And Ursula K. Le Guin is, once again, pissed off.
Though, had she known even the first thing about Japanese animation politics, she would've known that "red-brown" characters were not ever going to fly. Remember "Is she black!?" Anthy and the way in which she and her brother became inexplicably several significant shades lighter for the theatrical film? (Lucky thing the heroine is so conveniently blonde and blue-eyed in the book 'cause that's worth keeping true to!)
Yes, the Japanese audience "perceives them differently"--as far as they're concerned, all of those uber-white anime characters are "Japanese"! But the fact of the matter is that they are as attuned to the politics of dark skin as we are, and, if anything, tend to view it even more negatively. This is one aspect of the Earthsea novels that would've translated beautifully...had the good old boys at Studio Ghibli been brave enough to include it in their 2006 release of Gedo Senki
(which, if you're curious, charmingly translates as "Ged's War History").
Which, surprise surprise, they weren't.