The movie “Ghost in the Shell” was released last weekend. The sci-fi action anime has a rich history known to many fans of the genre. The film is about a cyber-enhanced woman, Major, who is so uniquely developed, basically a super hero. When forces outside her control try to take over the world, Major is the only one who can stop them.
The original animated series lasted from October 2002 to January 2005. There was also a reboot of the series which aired in 2015 called “Ghost in the Shell: Arise.” On top of the TV shows the franchise also has several books and a couple of live action movies before the recent 2017 release.
I have never seen any of the old movies or TV shows so my opinion
may be biased, but I liked the new movie. Scarlett Johansson really sold her role as a robot the way her character interacted with the world and the people in it. Yet, you could also see the hurt and the pain of a human in her as well. On top of the acting, the special effects were top notch. It really felt as if I was in the future with Major and watching high speed building sized holograms perform animatronic tricks. It was absolutely breath taking.
Despite my love for it however, the film has recently received controversy due to the “white washing” of American Film making. Films such as “Ghost in the Shell”, “Doctor Strange” and others, replaced some of the main characters who were originally Asian with Caucasian main stream actors or actresses. The original cast of “Ghost in the Shell” talked with CNN reporters.
Mary Claypool, who was the English Dub writer for the original movie, had this to say, “I for one feel like it’s the obligation for the entertainment industry to do all they can to cast a certain ethnic group, I don’t see a problem however with ‘Ghost in the Shell’.”
Claypool and I are not the only ones who enjoyed Hollywood’s adaption of the beloved franchise. Fans of the original film say that they didn’t have a problem with Johansson being Caucasian when the original Major was Asian. Tomoki Hirano, a fan of the original franchise, told The Hollywood Reporter in reference to Johansson’s reenactment, “She was very cool. I loved her in ‘The Avengers’ and I wanted to see this because she was in it. If they had done a Japanese live-action version, they would have probably cast some silly idol [girl-band member].”
Hollywood is known to turn beloved anime’s of the past to live action movies. Just look at “The Last Airbender”, Hollywood’s rendition of Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. Any movie adapted from an original play, book, or show, will always have a lot to live up to. What is important when seeing the movies is to hold the adaptation to exactly what it is, an adaptation, not so much as a replacement.