More Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Hollywood Could Totally Whitewash

Illustration for article titled More Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Hollywood Could Totally Whitewash

The Last Airbender wasn't punishment enough. Whatever we did to deserve Hollywood's "racebending" shenanigans, we've still earned more suffering. Tron Legacy's Garrett Hedlund is reportedly starring in Akira. And there's still the Americanized Cowboy Bebop in the pipeline too. And an Americanized Space Battleship Yamato.


But things could always get worse! To help prepare you for the ultimate cultural bloodbath, here's our list of Asian movies that Hollywood could still whitewash.

Top image: Totoro artwork by Richard Van de Wende for the Totoro Forest Project.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Come on, it could be awesome! A group of cute tween kids are shipped off to a secret facility to pilot EVAs — you could get Zac Efron, or maybe the kid who played Young Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, to play Shinji Ikari. Anne Hathaway could play Misato Kusanagi as a lovable ditz who eats instant noodles and tries to provide a home to these crazy kids. Don't forget to include lots of "touching" scenes where the kids sit around with Misato's pet penguin, Pen Pen, and talk about how they just want to be normal and go shopping. There should be a lot of scenes at the mall, too, in which they are too busy trying on shoes to go fight the Angels.

A Chinese Ghost Story
It's already had a (by all accounts) lackluster Chinese-language remake recently — so why not bring Chinese Ghost Story to the U.S.? You could even keep the title, and have some plucky white person trying to get to the bottom of a Chinese legend about a tree spirit that forces a beautiful young ghost to ensnare young men. The young man who falls in love with the mysterious ghost could be somebody hip and Americanized — maybe Justin Timberlake, he's hot right now. Instead of that boring stuff about Daoism, there could be a whole sequence where the hero teaches the older monk how to shop at the Gap. "Everybody loves the Gap!" There could be shopping-dancing and stuff.

The Host
Sure, this Korean monster movie was about callous, evil Americans poisoning a Korean river and unleashing a mutated giant monster on the populace — but you could easily transplant this story to America, and have foreigners be responsible for polluting the Potomac. (Instead of hinting that the U.S. government is responsible, pin the blame on terrorists, or at least foreigners of some sort.) Or better yet — keep the story in Korea, and have a group of plucky Americans who set out to save the Koreans from the results of their own self-inflicted environmental abuses. You could keep the awesome young archer girl, and maybe cast Chloe Moretz. Or one of the Deschanels. (Or both! Those Deschanel girls can both do "kooky" really well.) Oh, and get rid of that downbeat ending.


Sure, the original film is a trippy, demented ghost story that mashes up animation, stop-motion and other weird techniques to create a visual acid trip — but screw that. Let's stick Ashley Tisdale and a bunch of vaguely photogenic teenagers in a haunted house, and have them play spin the bottle until the ghost picks them off one by one. Just make sure the slutty one dies first.

Illustration for article titled More Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Hollywood Could Totally Whitewash

My Neighbor Totoro
Every couple years, there's an April Fools joke about an American Totoro remake from Tim Burton or Pixar — but eventually you know it's going to happen for reals. And hey, Totoro could be one of the Country Bears from the Country Bear Jamboree! Come on, you know you'd watch the hell out of that. Get a couple of little blonde girls, like the Fannings only a bit younger, and put them in a house in the countryside where they learn to square dance and make quilts. There should be a whole scene where the blonde girls, who are wearing gingham or maybe calico, make quilts in the meadow and Totoro the Country Bear comes to investigate. And instead of a cat bus, there should be a cat SUV — because public transportation is evil. Image: artist unknown, using images from Samurai Jack. Do you know who made this?

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl
Frankenstein and vampires are practically American to begin with — Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley are honorary Yanks — so the Japanese just stole this from us in the first place. You could easily turn this movie into a wacky American comedy, sort of like Zombieland. The whole business where Vampire Girl turns the hot boy into a vampire by feeding him a cookie with a bit of her blood could become a whole mall food court thing where the cupcakes are actually vampire cupcakes. All of the kids from Gossip Girl could star in this, and it could easily become a kind of "Mean Girls" riff, playing up the stuff that's in the Japanese version with the three popular girls terrorizing everybody else. Oh, and leave out all the weird cutting club stuff. That's just weird, and you wouldn't see the Gossip Girls crew doing anything like that.


Executive Koala
The idea of an executive who's actually a koala bear is kind of great — this really needs to be an Adam Sandler movie though. Maybe an executive gets turned into a Koala, until he learns an important lesson about cooperating in the workplace. It could be sort of like The Zookeeper, crossed with The Hot Chick. Instant gold! Make sure there's a role for Rob Schneider though.

Illustration for article titled More Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Hollywood Could Totally Whitewash

Sailor Moon
Miley Cyrus really needs a star vehicle, now that Hannah Montana is off the air for good. And I really think this could be it. Just get rid of all that lesbian stuff, please. Image: Miley Cyrus drawn in Sailor Moon style, by SailorMoon190 on Deviant Art.


Jeremy Hoag

On a related note, manga/anime characters often look European to me, even when, as in the live action Gantz, they are intended as representations of an actual Japanese person. Is this because the artists are Eurofying the images out of post-colonial neurosis, or is it more that the absence of blatant race signifiers causes my brain to see white by default, whereas an Asian person would see the same image as Asian?