HomeAsian AmericansHit-Monkey A Marvel Misjudged Move of Appropriation?

Hit-Monkey A Marvel Misjudged Move of Appropriation?

By Jana Monji, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Reporter

Hit-Monkey won’t teach you anything about monkeys, being a hitman, or even about the Yakuza or Japan. After viewing eight episodes, the first season seemed like a less than marvelous attempt for Marvel to culturally appropriate the Yakuza and exotic scenery.

Hit-Monkey is a leap into a violent, androcentric fantasy world of men, monkeys, and mayhem in an exotic location. 

At this point Marvel doesn’t have a Japanese superhero, but it has a White guy (Italian American Fred Tatasciore ) voicing a Japanese monkey as the central and titular character of a series with a White man sidekick named Bryce (voiced by Jason Sudeikis).

There doesn’t seem to have been a lot of research into monkey behavior or movement, but this Hit-Monkey isn’t the smooth motion and tightly choreographed Marvel experience you’ll get in the Disney+ What If.

The good part about the level of animation in Hit-Monkey is that there’s no reveling in the grotesque. A woman gets sawed in half lengthwise and you don’t have to worry about anatomically detailed images being etched into your memory.

What really makes no sense is that near the end of Season One, we learn that Bryce is from a family of lower economic status, doesn’t seem to have an education or any kind of linguistic talent. So I wondered just how he navigates the underworld of Japan well enough to be hired as a hitman? Japan has widespread romanization, but being able to read Japanese makes life easier. 

Viewers might also question the gun violence depicted here. I have some answers for you.

What is a step forward for diversity is that the Japanese characters are voiced by people of similar ethnic descent. Yonsei Ally Maki plays a female Tokyo police officer. Shin Nisei Nobi Nakanishi plays her partner. Vietnamese hapa Olivia Munn voices Akiko Yokohama, the niece of the honest politician, Shinji Yokohama is voiced by George Takei and Lady Bullseye/Maki Matsumoto is voiced by Japanese hapa Reiko Aylesworth. 

Hit-Monkey is not recommended for young children and won’t satisfy your anime devotion. If you don’t mind mindless violence, some of which is committed by a monkey, this might be your thing. But if you like monkeys, you’d be better served watching a National Geographic special. 

Hit-Monkey was released on November 17th on Hulu. 

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