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Technology alienates everyone: consciousness becomes unmoored, bodies become arbitrary and disposable, sex becomes less a biological function than a psychological dysfunction, the planet and its host of forgotten nature spirits cries out in agony.As anime began to pick at the scab left by two deep American wounds, the role race plays in that conflict is often obfuscated by the medium itself. Masamune Shirow's cyberpunk crime saga was first published as a manga serial in 1989, and by the time it was released as a feature-length film in 1995 the bubble economy had burst.Kewpie was so vigorously appropriated that he eventually became a de facto Japanese character — when I see Kewpie now, I think of mayo.
The reaction at the time was mild to positive — mostly because it seemed to make a lot of sense if we're just talking about Johansson's career.As usual, it took a picture for the outcry to start.This month, over a year after the casting announcement, Paramount Pictures released a still of Johansson in costume as Kusanagi, and the internet did not take it well.The issue of representation feels cozily easy to understand here in the US — you either are or aren't represented — compared to the long history of self-erasure in post-war Japanese narratives.It's a dense, depressing history, and by the end of it I probably will still come to the conclusion that casting Johansson was the wrong move.
(Both films were bombs; so much for the "white actors are more bankable" argument.) Add the more recent controversy of Tilda Swinton's casting as a Tibetan character in Marvel's Dr.