Happy as we may or may not be with the casting of the live-action Ghost in the Shell, the film’s Japanese dub will at least feature some welcome voices. Returning from the classic anime released in 1995, Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka and Koichi Yamadera will voice the Major, Batou and Togusa, respectively. But will there be a disconnect between Scarlett Johansson’s controversial character and the iconic voice of Motoko Kusanagi?
We’ve known from the early stages of promo that this movie’s heroine wouldn’t be the Motoko we know. In fact, as if to separate the two as much as possible, Johansson’s character has been named Mira according to the above trailer. Troubling as this feels, the dub casting should at least be reassuring to Japanese audiences, who have raised complaints about the talent being brought in for their movie dubs. Instead of voice actors, distributors have become notorious for basing their casting choices on which celebrities are popular at the time.
Mamoru Oshii, director of the Ghost in the Shell anime film, has even stepped in to support the dub casting. “It’s been a while since they’ve played these characters,” he stated. “I definitely want them to deliver performances they see fit. They’re all pros, so there’s nothing to worry about, and I can only say that this is something to look forward to.”
As for Beat Takeshi as Daisuke Aramaki, no dub will be needed even on his part, as he chose to speak all his lines in Japanese for the original English version. He outright refused to speak English in his role, as he felt it was strange for a Japanese character. Considering his popularity in Japan, it’s unlikely that any of his lines will be changed or overdubbed by a different actor.
Ghost in the Shell is slated to open on March 31st, directed by Rupert Sanders of Snow White and the Huntsman. Beside Johansson as the Major, Lucy‘s Pilou Asbæk co-stars as Batou. Last spring, Paramount and DreamWorks backed up that first still of Johansson in her lead role with this synopsis, referring to her for the first time as “the Major”:
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, Ghost in the Shell follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.