Akira was a Japanese animated film produced in 1988 based off a manga of the same name and set in a futuristic, dystopian Neo-Toyko.
It's now being adapted into a live action film and relocated to "Neo-Manhattan." As if this wasn't annoying enough, while the lead characters will retain the names Tetsuo and Kaneda, these are the actors reportedly being courted with the script:
What the everloving crap? These characters are named Tetsuo and Kaneda. The movie is named Akira. I repeat: WHAT THE CRAP?
I should clarify by saying that I don't think a white person can't have a Japanese name. That's fine. Not common, but perfectly fine. The problem is that these are established characters.
This is like The Last Airbender all over again. It was based off of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an amazing series rich in characters, adventure, humor, conflict, and Asian culture. The live action adaptation was, to put it mildly, a shitstorm.
I'm willing to bet that the producers will try to appease the multicultural audience by casting actors of color as the sidekicks or villains in Akira. I am literally gnashing my teeth.
And don't even get me started on Dragonball Evolution.
I'm so infuriated that I can't even be eloquent about this. Instead, I'll direct you to someone who is!
One of my favorite blogs on the topic so far is this one by Natalie Whipple:
"There are some things you just don't touch, you know? That whole don't-fix-what's-not-broken thing. Fans of franchises are extremely passionate about them. There are things they love and don't ever want to change ever. They know every detail. They adore every detail. You mess with key details, and you will be in BIG trouble.
Hollywood seems to get that with some movies, but not at all in the Asian realm.
There's no Snow White without the apple. No Cinderella without the slipper. No LOTR without the One Ring. And for Pete's sake, there's no Dragonball without a spikey-haired Goku! When you're remaking or re-imagining a story, there are some things that you must treat sacredly. It's a matter of respect for the medium."
Akira, to me, is sacred. YOU DON'T MESS WITH AKIRA.
Then I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on the deadline.com article and the RAEG exploded. Yes, there will and SHOULD be an uproar about casting white actors for Asian roles and if you can't see WHY, then please GTFO, do no pass Go, do not collect $200.
What You Can Do (taken from racebending.com)
1. Retweet about the situation to help get the word out.
2. Join the Facebook Petition and tell your friends so we can get an exact number of people who are upset about the decision to whitewash this film.
3. Blog about the situation on your own blog and/or encourage your favorite bloggers to do the same.
So what do you guys think? Thoughts?