The protagonist of the Hollywood anime adaptation will always look like Scarlet Johansson, but she won’t always sound like her.
The titles of a lot of anime and manga were chosen by their creators simply because they sound cool, but “Ghost in the Shell” actually has a strong connection to the events of the series. Ghost in the Shell’s most defining characteristic is the prevalence of technology that allows people to transfer their consciousness (ghost) into a different mechanical body or vessel (shell), and the franchise’s plotlines often explore the military, political, and philosophical ramifications of those capabilities.
▼ Trailer for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie
So it’s sort of fitting that even when Ghost in the Shell makes the leap to live-action with the soon-to-be-released Hollywood adaptation, when Scarlet Johansson’s character, The Major, opens her mouth, in some versions she’ll sound exactly like the 1995 Ghost in the Shell anime movie’s protagonist Motoko Kusanagi.
Ahead of the live-action Ghost in the Shell’s release in Japanese theaters, it’s been announced that the Japanese-dubbed version of the film will feature the voice of Atsuko Tanaka as The Major. Tanaka voiced Kusanagi in not only the 1995 theatrical anime that served as the franchise’s breakout moment in the international anime and sci-fi communities, but also its sequel Innocence and the Stand Alone Complex TV series.
▼ Oddly enough, the red bodysuit The Major can be seen wearing in the trailer is inspired by Kusanagi’s outfit from Ghost in the Shell: Arise, in which Tanaka was replaced by a different voice actress.
Also reprising their roles from the anime film and TV series are Akio Otsuka as Kusanagi’s burley cohort Batou and Koichi Yamadera as cybernetics-averse Togusa. Having seen much of the live-action Ghost while recording their dialogue, Ostuka expressed his admiration for the film, saying “There were many scenes that were done just like they were in the anime, and I was happy to see that the filmmakers have such an obvious respect for the source material.”
As with many foreign films, the live-action Ghost in the Shell will screen in both its original language (English) with Japanese subtitles and also in Japanese-dubbed format. Tanaka is hoping some fans come out to see the latter version, though. “I am so happy that the Hollywood version is being dubbed with the original cast,” the voice actress said. “Closing my eyes, and just working off of Otsuka and Yamadera’s voices, like animation scenes come flying, it was a mysterious experience.”
▼ As a side benefit, closing her eyes would also help prevent being distracted by questionable set design in the live-action film.
Ghost in the Shell opens in Japanese theaters on April 7.
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