When it comes to beloved characters in film and television, the actor portraying them becomes just as identifiable as the fictional people themselves. It’s going to be weird when someone else eventually plays Wolverine, for example, because Hugh Jackman‘s take is the one most people have in their heads. Same goes for the animated realm; it’s why Kevin Conroy is still playing Batman after 25 years, because he’s still the definitive-sounding Dark Knight. In people’s heads, certain characters just sound like certain actors. That’s why it’s so beyond cool that the original Japanese voice cast of the Ghost in the Shell anime will be dubbing the Japanese version of the new live-action movie.
From Rocket News 24, the Japanese dubbed version of the American-produced Ghost in the Shell will feature many of the voice actors from the films and TV series anime, including Atsuko Tanaka—who played Major Motoko Kusanagi in the original 1995 anime, its 2004 sequel, and the TV series Stand Alone Complex—dubbing over Scarlett Johansson‘s Major. There’s something incredibly fitting about this, especially given the movie’s theme of placing different consciousnesses in different shells.
Tanaka will not be the only original voice actor to appear in the Japanese voice dub; Akio Otsuka will return as the Major’s burley cohort Batou and Koichi Yamadera is back as cybernetics-averse Togusa. As with most foreign films, there will be a version of Ghost in the Shell in Japan with the original English voice track and Japanese subtitles, but I’d suspect a lot of fans would be stoked to hear their definitive versions of the characters coming out of big-budget stars. I’d pay to hear Conroy dub over Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman, for example.
No word yet, obviously, if this voice dub will be available on the American Blu-ray release (I would highly doubt it), but just knowing it’s out there, and the producers in Japan have that much reverence to the original films, makes me feel the warm cyberpunk fuzzies.
Let me know what you think of anime-dubbing live-action movies in the comments below!