Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s latest animated film, has been making news and setting records in Japan (it’s currently the second highest grossing film of all time over there!) and after watching it, I’m not surprised. Your Name initially comes off as a light-hearted comedy but evolves into a film that touches upon various relatable themes that are woven throughout this story of adolescence, nostalgia, and love.
This Saturday, Disney will air the third season finale of Star Wars: Rebels, and by all indications, it’s going to be awesome. I’ve said it before, but Rebels is probably my favorite entry into the Star Wars canon since Empire Strikes Back. Season three has only solidified its GOAT status as far as televised Star Wars stories go. If you don’t believe me, be sure to check out last week’s episode set on Tatooine — which only made me want a solo Obi-Wan movie even more.
In tandem with Rogue One, Star Wars: Rebels is the perfect bridge between the prequels and the Original Trilogy. And not for nothing, Rogue One, in a way, featured the first live action incarnations of our favorite members of the Ghost crew. While Chopper was the only Rebel we saw on screen, if we ever get to see the rest in the future, here are the actors I’d like to see playing them.
The art of “translating” a media property from one cultural context to another requires more than simple language transliteration. Translating works of art has existed from the moment people from different cultures encountered one another. But at what point does translating something for an American audience necessitate whitewashing as well? Today, we’re going to look at two animated properties available on Netflix — Yo-Kai Watch from Japan and Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir from France — to determine at which point whiteness trumps cultural context when making a kids’ show more acceptable to American audiences.
On February 28, I saw a 15-minute sneak peek of the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. From the announcement of the project, this has always been a bad idea. But the announcement of the cast and story has made things much worse. Most noticeably, Hollywood adaptations of Japanese anime have yet to be successful. Either their stories veer too far from the source material, the director isn’t a good fit or the casting makes no sense. You would think Hollywood would learn, yet here we are, on the precipice of another anime-adapted flop.
Here are the takeaways from what I have seen of Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell so far.
What makes a hero? Is it the super powers? The skill sets? The gadgets? Our intentions? Our actions?
I’m a comic book guy through and through so these are the questions that haunt me. There are moments in our lives that define us. That we allow to define us through our choices, our mistakes and how we respond to them. Sometimes those moments are big, sometimes they are minute. But in those moments we definitely learn the content of our character.
Here’s an example.
It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s where I review the best and brightest that television had to offer in the previous year. If you haven’t already, you should check out my Top Films of 2016. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll wait. No really, I’ll wait. You back? Awesome.
As is the standard with my movie year-in-review, my television selections have to pass the Upkins Media Litmus Test.
Without further adieu…
When it comes to the media, the Original X-Man, First Class, Brother Malcolm said it best:
There is an old fairy tale popularized by Hans Christian Andersen as The Little Mermaid. I’m one of those odd first-and-a-half generation Vietnamese American immigrants, and tales of living in between spaces have always held my attention. The story goes that a little princess from a world under water wants to live on the land. She falls in love, exchanges her tongue for a pair of legs, and finds herself thrust into the unenviable circumstance of navigating a strange space where she literally has no voice. Ultimately finding no place for her in the world for which she had given up everything, she casts herself off the side of a ship into the ocean, drowns, and dissolves into sea foam. Victorian sentiments about Christianity and moralizing stories for children eventually got Andersen to amend the ending. This is more or less the state of Asian American identity politics. We’re always finding ourselves caught between “where we come from” and wherever we yearn to belong.
The buzz around the 2017 Ghost in the Shell film, among many other film and television projects of its ilk in recent memory, has ignited a bevy of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation and the nature of Asian American identity politics. The topic is complicated.
Wow, where to start with this trailer. It OPENS on a person in stylized Japanese esoteric garb to tell us how much we’re in that place Japan where things are weird. Who is this person? Don’t know, don’t care at all.
Then we get a pretty faithful live-action recreation of the original Ghost in the Shell’s elegant opening action sequence, pretty much nailing the point home that the only reason you aren’t aware of this seminal science-fiction already is because it didn’t have Scarlett Johannson in it, and now we fixed that for you.
Move over, Fresh Off the Boat! There’s going to be a new show in town that will diminish all the progressive work you’ve done for Asians.
Deadline announced recently that NBC has picked up a half-hour sitcom called Mail Order Family, a comedy about a widowed single father who orders a mail order bride from the Philippines to help raise his two preteen daughters.