Japanese Fans Don't Seem to Have Any Issues with Scarlett Johansson Starring in GHOST IN THE SHELL
As many of you know, there was a huge controversy surrounding the casting of Scarlett Johansson. A lot of people didn't like the fact that she was cast in the role of The Major because of whitewashing. Anyone who's familiar with the manga and anime knows that The Major is a synthetic "full-body prosthesis" augmented-cybernetic human with no fixed form or race so it shouldn't really matter who ended up playing the character. Even the director of the 1995 anime, Mamoru Oshii, previously defended the casting of Johansson:
"What issue could there possibly be with casting her? The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply."
The Japanese fans didn't seem to have any issues with Johansson being cast either. THR reached out to a couple of these fans to talk about the film. One of them was named Tomoki Hirano, who said:
"It looked really cool and I really enjoyed it. They didn't just try and copy the original, but came up with an original story, which was a better approach. Because it was a Hollywood production they could use that size of budget to create those visuals of that quality."
When asked about Johansson he said:
"She was very cool. I loved her in The Avengers and I wanted to see this because she was in it. If they had done a Japanese live-action version they would have probably cast some silly idol [girl-band member]."
Another fan named Yuki was asked about the film after seeing it and this is what he had to say:
"It looked amazing. I think that was the best visuals they could have done in a live-action version. The story was a bit shallow though, it didn't go deep into the themes of the anime. But it's a Hollywood version, so that's what you expect."
Yuki went on to say that Johansson was, "probably the best choice," to play the Major and added:
"I heard people in the U.S. wanted an Asian actress to play her. Would that be OK if she was Asian or Asian-American? Honestly, that would be worse: someone from another Asian country pretending to be Japanese. Better just to make the character white."
Regardless of the anime director's defense of Johansson's casting and the Japanese fan's opinion of the actress in the role, people in the U.S. still complained and Warner Bros. even admitted that casting of the actress hurt the film. I personally thought the film was awesome and it's a shame that more people didn't go out to see it.