In what might be called “too little, too late,” it was just recently announced that the original voice actors from the classic anime version of “Ghost in the Shell” are returning to provide the dubbed voices of the new live-action remake in their home country of Japan. While this doesn’t erase the controversy surrounding the Scarlet Johansson film, this is a clear move by the studio to show fans of the original film that they are taking this remake seriously.
Akio Otsuka, Koichi Yamadera, and Atsuko Tanaka are the voice actors who brought the main three characters from “Ghost in the Shell” to life back in 1995. Now, over 20 years since the release of that film, they’re coming back to lend their voices once again to the franchise. Unfortunately for American audiences, this version of the film is, as of now, only scheduled for release in Japan. However, this is clearly something that they can put on the special edition Blu-ray when it’s released later this year. So die-hard fans can watch English-speaking actors dubbed in Japanese, but then subtitled in English.
Whether the studio will admit it or not, this is clearly a PR move to help sell this film to audiences overseas, and also to those who have been crying foul since Johansson’s casting announcement. The whitewashing debate has been raging on for well over a year, with each bit of new footage and news surrounding the film’s release.
Does this mean that director Rupert Sanders’ film is destined to fail? That’s still to be determined. Some could argue that the more damning bit of evidence of future failure is the film’s PG-13 rating. Combined with the high profile casting, the rating leads many to believe that this film is a much more sanitized version of the classic anime, intended for four quadrant mass appeal instead of being completely faithful to the original.
“Ghost in the Shell” will be released on March 31st. [Collider]