The cyberpunk manga/anime franchise Ghost in the Shell will finally get a live-action movie adaptation. The movie, however, garnered media attention due to casting actress Scarlett Johansson as the main protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi.
IGN reported that Kodansha, the publisher of the Ghost in the Shell manga (Japanese comic), has given their support to casting Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi. Kodansha is one of the largest manga publishers in Japan and first published the Ghost in the Shell series back in 1989.
Kodansha has begun republishing the manga after anime production studio Production I.G. successfully convinced Hollywood to make a live-action film.
The outrage began when an image of Scarlett as Kusanagi surfaced. Many feel that Ghost in the Shell, being Japanese, should at least cast an actress with Asian descent. Sam Yoshiba, Kodansha’s international business director, expressed his gratitude towards the respect for the manga and reasoned that Scarlett’s casting was a great choice.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Yoshiba believes that she (Scarlett) has the cyberpunk feel and they never expected a Japanese actress would be cast to begin with. They were more excited by the fact that this is a chance for a Japanese property to be shown around the world.
The casting choice was apparently frowned upon by Western fans of the franchise, since fans from Japan weren’t too upset about the casting choice. This is mostly due to the fact that many did not care about the live-action film since they had no plans to see it anyway.
Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks will be co-producing the film with director Rupert Sanders at the helm. Ghost in the Shell has begun production in New Zealand and is set to be released in March next year. For many, this is a dream come true, especially for fans that have waited since the 90s when the anime was first released.