So, the new Ghost in the Shell seems to get a bunch of stuff right – the look and feel of the universe, casting of most of the rest of Section 9 (although we’re not yet sold on the new mini-Batou), and a bunch of stuff wrong – specifically, it remains to be seen of casting Scarlett Johansson is a good idea or not. And from the trailers, it seems the plot is lifted straight out of Robocop, rather than any of the far superior previous incarnations of Ghost in the Shell.
But photos leaked from the set as well as upcoming toys revealed at NY Toyfair last month, as well as today’s new trailer, suggest Major Motoko Kusanagi’s name will be Mira Killian, at least in her ScarJo identity. Giving her an – is it Irish? – name certainly helps reconcile why a white person might have such a Japanese name. But the problem is that it seems the story will be that she was Motoko Kusanagi BEFORE she was injured and rebuilt as a cyborg. This is actually more offensive and disrespectful to the source material, because her Kusanagi name – it being the name of a sword that is one of the three most valuable Japanese Imperial treasures – was a nom de guerre she took to reflect the violent nature of her cyborg role (as a soldier before joining Section 9). It was NOT her birth name, and is very rarely seen as a surname in Japan.
It also means that the character would have been Japanese before her injuries, so aside from waking up in a cyborg body, is the movie going to address the fact that she will have to come to terms with not only changing her face but changing her entire race when she wakes up?