Ghost in the Shell – Angry Review

AngryJoe & Crew discuss the Live-Action Adaption of Ghost in the Shell, can it live up to the source material and does it do a good job of introducing its world to a mass audience?

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  1. Yeah, I agree with Angry Joe. I would love to be a cyborg. On the subject of this movie itself, it’s strange that I don’t want to see it. Yes, I’ve never seen Ghost in the Shell but it’s odd to even myself that this movie doesn’t appeal to me. I’m usually a sucker for a creative looking movie and action but for some reason, it’s not my thing. (SPOILER?) Yeah, I know that people were even more pissed about the whitewashing thing due to the Asian girl in a white girl’s body but in the context of the film, it doesn’t sound so bad to me.

    • Personally, I think about the ethics of cybernetics similar to the game Shadowrun: while it’s cool and you can get all sorts of nifty abilities, you are effectively sacrificing your humanity in the process.

      About the so-called “whitewashing”: hasn’t anyone ever noticed that an awful lot of anime characters DON’T look Japanese at all? Even when they have Japanese names and live in Japan? I’d actually wonder how feasible it would be to adapt an anime at all using nothing but Japanese actors. Unless you give them all wild-colored wigs and contact lenses.

      • The Japanese view themselves a fair-skinned. Geishas just so happen to wear full-face white make-up in their duties, and they’re viewed as a beautiful. Considering the complaints of “white-washing” just seemed to appear, part of me thinks it was a way to stir up controversy by the Studio.

        The Major literally has a fully cybernetic body. The question the animated works pose is “what is human?” when you can look like anyone. And, if you’re going to look like anyone, ScarJo ain’t a bad way to go.

        • Except that she didn’t choose her appearance and was designed as a weapon. Making a weapon look like Scarlett Johanssen makes considerably less logical sense.

          Incidentally, referring to Geishas while talking about modern Japanese beauty standards is a tad out of touch. Not only are they seen largely as old fashioned, your average Geisha is a late-middle-aged aunty, not a young hottie.

      • Anime characters look quite Japanese to their intended audience. Like most animated characters in general, they don’t actually reflect any real ethnicity, putting emotional expression over details.

        In the older days they had to use bright colours because it was more expensive to make characters consistently recognisable by their facial features alone. After digital animation became a thing that’s changed, and more anime characters nowadays have natural hair colour, but sometimes they still use the bright colours simply because it’s become expected of anime just because.

        Incidentally, there are numerous live-action adaptations of anime in Japan where the actors pass perfectly well for their characters. In fact, I think that the best live-action anime adaptation to the date are the Japanese Rurouni Kenshin films.

        • TragicGuineaPig

          So I’m going to pose the same question I posed in another thread: if anime/manga artists are free to stylize their characters for their intended audience, then is is not okay for western filmmakers to do the same?

          And while it is true that modern anime often have more natural hair and eye colors (though not always), it’s also true that a great many anime characters – even Japanese characters – have hair and eye colors that are extremely rare to find naturally among the Japanese. Take Stein’s Gate, for example: Mayuri has blue eyes. Kurisu has red hair and blue eyes. Daru has brown, fuzzy hair, as does his daughter. I’ll give Faris a pass, since she models herself after Moe characters, and pink isn’t natural by any standard. My point: even when anime/manga use more natural hair and eye colors, they still seem to draw from tones that are not at all common among the Japanese themselves. Of the main characters, only 3 at most look like they are actually from Japan.

          It just seems to me that all this talk of whitewashing really just comes down to a double-standard: Western filmmakers are expected to follow certain rules when adapting Eastern works that Eastern artists themselves don’t follow at all.

          • Stylising an animated character to be distinct due to the limited amount of details that animated characters can possess is a completely different matter from casting live-action actors, and trying to conflate the two is deliberately dodging the issue. Arguing that anime characters “look white” is as rational as insisting that the Simpsons are some sort of mutant creatures, rather than the average Americans they’re portrayed as.

            Whitewashing is a troubling issue in American cinema, since the US has a large minority population who are severely underpresented in popular fiction, either rendered completely nonexistant or pushed to the background. It portrays a skewed perspective of the American society that encourages discrimination, which is people are opposed to it. Meanwhile, portraying anime characters with bright colours does in no way reflect on any real world issues and the Japanese viewers have no trouble seeing the characters as their own reflection.

        • Of course, it’s kind of a moot point. My understanding is that Japanese tend not to really care whether western filmmakers use American or European actors in adaptations of their work – in fact, they kind of expect it – and that this is largely an American issue.

          • Honestly, the casting of ScarJo didn;t bother me so much as a tried and true Ghost fan. After all, The Major is a cyborg and can have any body she chose. What bothered me is all the liberties they took with the source material. I found myself saying to myself, “Who the hell is THIS character? What’s going on here?! That’s not her background! It didn’t happen that way! What’s with Milla?! Her name is MOTOKO! Why isn;t Aramaki speaking English?” Honestly, ScarJo was pretty good but it’s the actor that played Batou that stole the show!

  2. What happened when Joe found out that Michael Bay was going to make at least fourteen more Transformers films???

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