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Pet Sins March 2005

The Matrix Series

The Matrix Trilogy

The Wachowski Brothers' casting of ethnically diverse actors has not escaped the attention of people of color around the world. African Americans commended the directors for putting black men and women in roles of dignity and power. Taiwanese actor Collin Chou (Seraph of Matrix Reload and Matrix Revolutions) praised the Wachowskis for casting people from all over the world. South Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander and African American characters had key roles as positive characters.

The ending scene of Matrix Revolutions is an interracial happy ending without white people - the Oracle (black woman), Seraph (yellow man), and Sati (brown girl), restored to the Matrix, look upon a glorious sunset together. It is also an inter-generational happy ending - an aged matriach, a man in his prime, and a child stand together on the edge of the future and it is people of color who literally have the final word to say at the end of the Matrix trilogy.

Not that there is anything wrong with interracial endings which include white people, but until the 1990s, mainstream movie makers tended to avoid stories centered around interracial relationships between people of color for the fear that white audiences would not be able to identify with the characters. The success of the Matrix trilogy and its accompanying animated feature and video game shows us all that 'mainstream' white audiences are ready to accept a world where interracial relationships with non-whites are not the sole prerogative of whites, at least in virtual reality.

Animatrix

The Animatrix is a series of 9 animated shorts from top Japanese and American animation directors follow the Matrix Trilogy's tradition in giving a prominent role to people of color, and less typical interracial partnerships. The short Final Flight of the Osiris centers on an interracial romance between a bold yellow woman and equally bold black man. The short Program features one of the extremely rare (I think we could probably count them with the fingers of one hand) ultra-cool and handsome black male characters from Japanese animation.

Enter the Matrix

The key game characters in Enter The Matrix are a black woman (Niobe) and a yellow man (Ghost). When was the last time you saw a game in which the main characters are a black woman and a yellow man? The fact that this game has managed to achieve commercial success is also a sign that game markets are ready for characters with traditionally under-represented gender/race combinations.