Movie and anime fans must be more than familiar with the Ghost in the Shell live action movie by now. Adapted from the popular Japanese film and anime series, the American version has understandably been accused of whitewashing several roles — most notably that of the main character played by Scarlett Johansson. There’s very little at this point that Ghost in the Shell can do to sway those opponents, but the movie is trying to win back some favor. In a move for hardcore fans, the Japanese dub of the movie will feature three voice actors from the original series reprising their roles.
As reported by Kotaku (via Japanese site Natalie), the Japanese dub of Ghost in the Shell will feature the voice talents of Akio Otsuka, Koichi Yamadera, and Atsuko Tanaka, who all provided the voices of main characters from the original anime. Only Japanese audiences will be able to experience this specific dub, while fans living in other parts of the globe will have to exercise some heavy duty bootlegging if they want to see it.
Atsuko Tanaka is returning to voice The Major, a character she portrayed in the 1995 anime feature and the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series. Back then the character was named Motoko Kusanagi, but has been simplified to The Major for obvious reasons. Likewise, Otsuka will return as the voice of Batou (played by Pilou Asbæk) and Yamadera will voice Chin Han’s Togusa. Both voice actors have played the roles on numerous occasions.
In many ways, this is a smart and nice way to pay tribute to Japanese audiences — where voice acting is treated a little more glamorously than it is in the states — but it does not overshadow the main controversy in my mind. Again, it’s a sweet touch, but there might be too much bad blood some people going into this movie to forget about the fantastic voice over casting.
Ghost in the Shell is directed by Rupert Sanders and follows The Major, a cyborg who is in charge of an elite group tasked with combating cyber-terrorism. When The Major learns that the company that built her may not have been truthful about her origins, she suddenly becomes hunted and must find the answers she seeks.
To get an idea of what this dub will sound like, here’s the trailer for the original Japanese 1995 film; just picture ScarJo’s face whenever The Major talks.