but hey, they’re actor’s weren’t all star level before the series. Only a few were big stars, but most people didn’t go watch LOTR for the stars, it was for the title. Just like kids go watch Harry Potter expecting the visualization of the novel that they love.

        If Hollywood doesn’t sort out what titles should cater to the right audience, they’ll keep failing on these mid budget manga/anime adaptations.

    • You’re right! The promblem is not that the cast is white (in Hollywood it is rarely wholly white cast anyway – a lot of blacks and asians too), but the thing, that the people responsible for adaption completely don’t understand anime… Director that doesn’t feel “the magic” of thing he works on, will never make a good adaptation.

    • I do agree that watchable adaptations can be great on their own.

      It’s just that it’s disheartening that intrinsically Asian stories with Asian setting and Asian characters/actors just are noted as ‘unsellable’ to the Western world.

      That is just a very offputting sensation. That because it is Asian, it’s not marketable.

      • LOL I think KF missed the point entirely, as there are a number of book adaptions that are very good. Even some book adaptions that aren’t even faithful turn out to be something enjoyable.

      • Have you ever read the books. And I mean the actual books in english not some picture books made for children or some fucked up translations.

        I admit it’s impossible to cram even one of those books in 3 hours movie. Every book would have needed it’s own trilogy to honour the original and we all know that’s never going to happen.

        The balance of action to actual plot is throuwn out the window just to cram a few more action scene seconds in them and they even made changes to the script to make it possible. For example the hobbits sword were not given to them by aragorn in the books.

        • Hey cheese fucker, do you realize that everybody who was actually a decision maker in those films were fans of the books?

          I’m pretty certain that Christopher Lee alone has read the books more times than you have.

          You are obviously too stupid to realize that there are things that are conveyed in the books that don’t translate exactly to film, so you have to make changes accordingly to deliver the same message.

          And the message is what counts, not whether or not Strider gave the hobbits weapons on the Weathertop.

        • its pretty tough to up do people’s imagination… books with no picture are always going to be better… that, or a lot of people just say “books are better than the film” so that everyone know they read that thick ass book….

        • Yeah, but that was due to the whole, “I can’t make Tom Bombadil work” argument, and it’s a fairly decent argument to make considering the type of movie they were making.

          The changes they made, were in general not too extreme, and they were respectful of the Source Material.

          Even stuff like making it Arwen who saves Frodo during movie 1, whereas it’s actually Glorfindel, who put Frodo on his horse and have it deal with the running, whilest he helped delay the Nazgul’s and eventually together with Strider and the Hobbits* drive them into the river Bruinen, which has been unleashed by Elrond, with a little extra magic by Gandalf as well.

          *: The latter using torches, whereas Glorfindel didn’t need that, considering his own powers.

          And they made that change to give Arwen more face time, to help further the idea, that she’s Aragorn’s The One. This to better highlight the Eowyn tempation later on.

        • The lord of the rings books were absolutely terrible. I don’t know how it became popular in the first place.
          The balance of action with plot is a little off in the movies I admit but the balance of action/plot with mind changing/rants/random nonsense in the books was a perfect 50-50

    • Sadly I find most of the Japanese actors not affiliated with Hollywood in any way to be sub-par in acting when compared to the American equivalent. You will always have this awkward feel about their acting, or rather, you can tell its acting and not living the character.

      But bleaching all the characters and settings is downright stupid too. I think a collab would be amazing though. American direction with Japanese actors (after a bit of special exercise).

        • Asano was in the american Thor movie.

          this whole bitchfit about “whitewashing” content is just people bitching they are not getting the money from such projects or hired to appear in it. People are finding anything they can bitch about to prevent a film based on any form of controversy which usually sparks public interest to the point they will actively seek out the film. So what if Hollywood makes an american version of Akira or Bleach, do you know how many american films have been bastardized by the japanese? Or how anime originated through copying Disney’s big eyes and fluid action.

          As for the Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai films, both were great and Kurosawa was pleased with how they translated Seven Samurai.

      • at first i couldnt pin point what exactly is “wrong” with their acting… because it felt weird… then i realised a lot of japanese words end with a vowel sound if u spell it in romanji.. which always means they end up having their mouth open at the end of the sentence… then everything stopped being weird…maybe its just me

        • I live in one of those “foreign” countries and I can certainly objectively tell that British and American quality productions are above the rest professionally. French have made some really good ones as well, but French productions are oft so artistic they might fall short in reaching foreign minds. Of late China has pulled off good films that surely find those receptive to them. You can find B-movies in any country, the USA included, but it’s useless to use those in comparisons.

          I don’t honestly know if it’s the “subtleties” in the Japanese culture or what, but despite having tried to watch lots of movies from there, 99% of them seem far less professional than any quality ones from the UK or USA. The directing is especially horrible (in my Western eyes, at least), proved by the fact Japanese top actors can act every bit as well as American or British ones under foreign direction. But then again, maybe it’s the subtleties, despite the fact I’ve never seen any of those subtleties in the behavior of the Japanese people I’ve met and known in RL.

      • There’s actually some really great Japanese actors around. China, Taiwan and Korea nowadays has a sizable stable of great actors. In America, there seemed to be more Asian American actors who had more prominent roles.

        That said, the reason why so many Japanese movies may have bad acting is because just like Hollywood, they have their own clique of producers handpicking the talent they want to push out, not necessarily for being great, but because that’s what the producers want.

        That’s precisely what’s happening in Hollywood where a circle of Hollywood actors/directors/writers have their own clique, not to mention the British connection the Oscars and film industry has, which is why we see so many British-centric stories win Oscars and get more acknowledgement.

        As for Asian stories… I’m sad to say, but Asians are still facing forms of prejudice in their own way. Ever watch any travel channel programming or food programming and they happen to go to a China town or Korea town or Vietnam town to eat food and partake in the culture? They always play that ridiculous harpy, cliche Asian ‘traditional’ music even if they happen to be in LA or New York’s China/Korea town. And it is kind of true that they are not making enough of an effort or even actively blocking out showing intrinsically Asian stories and actors to feature in them in Western mass media.

        TV and Film industries in America and well, most of the Western world just don’t really know what to make of Asian entertainment and writers/directors/actors. They always keep them at an arm’s length at best, or are antagonistic in how they deal with it (such as that Avatar Last Airbender movie being MURDERED in terms of white-washing and the story/director just being hemmed in by Hollywood)

      • It’s not just bad, it’s horrible.
        Sure, the art direction is generally okay – but as an adaptation of Silent Hill 1 and 2, it’s terrible. I’ll set aside the issue of terrible dialogue and stupid writing to talk about this at a higher level. Here’s why it’s a bad adaptation-
        Women have a social support network in other women. Men do not. When Rose leaves her husband, it’s empowering. When the wives of Harry and James die, they’re almost completely alone (and completely alone in the case of James). That power dynamic radically alters the feeling one gets when wandering through the haunted, abandoned town.

        There’s no reason why Rose would experience any of the same things Harry and James did. In Harry’s case, he was experiencing projections from Cheryl. In James’ case, his own sexual frustration with women was reflected back at him.

        There’s no need to replace Harry or James with an entirely new character that never appeared in the books.

        The cult’s reinvention into a Jim Jones reactionary Christian group was also unnecessary. When they started chanting “burn the witch!” it was like a very bad production of _The Crucible_.

        I get that people wanted the movie to be good and are trying to like it in spite of the fact that it’s not good. The same thing happened with the Transformers movies. But it’s not good, and I want the adaptations to be more faithful to the ideas and themes of the source material.

        • What are “Caucasians”? How is that ridiculous word still used for white people of western European origin? It is totally wrong, white people looking like western Europeans have never lived in Caucasus area between Turkey & Iran and southern Russia. Caucasus mountains, very dark people live there.
          Of article we are discussing: All Hollywood remakes are shit, of whatever origin, not only from East Asia.

    • Hollywood makes the best movies, period. What actors need to do is read the fucking script first so they know whether or not it is well written and not a piece of shit.

      And I’d like to know how many Asian actors are actually auditioning.

      • Hey, when you don’t have any other acting job and are offered one, you accept it even if it’s shit. How do you think they pay their bills? And I’m not talking big name actors either, just the regular “trying to get by” ones, which are the majority.

    • It’s okay if the characters have no stated race or it takes place in a universe where our idea of race doesn’t exist, but if they specifically say a character is Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, whatever) and they pick a white actor anyway, that just smacks of white-washing. You can’t use the whole “Well they don’t look Asian” excuse there; yes, anime style art is stylized, but if the story says the character is Asian, then the character is Asian.

  • Asians are stealing jobs from whites! – You’re a racist for saying such a thing.

    Whites are stealing jobs from Asians – You’re a good person and those white people should be punished.

    Such is life.

  • The whole white washing complaint isn’t really fair. Go ahead and count off how many popular asain actors there are in the US currently. Not very many and even fewer who could pull off playing one of the typically young characters from an anime.

  • “Who cares. America has no history of its own, so it is stuck making movies using material from other countries.”

    I love when people say shit like this. It makes it sound like they’ve never seen a book before.

  • “They can only reproduce the most superficial elements, which is why none of what they produce is any good.”

    As if Japanese movies are any better. How many of those have made an impact outside Japan? Very few!

  • 1. Write/draw a good book/comic/manga
    2. Made so so money
    3. Hollywood like it, made into a movie with shitty white actors.
    4. Made million
    5. ?????
    6. Fap

    Well that jap is making $$$. So who care.

    • Hollywood has already beaten most of America’s history to death. Westerns aren’t popular anymore and nobody gives two shits about any war that isn’t WWII or Vietnam not that war films are doing well either. Video game adaptations usually bomb.

      For an anime adaptation to be good, you need a director who is a fan of the original work AND understands what made the original popular AND has the clout to tell the studio execs to fuck off when they want to make their own changes and most importantly someone who realizes SPECIAL EFFECTS AND/OR 3D ARE NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR GOOD STORYTELLING!!!!

  • Funny. How they complain about this, yet when it comes to selling their intellectual property no one complains.

    Did anyone say we’ll only sell you the rights to the Akira movie if it’s made in Tokyo?



  • If it was an all asian or most asian cast, no one in the US would go see the movie.

    We like a mixture of things not like other countries where everybody is from the same place and looks the same. We dont have that whole asian Supreme Race! Preserve the Race! hitler thing here anymore. Melting pot diversity works here no one will go see an all asian cast movie, and most don’t even know of care about the anime the movie is adapted from. We see tom cruise has a new movie, we’ll go see it. Its really the only way your Japanese stories will get told worldwide which is what I would assume every author would want.

    If the Japanese author only wants the Japanese people starring in a movie version of their story and only wants the Japanese people know the story, then they shouldn’t sell the rights to Hollywood. Thats it. Most of all japans pop culture is american influenced. How many white, black, hispanic actors are huge stars in Japan? And its not like there are not any other races over there. Foreigners can’t even get car insurance in Japan. Gimme a break.

    • “We like a mixture of things not like other countries where everybody is from the same place and looks the same.”

      I hope you just phrased this badly.

      If you actually mean that the US is the only country with any ethnic diversity (or the only country where it is recognised in the media), I’d have to kill myself out of shame at being part of the same species as you.