Ghost in the Shell – What the Hell Happened?


Okay, take an iconic anime from the really late last century and then remake it as a live action film 20+ years later.  How can you screw that up?  By casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead role- a role that is not even her ethnicity.  That is how.  Can it get much worse though?  Sure, why not, this is Hollywood after all.  The real question is, is Johansson in the lead such a bad thing?

Fans are a fickle bunch.  Do stuff they like and you are adored.  Do something to shake up the norm and you are crap on a cracker.  Sure, there are a lot of people upset over Johansson playing the lead role of “Major”, a cyborg police woman that was not up to date on the whole “clothing” situation in the original anime.  Fans of the original Ghost in the Shell anime are, understandably, upset because the lead role did not go to a Japanese actress.  Instead it went to Scarlett Johansson, an obviously not of Asian descent actress.

Is it really that bad that the studio is going out on a limb, of sorts, by casting a non-Asian actress in the lead role?  The whole point of The Major was that she was a cyborg- it is not inconceivable that she can change her appearance as needed.  There is no word on if at some point that she will change appearances in the live action film or not (maybe for covert operations?) but it could happen.  For those crying foul- that didn’t happen in the original, just remember it is not uncommon for studios to step out of the canon story for creative freedoms here and there.  They have already cast a non-Asian woman in the lead so anything is possible.

At first I was in agreement with everyone bitching about Johansson taking the lead role in Ghost in the Shell.  Then I thought about it a bit, forgot about it, then remembered it again.  That is when it hit me, Johansson is hot now.  She is coming off of work in the Avengers, and complimentary, movies, has a strong fanbase and is not hard on the eyes.  If something like Ghost in the Shell is going to have a chance of making enough money to make a sequel, the movie needs someone like Johansson in the lead role.  It has already stirred controversy and got people talking about Ghost in the Shell and it doesn’t release till early next year.

What are your thoughts?



Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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  • Till

    My thought is that; while Major needs to be Japanese, she doesn’t need to look native.

    -The actors should be able to speak japanese AND english.

    – If they stray away from the light wardrobe, they have to substitute it with a believably , plausibly and technically sound attire. Also, the jacket in the picture looks shabby.

    The intro has to stay 100% the same. Even if they cg-in her girly parts

    • Carl Williams

      I totally agree. It can work if handled correctly. That intro, again, I agree, has to be 100% the same- it is so iconic, it sets the mood for the rest of the movie.

  • Dirkster_Dude

    Japanese Anime has always satirized Western culture. The figure are no more Asian than they are Caucasian. Make a good story with compelling characters like the cartoons I will not care.

    • Carl Williams

      Good points. I do hope they are able to pull this off with good results as I am quite interested in seeing some other Anime in live action format.

      • Dirkster_Dude

        Beyond Ghost In The Shell I think I would like to see live action Appleseed and Akira. My favorite Manga series is Naruto.

        • Carl Williams

          I second a live action Akira. We know the special effects technology is there to do it properly.

  • BillyHoWCR

    They did a sampling survey of people on the street in Tokyo and everyone had a positive reaction to her playing the role. And many commenting the character she plays in their eyes was not necessarily an Asian character even. It is Anime people… where most of the character have a Euro feel to them anyways.

    • Carl Williams

      Very true.

  • ol school gamer

    Question…: do any Directors read our comments and go with source material to use japanese actors in japanese animation or we wasting our thoughts on any posting concerning animation,video games,movies?? why create anything planted in our childhood memories to disappoint all of us on big screen, and disappoint us with sequals in video games “namely NFS”

    • Carl Williams

      I like to think they pay attention to their fans. If nothing else we can fall back on the age old solution. Show support with our money. If it rocks give it support. If not go elsewhere.

      • ol school gamer

        That’s a easy way out “if you like it support it .if not fk it”
        my main question was “why japanese people not used in their own animation??” do hollywood think white americans will not spend money to see Ghost in the shell if a Japanese woman is the lead as she is in the comic and animation??. in Western Cowboys and Indian movies white americans will not go see any western movie if white actors don’t paint themself as indian play the bad guys. no respectful indian tribe would allow any race to disrespect them. why was a white kid playing a asian Goku in Dragon ball evolution. not trying to sound racist here but why must ALL nationality got to be white in movies??(except afro-americans) but any people of color is handed roles such as begger,bum,janitor,maid,butler,drug attic,pimp,whore,thief,kungfu master,houseboy,laundry owner,chinese restaurant owner,busboy . never once we see any race of color owning anything without ties to mafia. hundreds of members with guns shooting all over the place. why not legitimate company comedy,drama ,action movie. people of color tired of being stereotyped as low class inhuman being.(worthless people) and white american the god of the universe can’t do nooooo wrong.

        • Carl Williams

          That is a good question. It is a shame that minorities are not given “better” roles in movies in general. I don’t have an easy answer for you on that one.

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