Creator/Studio: Masamune Shirow/Production I.G.
Distributor: Manga Video
My Rating: 10/10
Suggested Age: 17+
Running Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
Summary: In the distant future, Major Motoko Kushanshi is the best cyber-policewoman in Section 9, an organization of police officers who target cyber-terrorists. Their latest case involves the Puppet Master, who can “ghost-hack”, meaning he can get inside your brain and make you a pawn in whatever scheme he plans.
Review: Before I begin, I want to note something. This is not the original Ghost in the Shell movie I am reviewing. This is a completely redone version. The animation is sleeker than the original production and more modernized. Even the sound has been revamped, courtesy of Skywalker Sound.
Ghost in the Shell is one of my all-time favorite anime movies. I love how different this world is from our own. Cybernetics are so commonplace in this world, that it seems completely alien to our own. Now the age-old question is even more complex–what makes humanity unique? What sets us apart from the mere animals? We have souls, but really where do these souls even come from? Do we even know that answer? If we take a human brain and put it into a cybernetic body, how can we know that person is still human? These questions are the central theme of the anime. Even though the story takes on an agnostic approach, it is still a philosophy that I find intriguing.
Motoko is one of my favorite anime heroines. She’s superhumanly strong and intelligent. I love to watch the fluidity in her motion–it’s almost as if no motion is wasted. She meticulously uses both her brains and her brawn to defeat her enemies.
The Puppet Master is a scary villain. He truly lives up to his name. I liked the fact that his victims had no idea what they were doing. Even their minds were altered. One victim in particular believes he has a wife and children, but Motoko discovers that the man has been single for years! That is the extent of the Puppet Master’s abilities: he can completely alter your perception of reality.
The animation is flawless. I could see the sleekness added by the C.G. I’ve heard some complaints from those who’ve seen the original Ghost in the Shell that this approach is too bright, but I feel that is not the case. It enhances the animation and does a great job of drawing you in because it is so unique.
Ghost in the Shell is a milestone in anime history. It created a cult following that gains new followers every time. I feel that this is one of the best anime movies ever, and I highly recommend this movie.
Sub/Dub: I really think this is a movie that must be watched subbed. Manga Video is notorious for bad dubs, and this is no exception.
Music/Score: The music has a somewhat haunting feel to it. It’s not as good as the music in the TV series, but I liked it.
Violence: (8/10) There’s a headshot right before the opening credits. SPOILER! Towards the end, Motoko literally pushes her body to the breaking point while fighting a tank.
Language: (2/10) Manga Video is known for profanity-laden dubs, but this is actually not as bad as others I’ve heard.
Nudity: (3/10) Motoko has a passion for wearing skin-tight clothes, and during the opening credits, we see a nude female cyborg.
Religion: (1/10)–Throughout the movie, various characters talk about their “ghosts” which could be interpreted as a soul.
Related Media: There was a sequel to the movie called Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence. There was also a two season TV series called Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex. I’ve also heard of a few Playstation games.
Trivia: The Wachowski Brothers, who also directed the Matrix trilogy, have gone on record as saying that Ghost in the Shell was one of the inspirations for the Matrix trilogy.