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Should anime be adapted into live-action films?
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Live-action adaptations result in forms of improper cultural appropriation

In live-action adaptations, especially those produced by Western studios, attempting to fit an anime story into a real-life setting can cross some problematic cultural lines.
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The Argument

With the rise of anime has come Hollywood's interest in them. They have set out to make live-action versions of those anime to cash in on the new craze. But when Western studios take over Asian media, they run the risk of improper cultural appropriation and whitewashing their casts. Unfortunately, that fear has become reality multiple times. Scarlett Johansson was famously condemned for taking the role of the Japanese protagonist of Ghost in the Shell. Netflix's adaptation of Death Note was similarly decried by taking the Japanese characters and making them mostly white Americans. And while debate still continues on whether or not it is actually anime, the adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender received similar criticism for having white actors portray what appeared to be Asian or Asian-inspired characters in the original show. All of these egregious examples put a stigma on Western studios, and with how recent Netflix's Death Note was, they don't have the excuse of not knowing better. Western studios getting their hands on Japanese stories has a whole host of problems that comes with it. Not least among these is the danger of improper representation. Representation of all people in media is an important ideal in today's society. But the practices of these studios show that they fail in this regard.

Counter arguments

Mistakes have been made in the past, certainly. But there's no reason why other studios can't learn from those mistakes and do better in the future. The success of movies like Crazy Rich Asians (another adaptation, this one of a novel) shows that Hollywood can make successful movies and get representation right. The same can be done of adaptations of anime. To say that they shouldn't adapt anime because some movies whitewash them negates the numerous possibilities that future studios, and future actors, have to bring these beloved franchises to the big screen.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 26 Aug 2020 at 14:39 UTC

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