Category Archives: race and otakudom

Can Gareth Edwards Build A Global Godzilla?

By Arturo R. García

The release of the trailer for the latest Godzilla release spawned a pretty good discussion over at The Mary Sue Wednesday, including this critique from a fan:

It’s too early to tell just how “global” this new Godzilla is, but it would be really nice if it acknowledged that the death of human beings is universal and is no more or less tragic by virtue of location, nationality or ethnic background. I don’t see that happening for the promotional campaign, because the people who make trailers and commercials are frequently different from the actual filmmakers, and tend to be somewhat problematic at the best of times – so I don’t see them doing anything different from the norm.

Because the sad fact is that lots of people are going to look on the deaths of non-Western non-white people in films, even outright disasters, as they do for real life: as sad or upsetting, but not *quite* as upsetting as if it happened to “their” people – even if it takes place in a western city with an ethnic majority. It isn’t cinema’s job to challenge those preconceptions, but cinema is in a strong position to make a difference. Would it really be such a problem for a film to make the “bold” statement that the death of thousands of non-Westerners is just as tragic as the death of thousands of Westerners? Would that really constitute “reverse”-racism? Is that infringing on white people’s representation in the media?

The first trailer doesn’t give us a lot to go on on that score. And even if the film’s IMDB cast list counts at least six people of color involved, what we see here is mostly focused on white characters (starting with the nameless white soldier who jumps into near-certain doom at the beginning). But the only POC featured, Ken Watanabe, will likely be playing a key character in Godzilla canon — Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the man behind the invention that killed the original Godzilla in the monster’s 1954 eponymous debut.

But a piece of the synopsis has me, at least, hopeful that this film won’t just aspire to be a “reimagined version” of the character’s first appearance, and will show better judgment in picking which parts of Godzilla canon to explore.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT
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Casting Call: Lucy, the Mutant Human/Angel Hybrid Who Speaks with an Asian Accent (But is not Asian)

Image Credit: Schmector on Flickr

Image Credit: Schmector on Flickr

 

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man; originally published at Angry Asian Man

Uhhh… what the hell? Got this casting call passed along to me for an indie film called It’s Gawd!, described as an irreverent comedy about what happens when the almighty gets his own television show.


One of the parts in question is a character called Lucy, “a mutant human/angel hybrid who speaks broken English with a strong Asian accent.” But she apparently isn’t Asian, so the part is open to actors of all ethnicities… except Asians. Wait, what?

Yeah, I don’t get it either. Here’s the full breakdown:

IT’S GAWD!
Feature Film
Wow and Flutter Post / Wow and Flutter Media
SAG-AFTRA (SAG terms) – Pending
Producer: Ryan Rees, Gerald Brunskill
Director: Gerald Brunskill
Casting Director: Jennifer Birn
Interview Dates: 6/17-6/20
Callback Dates:
Shoot/Start Date: 7/11/13
Pay Rate: SAG-AFTRA MLB
Location: Los Angeles area
SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY
IF POSSIBLE, PLEASE SUBMIT ACTOR’S ONLINE DEMO CLIPS ALONG WITH EACH
ACTOR SUBMISSION.
Currently casting ONLY these two roles:

[LUCY] Mid 20s. Funny, quirky, and cute. Shorter is better! Lucy is a mutant human/angel hybrid who speaks broken English with a strong Asian accent. She is not Asian in appearance so all ethnicities (except Asian) are welcome. Childlike and innocent yet has a sharp tongue that can appear harsh at times. Very facially expressive.

[BUDDHALICIOUS / BRAWD] 20s-30s age not as important as ability to be “bigger than life in every way.’ All ethnicities welcome. Must be a plus-size female who is bigger than life in every way. Uninhibited by her size. Funny and loud. Speaks urban slang and although appears to be a cliched stereotype she is actually a wise, all-knowing being.

LOGLINE: Desperate to save the world (and his job), the creator of Earth journeys to the planet to reconnect with mankind — via a nightly variety show.

“Buddhalicious” sounds like a laugh riot too. This does not sound good. Damn, are you telling me that Asian actors don’t even get to do the fake accent anymore? We used to run that. So unfair — us Asians never get to play the mutant human/angel hybrid thing. (Thanks, J.)

Fox News Can’t Decide Whether to Love or Hate Latinos

By Guest Contributor Jorge Rivas, cross-posted from Colorlines

Fox News Latino has only been around for a few months, but it’s already become a hotbed of controversy. It’s less than a year old, and was created to target Latino audiences with news from both the U.S. and Central and South America. Yet while the it does the uncomfortable dance of trying to court more Latino viewers, that effort likely gets swallowed by the larger network’s venomous approach to important issues like the DREAM Act and border violence. Now, Media Matters is pushing for the network to make up its mind.

Fox News is the most-watched cable news channel in the country. In 2009-2010 the network surpassed CNN and MSNBC’s weekly viewership. A study released this week by Public Policy Polling found that PBS is the most trusted news outlet the U.S., followed by Fox News. (Fox News is the second-most trusted network, but also the most distrusted one, with 42 percent trusting it and 46 percent not trusting it.)

Last month they ran a story saying Spanish Actress Penélope Cruz was going to give birth to an “anchor baby,” but after some uproar from a group of Latino conservatives Fox News retracted the entire story, and today there is no sign of the story on their site.

Back when the network launched its Latino website, its leadership seemed optimistic.

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Sailor WTF?: Kirsten Dunst’s ‘Akihabara Majokko Princess’

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS NSFW IMAGES

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

At least she can sorta carry a tune.

Dunst1After two viewings, that’s about all I can glean from Kirsten Dunst’s cover of “Turning Japanese,” which premiered late last year as part of an exhibition by Takashi Murakami at London’s Tate Museum. According to Anime News Network, the video is a collaboration between Murakami and director McG, which makes this – to give everyone the benefit of the doubt – somewhat puzzling as an interpretation of anything close to fandom.

Dunst, to her credit, has a history with the medium: she voiced the title character in the English-language adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service, and has expressed an affection for Sailor Moon – which explains the costume – in past interviews. But instead of presenting her as a Majokko (“Magical girl” or “Witch Girl”), MCG here threw her under the same bus Scarlett Johansson rode in on for Lost In Translation.

Start with the musical selection: to be sure, “Turning Japanese” isn’t about actually being Japanese (nor is it about masturbation. Well, apparently.). And inter-cutting shots of her with hentai imagery – like, say, the upskirt shot on the billboard seconds after the one on Dunst – takes Dunst’s character out of the sympathetic realm and into Male Gaze territory. And as someone who had to sit through Terminator: Salvation, I don’t think McG thought it through that thoroughly.

Finally, there’s the “interactions” with the locals. The vast majority of them are wordless Others, watching the camera with blank looks. The guys in the jumpsuits, it seems, are members of a local dance troupe, and they at least get to be active. But otherwise the actual Japanese people here are either spectators, or look like they’re wondering who this girl is who’s ripping off Gwen Stefani’s act.

Notes from a Con [Series Introduction - Race and Otakudom]

by Latoya Peterson

While Arturo was gearing up for Comic-Con, and Joe hung out at the Asian American Comic Con, I spent the weekend at Otakon.

Stepping off the bus near the Convention Center, I felt myself involuntarily break into a smile. Neko ears, Naruto headbands and wings galore. For three days, the Baltimore Harbor area transforms into planet anime, and you never really know what you’ll catch out of the corner of your eye.

The locals tend to be amused. As I was walking down the street, a woman rolled down her window and hollered at the boy in front of me. “Excuse me – what’s going on here? Is it a Harry Potter convention?”

“What? No!” he said with a pained voice, pulling his Ichigo Kurosaki costume tighter around his thin brown frame.

I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Continue reading