George Takei on Akira Casting

George Takei explains Hollywood’s latest racebending of the Japanese cult classic Akira. As you may have known Warner Bros., who brought the rights to Akira wanted, white actors to portray the characters. Fans responded, and the company retreated, only to come back and resume their objective with some ‘changes’ to fit their version. Takei asks this important question, “”Why spend so much money on buying the rights of the film if they are just going to change everything?”

What are your thoughts on yet another Holly-white venture? Then again, what can be said about this? I mean look at Dragonball Evolution and The Last Airbender. See my point?


23 thoughts on “George Takei on Akira Casting

  1. Well I will insert my two cents for what it’s worth. I don’t know anything about anime. I’m asuming the Last Airbender and Dragonball Evolution are from the anime genre. But to make a long story short. This reminds me of a thread on Abagond about the fake Native American Iron Eyes Cody being a white man masquerading as an Native American. Is this what they are doing with this Akira story? Like watching Othello in black face when they could have just hired a African American actor. I don’t know why white people want do the right thing. Hire a Asian American actor or an actor of Asian decent. Justin Timberlake. I don’t even know this story but that just sounds so preposterous to me. It’s a SMH moment.

    1. Yea. Dragonball was a manga (Japanese comic) that turned into an anime (Japanese animated series) that spawned two sequel series, Dragonball Z and GT.

      Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American-made anime that’s gotten lots of praise. It spawned a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, in which the main character is a brown-skinned female.

      I think what they’re doing with Akira is trying to Americanize the story. Instead of having Asian or more specifically Japanese actors to cast, they want to hire white actors. Instead of having the setting made in Tokyo, Japan, (I think) they’re moving the setting to Manhattan, NY.

  2. *I meant to say I don’t know why white people won’t do the right thing when It comes to casting people of color for certain charcter roles.

  3. I was all over this mess when I first heard it. Don’t do it if you’re not going to stay reasonably true to the source material. I heard that they were changing the setting from Neo-Tokyo to post-911 Manhattan and making the conflict all about 911. *yawn* Whitewashing is played and people are sick of it.

    I know that our opinions don’t matter cause they’re going to make this flick anyway, but if they’ve learned anything from DE and TLA, then it’s that it will be a bad investment.

    *sigh* Dumbassery abounds. I’m with George on this.

    1. I heard about the setting change as well.

      This is a shining example of how whiteness hurts for white people. Their push for whiteness is literally bad for business. It’s been the case for some time now, and if they haven’t realized it yet, we may be witnessing the sinking of a ship.

  4. Thank you for that. I was wondering how things were going with Akira and it is so sad to see that Hollywood has yet to learn from the other epic fails.

    1. It’s beyond words. I read in an article about some reality TV shows that failed were still being pushed. It’s like they’re acting more on blind faith than common sense.

  5. I think what really bothers me about this is that Akira is very much about societal issues in Japan at the time it was made. Trying to Americanize (and whitewash) it cannot end in anything but failure

  6. Wow – another great work of anime being destroyed and whitewashed…sad and sickening, but I can’t say I’m surprised anymore.

    Nothing original has come out of Holly-white for some time. That is, if anything ever did…it’s always been something re-written and ‘cleaned up’ for white audiences, from the very beginning.

    Funny, I’m in the middle of working on a similar topic for my blog…a two-part series about racism and sexism in computer games and graphic novels.

  7. Frankly I have a hard time feeling sorry for Asians when they bitch about stuff like this because they try so hard to assimilate with American society they cry foul when they get butthurt over something like this.

    1. Lauren,

      This subject is not about assimilation, but of adaptation and casting. So far, we’ve seen stories originally made by Asians whitewashed in the Western media, and the track record has not been pleasing. Poor and race-based casting plus a shoddy plot ruins franchises. Thankfully, it doesn’t kill them.

  8. But my point is when you do everything humanly possible to hang out with the ‘popular kids’ don’t cry foul when you find out they only liked you because your dad had a Porsche and let you borrow it on the weekends.

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