If you thought Netflix may have taken note of the massive backlash over Iron Fist and its mistreatment of Asian stories and characters in favor of a mediocre white protagonist…think again. Today, the company released a teaser for its upcoming live action remake of the gripping manga-turned-anime Death Note.
Once again, we see Japanese characters from a piece of Japanese media magically and inexplicably turned white, à la Ghost in the Shell.
While Ghost in the Shell still takes place in Japan, Death Note has been relocated to Seattle, possibly to help quell complaints of cultural appropriation. However, the original is so inherently intertwined with Japanese society and culture that wrapping the story in an American context completely undermines its very specific message. A young man disgruntled by society developing a God complex and murdering people (albeit with a magical notebook) is a shocking thriller cartoon show in Japan. In America, that’s just everyday stuff.
Also, it seems that the main character, Light, still takes on the moniker “Kira” which made more sense in the original because “kira” is the Japanese transliteration of “killer.” I'm not sure why some white kid in Seattle needs to use a Japanese term as a serial killer name, but I think it might constitute appropriation inception. (Appropria-ception? Whatever.)
Anyway, the Death Note trailer has been getting dragged to hell and back on Twitter, so relax and enjoy some of the finest takedowns.