The internet is abuzz with whitewashing accusations over a white chick is being cast as Motoko Kusanagi. This makes no sense to me, because Motoko Kusanagi is white.
Let me throw out my “I’m not a racist” qualifications before I start being racist. I’ve actually seen Ghost in the Shell. I live in Japan. White features being omnipresent in anime character designs often annoys me. Whitewashing in movies often annoys me. (A white guy isn’t the Prince of Persia. A black guy isn’t that Indian guy from The Martian.) I’m even “Asian-American” by some standards of the bullshit term. There, that should cover me.
As a moviegoer, the biggest problem with whitewashing isn’t political incorrectness. It’s breaking the fourth wall. The whole time you’re watching the movie, you’re thinking, “Why is this character white?” It takes you out of the movie.
Yes, there are other problems with whitewashing too, but the bottom line is that Motoko Kusanagi looks white. You’d have to put a lot more makeup and padding on a Japanese woman than a white woman to make her look like The Major. We’ve already suspended our disbelief about her race when watching the anime. A white actress won’t break the fourth wall at this point. On the contrary, an Asian actress would. Remember when the FF7: Advent Children character designs came out? Everyone was thrown off by how awkwardly Asian they looked compared to the original game and character art.
Now let’s take a look at the story itself, which I’d love to accuse the social justice warriors of neglecting, though it’s far more likely that they don’t know shit about it in the first place. The whole premise of Ghost in the Shell is that everyone in this futuristic society swaps out their original flesh body parts for enhanced high-tech parts—a “shell” so to speak. Thus, their bodies don’t have to look anything like their race. There’s nothing inconsistent about Motoko Kusanagi looking white, nor do I have problem with her lesbian friend also looking white (though I wouldn’t have a problem with her looking Asian either).
The “Asian-Americans” complaining about the casting are also white—they’re white knights. Why is there “Asian”-American outrage instead of “Japanese”-American outrage? Casting a Chinese actress would result is a ton of bitching too. (Remember Memoirs of a Geisha?) These are Asian-Americans being offended on behalf of Japanese-Americans being offended on behalf of Japanese people, who don’t care. It’s like that time a museum exhibition featuring kimonos was shut down by “Asian-American” white knights. Guess what? Japanese people WANT foreigners to wear kimonos. You know why? Because Japanese people are proud of their culture. It’s these dipshit white knights who see Japanese culture as inferior and thus in need of defending.
In conclusion, giving a white chick a Japanese name is preferable to slapping whiteface on a Japanese chick. Also, this movie will probably suck.