Cyberpunk's Asian representation problem


I know right?? The trailer is really damn slick and well done, i would be totally happy just getting a movie but in the mean time i am hoping that the game will live up to the trailer because that set a high bar.


No, imagine how I feel; back in my day, they enticed us with this:

But the reality ended up being this:


In other words, prepare for even more disappointment.


It was quite explicit in Neuromancer that Chiba City was place you could go weeks without hearing anyone speak Japanese. Whether that succeeded or failed as a narrative, I’ll leave to the reader, but our hero was in a marginal neighborhood under the umbrella of Japan, but not really a part of it.

Chiba City was not described as such. The line you’re thinking of was about a particular drinking establishment, and the hyperbole of the statement only covered a single week.

The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

The neighborhood of Chiba city where most of the initial action took place also wasn’t implied to have a diversity problem, it just wasn’t a particularly Japanese crowd.

…but the Ninsei crowd was a gaijin crowd. Groups of sailors up from the port, tense solitary tourists hunting pleasures no guidebook listed, Sprawl heavies showing off grafts and implants and a dozen distinct species of hustler, all swarming the street in an intricate dance of desire and commerce. There were countless theories explaining why Chiba City tolerated the Ninsei enclave, but Case tended toward the idea that the Yakuza might be preserving the place as a kind of historical park, a reminder of humble origins. But he also saw a certain sense in the notion that burgeoning technologies require outlaw zones…"

Note: edited for moar quotes.


Maybe the comment was referencing the lack of robot representation in the film?


Yeah this film was still rooted in the 80s down to the Atari logo and the still existing Soviet Union.

In that alternate world Japan had taken over the world economy.

On a diffrent note did anybody else ask what happened to Orange County? It is LA all the way to San Diego which was a garbage dump so there is that.


My first thoughts on that gif is “OMG! Her cellphone!!”


LOL - that last gif looks like my answer to the question: How is your life going?


It’s a bit weird that we do have our own biases in the discussion. At least I tend to do. I think of minorities, while the global majorities clearly are what are the minorities in my current vicinity.

Regarding the Arab/Muslim interjection, I think that’s also a common bias. Speaking about population size, I’ve got friends working in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. I’ve got friends working in Nigeria, Africa’s largest country (and I assume without checking that this means the largest Muslim population as well). In both countries, cultural and ethnic diversity is amazingly high. The number of languages alone exceeds my abilities of imagination. So, who would we likely see in a future LA, Paris, London, Shenzen, Astana or Singapore, if we imagine it from our current POV? What about Saõ Paolo or Hyderabad? And why would a film depicting a possible or impossible future even play in LA, or Hongkong?

That said, I’m not really offering any answers. And I’m definitely not against a more diverse cast, hope no-one reads that into my lines.

This world is so much richer than current blockbusters…


To be fair, using a hands-free segway* around a pool probably isn’t the brightest idea in the first place.

* I refuse to call that wheeled contraption a “hoverboard.”



Diversity is just a flat out problem in movies. I would love to see a sci-fi movie with heavy African influences/references, Or Indian, or whatever. It’s neat to see the Chinese elements in Blade Runner but then be presented with such a plain cast. As i said previously, it’s not outrage or anything of that sort from my part just wishing out loud for something to change.


Certainly the LA of the new Bladerunner movie seems less cosmopolitan than the LA of the original. Or, for that matter the real LA when the original came our or the book was written.


Unfortunately, the culture (Hollywood Money-People dominated, not necessarily the makers) that put the film together is cloistered off in a Palace of Versailles that can’t hear the pitchfork rattling demanding more or at least accurate diversity over the sound of their extravagant after-parties. It’s somewhat self-destructive, but also kind of inevitable, as the event that occurred a few centuries ago. This pattern appears to be happening on Netflix as well.


No Hispanic influences? I dunno if it’s my imagination but I saw aztec looking or inspired pieces of architectures. Also Edward James Olmos is in both films (though not much in 2049).


I would say the worst offender of this trope in a non-cyberpunk environment is Firefly/Serenity. Chinese slang is ubiquitous, Kanji is all over the place and not an Asian in sight.


The movie’s great, really, the prosthetic yellowface is just stunningly bad on top of everything else it might be. It forces you to wonder if the conceit could have worked if it wasn’t so terribly applied, but then you realize your brain is already starting to ping apart like a cartoon jalopy made of all the inadvertently internalized racism that has to voltron together for the curiosity to exist in the first place.


I like specific threads in the movie that work beautifully on their own, but everything put together… it doesn’t quite hold up. I feel that the movie would have worked extremely well as an animated feature, live action is much tougher to make the narrative work. I did enjoy the movie quite a bit but looking at the prosthetics for the different characters to make them different races/people is rough.


I think that the Aztec influence is maybe more of a Frank Lloyd Wright influence :wink:

The Ennis House has appeared as a backdrop in several movies.


And ethnic-inspired architecture totally makes up for the almost complete lack of Asian, Latin and Black characters in a movie about the future in LA, (outside of a barely existent and completely irrelevant Olmos cameo, and a Black man who enslaves orphans as child labor.)


I’m a massive Firefly fan, but it always bugged me that, at the very least, Simon and River Tam weren’t Asian.