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L5R getting heat after SU&SD Review

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I love banzai. I can see why some may not. That said, please give it a chance. It's a lot of fun and literally unites the clans (players) for one brief moment. The l5r community has always been a welcoming place irl. The forums can get heated and sometimes folks explain themselves poorly or react when they should take a step back. Courtesy is a Bushido virtue. Let's not forget that, even as others do. Just because someone's on slips doesn't mean yours should, too.

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I've been wanting to have this discussion and I'm glad to see it here, being held (mostly) constructively.

I've known L5R has its issues for some time, but it really came into focus at GenCon during the Clan parade. FFG went to the trouble to hire Asian actors to portray a samurai from each of the clans (which was cool) but then the seven of them stood up in front of the 700 tournament participants (and I'm comfortable saying that over 600 of those people were white) and I had to wonder:

How do they feel about having their culture/history chewed up and spat out as costumed pageantry? About being literally paraded in front of a bunch non-Asians as a spectacle?

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3 minutes ago, theninthguardian said:

I've been wanting to have this discussion and I'm glad to see it here, being held (mostly) constructively.

I've known L5R has its issues for some time, but it really came into focus at GenCon during the Clan parade. FFG went to the trouble to hire Asian actors to portray a samurai from each of the clans (which was cool) but then the seven of them stood up in front of the 700 tournament participants (and I'm comfortable saying that over 600 of those people were white) and I had to wonder:

How do they feel about having their culture/history chewed up and spat out as costumed pageantry? About being literally paraded in front of a bunch non-Asians as a spectacle?

To this point, would it have been worse if they hired 7 Caucasian actors, or 7 actors of a mix of races to do the same thing?

Would it have been better to do what I suggested, what they did, or nothing at all?

Were those actors disturbed by us all yelling banzai at them?  (Because we basically were, since they were up front).

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1 hour ago, Mirith said:

To this point, would it have been worse if they hired 7 Caucasian actors, or 7 actors of a mix of races to do the same thing?

Would it have been better to do what I suggested, what they did, or nothing at all?

Were those actors disturbed by us all yelling banzai at them?  (Because we basically were, since they were up front).

Oh, I certainly think getting white actors would have been worse, and I enjoyed the parade, but it gave me some stuff to think about.

As to your third point, I have no idea(does anyone?)! Isn't it worth asking, though?

Edited by theninthguardian

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The problem with that is that they can't hold volunteers accountable. They were making their presence known and showcasing the level of support they will be having for the game. If they just asked people to show up, it night be amazing, or it could be two guys in dollar store robes. By hiring actors, they ensure quality control. They might have been able to make community participation in the march more official, but asking for cosplayers instead of hiring actors is a bad business move.

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Split the difference. A lot of game companies hire cosplayers for conventions. FFG could have done that. Ideally, the folks they hired woud also be L5R fans. Anyhow, the point is, it's pretty tough to say a person can only cosplay a character that is the same race as them, which would sort of nip the issue in the bud.

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6 minutes ago, Corrinmana said:

The problem with that is that they can't hold volunteers accountable. They were making their presence known and showcasing the level of support they will be having for the game. If they just asked people to show up, it night be amazing, or it could be two guys in dollar store robes. By hiring actors, they ensure quality control. They might have been able to make community participation in the march more official, but asking for cosplayers instead of hiring actors is a bad business move.

I don't think that this is true. L5R lives from the community interaction, their enthusiasm and their- from the outside view- strange behaviour. I don't think that it would have mattered if some passionated players would have come with cheap robes. instead of the professional actors.

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On 9/9/2017 at 2:12 PM, dysartes said:

So I'm guessing we're talking about the Ancient One for Doctor Strange, and Scarlett Johansson in GitS - can't argue with the Ancient One being an odd casting choice. If you had to recast it, is there an actor or actress you'd've gone for instead?

Have read comments indicating that the Major (being an artificial body) wasn't necessarily Japanese, so that's a bit of a wash - and I'm not close enough to the license to know either way. Ditto Death Note - I know nothing about this one, or where the controversy is this time.

The one I'm curious about is Iron Fist - where do you see the deliberate exclusions of Asian actors/actresses here? From what I saw, there were quite a lot of Asian characters in that one.

Both Iron Fist and Dr. Strange were birthed in the Orientalism period of American culture. The characters themselves both share a similar tale of western visitors traveling to the far east to experience and master the mysteries of the orient. In revisiting these properties, Marvel had an opportunity to comment on the tropes of Orientalism and White Savior-ism, but they not only passed on doing so but, in the case of Dr. Strange, intentionally or not, added to the controversy of Asian actors being passed up in lieu of White actors.

As for who I'd like to see acting each part, why not cast a new Asian actor/actress for either role? Why be true to the traditional format of a media that didn't consider these topics at the time of that media's conception?

L5R has a more modern time of birth compared to Dr. Strange and Iron Fist, but possesses similar tones of mysticism in its fictional far eastern setting. Fantasy Flight has shown itself to be an inclusive company in the past with some of its other properties, but L5R comes with baggage that needs to be sorted out. Unyielding adherence to tradition may be acceptable in Rokugan, but so too is a distrust and vilification of foreign influence; A distrust we cannot abide in our modern, interconnected planet.

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FWIW I feel the professional actors were a huge plus for the opening ceremony, and short of professional cosplayers (who at that point are essentially professional actors anyways) I wouldn't have wanted anything less. No offense to the passionate players with their cheap robes, but it just would not have been nearly as impressive in person. We might like to think the parade and opening ceremony were all about us, but...they weren't, sorry. There is a reason we paraded all down Georgia St, around the convention center, and through one of the busiest non-exhibit hall areas of the convention. The whole point was to put on a spectacle for the entire convention to see and get hyped. You know those memes with "What other people think I do/What I think I do?" Basically picture you and a bunch of friends marching around in pajamas or bath robes, and that's about the perception the rest of the convention would have had with anything less than professional actors and/or top notch cosplay. Bottom line is, it's all about the marketing and the PUBLIC hype, we're already hooked fish. ;)

And unless FFG held back a lot of info about what exactly the ceremony entailed, I doubt there was too many surprises for the people they hired, so I can't imagine there being any cultural concerns from them since they agreed to the work. Keep in mind, in addition to actors, they also had those traditional drummers participating. I could be wrong, but my impression is that they were "actual" traditional drummers, not just actors...so it's very possible the actors were more than just run-of-the-mill actors, too. My experience working with groups (primarily Native American) like that is, they are very interested in performing for groups of "outsiders" to show off their culture, and they are even more interested in making sure their culture isn't be exploited. 

 

Edited by Zesu Shadaban

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I thought FFG did an excellent job with those actors and am really pleased they did not hire caucasians or other in armour (and the cosplayer idea - bleeeuugh).

As far as the Banzai to 'them' why would they be bothered? in Japanese culture, as has been stated, it has an entirely different meaning to what a lot of westerners think.  Just imagine though if the organisers had gone to them before hand and said,' we were going to get them to shout 'Banzai' but have decided that since that word represents the evil murderous Japanese military in ww2 we will not' - THAT would probably have made the ceremony offensive to the actors who is long term Americans probably had their own ancestors locked up in camps by the US during the same war.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Lysamus said:

Both Iron Fist and Dr. Strange were birthed in the Orientalism period of American culture. The characters themselves both share a similar tale of western visitors traveling to the far east to experience and master the mysteries of the orient. In revisiting these properties, Marvel had an opportunity to comment on the tropes of Orientalism and White Savior-ism, but they not only passed on doing so but, in the case of Dr. Strange, intentionally or not, added to the controversy of Asian actors being passed up in lieu of White actors.

  Just to make it more complicated, in Doctor Strange, the Ancient One was replaced with an English actress specifically so it would play in China. The Ancient One was, in the comics, a Tibetan monk, and that would create many political difficulties showing in China (well, it probably wouldn't, it would just have been banned - no difficulties there...) So, this 'whitewashing' was done to appease an Asian country's government. 

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Hey, my robes were pretty expensive!

I would like to say, the costumes they had made were absolutely beautiful, and I hope they either display them at their headquarters, or continue to use them in some other way for major events.

As for the drummer, I'm sure it was a professional Taiko drummer.  That part actually annoyed me the most, because they didn't plan around the drums and talking as they started the tournament.

A lot of the time when I ask people why they don't like the whole Utz Banzai part, its more they don't like yelling, not the "message".

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I don't think so. Some cosplayers these days make costumes at least as nice if not better than the ones FFG used. It would have meant more, I think, to have talented fans showing off their enthusiasm. That is what L5R is all about.

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Am I the only one not impressed by the costuming of the actors? Maybe its because I make my own 16th century Japanese armor and costuming for the SCA and know what looks right. Then again, good quality costuming and armor takes A LOT of time. I'm currently working on hana-gusari for kote and chainmail takes time to weave.

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11 hours ago, Lysamus said:

Both Iron Fist and Dr. Strange were birthed in the Orientalism period of American culture. The characters themselves both share a similar tale of western visitors traveling to the far east to experience and master the mysteries of the orient. In revisiting these properties, Marvel had an opportunity to comment on the tropes of Orientalism and White Savior-ism, but they not only passed on doing so but, in the case of Dr. Strange, intentionally or not, added to the controversy of Asian actors being passed up in lieu of White actors.

As for who I'd like to see acting each part, why not cast a new Asian actor/actress for either role? Why be true to the traditional format of a media that didn't consider these topics at the time of that media's conception?

L5R has a more modern time of birth compared to Dr. Strange and Iron Fist, but possesses similar tones of mysticism in its fictional far eastern setting. Fantasy Flight has shown itself to be an inclusive company in the past with some of its other properties, but L5R comes with baggage that needs to be sorted out. Unyielding adherence to tradition may be acceptable in Rokugan, but so too is a distrust and vilification of foreign influence; A distrust we cannot abide in our modern, interconnected planet.

The problem you have with existing licenses (both in popular media and in games) is the history - or baggage, as you put it. If you're doing a live-action adaptation of a comic, you don't want to change too much about the characters lest you irritate the existing fans. In the case of Iron Fist, the people claiming to be offended that Danny Rand wasn't Asian need to be balanced against the number of people who'd be annoyed it he wasn't the guy they'd grown used to over ~40 years of comics.

agarrett made an interesting point regarding the Ancient One, though I doubt we'll ever get it confirmed as the truth.

Regarding L5R, and the distrust/vilification of foreign influence - the last time they let foreigners (the white man in this setting) in, they killed the Emperor with gaijin pepper. The contents of the Shadowlands are inherently hostile, and the Desert Sands to the north not much less so. I seem to recall the Tortoise/Mantis trading with the Ivory Kingdoms, though admittedly on the quiet. In most cases, they have valid reasons to be hostile to those outside...

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4 hours ago, Manchu said:

I don't think so. Some cosplayers these days make costumes at least as nice if not better than the ones FFG used. It would have meant more, I think, to have talented fans showing off their enthusiasm. That is what L5R is all about.

My objections do not concern quality.

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