Hello, folks! Today is finally my tour stop for OWLS’ April blog tour. Please check out Rai’s tour post about “The Colorful World of Avatar”. She did a great job. For this month, our Chief Creative Officer LynLyn assigned us yet another awesome and meaningful topic: “Colors”.

We are all part of one race, the human race. “Colors” refers to people of color in anime. For this monthly topic, we will be discussing how people of color or characters of different “races” (a literal alien race) are represented in anime. Some topics we are considering are the dangers of stereotyping bi-racial characters, and the importance of “inclusion”.

The majority of the characters in Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 / Shingeki no Kyojin) are white, presumably European. Based on the surnames, many of them are of German origin like the main protagonist, Eren Jaeger. Mikasa is the only known surviving character so far who is of Asian descent. She is bi-racial: her mother Asian and her father white.


This detail of Mikasa as the only character of Asian background escaped the 2015 live-action film adaptations of Attack on Titan. Granted, the films changed enough of the story, completely removing the concept of different races from the original source material, that having an all-Japanese cast doesn’t feel too weird. For this to work, however, viewers should treat the AoT film as a stand-alone story, separate from the original manga and anime.

Other similar examples include the 2014 Black Butler (黒執事 / Kuroshitsuji) and the upcoming 2017 Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師 / Hagane no Renkinjutsushi) live-action film adaptations.

Just like the Attack on Titan films, the Black Butler film changed enough of the story to justify an all-Japanese cast, changing the setting from the original Victorian-era London to an Eastern nation in the year 2020.

This is not the case for the upcoming 2017 Fullmetal Alchemist film, however. It seems that it will retain the original European cultural setting with an all-Japanese cast. We’ll see whether the film succeeds in suspending our disbelief when it releases at the end of this year.


Compared to Asianwashing or other racewashing, it seems that viewers are the most critical about whitewashing. Whitewashing is when white actors and actresses are cast in roles originally intended for other races.

The most recent example is Scarlett Johansson playing the character of Major Kusanagi in the recent 2017 Ghost in the Shell film adaptation. Many fans of the anime are furious about casting a white actress to play a Japanese character. Interestingly enough, it seems that the Japanese fans themselves already expected and accepted that a white actress would play Major because the adaptation is Hollywood-produced.

Another similar example is the upcoming 2017 Death Note film to be released on Netflix this August. It has been criticized of whitewashing even before its release, just like Ghost in the Shell.

The Importance of Racial Identity

Race remains an important cultural identity. For many of us, our racial background is a source of pride and confirmation that we belong to our respective unique cultures and communities. With discrimination still a real problem in the world, the issue of race remains a very delicate subject.

Races other than whites are still considered the minority in Hollywood. Diversity is slowly inching its way in the entertainment industry, but it still has a very long way to go. Hollywood is still a white-dominated industry. That’s why I understand how changing the race of characters in a show, especially the lead roles, offends people. Some think that changing races in adaptations is a great disrespect to the races being replaced from the original, especially when the lead role is given to a white actor while the minor roles are given to actors of Asian, African or other minority backgrounds.

Universal Stories for the Entire Human Race

While I prefer for live-action adaptations to honour the intended race of characters from the original source material, I think that this is short-sighted and ignores the fact that the world consists of many nations with different racial and cultural backgrounds. Strict casting for the sake of following the correct race of each role based on the original manga/anime story eliminates any possibility of localization or even globalization, which are important in making stories universal; meaning, relatable to a wider audience.

I’m not saying that racewashing is okay. Not at all. I just think that instead of individual races, we should focus more on the universal experiences, issues, and dreams of humanity these adaptations are portraying and emphasizing based on the original anime/manga.

Saying this, however, I still think that adaptations need to respect, or even just give a better sense of cohesiveness by matching the cultural settings of their stories to the races of the characters. For example, a live-action film adaptation of Naruto was announced late last year. It is being produced by Lionsgate, a Hollywood production studio. The story of Naruto centres around ninjas. Ninjas are Japanese. I would be very dismayed if the film features white ninjas. However, if this upcoming adaptation changes enough of the cultural setting just like in Attack on Titan and Black Butler films, perhaps having white ninjas wouldn’t be considered weird in the film’s story. We’ll see.

The live-action trilogy Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心) are considered to be some, if not the “best” adaptations of an anime ever. I say that the biggest cause of their success comes from them feeling “just right”. Rurouni Kenshin is about samurai warriors. Samurai warriors are Japanese. The movies are Japanese, featuring a Japanese cast. If the films featured white samurai warriors in Meiji-era Japan, I doubt that they would garner any positive reception. On the contrary, I’m certain that they would have been brutally criticized instead.

My  point is that is should be OKAY for adaptations to give roles to actors and actresses of another race different from the intended race of the character in the original manga/anime. BUT the adaptation should change enough of the story to warrant such casting choice (e.g., completely changing the cultural setting, etc.). The essence of the story must still be preserved, of course, so it would still be recognizable to anime fans. By doing this, adaptations will transform anime stories from something strictly Japanese into something universal, something all humans can relate to, not just anime fans and Japanese people.

As anime and manga fans, I think we should not limit these media and their adaptations within Japan and Asia only. We should position our worldviews more towards diversity. I would love to see an adaptation of an anime with a very diverse and multicultural cast, an adaptation that speaks not only to us fans or to a select racial groups, but speaks to ALL of humanity.

Thank you very much for reading my tour post. This is the most difficult OWLS tour post that I’ve written so far. Also please read Remy’s tour post titled “Social Projecting and Self-Stereotyping in Japanese Media”.

For the full schedule of our April “Colors” Blog Tour, click here. And if you haven’t done so yet please click here and check out our “Sanctuary” Blog Tour last month. If you are interested in our group Otaku Warriors for Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS), feel free to check our official blog here. We welcome new, committed members! Thank you very much. Have a gorgeous day. Cheers!

Free  to be ME,
Arria (OWLS Secretary)

Loved what you read?  Share this post with your friends.  Also feel free to connect and follow Arria on Twitter and this site on Google+.  Also like Fujinsei’s Facebook page.  Thanks!

Support Fujinsei by using the following affiliate links whenever you shop online with these websites:





Fujinsei is also a WordAds member, so if you would be so kind as to turn off your ad blocker when using this site, that would be greatly appreciated.

Read Disclosure Policy for more information about how this site uses affiliate links and ads.  Thank you very much for your support!

Published by Arria Cross

Blogger at fujinsei.com since 2014. Currently a webnovelist. Check out my work "His Genius is a Superstar".

Join the Conversation


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I try to take it on a case-by-case basis.

    Does this change make sense within the world of the story? I have an entire post that’s pretty much about how it makes perfect sense to cast a white actress as the Major in Ghost in the Shell.

    I also look at the motivations behind why someone makes, or wants to make, the change. In the case of producing a live-action Attack on Titan in Japan… well, I could be wrong, but I imagine most of the talent on hand is Japanese, not white. You work with what you’ve got, after all. But for a nation as multi-ethnic as the USA, there is more local talent to represent whatever race these characters were originally created as, so changing the race is a very deliberate choice, and the motivation behind that choice can vary.

    Some characters, they’ve changed without even thinking about it, just so they could get some actor’s star power. Others, they’ve changed because of political correctness, because some group of people are demanding that white people not be the heroes anymore, and they look for any excuse to be offended. And then there are others which they change in service to the story, and I imagine that is the best motivation for it. Heck, Patrick Stewart once starred in a version of Othello where they reversed the races of the entire cast for exactly that purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same. I get pretty excited pretty much almost whenever I hear an announcement of a live-action adaptation. I’m curious while most of our peers are already griping and complaining about how the film would be horrible even when it’s not out yet. I agree with you that looking at the motivation behind the creation of the movie is fair before we judge it, but for me it’s as simple as whether I enjoyed it or not. If I didn’t enjoy it, then I’m disappointed. If I did enjoy it even for just a bit, then that’s when I really look beyond to analyze the motivations and the elements of the movie so that I can justify my position of why I enjoyed this adaptation that it seems everyone else is hating.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An insightful read indeed! It is interesting and saddening to think that Japanese fans already anticipate significant white washing when it comes to adaptation from western culture. Clearly it has been done enough times that it is no longer surprising but just routine.
    You highlight some great points on how adaptations of original anime’s are welcome to have other races in their casting, but a change in the story is necessary. However, we at Reel Representation find it hard even if they change the setting of the story line, for example, Death Note, to be considered not white washed. The plot line is still intrinsically linked to the Death Gods which are of Japanese folklore. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, and we find that there is a possibility for a film adaptation to be not regarded as whitewashed when the story line and setting are changed!
    Anyone else who is interested in the discussion of #whitewashing and #stereotyping in film, please give us a look and a comment @ReelRepresentation

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. Thank you. I like to keep an open mind when it comes to live-action adaptations, but it’s helpful not to have too much expectations because most live-action adaptations of anime aren’t exactly stellar. However, I just find it too narrow to just stick to a purely Japanese/Asia cast or setting, especially when the potential audience are from all over the world. And even if a lot of the audience came from the anime fandom, there will be some who aren’t anime fans and just came to watch a movie.

      And I agree with taking caution with intrinsically Japanese stories. That’s one of the points I explored in this post.

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinions. I appreciate it. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve recently felt a little isolated by other OWLS members because of this tour, and some part of me inside is sighing with relief that it’s done. The reason for my stress stems from the whole Ghost in the Shell “whitewashing” rage. GitS is a franchise all about varying interpretations and the otherwise blending of races and genders alike into a seamless futuristic society. It should be the future we all strive for, but it’s people now who keep bringing up the whole whitewashing thing that prevent us from elevating to the next stage.

    Hollywood stars do not get to Hollywood by their first role or audition—these actors and actresses encompass a resume that qualifies for what Hollywood wants out of well-rounded individuals on the acting front. So to lambaste the Hollywood film industry for casting ScarJo for a role that IS TECHNICALLY AMBIGUOUS IN PHYSICAL COMPOSITION would be invalid. These people should be encouraging more actors of colors in their local theaters, indie films, and even film or acting related projects to pursue the career; support colored success and Hollywood will notice. But people aren’t doing this. They are not supporting colored individuals enough in their own acting career. If they want more color in the big league, then they have to cheer them on from the get-go in the little league, too.

    So this post made me confident in my decision: I love the Ghost in the Shell movie. All of it. Everything. And as a half-Asian, half-white person, this film hit home in the heart by the end. But when I get on Twitter, on YouTube, heck, even in the news, this movie is destroyed by people, including our fellow OWLS friends. It makes me sad, makes me feel like an outcast, almost. And here you are to cheer me up with a brilliant post about accepting people of any color to participate in playing a certain role that otherwise is “unqualified” for them. As long as it works with the given or new story, it should be evaluated on its own.

    This is one of the longest comments I’ve ever given a post, but I figured I’d confide with you (cause you kind of feel like my blogger mom for some reason). I appreciate this post a lot, more than words can express, for you remain positive and fair no matter what you dip your hands into. Thank you for not outright bashing the Ghost in the Shell live action, even if you may not have enjoyed it. This is my favorite post from this tour, and quite possibly of all OWLS posts thus far! Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Taku. To be honest, I also feel similarly during this tour. I was so excited for this blog tour when it was announced. I originally only planned to talk about “Attack on Titan”, but with all the live-action films coming out this year (Ghost in the Shell, Death Note, FMA), I think that I just had to talk about them generally. So many have been so critical about whitewashing but when the same thing happens in other cultures like what I’ve written here, namely Asianwashing, we don’t hear the same backlash. And why is that? Is it because the source material came from Japan, that’s why it’s acceptable for the adaptation to be all Asian when the character and settings in the story aren’t? It’s such a double standard. Granted, the majority of adaptations suck, but I think it’s unfair to prevent white actors/actresses or even non-Asian actors/actresses to get the chance to play these amazing roles adapted from anime. As for Ghost in the Shell itself, I have mixed feelings about it. I like Scarlett Johansson, I think she’s a great actress especially when it comes to sci-fi action films like this, but I still feel the oddness with the very Asian setting. But just like you said, it is set in a futuristic society and is a future that we should all strive for, namely to have quite a multicultural society regardless of the cultural backdrop. So the feeling of oddness I felt wasn’t too intense. I would be utterly dismayed if it was ancient Japan, but it wasn’t so I liked it, as well.
      Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. And…please call me a blogger sister instead of “mom”. -___- Ehehe. Anyway, have a great day, Taku!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post Arria ❤ Sorry it took me so long to get to it! I myself go back and forth on this issue but I realize it is because in America we actually have very talented asian (or any minority for that matter) actors but we rarely give them the chance to audition for lead roles. Ghost in Shell is a great example of that. They didn’t audition anyone for the role of Major they chose Scarlett because they felt like she was a high earning actress. Which is harsh because you can’t say that minority actors can’t create blockbuster hits if you never give us a chance! So when things like that happen it really upsets me. However that has to do with a lot of racial issues that America is currently dealing with. Sadly we have been dealing with that for awhile (look at what Bruce Lee had to go through here!) and we have a terrible history with it in this country. I think that’s why people in this country are particularly sensitive to this subject because there is so much history here. For example original black actors could only play the roles of maids, butlers, or Nannies. We could also be bad guys. Native Americans were rarely allowed on the screen period which is why you had actresses like Audrey Hepburn (a white woman) playing a Native American woman. They refused to audition Native American women. Bruce Lee ended up creating his biggest movies in China because people in Hollywood refused to cast him in anything but supportive roles due to his race. It’s a really sad issue and atmosphere here in the United States sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Kat. Thank you. I actually don’t have that much issue with Scarlett being cast the lead role in the GiTS film. I’m just dismayed that they still retained her character name to be Major “Kusanagi” which is a Japanese name. What’s more, the setting is undoubtedly very Asian. It’s disappointing, and yes, points to a huge gap between lead roles being given to minority backgrounds other than whites. I would probably accept it more if they completely left the Asian setting and Japanese names, but no. It’s a white lead in a very Asian setting. Not matching at all.
      And good example with Bruce Lee. Indeed, there’s still this pervading perception in Hollywood that white actors/actresses are more profitable than other minority actors/actresses. It’s very sad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tend to enjoy Scarlet in general but GITS def grinded my gears. I think if Asians in general were given the chance at more lead roles I wouldn’t be as miffed but alas we’re not quite there yet. My understanding is that they kept a lot of Asian themes. For example in the end Scarlett meets her Japanese mother…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see. I actually don’t feel that dismayed with the film. It feels odd and mismatched, but for me the futuristic setting somewhat saved it. But I do understand what you mean because this whitewashing issue has been loud and clear during the film’s run. And yes, I wish that more Asians and other actors and actresses of minority backgrounds are cast for lead roles.


  5. Awesome post! I love how you talk about the controversy of Ghost in the Shell, a white actress playing a role that should have been Japanese.

    I also agree that the races should stay the same when they are introduced in live-action versions. It’s great that Japanese culture has grown oversees, but I don’t agree that the Japanese races should be completely erased and replaced by whitewashing it. It should be kept the same, as much as possible.

    The only thing I disagree with is the part where you mentioned that if they’re going to change it, at least change the setting so that it’s believable. This is what Netflix’s Death Note is doing, from what I have heard so far, anyway. I love that it’s become so popular that people want to do it, but I just don’t like how white actors are playing the roles of our beloved Yagami Light, especially since they changed his name to sound more “English.”

    Just my opinion. 🙂 Fantastic job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eren. Hmmmm. I understand what you mean, and as an anime fan, that would be the ideal situation: to loyally follow the original manga/anime. However, I just think that it would be more fascinating to see an adaptation of anime with a more diverse and multicultural cast. For series that are very Japanese like Rurouni Kenshin and Naruto, it would be better to have an all-Japanese or all-Asian cast. But there are many series that aren’t strictly Japanese or Asian. Series like Gundam, will be excellent adaptation material in my opinion because they feature a very diverse and multicultural characters. And I’m not saying to erase the Japanese in this post; that would be horrible.
      As for Death Note, I think changing the name of Light Yagami to Light Turner is a good move to be honest. It would weird to retain the name Yagami when Light is white in the adaptation. Of course, I’m doubtful that Death Note would deliver…well, I don’t really have high expectations for a lot of adaptations from the start, but we have to watch the film first before judging it.

      Let’s take famous stories like Romeo and Juliet, for example. Almost every country has their own localized adaptation of this story. I don’t think there are furious Romeo & Juliet fans saying we don’t want an Asian Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet should be strictly Italian or European.
      I think it would be interesting if anime and manga reaches this kind of status, not only limited for Asian actors only.

      Anyway, this is what I think. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinion. Cheers!


  6. Great post, and I totally agree with it as well. As long as the adaption is good, I don’t think it matters who play who or their race.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Well, yes, but I think that the cultural background of the story is also important and not just the overall adaptation. If we see an ancient Japan setting with non-Japanese actors as samurai, ninja or geisha, then it doesn’t make sense. A multicultural casting in an adaptation should be very intriguing. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Again my dear you did a cracker of a job with this post !!! I have never had an issues with what actors or races are chosen for certain forgein films, people just like taking it to the next level and that is where discrimnation comes into play. All I care about is the story is told well to the best of it’s ability honestly, why deny someone the opportunity to play a actor/actress role because they are asian, black whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Lita. I appreciate it. Well, I think that some of their complaints are warranted as we’re seeing most of the lead roles in adaptations are given to white actors/actresses and then the minor roles to Asian ones or other actors/actresses of different background. However, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to say that it’s the casting of the white actor/actress in the film that makes the movie suck. If the screenwriting and the overall film suck, it’ll suck no matter if the actor or actresses are white or not. And yes, I agree that some people just take it to the next level when it comes to their critiques. Thanks, Lita, for dropping by. Cheers!


  8. I thought Ghost in a Shell was a bad movie overall. No Asian actress could have saved that movie from a bad script. We are actually fortunate that a white actress bombed in it. Otherwise Hollywood would be more skeptical of allowing minority led films than they already are.

    I also think it would have been awesome if they got a mostly white or European cast to do a Japanese version of Attack on Titan. They are actually working on stuff like that. It started small with the mediocre The Wall movie with Matt Damon working alongside a Chinese cast. I’d love to see more though. Admittedly it would probably have to be lesser known actors as I doubt that foreign movies pay as much as Hollywood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not watched the GitS film yet. I’m still waiting for a bit before watching it because I don’t like watching films when they’re still “hot”. But I’m going to watch it soon…one of these days.
      And oh my goodness. Yes, I want that European cast of Attack on Titan because I think it’ll be more loyal to the original series than the Japanese version. We’ll see when it’s finally done….
      Film adaptations that are loyal to the original source material are great and awesome and would please most of us anime fans, but I would be extremely intrigued and interested to watch adaptations featuring more diversity in their casting, not just white actors or actresses but others as well. I’m sure that a lot are skeptical of this, but we’re not going to know if nobody tries.
      Anyway, thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinion. Cheers!


  9. I guess I’ve always harboured the thought of films being whitewashed in the back of my mind but not until just recently have I gotten a bit upset about how blatantly it’s being done. My only highlight to watching Ghost in the shell was seeing a familiar asian face, Kaori Momoi, also known for her role as Mother in Memoirs of a Geisha. She is such a talented and persuasive actress and I found myself thinking “why could Zhang ziyi play major? She’s super talented and fluid with roles of all kinds!” But I don’t let it bother me to the point of protest and angry fan letters to the director and writers. I feel like they may have auditioned with actresses of many sorts and figured that Scarlett Johansen was the dryest it could get for and AI humanoid. And she did do a great job. I focus more one the story lines honestly and try not to cringe as I watch an on screen destroying of perfect stories. Great article and I completely “get this”!! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Whitewashing is perhaps the most common critique when it comes to Hollywood-produced film adaptations of anime. Hollywood is still white-dominated and I read an article online that hypothesizes they cast white actors and actresses to star in the adaptations because they don’t think actors or actresses that are not white would rake in the same amount of profit as their white counterparts. Huh. However, I prefer to see diversity more than adaptations strictly following the “correct” races from the original anime and manga. Besides, adaptations aren’t always required and they have a certain extent of creative freedom to change enough of the story and make it their own. For me, that’s interesting on its own. Whether they work or not is another matter, but it’s fun to watch another spin to a story.
      And yes, I do like Scarlett Johansson and she’s a good actress, although just having a good actress is not enough to “save” a movie. Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Cheers!


  10. I am always annoyed about racewashing or even whitewashing, especially when it comes to manga/ anime adaptations. The main problem with many manga/ anime is that they often play in an European setting/ at least European names. So when the live action adaption is coming it has been always a total mess with such settings.
    However when the setting was playing anyhow already in Japan the adaptations have been grant such as kenshin and great teacher onizuka for example.
    As for ghost in the shell I must say that Scarlet fits the character very well I fell in lovd with back in the manga and also on its anime adaption but then again it is all just my opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Got to love that series. Can ‘re watch the anime without problems and also the manga is just superb! Love it and will always love it, especially the stories from before (can’t remember those names right now, too much taxation calculation the past days)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I see. I understand where you’re coming from. As for me, I don’t think I’m “always” annoyed. I prefer looking at the adaptation as a whole, whether the casting choice fits the cultural setting that it chooses to portray. What annoys and disappoints me is when an adaptation has a very Asian setting and then characters are white or other races for that matter with Asian names. It doesn’t make sense, right? Same thing with European setting with Asian actors who have very European names. It’s not just whitewashing that’s the problem, but it seems that people are the most critical of it. I just think that it would be interesting to see more diversity when it comes to casting, not only all Asian or all white actors in an adaptation of an anime.
      And I like Scarlett Johansson and I think she’s a great action film actress. I haven’t seen GitS film yet though, so I can’t comment much about the film. Still waiting for a bit before I watch it. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinion. Cheers!


  11. Great post, and I totally agree with it as well. While maybe it would have been better to have cast an Asian actress in the role for the Major, to comdemn the entire movie for that is just taking things to far. I seriously enjoyed the film, and just like Attack on Titan, saw it as a bit of a stand alone piece, with just the title for it being the same.
    I have never had any problems at all with race: take for instance the very important character of sergeant Fury from the Marvel universe. In the comics he was a white guy, and in the cinematic universe he was black, and played in a very awesome way by Samuel L Jackson. Things like this don’t bother me at all. While it is not a good thing to say that every whitewashing is acceptable (that would be taking things too far in a different direction), it is at times just taken completely out of context. Which is a real shame if you ask me. Thanks for posting yet another fantastic piece😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. I haven’t seen GitS movie yet, but I was looking forward to it since last year. I felt very curious. I don’t have high expectations because a lot of adaptations of anime have disappointed me. Indeed, I think casting an Asian actress to play Major would be great, but criticizing the entire movie just because a white actress like Scarlett Johansson was cast is also not fair, if we think about it. Looking at the trailer, though, I must say that some of the critics are reasonable as the cultural setting is still very Asian (melding of Japanese and Hong Kong). But I can’t say much than this because I have to watch the film first. I’m just waiting for a little bit because I don’t like watching films when they’re still “hot”. I get easily influenced by popular opinion and I prefer that I form my own opinions when I do see shows with my own eyes.
      Anyway, thank you very much for dropping by and sharing your opinions about this issue. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know if you have ever seen them, but if there is one anime adaptation that I did really enjoy it was the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy. Those were highly entertaining and truly did justice to the original anime. I highly recommend them. If you want to find out more about them, you can find reviews for all 3 movies on my blog 😊 I hope if you manage to see GITS that you will enjoy the movie 😀 Thanks for your comment 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I did watch the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy. Indeed, they were really well-made and they were entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Quite rare for the majority of live-action adaptations of anime, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes. It’ll be released at the end of this year. The trailers look pretty good, but we’ll see. They used all-Asian cast in a clearly European setting so we’ll see. However, I guess if it successfully suspend our disbelief, the cg effects look awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I think it actually is fair that it’s considered worse when Hollywood does it, just because America has actors of most races easily available; Hollywood is just reluctant to actually cast them in leading roles.


    1. Well, I disagree with it being “fair” that Hollywood is worse. I’m not saying that I’m alright with whitewashing and I wrote this post to advocate diversity in Hollywood or any adaptations for that matter. It’s just that most anime fans have this notion that anime adaptations should only cast Japanese or Asian actors and strictly follow the original cast.


  13. Excellent post! I did hear Rurouni Kenshin was the best adaptation. I haven’t seen the Attack on Titan film but I always thought and Fullmetal Alchemist would be better off with some European-like actors since it doesn’t really take in Japan. That’s just me, overall, I love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Attack on Titan was good, as long as you don’t have high expectations or compare it critically against the manga and anime.
      As for FMA film coming later this year, the director says that although it will feature a Japanese cast, they will not define themselves as Japanese or any racial backgrounds. Sort of weird, but we’ll see how it goes. Have you watched the trailer? It actually looks good. And thank you, bro. I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see. I like to think of it as a separate universe to see the characters and story different from the original content. It looks impressive though.
        Really? I saw the recent trailer and I am amazed. I think this film might be good. I wonder who are they going to get for Armstrong XD.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmmmm. The AoT films looked impressive in the trailer, but kind of a let-down when you actually watch them. Still entertaining, though, and I actually like the actors and the actresses.
        Oh my gosh. I know, right? The trailer looks good, but we’ll see if the film is as good. I’m also curious who’s going to play who.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I heard it can be. I remember watching Shay’s review and she said that they didn’t even include Levi. I was mad. Levi is awesome. I like how they did Alphonse in this movie. This movie makes me feel like watching the anime again. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I was shocked…utterly shocked that they didn’t include Levi. But it makes sense because the films completely removed the relevance of his character. Although they put a similar Levi-like character who’s an a-hole (ahem), but still charismatic. I love Levi, though. He’s my favourite character in the series, so I would like to watch another AoT adaptation that includes him.
        Same here. But by the looks of the film, Alphonse looks good and real-looking with the armour. We’ll see.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Really? They replaced him with a similar character? I didn’t know. If this guy could pull off a Levi at least, I guess it’s okay. I want more news of Fullmetal Alchemist lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes, they replaced him with a similar (and I use that word broadly here) character, but the character in the live-action film was an asshole and not nearly as cool as Levi in the manga/anime. But perhaps that’s because I’m biased.
        Same here. Well, FMA is scheduled to be released by the end of this year so we just have to wait for half a year and we’ll be able to take a closer look at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I don’t know if they tried to be superior or not, but if that’s their goal, they failed. The titans in the films looked tacky and fake, but I like the cast in general. Most of them acted well. I think the films just wanted to be more original in their storyline.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. At least they tried. I think movies like this tried to make things look real. Sometimes I like to think the films as their separate universes as opposed to the original content but you got to give credit for trying.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Yeah Attack on Titan is one of the popular series online and real life. It’s hard trying to meet the fans expectations. I think I heard from Shay’s discussions that if you are not a fan of Attack on Titan and you watch the live-action film, it can be a good movie; according to one her friends.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. This was a refreshing read as I often find that people who broach whitewashing rarely really touch on other racial changes or the possibly that making the changes can have positive effects in terms of making films accessible to large audiences. This was a wonderful piece that approaches the topic from a balanced standpoint, and that deserves a lot of praise.

    As a side, while race changes certainly aren’t great by default, after watching Lucy, I actually thought that Scarlett Johansson was a good choice for the Major, at least as far as using a Western cast goes. I’ve not seen the film as yet though, so can’t really judge the quality. On the flip side though, it would be interesting to hear Masamune Shirow’s view on the Hollywood GitS. I have a novel coming out with a Chinese-Canadian lady in the lead role, and I’d be quite sad if it were turned into a live action film and that were changed. I’d be interested to hear if GitS’s creator felt the same with the Major. Our if the creators of FMA, Black Butler or AoT have any issues with the all Japanese casts for that matter. It’s just such a complex topic with so many different angles to it, both from inside and outside the world of diverse representation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Matthew. I’m Canadian and I’m just so used to multiculturalism that of course, I have an issue of whitewashing. However, I also see the possibility of casting actors of other races different from the original race of the character. I wish, though, that Western-produced adaptations focus more on diversity.
      As for Scarlett Johansson, I like her and she’s actually the reason why I was looking forward to this film since last year, I agree with you. I’m still waiting a bit before I watch GitS, so like you I can’t comment about the quality of the film.

      And same here. I’m interested in hearing Masamune’s opinion, although Kodansha supports the casting of Johansson. And besides, Beat Takeshi, a veteran comedian in Japanese who is also included in the cast had been promoting the film in Japan with Scarlett before the release of the film. I think that contributes to the more accepting attitude of the Japanese towards the film.
      And thank you very much once again for dropping by and sharing your opinions. I appreciate it. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh aye, there was actually a brief spell where he was getting a load of press in the UK, mostly fit his role in the two I mentioned. It died down afterwards unfortunately, but there were certainly a few of us up my way that paid enough attention to remember the name.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh wow. That’s amazing. I didn’t know that…but I don’t live in the UK so…but that’s so fascinating to hear. He’s old now but he’s still so active. What a worker.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I plan to watch GITS this week. I’ve been putting it off because of Scarlett Johansen.

    I don’t have a problem with her being white. True, it would have been better with an Asia/ Eurasian actress.

    I have nothing against her color, but that she is so much of an idiot in real-life makes it difficult. I watch the preview and it looks GREAT … except … yup … and then, there is that imbecile. I don’t see the Major — I see this mentally immature, hypocritical, egotistical, elitist moron.

    What? Oh … you’re correct that does describe 97.5% of Hollywood.


    1. I’m still waiting a little bit more before I watch the film. I was actually looking forward to it since last year. And I like Scarlett Johansson. I don’t have high expectations and I don’t want to comment much especially since I haven’t watched it yet.


  16. The Rurouni Kenshin live action was perfect, and historically accurate despite being fiction. Although he was samurai he was fighting against other samurai to end that caste system.

    Have you seen the original anime? The first season is one of the best anime series ever. So good natured, warm and funny. It becomes filled with two much “filler” by season three and the ending is terrible.

    Anyway, on the English dub soundtrack, the voice actors use a variety of accents apparently in order to distinguish each other. There is the one enemy swordsman with blond hair who talks with a “hillbilly” American southern accent, complete with the “y’alls” etc.

    … it … makes …no … sense …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have seen the anime but I was literally a small kid back then so I don’t remember much of the plot anymore. And I’m not sure whether I watched the anime English-dubbed or subbed.
      And oh my gosh. You make a great point. When English voice actors change their accents make me cringe, especially if it doesn’t make sense in the series.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think that you’re referring to Cho the Sword Hunter’s accent in Rurouni Kenshin? I kind of understand why they used a “hillbilly” accent for him. His Japanese is incredibly non-standard and weird. Translating his lines in the manga practically drove me mad. We often imagine the Southern dialect as being farthest from standard English, so the choice makes sense to me–as odd as the accent sounds on a Japanese character.

      Now, the most horrible accent choice I’ve come across was in Yugo the Negotiator. The hero travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to negotiate a hostage release. In the English dub, the Pakistani soldiers speak with Scottish accents! SCOTTISH, I tell you! But, the Yugo the Negotiator dub has to rank as one of the worst dubs on record.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Let’s see … the term “colored people” had fallen out of favor by the 1970s, to be replaced by “people of color” which makes MUCH more sense.

    Whenever your politically-correct friends use the term “people of color” I suggest the line”You mean non-vites?” Emphasize the “V” to make it sound more Germanic. Ha. THEN you will see who can process information.


%d bloggers like this: