Latest posts by Alex Tinsley (see all)
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 44: RenAi BoKun/Love Tyrant Breaking A Review! - April 24, 2017
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 43: Getting off your behind now AniFem? For the Mecha-Lolis! - April 17, 2017
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 42: In Lieu of a Question, The Mary Sue Has an Answer?!” - April 10, 2017
I was planning on debunking some more AniFem bullshit but to my chagrin it seems Ameila Cook is… pretty damn lazy. So to go for something more recent, I searched something from this month concerning feminism and anime. What I got was… Marykate Jasper of The Mary Sue pushing something that I roundly debunked about a year ago before I started this particular feature series. If you don’t want to bother following the link, this is about the Scarlett Johannson adaptation of the 1990’s anime classic Ghost in the Shell. Jasper’s article then expands into last year’s Matt Damon vehicle The Great Wall, and she tries to claim that that is also white washing or depicting a white savior. What I’m about to show here is that not only does she not understand the properties in question but at the same time she is actually making false accusations, all in the name of making the idiotic claim that ‘diversity will sell if you give it a chance.’ Full disclosure: I’ve not seen The Great Wall and have not seen the full 2017 GitS film. However, I have the original film and have read the original manga and have read interviews about the property from series creator Masamune Shirow. Also, yes I am making a Douglas Adams joke with this title for no reason other than its the 42nd in the series. With that out of the way Let’s Hammer This In.
First lets unpack one simple fact, the original Ghost in the Shell is a big deal in the anime loving community. I’m not talking those who only know the big names like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Sailor Moon; But those of us who know even the obscure classics like Fist of the North Star, Black Jack, and Cutey Honey. As such most normies wouldn’t know what it is unless they hear about it from someone who knew. Then considering the past attempts like Dragon Ball Evolution and Speed Racer being for all intents and purposes garbage, no one wants to see another attempt at making a Japanese cartoon property made live action. So pegging ‘white-washing’ as the reasoning is simply ridiculous. Especially when you add in the fact I’ve mentioned previously that Motoko Kusanagi’s body is completely synthetic and government issued, so the look of the body isn’t really her decision in the first place, and this argument is all but dead.
As for the director’s (Rupert Sanders) justification for his casting choices he mentioned what I interpreted as a lack of competent Japanese specific actors. Looking at his past works it seems he only has one prominent work in his prior catalog with Snow White and the Huntsman, the rest being shorts and not exactly anything Blade Runner influenced like GitS is. What this tells me is the studio decided their best decision was to pawn the property on a director that has no real following or experience so they can make as many excuses as possible if and when it flops. But if it succeeded they could promote him as an up-and-coming auteur or whatever. From some of the interviews I’ve watched about the guy and his movies he doesn’t seem that particularly bright, so its only a given he would be foolish enough to give the response he did. If I were to make a response to such an accusation and were dumb enough to cast an overrated person like Johannson (I would have cast Natalie Portman) as my lead in this property I would have said this.
“While there are Asian actresses in Hollywood I researched the original works and looked to how she was treated in the originals. I also researched the time in which this was made and have determined that since the Major was treated as lesser in her past with a government issued body they would have given her a foreigner’s body as an insult. I wanted to input that aspect of the original culture as an anti racist message while at the same time addressing the current day issues of human trafficking that affects everyone regardless of race, gender or creed.”
This would have been lapped up by ‘progressives,’ particularly in this environment, while putting in a kernel of truth. I do love Japanese culture but even I’m willing to admit that they can be rather prejudiced towards ‘gaijin’ or outsiders, though considering how the West had treated them for the 100 years since Admiral Matthew Perry forced open their ports in 1853 and you could see how they could have been sore for the longest time. This is why the Alt-Right wanting a full ethno-state isn’t the best idea either, but I digress. The argument I gave would have also exempted the studio from any flak and might have tricked some of these bloggers to promote the film. The thing here is that an anime based movie was launched early spring going up against Disney and Dreamworks putting up kid friendly films against an arguably niche franchise. The reason Deadpool worked last year is it was a well known and beloved Marvel property. People knew what it was.
Now they mention these pieces like with a so-called diverse cast. Moana is a CG piece starring a new singer they want to promote and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and some staple voice actors, according to my research. Get Out is basically a Deep South re-write of The Stepford Wives based on race as opposed to gender and it isn’t surprising it got greenlit. The Wayans family had been doing this with the Scary Movie franchise for nearly two decades. The only difference here is now its a legit horror by a black comedy writer.
This, I again haven’t seen, but from what I’ve heard it is well done. One of these works is a Disney movie with The Rock so of course it will do swimmingly. It has name recognition and Disney did this sort of set up years ago with Lilo and Stitch. They just changed the era its set in and removed the alien story mechanic. Get Out is basically getting away with a remake by modifying the premise enough to make it an ‘original.’ So this ‘new-found’ diversity isn’t even all that new. Looking at the plot and premise of Hidden Figures seems to me like the gynocentric version of The Tuskegee Airmen which aired in 1995, again not all that new. The only one of these that seems anywhere near unique and touches upon some legitimate issues in society is Moonlight with its gay black premise. From things I’ve seen its much rougher to be a black gay man than it is to be a white gay man. While in college I met one gay black man and only one black woman treated him with any sense of respect. The rest treated him like ‘competition.’ There you go feminists, one out of four of these movies actually touches upon a legitimate issue in our society. Better work than you usually do Mary Sue.
Now we head into where they talk about The Great Wall, hilariously Jasper tries to claim it to be Ghost in the Shell‘s predecessor when the stories, studios, directors, nor staff are in ANY way connected. Then again, this is The Mary Sue so working on baseless assumptions is nothing new for them. She then claimed it ‘prioritized whiteness’ in an Asian story following up with a primarily Chinese cast with a ‘white savior’ in the form of Damon, therefore admitting not whitewashing, but this wholly different ‘problematic’ issue.
Jasper all-out failed to mention how Legendary Pictures was recently bought out by a Chinese company and this is the reorganized company’s initial attempt at a truly two-market film. She failed to mention that it was working against The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker during Christmas season. This would have been a better Summer vehicle, to be honest. So I don’t think its the ‘boring savior’ aspect but more the fact that it was going against two obvious hits during a Yuletide. Jasper also failed to realize that just because anything isn’t a number one hit doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile film. This can be said for both of the films they talk about in this article.
Then she mentions how this was a joint-funded piece while still ignoring that Legendary is now a Chinese company, meaning they were the headliners on the bill, so all the decisions made were from the Chinese-based leadership. She then goes for a loosely related jab at Iron Fist which actually did better than what she is saying from what I hear. It isn’t even close to whitewashing if you realize its original storyline from the ’70s is the same as the show’s. One reason they didn’t make it a movie was because Marvel knew they’d get this shit. They can survive it better from the Netflix front. But damn trying to stay true to the source material or the original intent of fighting all forms of racism just like the original Marvel stories did honestly from Luke Cage all the way through Doctor Strange. In fact you can see China’s racism in the fact that Doctor Strange wasn’t allowed to make The Ancient One Tibetan because of that controversial situation that has been going on for the better part of a century. But no, they’ve been waylaying Japan so much they have to try to seem non-racist towards Asians by occasionally throwing a bone like this. Here is the thing, most Asians I know see through it and the whole thing makes all of us here in the West seem worse by comparison when the social justice crowd does this shit.
In conclusion, this entire article was a way for Marykate Jasper and The Mary Sue to insult both Asians and whites in one fell swoop and still claim the moral high ground through false equivalencies, obvious Call to Popularity fallacies, and childish attempts to create issues that honestly weren’t there. If you read what interviews you can find by Masamune Shirow as he is rather reclusive you find that he does love his fans from all over the world. The only reason he doesn’t go overseas is his fear of airplanes. He actually loves his audiences so much in the West that he went to the painstaking feat of redrawing the entire manga bit by bit to be read left to right rather than the traditional right to left Japan is known for. You can even see the heavy influences of Western and particularly American culture in all of Shirow’s works, from Appleseed to Ghost and even with his erotic manga Galgrease (I’m sure Brian now has to research that one.) So I’m sure when he heard that one of the top three rated female actresses of the day was going to portray his original creation he was likely ecstatic, considering that love for the West. Congrats Mz Marykate Jasper, you just insulted the creator of the original work as badly as you ever could, and if he even read your garbage rag I’m sure that he would have quite a few words for your arrogant ass. Ghost in the Shell still has some time so if it makes enough money in the next few weeks it will get a sequel, and considering the nature of the work and the character of Motoko Kusanagi I’m sure they will have her ‘modified’ to resemble Motoko more from what I read of the plot synopsis. For those dense feminists out there, that means they can get away with recasting the lead without insulting anyone, really. So once again, Mary Sue, you have nothing, and you know nothing.
I have a neat question for the end of this article. How many of you would go to a Badger run geek convention near the BadgerCave? If you would love to see that please leave a comment here or even mention that you like the idea to firstname.lastname@example.org. I have some experience helping to start a convention and will happily give advice on how to do it even if I can’t be there in the end. Perhaps it could be called “The Con in the Wasteland?” Just a passing thought. Anyway I think we are done here. Next time I’m going to hit up something a little bigger, I think. I still have a little bloodlust that needs to be quenched if you get my meaning. Until then, please remember to Game Freely!