Tag Archives: anime

Table For Two: Pacific Rim

By Arturo R. García & Kendra James

(L-R) Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako (Rinku Kikuchi) team up to save humanity from an extraterrestrial scourge in “Pacific Rim.”

Pacific Rim was introduced as an oddity and emerged as even more of one, but in a good way.

While the film was promoted as an homage to the Japanese Kaiju films of old (even outright integrating the term into the story), what audiences actually got was a movie that owed as much to anime classics like Neon Genesis Evangelion as it did to monster smash-’em-ups. And even more surprisingly, one that managed to use those tropes in a thoughtful, downright progressive fashion (albeit while using some wonky dialogue) without skimping on the action the trailer promised us.

Which makes it doubly disconcerting that the movie couldn’t even win its opening weekend at the U.S. box office, finishing second to, of all things, Grown Ups 2. Luckily, the movie’s doing well enough internationally that there’s already talk of a sequel.

But is it worth that kind of effort? Our intrepid reviewers suit up and tackle these questions under the cut. Heavy Spoilers from this point on.
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Neo-Manhattan Melodrama: How The American Akira Could Be Worse Than We Imagined

By Arturo R. García

When last we left the American Akira, the racebending had barely started: Garrett Hedlund was only being courted to play the lead character, Kaneda.

This week, thanks to Geek Tyrant and other sites, we got some more disturbing pieces of the puzzle, when this casting call for extras and stand-ins listed Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart stepping in as “Ky” – possibly because the character’s original name, Kei, was just too long for somebody’s tastes – and Helena Bonham-Carter playing Lady Miyako.

The casting call also shed some light on how the new version’s vision of “Neo-Manhattan” might play out. As “adaptations” go, it sounds like this Akira could hew as closely to this Akira as Jesus Christ Superstar did to the Gospels. Spoilers are under the cut.
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Quoted: IO9 on The Akira Whitewashing

Back when Warner Bros. greenlit their Americanized Akira movie everyone was buzzing that Tron Legacy star Garrett Hedlund was the lead contender for the role of Kaneda. Now it seems he’s been offered the part. Gah.

Listen, we don’t have anything really against Hedlund, he’s nice to look at on screen and his acting certainly wasn’t the only reason Tron Legacy failed so dreadfully. But come on, Hollywood, this is just boring. Can we at least consider an Asian actor, just one? And are we really going to call this guy Kaneda? Or are you going to Americanize all the Japanese names as well? Will Shotaro Kaneda be turned into Kenny, and Tetsuo Shima into Timmy?

- From “Garrett Hedlund offered lead role in Akira. Crap,” by Meredith Woermer

Akira, American Style


By Arturo R. García

It’s hard to imagine a more egregious anime or manga “re-imagining” than the debacle that was The Last Airbender, but this might do it.

The long-fearedrumored live-action Akira remakes garnered attention over the weekend when rumors spread that the “lead role” in the two-film series would be offered to … Zac Efron.

Yes, that would be Zac Efron as Shotaro Kaneda, leader of a gang of motorcycle-riding funboys in a post-apocalyptic urban dystopia. But it looks this remake wouldn’t necessarily be a whitewash – it’d be a complete westernization of the story.

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The Racialicious Comic-Con Preview

By Arturo R. García

For the purposes of our site, the big difference between this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and last year’s edition is this: only one panel out of the hundreds being offered will deal specifically with racial issues.

That one panel, by the way, will be Reginald Hudlin’s annual “Black Panel,” scheduled for bright and early Saturday morning. TBP has developed a reputation for being, shall we say, free-wheeling. But the blurb for this year promises, “The focus will be on empowerment, education, real-world networking, and finally but never last, fun.”

And that’s it. Quite the disturbing trend, considering that last year’s con saw two diversity-related panels, featuring the likes of Secret Identities‘ Jeff Yang, Milestone Universe creator Dwayne McDuffie, Star Trek‘s Faran Tahir, among others. There’s also no spotlight for NBC’s new POC spy drama Undercovers. But as you’ll see below, this looks to be a banner year for the LGBT community at the Con.

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M. Night vs. The Internet: The Airbender Mash-up

Compiled by Site Lead Arturo R. García

Recently M. Night Shyamalan, director of The Last Airbender, provided another lengthy response, though not by name, to the concerns raised by the Racebending campaign. While it’s good to read both sides of the story, of course, it’s unfortunate we never got to see the issue discussed in the most fitting manner: a public debate. As an experiment, though, here’s Shyamalan’s comments laid out alongside some notable posts about the film’s casting issues by Q. Le, Gene Luen Yang, Angry Asian Man and Derek Kirk Kim.

Q. Le: Perhaps the greatest offense that the “heroic” characters are portrayed by lily White actors while the “villainous” characters are portrayed dark-skinned Indian actors in lieu of the fact that all the characters have distinctly Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Inuit characteristics regardless of their “good” or “badness.”

M Night Shyamalan: Well, you caught me. I’m the face of racism. I’m always surprised at the level of misunderstanding, the sensitivities that exist. As an Asian-American, it bothers me when people take all of their passion and rightful indignation about the subject and then misplace it. Here’s the reality: first of all, the Uncle Iroh character is the Yoda character in the movie, and it would be like saying that Yoda was a villain. So he’s Persian.

And Dev Patel is the actual hero of the series, and he’s Indian, OK? The whole point of the movie is that there isn’t any bad or good. The irony is that I’m playing on the exact prejudices that the people who are claiming I’m racist are doing. They immediately assume that everyone with dark skin is a villain. That was an incredibly racist assumption which as it turns out is completely incorrect.

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Dispatches from the Maid Cafe

by Latoya Peterson

On Saturday, I received this email from regular reader Allison:

I found this article: “For Anime Fansa: Maid For A Day” by Dan Zak. The article talks about American women (read: white women) being hired to work as “Japanese maids” for a DC-area Anime convention. Among other duties, their volunteer responsibilities include “call conventioneers ‘master’ and ‘mistress.’ They gratefully drop to their knees to draw a ketchup smiley face on a Japanese omelet.”

Isn’t it great when white women appropriate Japanese culture in order to sell omlettes to the so-called ‘master’? No race & gender conflicts there, right?

In my horror, I had to pass it along. If anything, it might be fodder for a blog post.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!!

Little did she know I was at that anime convention (it’s called Katsucon) over the weekend. I woke up, checked my email, and laughed. I wasn’t planning on attending the maid cafe, but the Washington Post article made us seems like such gloriously costumed freaks, I felt like I had to go represent. I convinced most of my roomies to come with me, and so we began a quickie investigation with three main goals.

We went downstairs to determine if:

1. The maid cafe idea is sexist.
2. The maid cafe idea is racist.
3. The implementation of the maid cafe at Katsucon was racist/sexist. Continue reading