Darth Vader, Shards of the Past

Wanted to share this as I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars Theory Channel! They do amazing stuff on there and are really high-level storytellers in their own right!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Problem with Anime Live Action Portrayals

 

(Okay full disclosure before we get going, I know a lot of people don’t consider Avatar to be Anime, however in many aspects, I think it is close enough in many aspects. Stylistically, it is very similar to things like Studio Ghibli and other mediums.)

If it wasn’t plainly obvious, I love anime! Cowboy Beebop, Battleship Yamato, Trigun, Naruto, Ruroni Kenshin, Fairy Tail, the list goes on. However there seems to be a major problem when transitioning these stories from animation to live action. For some reason, everyone assumes that the entire cast should be Asian. Any time a character that is perceived to be Asian or any other race  is portrayed by someone who is white, is often referred to as being ‘white washed’.

Frankly, given that the same standard does not apply in the other direction (Nick Fury, Dark Tower, etc.) I will not use that term as I consider it racist. Personally, I’ve always been of the mindset that if someone is a good fit for a role, can accurately portray the character’s personality, and respect the original source, then I really don’t care what race the actor is.

If someone came to me saying that they wanted to do a live-action Drakin, and portray Raiya as Japanese, I be excited to see what they come up with.

Anyway, onto the topic at hand…

So why do people, ironically mostly western audiences, expect live action movies based on anime to be portrayed by all Asians? Well often times it’s because Anime is such a huge part of Japanese culture, other times because people believe that Asian actors are under represented, and so on.

The argument on the other side is that a lot of anime characters actually look very Eurocentric and… that’s arguable. Put into context, part of the reason anime characters look fair-skinned with large eyes can be traced back to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. The original series helped bring anime into global recognition. Tezuka was a fan of, and highly inspired by the style and designs of Walt Disney. He liked the large eyes and incorporated them into his character designs. Because so many series draw their style from this original work, large eyes became predominant over many series to come. However, where western audiences see western characters, those same characters are seen as Japanese by their audiences from Japan. To me, this isn’t a failure of the design, it’s actually a plus. That these characters are designed in such a way where their race is left ambiguous, people can see them however they want.

Now, does that mean that many of these roles should be portrayed by more Asian people? In some cases… yes I agree if you’re going for visual accuracy, but I think in these need to be taken on a case by case basis and analyzed instead of just painting with a broad brush. Let’s take a look at two examples…

Example 1 M. Night Shyamalan’s (Sigh) The Last Airbender…

Here we see an absolute mess of characters that are arguably miscast. Let’s go down the list one by one of the various portrayals.

The Waterbenders (Katara and Sokka)…

Airbender_El_Ultimo_Guerrero-Cartel

This is arguably one of the worst portrayals in the movie, if we’re going by the rules that people should be portrayed by a perceived race… I would say that Katara and Sokka should be portrayed by someone who could pass as an Inuit if not by an actual Inuit, respectively:

Airbender_El_Ultimo_Guerrero-Cartel

Next let’s look at the Earth Benders…

Earth-Kingdom-Warriors-avatar-the-last-airbender-1272230-500-333

vs.

(Hehe, sorry… the Devil made me do it!)

So I think most people argue that in this case, the portrayal is accurate. Though… I don’t know, you could make the case for Siberian Russian here as well, if not strictly going by their clothing and buildings. However, this one was fine for more people, so we’ll leave it at that.

The Fire Benders…

Airbender_El_Ultimo_Guerrero-Cartel.jpg

vs.

Airbender.jpg

Okay, obviously these characters are poorly portrayed all around, but I would argue that doesn’t have… as much to do with their races as it does the actual people chosen. I’m sorry, but he looks NOTHING like Uncle Iroh and didn’t even come close to getting his personality right…

As for the racial issue… yes the architecture of the Fire Kingdom does look… arguably Chinese, you could make the case that, given the climate of India and the Middle East, they would be closer to what a ‘Fire Nation’ would look like. So while the portrayal is terrible, I think using people of Middle Eastern descent for the Fire Nation is a… fairly interesting take. I could see it working… just not like this.

Finally… Aang…

(See the Title Image)

Arguably this is the best portrayal in the movie. I have no issue with Aang being a white kid and I really think, visually, Noah Ringer was actually a really good choice for the role. Feel free to disagree, but you can’t deny that he looks the part.


Example 2:

The Controversial Casting from Ghost in the Shell:

ghost-in-the-shell-21

I know a lot of people took issue with this, saying that she clearly was supposed to be portrayed by an Asian woman… however… I don’t think so. Scarlett Johansson looks the part and I think did an amazing job in the role.

I also have to note that most of the criticism above comes from… ironically enough, western audiences. Yeah, odd though it may sound… Asian audiences, as well as the creators, actually liked Johansson’s portrayal.

So when it comes to mediums where one character appears as… or is implied by some, to be a certain race, do you need to find an actor to portray them properly?

Well… the answer is, it depends. If we’re talking about an Anime that actually takes place in an Asian country like Ruroni Kenshin, then every effort should be made to find a suitable Japanese actor… or at least an Asian who looks convincingly Japanese. Kenshin is a Japanese Samurai, thus it really wouldn’t make sense to have anyone else portray them.

However, when we’re talking about fantasy worlds, I think as long as the creator and the culture being portrayed largely doesn’t have an issue with it, then it’s not up to the audience at all.  As long as neither of those parties are offended, I really don’t see an issue. What’s more, they don’t need people to be offended on their behalf. They can speak up and object if they have a problem with it.

So… what does everyone think? Am I correct in saying that, excepting in specific examples, race shouldn’t be a determining factor in any role as long as the character can be accurately portrayed, or should it be taken more into consideration? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars Rebels, is that it???

 

 

[Spoilers Ahead, Ye Be Warned]

So the 45 minute series finale is over. We’ve seen where everyone ended up and how events unfolded. The Rebels successfully freed Lothal. The only fates that are not known are Admiral Thrawn, Ezra Bridger, and Sabine Wren.

So now that the rest of the Ghosts are off doing there own thing, what happens to Ezra and Sabine? Is Thrawn still out there wreaking havoc? What’s next for the Ghosts?

Really, this finale wrapped things up, but left so many strings open.

Lothal gets saved by the rebels, who then get help from the… Space Whales? I don’t know, I don’t remember their names.

So Hera was pregnant all along and we didn’t know. Fair enough.

Agent Callous was forgiven his crimes and happy to see that he didn’t wipe out Zeb’s people and was accepted by them.

The Ghosts fought at the Battle of Endor. Awesome! Wish we could have seen that from their perspective!

So what’s left? Well… Ezra and Thrawn went into hyperspace and we never saw them die. Sabine believes he’s still alive and at the end, Ahsoka shows up in… what looks like some kind of Monk’s outfit, and takes Sabine to find Ezra.

That’s where the show ends…

What the hell??? Any thoughts on what’s next??



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Ahsoka Tano proves JJ and Kathleen Have No Clue What They’re Talking About…

“‘Their problem isn’t Star Wars, their problem is being threatened…  Star Wars’ is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in ‘Star Wars,’…If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’ You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [‘Star Wars: A New Hope’] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.”

 

Okay, okay, there’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get started. There have been a lot of criticisms levied at J.J. for his comments in regards to fans being threatened by women. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

SOME Star Wars fans have been awful.

I’m not kidding, many people have lobbed a ton of hate at Admiral Holdo and Rose Tico. Now I personally don’t have an issue with this, I personally can’t stand Rose. That being said, lobbing horribly racist and sexist statements at the actor is not going to solve anything for anyone and basically empowers a victim narrative and emboldens a lot of the wrong people to continue pushing their narrative.

I’ve found a lot of sites saying that J.J. is basically saying that ‘everyone who hates the Last Jedi, has a problem with women. I didn’t get that from his commentary at all. I feel like he was talking about the people who actually do feel that, and yes they’re out there.

However, right now… it seems J.J. is pulling a bit of a Paul Feig. Those people that I mentioned above are a very small minority and the fact that J.J. is taking the time to call them out, kind of paints the narrative that he’s basically dismissing the majority of the criticism as sexism and that’s not really fair.

Yes, people can’t stand Rose Tico, she’s basically the Jar Jar Binks of the new trilogy. Yes, people (myself not included) think Admiral Holdo is basically a feminist portrayal. However, that is not the majority of criticism. I’ll address that more below…

Now onto Kathleen Kennedy. I don’t know what she’s talking about. I knew girls growing up who loved Han Solo, some dressed like him for Halloween. Others did dress as Princess Leia and… one did a surprisingly good Mon Mothma Costume. However, the girls that liked Star Wars didn’t just gravitate to Princess Leia.
The problem for Kathleen is that she seems to have convinced herself that people are not going to live characters that are not ‘like them’. We’ve seen this proven false many times over. (Go to Comic-Con and see how many girls dress up as Loki. Nuff said.) I agree with Kathleen when she says that it’s her job to tell a story, that’s fine. Tell a story, and if you want to push a narrative, fine push a narrative. However, do it in a way that doesn’t bring the damn story to a screeching halt. The Last Jedi would have been perfectly fine had the Canto scenes been cut.

So by now you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with my chosen title and image. Well…

A few nights ago, Ahsoka Tano reappeared in Star Wars Rebels and it is now known that she survived her fight with Vader and was a major part of this episode.

The internet EXPLODED!

Article upon article came out talking about the return of the ‘beloved’ and ‘fan favorite’ character. Now, what do Ahsoka, Admiral Holdo, and Rose Tico, have in common? They’re all female.

So how does this punch a hole in what J.J. and Kathleen are saying? Well in J.J.’s case, it shows that the majority of Star Wars fans do not have a problem with women and are not threatened by them. Given how many Star Wars fans are boys, this also punches a hole in Kathleen’s theory too as the majority love Ahsoka.

So what’s the issue then? Honestly… the issue is extremely poor writing. It seems like everyone was so preoccupied with driving its narrative forward, that they didn’t stop and look to see if their characters were any good or if they were written well.

There’s nothing wrong with writing strong female characters. Nothing at all, I write strong female characters… or I try to. The problem is that these characters have little backstory, little in the way of motivation, and very little in the way of likeability.  Give us a reason to like Rose, actually make her strong instead of an annoying fan girl. Surprise us by having her do something amazing in the next movie and you’ll bring the fans back behind her. You can’t really do the same with Admiral Holdo… but I really didn’t have an issue with her.

So, sorry JJ and Kathleen, you can paint whatever picture you want with a broad brush, but you’re not going to get the great Star Wars of the past as long as you keep this up. If that’s even your goal. If you’re hoping that the crowd which Marvel seems to pander to will save you, they won’t. Most of them aren’t into these types of movies anyway.

But that’s my two cents, what do all my readers think?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim