"What's that?" said Anne, my Trusty Companion, rolling her chair towards my desk and peering over my shoulder. "Not LOLCats. LOLCats are a gift from the gods."
"Not that," I said. "This."
"Happy Feet Two? Yeah, I also fail to see why that needed a sequel."
"No, Woman," I said, jabbing a finger at the monitor. "This. Kristen Stewart gets cast in Akira."
Anne gave a strangled yelp.
"My thoughts exactly," I said. "What in the name of the wind are these people thinking? Actually, that's probably the problem. They aren't thinking. All hopped up on triple mocha lattes while their brains leak out of their ears."
"You're right, Jericho," said Anne. "That is a travesty against humankind. I don't want my anime to sparkle, goddammit. We've got to do something."
"I'm working on that right now, Old Girl," I said. "Here's my plan. Occupy Warner Brothers."
Anne blinked at me. "You mean like Occupy Wall Street?"
"Yes," I said. "Exactly that. We gather thirty, maybe forty thousand screaming, gibbering twentysomethings, offer them free WiFi and the MMO of their choice, and camp them out in front of the studio offices singing karaoke, doing interpretive dances, and chanting slogans against crap-tastic adaptations."
"Problem. You don't have many followers."
"I don't have any followers. Except maybe a few dust bunnies."
"So how do you plan to go from zero to forty thousand gibbering twentysomethings?"
"I can buy them off."
"You don't have money. Just two pieces of lint and a paper clip."
"Minor technicality," I said. "Then we'll have to focus our energies. Time's a-wasting."
Just then "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana exploded from nearby.
It was my cellphone wailing for attention.
I grabbed the bullhorn from the desk. "Quiet, you technobeast! I'm trying to concentrate!"
Anne reached past me, picked up the phone, and looked at the display. "It's an unlisted number."
"Put it on speaker."
She did and set the phone back on the desk.
"Is this Doctor Jericho?" said the tinny lisping voice on the other end.
"Who are you, Foul Miscreant," I said, "that I may smite thee with a large piece of farm equipment for interfering in creations of cosmic proportions?"
"Is this Doctor Jericho, the Professional Writer?"
"It is, sir. Who's this?"
"Call me Ishmael," said the voice.
"Are you serious?" Anne said, making a face.
"Yes. Ishmael Pequod Bell."
"All right, Ishmael Pequod Bell," I said. "Speak fast. This is an unsecured line and there are wily weasels out there who will stop at nothing to censor us Rogue Journalists with six feet of plastic tubing and a yak."
"I'm an assistant at Warner Brothers," said Ishmael. "I've been asked to talk to you. My superiors know that you probably heard the announcements for the casting of Akira. They just want you to know that they have the source material's best interests in mind."
"Best interests?" I said with a guffaw. "By whitewashing the cast? Surely you're joking. And if not joking, clinically insane."
"We're planning on getting Helena Bonham Carter and Gary Oldman to sign on. They've got the filmic cachet to lend the movie some authority."
"Cachet is not the point," I said. "You and your superiors are treading on dangerous ground. Bordering on taking the source material and subjecting it to an acid enema. If your cast members are not Japanese, why keep the Japanese names?"
"They spoke Chinese in that Joss Whedon space western."
"Are you talking about 'Firefly'?"
"Whatever it was called."
"Your ignorance is showing, you filthy excuse for a walking turd. Besides, 'Mal Reynolds' isn't a Chinese name. If you're going to Americanize an anime classic, might as well make all the names American. Or at least non-Japanese."
Anne snorted. "That might be too much, even for the brains at Warner Brothers," she said.
"Not at all," said Ishmael. "There's already some discussion about that."
I gaped at the phone. "Say it ain't so."
"Oh yes," he said. "So far they're considering 'Ken' for 'Kaneda,' 'Tony' for 'Tetsuo,' and 'Kate' for 'Kei.' "
Anne and I exchanged worried looks.
I was afraid to ask.
"What about 'Akira'?" I said.
"They're thinking 'Fred.' "
Come back next week for another entry of The Jericho Files!
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.