So I am doing a follow up on my article regarding the Ghost in the Shell casting controversy since I felt that I still had plenty to say, but it did not fit the original article. So here it goes, do you guys know what cosplay is? I am pretty sure most people who read this blog or is in involved in Geek, Nerd and Video Game culture know what it is, but if you have been living under a rock for the past 116 years or so here is a quick rundown of what cosplay is: “Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure), a contraction of the words costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character in a Video Game, Movie, Anime or Manga.” But now you ask where are you going with this larch?
Why are you bringing up something like cosplay in a nontraversy like the Ghost in the Shell casting controversy? Well one of the main arguments the outrage crowd uses besides the fact that the movie is “white washing” by casting Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi (Which I have touched on in my other article.) Is that she is of Asian origin and as such should be played by a person of Asian descent. Because why? I am pretty sure your understanding of the story and the characters won’t be affected by the race the actor playing the role. Remember the remakes of Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars, Infernal Affairs, The Departed, Oldboy, The Ring? None of those remakes had Asian characters in the lead roles, and I am pretty sure it did not affect the story or plot in any way.
So for your viewing pleasure I added a gallery of western ladies cosplaying as Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, and just below that an image of what these cosplayers are basing their outfits of. Which is just one of the many re-incarnations of the characters as you can see by another image I added below. So at this point if the pretty pictures I posted haven’t gotten my point across, then me having verbal Diarrhea and arguing semantics for this entire article would be counterproductive and a waste of my and your time, so I will just pose the following question: Isn’t acting basically just like cosplaying? You are wearing an outfit and pretending to be someone else for a short period of time or in this case, Scarlett Johansson is going to pretend to be Motoko Kusanagi.
So judging by the above images of western woman cosplaying as Motoko Kusanagi and doing a pretty good job of it, isn’t there a chance that Scarlett Johansson might also look and play the part? Irrespective of her race and skin color? So if cosplayers can do it without fear of a potential backlash then why cannot actors and Hollywood do it as well? Because after all is said and done in the Anime and Manga, Motoko Kusanagi actually had several prosthetic bodies, of both genders, ages and races in both the Anime and the Manga. She herself doesn’t even remember her original name or origin and mentions this several times. So in this case can you still call it white washing considering the source material? Or is this just another case of people being hyper sensitive about something?