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Clearly Asian?

kusanagi

I got this comment on my Ghost in the Shell Live Action Movie Thoughts video. I thought it was interesting.

partoftheproblem

No, I don’t get offended every time an Asian is not cast in a movie. I am especially not offended in this case of Ghost in the Shell as I’m unsure what “clearly Asian” means for this movie. This is a movie about consciousness and technology, a film about transcendence far before its time. If you love the original 1995 anime then you would not care about the race of the actor they chose to play Major Motoko Kusanagi. Her body and the bodies of the other cybernetic characters in this movie are not culturally or ethnically motivated.

Here’s one of the more powerful quotes from the film that I think really exemplifies Kusanagi and it shows that race is not one of her identifying features. That’s the whole point of the movie for me. The body is just a vessel.

There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience. I feel confined only free to expand myself within boundaries. – Kusanagi

Going back to the idea of the comment saying that the role is “clearly Asian,” I don’t think I can agree. I look at her as I’ve always looked at her since I first saw this anime. She’s always seemed more European and western in look than Asian as do almost all anime characters.

Anime characters have wide looking eyes as they have been largely inspired by the work of Osamu Tezuka who was inspired by the exaggerated features of American cartoon characters such as Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse and from Disney’s Bambi.. “Tezuka found that large eyes style allowed his characters to show emotions expressions distinctly.”

Depending on the different drawings styles of the animator, characters can vary in Eastern visual features, mostly in the eyes I’ve noticed. In the case of Kusanagi, her eyes are very wide and blue. I don’t know many Asians who have blue eyes.

Her nose is particularly is high in nasal bone area and thin in the nostril area, features which are more commonly seen in Western/European females. Her build is particularly muscular as well which does not seem to be a common body type of Asian females. These features do not mean she’s not Japanese or Asian but I think it surely can be open for interpretation.

In addition, as I stated before, I do not think that her nationality is relevant to her character.

That being said, I do agree that it’s much more respectful when film creators try to honor as much as the original creators design as possible. It’s not always relevant as we’ve seen race bending successfully done in many movies (not so much with the gender bending. lol). I would have loved to have seen an up and coming Asian actress given the opportunity to play Kusanagi but I’m also not bitterly upset that one wasn’t cast.

There are certain films where I think national identity is very important and others I do not. For example, if they “whitewash” Akira, I’ll be ready to unravel as the themes of that movie are heavily tied to cultural ideologies…. NOT that I think Hollywood has a chance in hell of doing that film right.

And maybe that’s where the real anger should be directed in terms of Ghost in the Shell in particular. Studios greedily acquire rights to properties so they can snatch them up before other studios do. Later, they have to produce these films whether the circumstances be right or not in order to recoup costs.

It is true, the fans were not asking for this to be made and if they were ever going to be asked, they’d want it done right. As I said in my video, my concerns for this movie have far less to do with ScarJo’s race than a whole host of other issues regarding respect for the movie’s story.

 

 

Code Against Killing

spidermankills

This is from Superior Spider-Man #5… wouldn’t that be hilarious if that’s how they had Spidey end the feud in Civil War by planting a bullet in someone? No? But it’s in the comics guys… he kills.. it happens. Spidey is a killer and needs to kill in order become a true hero and learn that murder is wrong.

I would love to see people defend that one….

I love seeing psychopaths in films too. One of my favorite movies of 2014 was John Wick, about a guy who goes around murdering fuck tons of people because someone shot his dog And I call that justice! No one shoots Daisy.

But then what defines a hero? Why even call them that? What makes someone rise about the rest of killers? Super powers? Superman’s powers are insane. His limitation is how he is able to use those powers and still maintain his Code Against Killing.

I feel the need to maybe explore my perception of Superman with some videos. Maybe it’ll help people understand my understanding of the character and why I find it offensive that he has a shitty moral code in MoS and BvS.

Quality of Film is Objective

I just read a comment about BvS in response to someone saying that the quality of the film was terrible. The response was that Quality is subjective.

This is where I draw the line. Quality of film is subjective? Really? This must be why Fifty Shades of Grey made the New York Times Best-Seller list for 100s of weeks.

You can say enjoyment is subjective and you can say experience is subjective but alas, there is an objective quality to film and story telling standards. Can we at least acknowledge there is a difference between titillating, guilty pleasures and profoundly intelligent writing? at least?!!!

Otherwise, why on earth did we go through years of schooling to learn about the fundamentals of great literature? Did someone just wake up one day and said, I subjectively pick these authors as quality writers and these classic stories as quality works?

There is a standard when it comes to story telling in both written and film format. I’m not a film school nerd or an author. I have no gift at story telling but I have mad respect for it in all formats.

Theme, plot, story structure, character development, world building, and use of visual language are all things you can quantify in films.

For example, at a most basic argument, Batman v Superman was advertised as a battle between two colossal superheroes. There was nothing subtle about the way the marketing team dangled the epic battle in front of us and there was nothing witty or intelligent in the reason they didn’t deliver on it. I’m okay with misleading trailers if its to completely throw the audience off guard for a much more compelling plot.

However, what we got was an 8 minute fight between Batman who wound up in the film as nothing more than a psychopath (severe diminished empathy and remorse) and a Superman who didn’t even want to fight but was compelled to because he was black mailed. My opinions on hating the characters presented is totally subjective but the inability to support the theme this movie advertised is totally objective.

I can then go on about continuity and flow of character and behavior from this scene and how Batman’s behavior after the “humanization” of Superman was completely disjointed. It lacked any cohesive movement. He literally goes from appalled, shocked, and then firmly resolved. It was jarring.

This is a basic example. I can and will eventually do a youtube video deconstructing this movie apart, mostly as a therapeutic exercise to help me get over my utter disappointment.

However, I really hope that people understand the difference between someone saying the quality of film was poor vs I hated this movie, it sucked ballzzzz! There is a difference and if we hope for future great films, I hope film makers acknowledge that as well.

Criminal Element, I Don’t Think it Means What you Think it Means

brand-new-photo-of-jared-leto-as-the-joker-graces-empire-magazine-s-december-cover-679885

When I first saw this image, I thought it was a joke but nope, it’s real. I’m a bit worried that the Suicide Squad is being hijacked by David Ayer’s version of a hybrid glam rock eurotrash LA gangster.

Iridescent gator skin pimp jacket, a cane????, barefoot, sweatpants and enough foundation and perfectly applied lipstick….no hunny, I’m not scared of you.

Just even the fact that people say tattoos add a “criminal element” makes me think the creator doesn’t understand criminal at all.

I’m reserving my judgement for the movie until I see it but as far as the Joker’s look, I’ll always hate it.

Azyxa’s Editor

I’m Azyxa’s editor on his MtG blog. Here’s how it goes:

“yeah, I don’t understand a word of what that meant, please simplify”

he re-edits

“yeah… still don’t get it…this is far too technical ”

he re-edits

“think dumb and dumber….”

lol

I Really, Really Disliked Pitch Perfect 2

MV5BMTk0Mzg4NDYyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2ODg2NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_I really, really disliked Pitch Perfect 2 and yet I found it entertaining. I guess the same type of entertaining I find youtube videos of people pulling their scabs off and bleeding. Fascinating and yet disturbing, hard to watch, but just so grotesque you can’t look away…..

I thought about it more, I think I liked the first one because it was this corny a cappella movie that was comedic. The sequel feels more like a comedy with a cappella thrown into it.

Stay Away From Doctors

live-action-dragon-ball-z-movie-prayers-or-possibilities-let-it-begin-73563bc9-bf98-4cf3-a656-d64949c0d49d-jpeg-281067Me and life throwing punches at each other. Found out today the biopsy I need to get is going to cost approx 600-900 dollars. Sadly, my deductible is $1400 and I’ve only paid 360 of it so far.

My take is to wait and get the biopsy later after we’ve reached the deductible but Azy is like.. nooo. don’t wait. 9/10 times it’s benign shit on the thyroid but maybe life wants to throw me a curve ball. Who knows.

My mom is always like stay away from doctors. The more you go to one, the more you’ll keep going. She’s right.

Can we be trusted to our own will? No.

Great, I just made a post about no longer being a pacifist and then did a google search for AR-15 today. I’m on so many lists right now, I’m actually worried!

A friend was asking me a question about the AR-15 and I had no idea what it was so I googled it.

Funny enough, that’s the second time this week someone has said to me that it’s a Texan’s God given right to own a gun.

I live with someone who hates, hates, hates guns. So I hear both sides of the argument a lot.

My take on gun control and firearm death is that it’s a complicated issue that requires us to look at education and culture as much as laws and regulations. If you look at the statistics of firearm death, we have to look at suicides, inner city violence, poverty, and the culture of gun ownership.

I usually hear one of two things. “Fuck guns, they’re stupid” or “try and take them away from me”….

And I do find it very small of people who think that gun related deaths are an issue because psychopaths have access to guns and can shoot up a school. The problem is so much larger in scope. (gun related deaths have been a serious problem for years and have nothing to do with mass shootings)

Also, if mortality rate is your leading impetus for concern, gun violence does not even register in the top ten list of leading causes of death in the US.

But that doesn’t mean a lot needs to be addressed and that we shouldn’t aim for increased gun regulations. No guns = no gun homicides. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. And at what point are we saying humans need to be consistently regulated?

Is that the consensus, that as humans, we simply can not cultivate a society where we can be trusted to our own will? Perhaps not. I’ve never harbored the greatest hope for our species anyhow.

I just often wonder if people are actually addressing the right issue for their concerns. And I often wonder if it’s possible to create a viable solution to anything when the objective and problem are so ill defined.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/…/24-7-wall-st-states-mos…/71003050/
http://www.nij.gov/to…/crime/gun-violence/Pages/welcome.aspx
http://www.factcheck.org/2015/10/gun-laws-deaths-and-crimes/ 
https://www.unodc.org/gsh/en/index.html

How Much Longer Can We Remain Pacificists?

There’s something to be said about countries who don’t idly sit around bitching about the state of their country on Facebook. Instead, they get out there, rip shirts off CEOs, burn uber cars, and light up the streets.

I used to think violence was not the answer but as the separation of power also creates a physical barrier between those making decisions and those being effected, I often wonder how much longer we can remain pacifists?

I’m just saying that if a group of people asked me to help them stop Martin Shkreli and whoever else was on the board of Turing Pharmaceuticals from attending a board meeting that would raise the price of a life saving drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill, I can’t say I would say no.

15 years ago, I would have said hell no. That’s not the way to get anything done. Today, I can’t say that. I’m not saying this is a good thing, it’s not. I’m just saying that as I become more cynical, I give less fucks about “reasonable” solutions.

*I realize I’m now on some list. I’m probably on a lot of lists.

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