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(Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The first image of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, a live-action Hollywood reworking of an iconic Japanese animated movie, appeared yesterday (April 14), and it’s got a lot of people in a lather.

And not just the usual lather people get into over pictures of Scarlett, either.

She plays Major, a special ops, uniquely fashioned human-cyborg policewoman who leads the elite task force Section 9:

Scarlett Johansson stars as Major in 'Ghost in the Shell'

So far, so badass. Scarlett looks brooding and fierce with that angled bob haircut set against a futuristic backdrop. The trouble is, the picture has also reignited the “whitewashing” row that has been rumbling ever since her casting was announced.

The movie, directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman), is based on the famous Kodansha Comics manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. In it, the full name of Scarlett’s character was Major Motoko Kusanagi, and in the anime movie version that came out in 1995, she looked like this:

Gif from original manga movie 'Ghost in the Shell'
(Image: Tumblr)

The new photo prompted actor Ming-Na Wen, who portrays Melinda May in superhero TV show Agents of SHIELD and was the voice of Disney’s Mulan, to tweet the following:

In a series of tweets posted yesterday, California-based comic book writer John Tsuei explained that the original movie is “a pillar in Asian media”:

Other people suggested other east Asian actors who could have played the role, such as Chiaki Kuriyama, the Japanese actress and model who starred in Kill Bill: Volume 1 or Rinko Kikuchi, who starred in Pacific Rim and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in 2006’s Babel:

While others noted ScarJo’s similarity to the original character, bar one key detail:

This Hollywood version does at least have Mitsuhisa Ishikawa on board, whose animation studio Production I.G. was behind the original movie. Hopefully his presence will ensure some level of faithfulness to the manga world.

Ghost in the Shell opens in theaters on March 31, 2017.

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Filed Under: Scarlett Johansson
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.