As Netflix prepares to produce a live-action adaptation of the beloved anime series, Evangelion, the casting of who will play the lead role of Asuka Langley Soryu is a critical decision to make. Among the many talented and capable actresses who could bring the character to life, Zendaya should be the top choice for Netflix. And while I have not watched Evangelion, or any anime in my life, it is obvious that you don’t need to watch it to see why Zendaya was born for this role.
Aside from being one of the best fits for the character, the portrayal of Asuka through a BIBOC actress will not only bring a sense of diversity to Evangelion, but the anime medium as a whole. Aside from being considered one of the most attractive and popular actresses, Zendaya has become an icon of diversity and representation. She has taken roles, such as MJ in the Spider-Man franchise, that break traditional Hollywood norms and open doors for other actors of color. By casting her as Asuka in the upcoming live-action Evangelion movie, Netflix would be taking a stand for inclusivity and representation in the entertainment industry, in a time that needs it the most.
Asuka is a complex and powerful character that has been beloved by anime fans since the original Evangelion series debuted in 1995. In the series, she is an incredibly strong and independent young woman, who struggles with her own identity and often feels alone and isolated. Representing her with a diverse actor like Zendaya would not only honor the character’s original design but also bring a broader and more inclusive perspective to the role.
The anime community has been considered isolated from the rest of the world due to how overwhelmingly white and right-leaning it is. This is not a surprise considering that nearly every character in anime has a white skin tone despite the Asian roots of anime. By casting a Black woman as one of the most famous anime characters, we can help clear the notion that anime is predominantly white, and break barriers in an industry that needs it the most. Black girls will finally be able to view their favorite cartoons and be able to see someone that looks like them. Representation matters, especially in a time where openly white supremacist presidents can get elected, and if we want to win, we must take everything into consideration. Especially what we watch and listen to.