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Racebending and how much the movie sucked.


Mike Windu
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@ Totenkopf: Trying to determine an anime character's origin from the shape and size of their eyes or hair colour is kind of a silly way to go about things... It's an art style, not a measure of racial identity... and very few animes actually have a style where they convey a persons true origin...

 

Jin_roh3.jpg

 

"...Why?"

 

 

 

Most anime styles tend to have that whole "every character looks practically the same aside from a few small feature changes" approach anyway which ends up making things worse... and that's kind of why what defines the culture/race of an anime character seems to be determined more around what the setting is, their background and the many "hints" that are given about where that character come from... whether they are subliminal, liminal or superliminal :p

 

...at least that's what I've discovered from watching billions of hours of anime until I got sick of watching anime...

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But what're ya gonna do?

Phreak, that's what we're encouraging people to do. Vote with their wallets. The controversy has been picked up by 50+ news outlets, ranging from Associated Press to BBC. We're not going away anytime soon.

 

I'm voting I don't care. I wanna see the movie.

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The cartoon isn't technically an anime (not originating in Japan), but I can see where everyone is coming from if I can recall the DB movie (god why :() I wouldn't see any problems with more hapa actors portraying characters in set an Asian world (unless they are specifically described as being Caucasian, etc.)

 

BTW I love GTA's post - I was going to post something similar in another forum but decided against it (laziness :p)

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*edit for brevity*

 

Actually you missed the point too. Wasn't asserting what the actual identity of anyone was in the first place. Merely pointing out that judging strictly by appearance wouldn't necessarily lead one to come to the conclusion that said "oh, guess I'll have to cast a *pick your race* actor for this part b/c it's self evident that that charachter is..." Far as I'm concerned, I don't care what race or nationality an actor is as long as he or she is good at what they do. As for anime in general, I'm not a really big fan of many of the storylines or even the artistic styles used tbh.

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@ Totenkopf: To be honest, I didn't read what you typed :p I just went by the pictures posted in the thread and the last post of the thread... I like pictures.

 

However, I think what I said still stands. In any animation the characters looks are based around art style... in live-action shows it's different and the person playing a character has to embody a character to be convincing. After all, a tanned Irishman could be a hell of an actor, but I wouldn't cast him as an Indian character in a movie.

 

Why? Because it would be very difficult for the audience to connect the dots to allow them to believe that actor is that person that they're trying to portray.

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Well, perhaps you shouldn't have directed it toward me specifically then. ;) In live action, most people care less about the race of the lead than whether he or she was memorable or merely the popular flavor of the moment. While some purists end up possibly disappointed (whatever the project), most people don't either know enough about the actual background or don't really give a damn in the end. Judging by box office, a lot of people are willing to suspend disbelief about a lot of things if the end product is entertaining enough.

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Well, perhaps you shouldn't have directed it toward me specifically then. ;) In live action, most people care less about the race of the lead than whether he or she was memorable or merely the popular flavor of the moment. While some purists end up possibly disappointed (whatever the project), most people don't either know enough about the actual background or don't really give a damn in the end. Judging by box office, a lot of people are willing to suspend disbelief about a lot of things if the end product is entertaining enough.

That's assuming the movie isn't based on anything.... On the other hand, try showing people a Filipino person playing Bruce Wayne/Batman and see what people really think.

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Well, it might be interesting to test that theory out. Especially since not all Filipino's are small and dark skinned. Still, since Airbenders is apparently "anime" and not a whole lot of people seem that worked up over it (as a % of potential audience in general. I've already granted you that purists would/might be upset), I guess we'll just have to wait and see if enough people even care in the end. I know I couldn't care less who's cast....

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The bottom line seems to be: If you're going to adapt someone else's work that already has a fan base, respect their work and respect the fan base.

 

 

Obviously you don't care much about Avatar... but what if someone came along and started changing elements about something you did care about? I don't care much about Avatar either, but I can understand some peoples opposition to certain decisions made...

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@ igy: Hey, couldn't hog all the fun. :devsmoke:

 

Glad other people like it too.

 

 

Anyways I think this is all getting off topic. I don't believe the casting was necessarily this intentional racism that many people are seemingly in a bind over. Admittedly casting 'off-color' people to certain roles is kind of facepalm. All the while this ...decidedly visual appeal makes little if any determination at all on how the participating actors and actresses will perform their roles.

 

Skin color should not make a determination on how well one performs his/her duties. Period.

 

EDIT: @ lynk: What, you mean like that one movie (Walking Tall?) casting The Rock in the place of that one sheriff known to be a hardline white guy? (It *was* based off a real story.) I thought that was hilarious.

 

And I'd lol if a chinese played a mexican.

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Obviously you don't care much about Avatar... but what if someone came along and started changing elements about something you did care about? I don't care much about Avatar either, but I can understand some peoples opposition to certain decisions made...

 

I granted you the purists would be upset. ;)

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http://www.matt-thorn.com/mangagaku/faceoftheother.html

 

I answer that question with a question of my own: “Why do you think they look Caucasian?” “Because of the round eyes,” or the “blonde hair,” is the common response. When I ask then if the questioner actually knows anyone, “Caucasian” or otherwise, who really looks anything like these highly stylized cartoons, the response may be, “Well, they look more Caucasian than Asian.”

 

In the case of cartooning, of course, we are dealing with drawn representations rather than words, but the concept of “marked/unmarked” is every bit as salient. In the case of the U.S., and indeed the entire European-dominated world, the unmarked category in drawn representations would be the face of the European. The European face is, as it were, the default face. Draw a circle, add two dots for eyes and a line for a mouth, and you have, in the European sphere, a European face. (More specifically, you would have a male European face. The addition of eyelashes would make it female.) Non-Europeans, however, must be marked in drawn or painted representations, just as they commonly are in daily conversation (e.g., “I have this Black friend who...”).

 

It should come as no surprise, then, that Japanese readers should have no trouble accepting the stylized characters in manga, with their small jaws, all but nonexistent noses, and famously enormous eyes as “Japanese.” Unless the characters are clearly identified as foreign, Japanese readers see them as Japanese, and it would never occur to most readers that they might be otherwise, regardless of whether non-Japanese observers think the characters look Japanese or not.

 

When non-Japanese characters appear in a manga in which most characters are Japanese, that character will be differentiated from the others with stereotyped racial markers of some kind. For example, a character of African descent may be shown with pronounced lips, frizzy hair, and shaded skin. A European character may be shown with a pronounced nose and jutting jaw.

 

3711527845_d03fd229be_o.jpg

 

Here is azn aang saying harro i r aang cannah pronounce werdz

 

3711527905_a65a6cf9d2_o.jpg

 

Here is white aang pining over tractors and listening to country music

 

3711527781_db9987ee83_o.jpg

 

Here's our lovable protagonist in all his unnecessarily marked glory.

 

Here's real white people (Americans!) in Samurai Champloo:

samuraichamploo-6.jpg

 

Here's a German/Dutchie

 

engrish-samurai-champloo-hole.jpg

 

Sorry if the subtitle is inappropes. I'm too lazy to photoshop it.

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Heh, going through the reception bit in Wikipedia...

 

Roger Ebert gave the film half a star in his review, stating that it "bores and alienates its audiences," and notes the poor use of 3D among the film's faults. Ebert also criticized the casting of white actors in Asian roles, saying it was distracting to fans of the source material, while the actors that were picked gave bad performances.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Airbender#Reception

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It is seriously bad. I'd rather watch Dragonball Evolution or that Dead or Alive movie (even though I haven't seen DOA).

 

  • The acting from most of the cast was terrible. Jake Lloyd did better in The Phantom Menace.
  • The actors mispronounced so many things. Did no one in the movie pick up an Avatar DVD and watch a single episode?
  • I think the act of bending didn't look very good. All the benders in the movie just looked silly. That's probably something they couldn't help. The martial arts and bending looked better in the cartoon.
  • They tried cramming 20 episodes into less than 2 hours.

 

I really hope M Night Shammy's kids tell him how much the movie sucked. Actually, it's his kids' fault for introducing the show to him.

 

 

Here's a nice review of the film.

I haven't even mentioned the dialog yet, which is where the real comic force of the movie comes in. Like when Aang and his friends are taken prisoner by the Fire Nation and locked up with a bunch of Earth-benders, in a big dirt enclosure. And Aang looks at the Earth-benders and shouts, "EARTH BENDERS! THERE IS DIRT UNDER YOUR FEET! THERE'S DIRT ALL AROUND YOU! WHY DON'T YOU FIGHT?" And everybody's like, "Whoa." They notice that there's a lot of dirt here, all right. How did they miss that? It's like they've got selective dirt-blindness.

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I awoke this morning with a strange realization, probably stemming from io9's review.

 

M. Night has us all fooled. He doesn't want us to watch movies. He wants us to watch his career. The setup is all there: brilliant director creates a name for himself and subsequently destroys it. His career IS the movie, and we're living the twist.

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