World reminded of Dragonball movie’s future existence; world goes back to crossword puzzle

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MovieWeb has some stills from next year’s Dragonball movie. Goku is played by Justin Chatwin, meaning he’s a young white dude. How is that possible? Oh right, colorblind casting. Whew! It’s so progressive to have a movie about one of the world’s most popular Asian characters played by a non-Asian.

Unfortunately, we must still get hot Asian chicks with guns, because everyone loves hot Asian chicks.

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That’s Jamie Chung as Chi-Chi. Oops, Eriko Tamura as Mai. In the Beat’s feeble defense, MovieWeb misidentified them and we compounded the error, solidifying the idea that all hot Asian chicks are alike. We regret the error.

Comments

  1. Goku doesn’t look Asian in the cartoon, either, at least not to my uncultured gaijin eyes…

  2. “It’s so progressive to have a movie about one of the world’s most popular Asian characters played by a non-Asian.”

    Then again, if Jeffrey Wright can play Felix Leiter (in Casino Royale) …

  3. I have no idea why this movie was made.
    Another Speed Racer, it seems.

  4. re: everyone love hot Asian chicks.

    Yes.

    It is true.

  5. Initially, I was peeved that they cast someone who was not Japanese in the lead role. Now, I’m past that because if you’re a fan of the series (manga or anime) you realize that the character is not white nor Asian, but an alien. So, if you want to nitpick, he’s not of any race that lives on earth.

  6. If they were going to make a crappy DB movie couldn’t they at least skip to the Freiza Saga??

  7. that’s actually Eriko Tamura as Mai. Jamie Chung as Chi Chi is here:
    http://dbthemovie.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/chichi.jpg

  8. Sphinx Magoo says:

    Man, it looks like they put Goku through the Hollywood machine and came out with something pretty generic. Looks like the took out all the fun stuff. Gak! Here’s a link to some video previews: http://dbthemovie.com/category/videos/

  9. Ben May says:

    Hollywood would cast a venereal disease as a leading role before an Asian American male. But it’s never gonna change because no one gives a shit. Can you imagine if they remade Shaft or did a movie version of Power Man and cast a white dude in the leading role? Hollywood would never dare because the backlash would destroy them. But the general American viewing public could give a rat’s ass if it’s a role for an Asian American dude. (The Kung Fu TV series, of course, being the ultimate criminal example.)

    As mentioned above, Dragonball isn’t particularly bad because he’s an alien, but there are countless other example. One of the most recent horrendous examples was “21.” Even a story based on a REAL PERSON had to be replaced with a fucking white guy. WTF? But his goofy sidekick? Of course HE can be Asian. What’s next? A movie about Jackie Chan’s life being played by a white guy? Sigh.

    If the leading cast of Avatar the Last Airbender doesn’t have Asians in it… I don’t even know what to say. And why am I even bothering? Of course it’s not. I’m sure it’s gonna be another white dudes/hot asian chicks extravaganza. Oh joy.

    Not that I’m bitter Chinese American male or anything. ;)

  10. Ninja Assassin has an asian male lead.

    They sure did screw over Bruce Lee on Kung Fu, though.

    We’ve recast the President with a black guy, so don’t worry, we’ll get there.

  11. Mariah says:

    I think Harold and Kumar was the first movie by a major U.S. film company to star an Asian American…not that that’s relevant, but I read it somewhere.

    Also, Heidi, you forgot the one big nerd thing about this Dragonball Z movie. Piccolo is played by none other than James “Spike” Marsters. Which is too bad, I think he’s way too good for this movie.

    Frankly, I never cared much for the cartoon…endless battles get on my nerves. I can’t even begin to imagine what this movie is going to be like.

  12. The Beat says:

    Mariah, when I first read this, i thought “What about Jackie Chan?” but I realied he’s Asian, not Asian-American.

  13. Ben May says:

    Exactly. An actual Asian American would never have a chance because 1) he can speak proper English and 2) he doesn’t know kung-fu. It seems like the only lead roles available for an Asian guy is a kung-fu fighting FOB.

    Ninja Assassin — another perfect example. The star is Korean, not Asian American. And it’s a movie with “Ninja” in the title. Not really that ground breaking. I do think it’s cool that movie has an Asian star, don’t get me wrong, but for once I’d love to see a lead Asian male character in an American movie that can actually string a proper sentence together and not have to do kung-fu. Seriously, is that really so much to ask? (21 was the perfect opportunity actually, but of course, they stabbed us again.)

    But yeah, thank god for Harold and Kumar. Just wish they were better movies…

  14. The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Jet Li might have actually been a half decent kung fu movie had they not tried to plant a white guy in the movie to broaden its demographics. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had an all Asian cast and subtitles, but that didn’t hurt its appeal.

    Goku may be an alien and his name is derived from a Chinese legend, but he’s clearly Asian looking. With the popularity of guys like Ichiro and Yao Ming, you’d think this wouldn’t be a tough sell.

  15. The Beat says:

    Ben, I didn’t know that about 21. That’s pretty color blind and progressive, changing the race of the main character a true story.

    Of course, Angelina got to play mixed race with some greasepaint in A MIGHTY HEART.

    Time to go rewatch RDJ in TROPIC THUNDER.

  16. I’m wondering why they didn’t cast Dean Cain as Goku. He’d be a natural for that.

  17. Ben May says:

    Let’s not forget Keanu Reeves in Little Buddha and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi or that white guy that played the Korean master in Remo Williams. (Now Ben Kingsley was fantastic, of course, but they’re gonna tell me out of the 200 bazillion Indians in the world they couldn’t find one that could play that role just as well? It’s infuriating.) The shocking thing about all these examples I’ve thrown out in my few posts is that they’re all relatively MODERN movies. Why aren’t cases like this treated just like black face? Unlike for African Americans and Latino Americans, there seems to have been NO progress what-so-ever on this front for Asian American males. No one cares.

    Scott, I think Dean Cain is probably way too old to play Goku.

  18. The Beat says:

    Keanu is mixed race, so he gets a little pass.

  19. Mariah says:

    Ben,

    I think the first Harold and Kumar was hella funny and actually rather astute at dealing with stereotypes and racism. And the fact that it’s technically a stoner movie starring and Asian American and an Indian American is at least some progress. Not a lot, of course.

    It’s like Memoirs of a Geisha. The movie was visually pretty, but casting Chinese actresses to play Japanese characters was really tacky, imho. There weren’t any talented Japanese actresses? One Asian is not interchangeable for another and it’s just disrespectful to everyone. And I like the actresses themselves but it’s just insulting.

    And I agree, it is like black face. Much like Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles. I love that movie but that’s a pretty glaring problem.

  20. Mariah says:

    Also, on Remo Williams, was that Joel Gray as the martial arts guy? I can’t remember. I think in that case it was supposed to be ridiculous, ie. making fun of the fact that they often cast white actors in Asian roles…anyone else remember James Bond being “made” Japanese in Dr. No? Ridiculous.

    I’m probably too willing to give Kingsley a pass in Gandhi…and sometimes I think it has more to do with being “known” and getting a smaller movie attention…but I’m not sure Kingsley was a big name until after, so, it’s not really a very good excuse.

  21. Joel Grey played Chiun in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (based on the paperback series The Destroyer, which is better than the film). I was told by Will Murray (who ghosted entries in the series and was a consultant to the film) that the producers originally consiered Pat Morita for the part. Then, there were concerns that people would draw all sorts of comparisons to Mr Miagi (sp?) in the Karate Kid. Never mind that Chiun and the Destroyer were first.

    Will understood their concerns, but thought it was ludicrous that they cast Joel Grey to play a Korean. I agree, and so did many others.

  22. “And it’s a movie with “Ninja” in the title. Not really that ground breaking.”

    A movie called Dragonball is supposed to be groundbreaking?

    You’re just pissed that they didn’t cast an Asian in an adaptation of an Asian cartoon when oddly enough most characters in Asian-produced cartoons don’t even look Asian. They mostly just look generic, and so does Justin Chatwin.

    Jason Scott Lee has been a lead in a film before.

    “for once I’d love to see a lead Asian male character in an American movie that can actually string a proper sentence together and not have to do kung-fu.”

    Then why the hell are you bitching about a non-asian in a role which requires martial arts?

    “If the leading cast of Avatar the Last Airbender doesn’t have Asians in it”

    The leads in Avatar don’t look Asian, and they’re not even voiced by asian-american actors unless you’re counting Zuko. I only view Aang, Sokka, and Katara as the leads.

    There needs to be more films like Better Luck Tomorrow, but when talented guys like Justin Lin decide to do crap like Fast and Furious films and mainstream sleep-inducing junk like Annapolis, it’s not surprising that there’s a lack of opportunity for asian-american male leads.

    I think it’s really horrible that they didn’t bother to cast an asian-american male as the lead in 21 if the character in the book was in fact Asian-American, but I like Jim Sturges as an actor and he did a good job. You have every right to be pissed about that one. I believe the biggest hurdle in the casting of asian-american actors is the material, but if someone clearly went AGAINST the material to avoid casting an asian-american actor, then that’s just lame and I sympathize.

    I think you should pick your battles though. Ranting about 21 and Dragonball in the same manner is counter-productive. If you stick with 21 as your example, you’ll probably get a lot more people on your side. Also, don’t hesitate to use Kung Fu as well.

  23. (Now Ben Kingsley was fantastic, of course, but they’re gonna tell me out of the 200 bazillion Indians in the world they couldn’t find one that could play that role just as well? It’s infuriating.)

    Ben Kingsley’s father is Indian. That has to count for something.

  24. Ben May says:

    Fred, I never complained about Dragonball specifically. I actually said it’s not a big deal. Go read my first post. But of course, it’s always much more “productive” to put words into someone’s mouth so you can prove a point that didn’t need to be made.

    And again, you all perfectly demonstrated exactly why things will never change for Asian American males. Any legimate complaints are ALWAYS explained away as “ranting.”

    “Yeah, you’re right, that’s ‘yellow face’ BUT ”
    “Yeah, that is racist, BUT ”

    You would NEVER get these kind of defenses for something like “black face.” Also, when did it become okay for someone not of a certain race to determine what’s offensive to that race? I’m truly sorry, but you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to a black person unless you’re black. You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to an Asian person unless you’re Asian.

    As I said, nobody cares. Which is why things will never change.

    Doug, I didn’t know that about Ben Kingsley. If that’s true, I take back what I said about him. (Although I still find it hard to believe they couldn’t have found a full Indian actor that could’ve pulled off the role just as well.)

  25. Ben May says:

    Crap, that middle section should’ve read:

    “Yeah, you’re right, that’s ‘yellow face’ BUT (insert justification)”
    “Yeah, that is racist, BUT (insert justification)”

  26. “Fred, I never complained about Dragonball specifically. I actually said it’s not a big deal. Go read my first post. ”

    I did read it before posting, but considering this new item was about the Dragonball film I naturally thought you were complaining about its casting even though it’s “not that bad” since Goku is an alien and not specifically Asian. It shouldn’t even be “not a big deal”; It should be irrelevant because it’s not applicable. I stand corrected about you being pissed about the Dragonball casting; you’re just pissed off in general.

    “Any legimate complaints are ALWAYS explained away as “ranting.” ”

    No, ranting is always explained away as ranting. I supported your valid arguments for outrage. Maybe you were too blinded by the beginning of my post and didn’t bother to notice where I agreed with you.

    “when did it become okay for someone not of a certain race to determine what’s offensive to that race? I’m truly sorry, but you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to a black person unless you’re black. You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to an Asian person unless you’re Asian. ”

    It’s not okay, but everyone is also free to think that the person getting all worked up looks like an idiot for doing so.

    Again, you took this news item as an opportunity to rant about the sad state of Asian-American male leads in film. It makes you look like a ranting loon when in fact you seem to have good arguments which is why I pointed out that it’s a good idea to separate your rantings from your valid points else they all become grouped together and tossed aside as looney rantings. I’m not saying your points were all looney rantings; I’m saying maybe you should be a little more selective in your arguments otherwise it will appear that way.

    I was only trying to help you, honestly. Because I believe you’re justified in your outrage over the lead role in 21, and certainly Kung Fu will always make for a classic example to support this argument. I had no idea the lead character in 21 was Asian, and I appreciate the information. However, since all I have is your word on that (because I’m not particularly motivated to find out for myself, as are most people), I would rather that bit of information not become muddled by your overwhelming overall bitterness about Asian-American lead film roles because some other person who might read your statements could think “hey, I didn’t know that about 21. How rude of them to do that” and then read the rest and think “well, this guy is just an angry asian dude and is just lashing out. It probably never said the guy in the book was asian. He’s just nuts”. It could happen, and I would rather it didn’t because it’s an excellent example of your justified animosity on the subject.

    Now, I’ve said damn well enough about this subject. I stand corrected where I misunderstood the purpose of your original post, and I pointed out how I pretty much agree with your valid points (though not all of your points were valid, unless we have a different view of what “lead cast” means). 21 and Kung Fu were unnecessary slights against Asians (actors and viewers), and the studios should feel your wrath about it. And finally, I wasn’t trying to attack you or your views (although I did try fairly hard to prove you wrong about the male lead comment, but you’re pretty much in the clear there). I was only pointing out how you might want to frame your righteous indignation in the future lest it be dismissed as looney rantings. So, there’s no reason for you to be pissed at me and there’s no reason for me to fight back, and we both should be pissed at the studios for 21 and Kung Fu.

    Feel free to comment back, but I’m done with the subject.

  27. Ben May says:

    Okay, let’s get back to Dragonball then.

    Now as I said, personally I don’t care that much about Goku being white, BUT — and this is where we differ — if another Asian WAS offended by it, I think they are totally justified and have every right to feel that way.

    The reason Goku should be Asian is the same reason Superman is white. Hey, Superman’s an alien. Why does he have to be white? Because that’s part of his character, what he symbolizes, how the world sees him, and maybe most importantly how the creators envisioned him*. If you really don’t think all that applies to Goku and Dragonball but in reverse, then… I don’t even know what else to say. You’re just trying to justify an injustice as usual. Whether you realize that or not will always remain a mystery I guess.

    But hey, I’m glad we agree on some things.

    *Well, Siegel and Shuster probably saw him as a Jewish man, but since anyone can convert to Judaism, it seems moot to point that out for this example.

  28. Here’s the thing: Goku is drawn Asian (or white, but that’s how I see some anime/manga) and Superman is drawn White, but they are both aliens. They may appear white, they may appear asian to the eyes of human beings, but they have alien DNA deep down.

    I think that it’s just as confusing a categorization to make as it is for people of mixed racial background.

    Also, I think that Dean Cain looks perfect as Goku, but he’s much too old for the role of this merged design they had for Live action Goku they wanted to start with him at an age that’s young enough for all ages to enjoy.

    Ideally, i would have liked at least a part Asian descent actor- a Keanu Reeves type- with a bit of muscle.

  29. michael says:

    Awful!

  30. Mysterio says:

    Why do these freckledpinkfacewhite always treat Asians as shit. Why not give the main role for the Asian for once goddamit. Goku is fucking Asian! Goddamn those nazi bastards who hired chatwin! DAMN YOU!!

    I think you fucking freckledpinkfacewhite are afraid to give Asian people a CHANCE.

    BECAUSE WE ARE BECOMING MUCH INTELLIGENT & TOUGHER THAN YOU WHITE SHITHEADS!!!

    YOU WHITE DWEEBS ARE AFRAID OF WHAT WE ASIAN’S MIGHT BECOME!!!

  31. Uh, OK, wow. That’s our little bit of racism for today. Goku’s not Asian, he’s an alien. He had a monkey tail and turned into a giant ape when the moon turned full. As far as I know, no one born in any Asian country is able to do that.

    Also, while I like Akira Toriyama’s character designs, they’re not realistic. Most of the DB characters do not have features reminiscent of asian people.

    ALSO, Dragonball is a fantasy word full of demons, powerful creatures, anthropomorphic animals and people of all skin colors living together. So is Dragonball really mirroring any Asian country you know?

    Hollywood is pretty shitty when it comes to casting, but you need to get over yourself as well, Mysterio. What are you, 12?

  32. STOP YOUR BULLSHIT Vichus Smith. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE AN 11 YEAR OLD RACIST DUMBASS!!!

    GOKU IS ASIAN!!!

    You wanna know why Goku is Asian???

    Goku is based on the Chinese character named Sun Wukong the Monkey King.

    Dragonball is based on the Chinese Novel Journey to the West.

    Goku has all the Asian features such as black hair & black eyes.

    Akira Toriyama explained that Goku’s gi uniform is modeled after the robes worn by the Shaolin monks of China, being that he wanted Dragon Ball to take on a Chinese feel.

    Goku’s name was written in Kanji. If he was a white baby Goku, his name would be written in katakana.

    If a Mangaka makes a character who’s name is written in Kanji then that would mean that the Mangaka’s intent was to make a Japanese Character.

    So if you will use your common sense you will know that Goku is 100% ASIAN.

    USE YOUR COMMON SENSE!!!

  33. GOKU IS ASIAN!!!

    You wanna know why Goku is Asian???

    Goku is based on the Chinese character named Sun Wukong the Monkey King.

    Dragonball is based on the Chinese Novel Journey to the West.

    Goku has all the Asian features such as black hair & black eyes.

    Akira Toriyama explained that Goku’s gi uniform is modeled after the robes worn by the Shaolin monks of China, being that he wanted Dragon Ball to take on a Chinese feel.

    Goku’s name was written in Kanji. If he was a white baby Goku, his name would be written in katakana.

    If a Mangaka makes a character who’s name is written in Kanji then that would mean that the Mangaka’s intent was to make a Japanese Character.

    So if you will use your common sense you will know that Goku is 100% ASIAN.

    STOP YOUR BULLSHIT Vichus Smith. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE AN 11 YEAR OLD RACIST DUMBASS!!!

  34. If I am 11, you must be 5. The words “BASED ON” means a lot. A lot of works based on other material take liberties with the original work. For example, the Sayuki anime is also based on Journey to the West, but that involved demons and a gun-toting monk.

    Like Sayuki, Dragonball is based on Journey to the west, but it takes off on its own. Goku is proably drawn with “asian features” because the creator, Toriyama, is asian and he draws from inspiration from his own life.

    I believe that goku is only Asian by adoption, not by blood. He came to earth in a spacecraft. Unless there were asians in space, then Goku is not asian.

    Yes, Goku has black hair, but he also has a tail and his hair turns golden. Is that an asian man?

    Oh, BTW, if I’m the racist, why didn’t I call all white people shitheads, as you did? I don’t recall me putting that type of language in all caps. Yeah, that was you, kid.

  35. Mysterio says:

    If I am 5, you must be 1. I will make this explanation very quick because it seem that you can’t understad huge post.

    Yes Dragon Ball is an adaptation of the Chinese folk tale Saiyuki. Basically Son Goku is the Japanese counterpart of Sun Wukong.

    You said it yourself he is adopted by an Asian man then that means he is Saiyan-Asian.

    And in DBZ when the origin of Goku was told everybody was shocked because Bulma & the other’s thought that Grandpa Gohan was Goku’s real grandfather. That means physically Goku is considered to be an Asian man.

    When Goku’s hair turns to gold, it is called a TRANSFORMATION. And do you know that Sun Wukong the Monkey King has golden hair? Because Goku is based on the character Sun Wukong.

    Go back & read your post deepshit. You said this “DB characters do not have features reminiscent of asian people”

    Why did you say that in the first place when all the evidence of the DB main characters are based on Asian’s.

    Oh and you’re still a dumbass.

  36. You made a good point, even though you decided to make your point in such an infantile way.

    Still, do we not agree that Goku is an alien hailing from a distant planet, even though people were convinced he was Asian? Maybe he is passable as an Asian, but he is definitely not Asian. Asian people are people born in Asian countries, making Goku an alien.

  37. Mysterio says:

    “DB characters do not have features reminiscent of asian people”

    When people say things like this. It is very clear that they don’t know anything about DB. That’s why I replied that way.

    Yes Goku is an alien. But the thing is he is “adopted” by an asian man, so that makes him Saiyan-Asian or Saiyan-Chinese/Japanese. Let’s just say I’m japanese & I’m adopted by an american then that would make me a japanese-american. But the thing about Goku is that EVERYBODY thinks he’s an asian in the anime. So if he looks like an asian, talks like a japanese & last but not the least, ADOPTED by an asian then he is an Asian or Saiyan-Asian.

    If the Westerners consider Superman a white hero then why can’t we Asian’s consider Goku an Asian hero? All I see on people complaining about Goku being an Asian is that they are jealous & greedy.

  38. I like being taken out of context and told that I know nothing about the first show I ever watched, from beginning to end (except for GT; GT blew.)

    I said that MOST DB characters do not have features reminiscent of Asian people. I did not say all. If you look at all the characters in the Dragonball series, from the major characters to the people in the background, it’s a great melting pot of people who look all live in the same country, but look like they come from everywhere around the world.

    Back to Goku’s race. Alright, I’ll agree on goku being Saiya-jin-Asian, but I will not agree that he looks Asian.

    Here’s someone who argues the race point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n9qIGUlARw

    If you’re honest with yourself, you do not see distinctly Asian features in Goku. he has dark hair, and his skin is not dark. So he could be considered Asian, or he could be considered Caucasian. You say he is asian because the character’s creation was based on many Asian things, but when it comes down to it, he’s alien. Just like Clark Kent. I see Clark Kent as an alien who could pass for human.

    I think that in a lot of anime, most of the characters seem to be white from the way they are drawn, but they are usually meant to be Asian. I think that’s the excuse Hollywood can have to cast a white guy as Goku, but really, they don’t even need an excuse. They just see having a white lead as a way to sell more tickets, because white people are a significant percentage of the population.

    BTW, how do you feel about Bulma not being played by an Asian person? Is she not Asian? Well, her mom has blonde hair, so that can be argued as well.

  39. Mysterio says:

    Now that we agree that Goku is Saiya-jin-Asian. I will explain why Goku look’s like an asian.

    I’ve already given you an example why Goku looks like an asian and why he is considered as an asian. Here’s my post.

    “And in DBZ when the origin of Goku was told everybody was shocked because Bulma & the other’s thought that Grandpa Gohan was Goku’s real grandfather”

    Having huge eyes in Anime doesn’t mean they are caucasian. You will know the Mangaka’s intent if he’s making an asian character by the way his character behaves or the way he dresses or when he writes his name in kanji. And also the black hair & black eyes is a giveaway on what is Akira Toriyama’s intent when he created the Saiyan race. And also many asian’s have white & pale skin, just search for asian actor/actress and you will see it. And not all asians have dark skin and slanted eyes.

    Imo Bulma should be played by a white girl.

    They always say that reason about white lead=more tickets. Which is why I’m really dissapointed because they just assumed that asian lead=less tickets. We are never treated fairly, most of our popular asian heroes like Kenshiro, Chun-Li have been turned into white or mixed. To tell you the truth I wouldn’t be surprised if they will cast a white actor for Ryu because they are already doing it to Kyo Kusanagi in KOF the movie.

  40. I’m glad we talked this out instead of going around in circles.

    But I have to ask are the other Saiya-jins who were on the show Asian as well? Vegeta isn’t that far removed from how Goku looks. :)

  41. Mysterio says:

    Well Vegeta was never adopted so he stay’s as Saiyan. But in his look’s he could be identified as an Asian as well. But there are other characters in Dragon Ball Z that look’s like caucasian like Olibu, Gohan’s blond classmate’s, General Blue, General White, Red Ribbon General, Bulma & her family.

  42. DBZ Ultimate says:

    I think Hugh Jackman could probably make a good Vegeta. He is kinda buff though, and does have the potential for the Vegeta attitude.

  43. He’s also too old for the role. To go against the actor they’ve got already, they have to match somewhat in age. I would hope they’d get the appropriate badass/douche to play him, because I love Vegeta.

  44. People keep saying Goku is not Asian because he’s an alien, but so what Superman is an alien and he’s white. I think the writers of the anime meant for Goku to be Asian, I mean the manga was originally written for the Japanese people and Goku does look Asian to me.

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