When it comes to Hollywood, the industry does not have the best track record with anime. Fans of the hugely popular medium refuse to think about projects like Dragon Ball Evolution, and other live-action takes on anime have failed to impress. These days, fans would rather Hollywood stay far away from foreign titles like Naruto if it means they stay safe, but Hollywood has a growing reason to pursue anime. After all, the Japanese industry is growing fast these days after a stalled hiatus.
So, this month, many anime fans will be watching their local theaters closely. The end of March will usher in Hollywood’s live-action take on Ghost in the Shell, an iconic franchise created by Masamune Shirow. The genre-bending story will see Scarlett Johansson star as the Major, a soldier who lives in a fully cybernetic body. Plenty of fans have already made their complaints about the film’s casting in light of white-washing concerns, but one of Ghost in the Shell's Japanese stars is pushing back against the complaints.
When it comes to Beat Takeshi, the hugely popular foreign star thinks Ghost in the Shell will break Hollywood’s bad record with anime.
Speaking to Cinema Today at the film’s premiere in Tokyo, Takeshi said he is fiercely proud of Ghost in the Shell.
“We have seen that most of live-action film adaptations failed to reach the quality of their sources and were criticized heavily. But this time, the fans who have grown up with theoriginal manga and anime series say this film is great,” he said.
“Faithful and new, I think this may be the first successful live-action film adaptation of a Japanese manga. But people also say that only flaw in the film is Aramaki (played by Takeshi)."
Continuing, the actor said he was happy to blend Hollywood’s high-octane action with Japan’s own narrative flavor. “I demanded (to the director) that Aramaki needed to speak in Japanese and I carried it through. Because the based film is a Japanese anime. I was happy to join a film based on a Japaese-born work. But on the technology side, I was amazed by Hollywood.”
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, Ghost in the Shell follows the Major (Scarlett Johansson), a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.
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The cast also includes Beat Takeshi Kitano as Daisuke Aramaki, Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet, Michael Pitt as Kuze, Pilou Asbæk as Batou, and Kaori Momoi. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.
Ghost in the Shell will be released in the U.S. on March 31, 2017.