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Old 06-28-2010, 07:47 AM   #1
Mike Windu
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Racebending and how much the movie sucked.

Since this room seems to be a lot more active, I'm curious as to who knows of the racebending controversy for The Last Airbender movie? I'm a big supporter of the movement, so feel free to ask me any questions ;D

For the uninitiated: Avatar: The Last Airbender was an American created tv show based and steeped deeeeeeeeeepppp in Asian culture. In the translation to the big screen, all leading roles were initially cast as White. After protests, the villain/anti hero of the series is recast as an Indian.

racebending.com has more information, and depending on how many people are engaged in this thread, I'll copypasta some of my discussion yesterday, where my friend argued about how I was being a racist for wanting fair casting practices...




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Old 06-28-2010, 08:29 AM   #2
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Go stand in line behind the Dragonball, Street Fighter and Prince of Persia movies.


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Old 06-28-2010, 08:46 AM   #3
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Didn't support those either. Not to mention 21 [those MIT Math whizzes? Guess what...]




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Old 06-28-2010, 10:14 AM   #4
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Easy enough to understand, but something that most would just wonder why it is even done. It is odd for most to think that we are in a more advanced time than fifty years ago, and while I'm not discounting the technology, its these nearly archaic things that stop us from truly advancing. Sure, we can stand minorities in cartoons, Anime and other media(aside from films), but when they go to the big screen, it can't be them that take the spotlight? Why in the hell not?

Of course, it doesn't help that most directors(along with the writers, and the production studio) want to only do the things that will make money, and sometimes you can't do that if you tell the story that fans of the series(or whatever it may be), can recognize it perfectly(I'm looking at you, Boll), though that isn't always limited to the changing of race.

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Old 06-28-2010, 10:47 AM   #5
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Yeah, I heard about the casting complaints. I find it surprising that they cast a bunch of white people considering M. Night Shamwow is freakin' Indian, but what're ya gonna do? If people don't like it, they can vote with their wallet.

My complaints are more along the lines of the changes they made to the film, but again, they have to compress a whole season into one movie. What're ya gonna do?

Can't wait to see the film next week.
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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Can't wait to see the film next week.
But what're ya gonna do?


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Old 06-28-2010, 11:55 AM   #7
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It is really sad that this is a recent practice in Hollywood.

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Old 06-28-2010, 04:48 PM   #8
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/thread

Another good one is Robert Downey Junior's role in Tropic Thunder, but that was intentional.


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Old 06-28-2010, 12:50 PM   #9
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I've never seen it and I don't really plan on it. But, imho, if you're going to make a movie about a series where the characters are predominitely Asian, make the actors fit goddammit! Crap like this annoys me when I watch movies and I realize that Character x was supposed to be race r but is race q in the movie. Sure, I understand that maybe there's "more" of a market, but, c'mon if that's how your marketing you need to rethink your marketing and market.


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Old 06-28-2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Phreak, that's what we're encouraging people to do. Vote with their wallets. The controversy has been picked up by 50+ news outlets, ranging from Associated Press to BBC. We're not going away anytime soon.




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Old 06-29-2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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But what're ya gonna do?
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Phreak, that's what we're encouraging people to do. Vote with their wallets. The controversy has been picked up by 50+ news outlets, ranging from Associated Press to BBC. We're not going away anytime soon.
I'm voting I don't care. I wanna see the movie.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:16 PM   #12
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IIRC Kavar's had a thing on this. I don't really think the casting of whites first was intentional but rather just old habit.

However there were many people, back when this whole thing initially happened, who attempted to cast it as malicious and intentionally racist. You know, people who look for even the smallest things to complain about in order to play the race card? I think those people specifically are suffering from shadow profiling and a little bit of racism themselves. Far as fans in general just wanting to keep it accurate, nothing wrong with that.

Street Fighter the movie...I understand we needed someone like Jean Claude Van Damme to play Col. Guile, buuut it'll forever be remembered as starring the "American with a french accent" and a few other things that made it particularly less-than-memorable. Or the more recent Chun Li Street Fighter movie. That gets a facepalm.

No, it's just Hollywierd and its ignorance. Perhaps a bit of lust for more money or market as has already been said. But with (non militant) vigilance, such things can be overcome. A market strategy is no good if 1) it alienates the fanbase
2) it does not successfully branch out to other audiences (experimental) in order to compensate that loss

I probably would have similar complaints when, for example, people with no Native American heritage are given roles as a tribe's men and women in some movie even partially about/inclusive of Native American tribes. Not because I myself am part N.A. but because it's historically inaccurate to do that, and ignorant like I said.

*shrug*


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Old 06-28-2010, 03:55 PM   #13
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I for one think the whole issue is silly. Who cares what race the actors belong to, if they can portray the character properly?! I didn't care that they were all white, if they are/were good actors and I wouldn't/don't care if they weren't/that they aren't all white either for the exact same reason.

Edit: Man, that's a lot of slashes.

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Old 06-28-2010, 04:59 PM   #14
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I for one think the whole issue is silly. Who cares what race the actors belong to, if they can portray the character properly?! I didn't care that they were all white, if they are/were good actors and I wouldn't/don't care if they weren't/that they aren't all white either for the exact same reason.
Since, you seems to like naruto, lets take naruto as an example.

Imagine Hollywood decides to make a "Naruto; The movie" and then they take a bunch of white people, eating ramens, saying "Rasengan!" with an american accent, with ninja clothes, Japanese clothes, living in a Japanese village, respecting the Japanese culture.
Would you like that the movie was made that way? with white people playing Japanese people, instead of Japanese people, playing Japanese people!?


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Old 06-28-2010, 05:13 PM   #15
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I don't really know how I'd feel about it, but I probably wouldn't make a big deal out of it.

On another note, when we talk about Avatar The Last Airbender in particular, all of the voice actors on that cartoon were white people/kids, with the exception of the late Mako who did an excellent job voicing Uncle Iroh and nobody seems to be bothered with that little fact, yet they are bothered with an all-white live action cast. This is why I find it silly.

Another example is the movie Daredevil, where Kingpin - the main villain - who is white in the comics was portrayed by a black actor, Michael Clarke Duncan. I don't remember hearing or reading about anyone having problem with that casting choice. Also, IMO, the actor did a very good job with that role in an otherwise mediocre movie.

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Old 06-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #16
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Would you like that the movie was made that way? with white people playing Japanese people, instead of Japanese people, playing Japanese people!?
I loved that movie. Two thumbs up, way up!

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Old 06-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #17
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Farley's death couldn't come soon enough after that one. Terrible.


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Old 06-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #18
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Is this where I can complain about Goldmember?

That character was supposed to be Dutch but was talking German. I'm deeply offended and will Jihad Mike Meyers for being this insulting towards the Dutch.

OT: Who cares. It's about a movie as a whole. If it doesn't have any additional value for the movie to cast someone race-specific, then don't.
And let's face it...Jackie Chan won't win an Academy award....

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Old 06-28-2010, 10:42 PM   #19
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A lot of anime has "Japanese" that look more caucasian than not (big eyes, blonde hair, etc...). The choices no doubt have more to do w/perceived box office potential and familiarity than anything else. It's myopic, but hey.....it's Hollywood/show biz.


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Old 06-28-2010, 11:28 PM   #20
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A lot of anime has "Japanese" that look more caucasian than not (big eyes, blonde hair, etc...).
Look guys Asians have small eyes and don't know how to dye their hair lolz


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Old 06-29-2010, 12:27 AM   #21
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Look guys Asians have small eyes and don't know how to dye their hair lolz
their eyes are like half their faces it's kind of a legit observation brah



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Old 06-29-2010, 12:35 AM   #22
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their eyes are like half their faces it's kind of a legit observation brah
No no no it's independent arto-cultural sensibilities


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Old 06-29-2010, 06:30 AM   #23
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No no no it's independent arto-cultural sensibilities
No no no....that's just pretentious. Frankly, a lot of anime is basically "white" people running around speaking in Japanese. So, it'd really be irrelevant if you've got that with a live-action flick. Just "independent arto-cultural sensibilities", Hollywood style. But you totally missed the original point anyway in a misguided attempt at a cheap shot.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

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Old 06-28-2010, 11:38 PM   #24
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Ohh yeah, Beverly Hills Ninja. Epic. Who'da thunk a clumsy white boy would fulfill Japanese prophecy? :P

OMGAWDZ Naruto show follows japan just totally to the nth degree.

And this girl is totally Japanese looking.

And this girl.

OH wait, let's not forget the star himself...

And what about the old lady?


Yup. There's no white actors and actresses who could play THESE characters.

@ newer members: BTW I'm being a jackass to illustrate my point. No hard feelings.


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Old 06-29-2010, 12:19 AM   #25
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That's the GTA everybody knows and... errr... tolerates

Anyway, just make the rl actors fit the..... drawings? If it's about Asia, make them fit. That's it. Otherwise, I don't give a rat's nether regions about this film.


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Old 06-29-2010, 05:19 AM   #26
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@GTA: Agreed completely, but you forgot this guy:



I mean, he's totally Japanese!

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Old 06-29-2010, 07:16 AM   #27
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@ Totenkopf: Trying to determine an anime character's origin from the shape and size of their eyes or hair colour is kind of a silly way to go about things... It's an art style, not a measure of racial identity... and very few animes actually have a style where they convey a persons true origin...



"...Why?"



Most anime styles tend to have that whole "every character looks practically the same aside from a few small feature changes" approach anyway which ends up making things worse... and that's kind of why what defines the culture/race of an anime character seems to be determined more around what the setting is, their background and the many "hints" that are given about where that character come from... whether they are subliminal, liminal or superliminal

...at least that's what I've discovered from watching billions of hours of anime until I got sick of watching anime...

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Old 06-29-2010, 07:41 PM   #28
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*edit for brevity*
Actually you missed the point too. Wasn't asserting what the actual identity of anyone was in the first place. Merely pointing out that judging strictly by appearance wouldn't necessarily lead one to come to the conclusion that said "oh, guess I'll have to cast a *pick your race* actor for this part b/c it's self evident that that charachter is..." Far as I'm concerned, I don't care what race or nationality an actor is as long as he or she is good at what they do. As for anime in general, I'm not a really big fan of many of the storylines or even the artistic styles used tbh.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

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Old 06-29-2010, 03:42 PM   #29
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The cartoon isn't technically an anime (not originating in Japan), but I can see where everyone is coming from if I can recall the DB movie (god why ) I wouldn't see any problems with more hapa actors portraying characters in set an Asian world (unless they are specifically described as being Caucasian, etc.)

BTW I love GTA's post - I was going to post something similar in another forum but decided against it (laziness :P)


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Old 06-29-2010, 07:59 PM   #30
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@ Totenkopf: To be honest, I didn't read what you typed I just went by the pictures posted in the thread and the last post of the thread... I like pictures.

However, I think what I said still stands. In any animation the characters looks are based around art style... in live-action shows it's different and the person playing a character has to embody a character to be convincing. After all, a tanned Irishman could be a hell of an actor, but I wouldn't cast him as an Indian character in a movie.

Why? Because it would be very difficult for the audience to connect the dots to allow them to believe that actor is that person that they're trying to portray.

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Old 06-29-2010, 08:31 PM   #31
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I'd like to see an Asian playing Kofi Annan some time. That'll be good for suspension of disbelief for sure.


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Old 06-29-2010, 08:32 PM   #32
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Well, perhaps you shouldn't have directed it toward me specifically then. In live action, most people care less about the race of the lead than whether he or she was memorable or merely the popular flavor of the moment. While some purists end up possibly disappointed (whatever the project), most people don't either know enough about the actual background or don't really give a damn in the end. Judging by box office, a lot of people are willing to suspend disbelief about a lot of things if the end product is entertaining enough.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

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Old 06-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #33
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Well, perhaps you shouldn't have directed it toward me specifically then. In live action, most people care less about the race of the lead than whether he or she was memorable or merely the popular flavor of the moment. While some purists end up possibly disappointed (whatever the project), most people don't either know enough about the actual background or don't really give a damn in the end. Judging by box office, a lot of people are willing to suspend disbelief about a lot of things if the end product is entertaining enough.
That's assuming the movie isn't based on anything.... On the other hand, try showing people a Filipino person playing Bruce Wayne/Batman and see what people really think.

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Old 06-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #34
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That's assuming the movie isn't based on anything.... On the other hand, try showing people a Filipino person playing Bruce Wayne/Batman and see what people really think.
Or sparkly vampires.


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Old 06-29-2010, 08:47 PM   #35
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Well, it might be interesting to test that theory out. Especially since not all Filipino's are small and dark skinned. Still, since Airbenders is apparently "anime" and not a whole lot of people seem that worked up over it (as a % of potential audience in general. I've already granted you that purists would/might be upset), I guess we'll just have to wait and see if enough people even care in the end. I know I couldn't care less who's cast....


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

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Old 06-29-2010, 08:52 PM   #36
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The bottom line seems to be: If you're going to adapt someone else's work that already has a fan base, respect their work and respect the fan base.


Obviously you don't care much about Avatar... but what if someone came along and started changing elements about something you did care about? I don't care much about Avatar either, but I can understand some peoples opposition to certain decisions made...

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Old 06-29-2010, 09:01 PM   #37
Totenkopf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynk Former View Post
Obviously you don't care much about Avatar... but what if someone came along and started changing elements about something you did care about? I don't care much about Avatar either, but I can understand some peoples opposition to certain decisions made...
I granted you the purists would be upset.


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Old 06-29-2010, 09:07 PM   #38
Lynk Former
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
I granted you the purists would be upset.
And your point?




@ GTA: Even worse... like Will Smith in Wild Wild West.

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Old 06-29-2010, 08:58 PM   #39
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@ igy: Hey, couldn't hog all the fun.

Glad other people like it too.


Anyways I think this is all getting off topic. I don't believe the casting was necessarily this intentional racism that many people are seemingly in a bind over. Admittedly casting 'off-color' people to certain roles is kind of facepalm. All the while this ...decidedly visual appeal makes little if any determination at all on how the participating actors and actresses will perform their roles.

Skin color should not make a determination on how well one performs his/her duties. Period.

EDIT: @ lynk: What, you mean like that one movie (Walking Tall?) casting The Rock in the place of that one sheriff known to be a hardline white guy? (It *was* based off a real story.) I thought that was hilarious.

And I'd lol if a chinese played a mexican.


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Old 06-29-2010, 10:11 PM   #40
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I answer that question with a question of my own: “Why do you think they look Caucasian?” “Because of the round eyes,” or the “blonde hair,” is the common response. When I ask then if the questioner actually knows anyone, “Caucasian” or otherwise, who really looks anything like these highly stylized cartoons, the response may be, “Well, they look more Caucasian than Asian.”
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In the case of cartooning, of course, we are dealing with drawn representations rather than words, but the concept of “marked/unmarked” is every bit as salient. In the case of the U.S., and indeed the entire European-dominated world, the unmarked category in drawn representations would be the face of the European. The European face is, as it were, the default face. Draw a circle, add two dots for eyes and a line for a mouth, and you have, in the European sphere, a European face. (More specifically, you would have a male European face. The addition of eyelashes would make it female.) Non-Europeans, however, must be marked in drawn or painted representations, just as they commonly are in daily conversation (e.g., “I have this Black friend who...”).
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It should come as no surprise, then, that Japanese readers should have no trouble accepting the stylized characters in manga, with their small jaws, all but nonexistent noses, and famously enormous eyes as “Japanese.” Unless the characters are clearly identified as foreign, Japanese readers see them as Japanese, and it would never occur to most readers that they might be otherwise, regardless of whether non-Japanese observers think the characters look Japanese or not.

When non-Japanese characters appear in a manga in which most characters are Japanese, that character will be differentiated from the others with stereotyped racial markers of some kind. For example, a character of African descent may be shown with pronounced lips, frizzy hair, and shaded skin. A European character may be shown with a pronounced nose and jutting jaw.


Here is azn aang saying harro i r aang cannah pronounce werdz



Here is white aang pining over tractors and listening to country music



Here's our lovable protagonist in all his unnecessarily marked glory.

Here's real white people (Americans!) in Samurai Champloo:


Here's a German/Dutchie



Sorry if the subtitle is inappropes. I'm too lazy to photoshop it.




That's the last time I buy anything just because it's furry!

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