A very brief glimpse of footage from the upcoming Attack on Titan live action film debuted on Japanese television and my very first though was, “Where are the white people?”
Now, Japan has never eeeeeever pretended to be a “post racial” society. And diversity isn’t exactly something I’d normally expect from a mostly homogeneous society. I’m also not against casting different races when ethnicity has little to do with the story. Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin never bothered me because, well, he’s Michael Clark Duncan, but also because Wilson Fisk’s ethnicity has very little to do with his character. I also don’t mind Scarlett Johansson as Mokoto Kusanagi because the Major could choose to be anybody. That’s kind of the point.
In this case however, I honestly feel like the cast could have benefited from some good ol’ Hollywood whitewashing. I’ve watched the anime, haven’t read the manga. But the fact that Mikasa Ackerman is the last known Asian is kind of a major plot point. Some of the her friends suspect that’s why she’s so scary good at Titan killing, that Super Asian blood. Or the story takes place in a town that’s waaaay far away from other Asians. The rest of the cast is entirely European. Who speak perfect Japanese.
Although now that I think about it, Mikasa being the Asian with the scary good neck choppy skills makes her a little problematic. She’s a token who’s justification for her presence in the story is her Asianess. She’s the ninja chick because of course she is.
Of course, I completely understand why there appear to be almost no white people on screen. Japan has so few non-Japanese that I bet the white acting pool is extremely shallow. That should probably give this movie a pass, but I’d feel like hypocrite for not pointing out the glaring yellow washing of this cast.