Ghost in the Shell poster

Ghost in the Shell

In the year 2029, advances in Cybernetics allow people to replace nearly all of their body parts and organs with robotics. Through these prosthetics, the weak are made strong, and the dying are given new life. Public Security Section 9 of Niihama City (a fictional setting inspired by Hong Kong), a diverse team of AI, cyborgs and unmodified humans, must investigate cases of corruption and terrorism. Major Motoko Kusanagi has full-body prosthetics, owing to a childhood accident. She, her second in command Batou and information specialist Ishikawa have been assigned an important task: to investigate a hacker known only as "The Puppetmaster." But as Motoko and her team discover, things are never so simple.Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic thriller with intense action scenes mixed with slower artistic sequences and many philosophical questions about one's soul, gender and human identity in such an advanced age of technology.

Ranking 158

User Count48563
Favorites Count1255
Start Date18th Nov 1995
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank158
Rating Rank326
Age RatingR
Age Rating GuideMild Nudity
Subtypemovie
Statusfinished

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Based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell is an account of a not-so-distant future when it’s not uncommon for you to walk on a busy street and bump into cyborgs— humans who have been ‘cyberized’ to such an extent that every aspect of their functioning is taken care of by high-tech equipment within their ‘shell’, the prosthetic body, and ‘ghost’ which is the slang term for consciousness. So what was it that you really bumped into? What is it that differentiates a human from a cyborg? What makes us human— the biological matter, the consciousness or the memories? These are the questions which Ghost in the Shell explores. On the surface, it’s a cybercrime story. Rapid progression of cybernetics has resulted in various complications, particularly ‘ghost hacking’. Section 9, a unit of National Public Safety Commission of Japan, is responsible for dealing with such sensitive crimes. The protagonist is Major Kusanagi Motoko, a member of Section 9, whose body is almost entirely cyberized with the exception of her brain which is organic. With the aid of her co-workers, she must track down Puppet Master, an ingenious hacker.The movie is an intricate piece of work with technical terms and phrases popping up every now and then. This makes it difficult to comprehend many parts of the movie and sometimes you have no clue what’s going on, especially if you’re watching it the first time and you don’t have at least a minimal knowledge of cybernetics and the like. However, if you watch it with enough focus, grasping the overall plot should not be that difficult. Basically, you need to look at it as a reel of threads instead of trying to disentangle every intertwined thread if you’re a first time viewer of the movie. For an in-depth analysis, you may require to watch it a few more times until you’re contented enough. Although cyberpunk is the core, Ghost in the Shell also has several philosophical aspects. Cyberization enables storage of memories in external devices like hard drives and consequently their sharing. You can share the memories of a party you went to with a friend— what you saw, what you heard and even the sensations you had. So, how would you define ‘reality’ in a world where accessing others’ memories is as simple as browsing through files and folders on your computer? How would you know that the memories you possess are ‘real’? Candidly speaking, you’re no longer your own master in such vulnerability. Keeping aside the philosophy, let’s move on to the other aspects of the movie. Visually, Ghost in the Shell is spectacular. Considering that the movie is more than a decade old now, the animation and graphics are noteworthy indeed. The action scenes are so well animated that they leave the viewers in awe. Not to mention, the backgrounds, machines, skyscrapers and other objects are really well detailed, rendering the movie what it is— a futuristic thriller. There is not much to say about the audio. The voice actors did a fine job, if not the best. The song ‘Making of a Cyborg’, a traditional Japanese chanting more or less that plays during the opening credits and a few other scenes give an uncanny feel to the movie and is in contrast to the ‘futuristic’ theme. To wrap up, Ghost in the Shell is a classy sci-fi thriller that not only offers an insight into a time when the line between man and machine constantly blurs but also provokes thoughts about what’s in store for us in the near future. It’s a must watch for every sci-fi fanatic out there.

*"An intricate, finely crafted film."* A dark and slick cyberpunk-style story, Ghost in the Shell is the movie version of Masamune Shirow's award-winning comic story. Despite its origins, Shirow had little to do with the film interpretation and the result owes far more to director Mamoru Oshii's dark, reserved, cerebral style than Shirow's original vision. Fans of the comic have been warned; though many of the themes survive, the two are different enough that it'd be easy to be disappointed with one if you liked the other. The story is somewhat different, the characters look and act different (cold and brooding, rather than harsh but relatively human), and the sporadic humor that Shirow is so fond of is nowhere to be found (whether that is good or bad depends on your tastes, but I missed it). The movie is also a little slow, and completely humorless--the mood is consistently dispassionate and everything meticulously constructed. The bottom line here is that director Oshii used Shirow's framework for cyberpunk philosophy to sculpt a movie similar to his later works, such as Jin Roh. The result won't be to everyone's taste, but is unmistakable and powerful in its own way. Every action, sentence, and shot feels carefully planned, but the viewer is never allowed to get too close, and the production is pervaded by an emotionally detached air. This calm, even-handed style may be uncomfortably slow to some, but others will find it fascinating. The main characters, similarly, can be both a strength and a weakness; they are completely humorless and have almost robotic personalities, which works within the story, but makes them difficult to empathize with. On the other hand, although they're probably not people you'd like to know personally, they seem very real and it's interesting trying to pick out what exactly might be going on in their heads. This again shows Oshii's careful style; everything seems deliberate, but he never gives us a clear window into the characters, always leaving the viewer to infer what's going on inside. One thing that does carry over from the original version of Ghost in the Shell is the depth and complexity of the plot. Shirow is well known for intricate, hard-to-follow stories that blend political intrigue, science fiction, and heavy philosophical exploration. On that mark, this version of Ghost in the Shell definitely holds up, and although it is somewhat abridged from the comic version, most of the original concept is still here. There is less action, to be sure, but the politics are still present, and there's more than enough exploration of what it means to be human and the effects of technology on the human soul to keep you thinking. The only possible downside is that there may actually be too much plot--some of the intrigue (particularly the political background) is so involved that it's easy to get lost, and the philosophical discussions are rather heavy-handed. Artistically speaking, Ghost in the Shell is beautiful. The animation is fluid, the backgrounds are (true to Shirow's style) realistic and filled with detail, the hardware is realistic, and the art is sharp and extremely well drawn. The character designs are quite realistic and interesting as well, although they look rather different from Shirow's originals. The character animation is marvelous, again showcasing pervasive attention to detail--the little things are smooth, subtle, and natural, and the motion during action scenes is even more precise and fluid. Those two action scenes (one at each end) are, like the rest of the film, somewhat subdued, but they are nonetheless spectacular. Still, Ghost in the Shell is most definitely not an action movie--despite the cyberpunk origins, it is more about philosophy than people shooting each other. The acting on both sides of the linguistic fence is good. In the original Japanese, almost all of the casting is dead on, and the low-key performances behind Motoko and Bateau are top-notch. The English casting is also very good, although the acting is not quite of the same caliber. The Major is acted well, although I thought the performances in the dub were a little too low-key (read: robotic) for their own good. Kenji Kawai's musical score is interesting; more AKIRA than Bubblegum Crisis, it is cerebral and surprisingly understated. Consisting mainly of traditional-sounding and somewhat surreal choir and slow drumbeats, the score is creative, unfamiliar, and a bit eerie, which fits the production quite well. More noticeable than the music is the lack thereof; many scenes (most notably the action sequences) are almost silent. Ghost in the Shell maintains a unique feel throughout, is visually striking, and there is enough philosophy for the deepest viewer, making for an unusual and engaging movie. On the other hand, fans of the original comic (or later TV series) and people looking for cyberpunk action may well be disappointed, and the plot and philosophy may be too monotonous for others to really enjoy. Oshii fans will not be disappointed, but Shirow fans take note: If you like them just the way he wrote them, you've been warned. Related Recommendations First of all, the sequel film, Innocence, is everything this movie is polished to the extreme. There are also a couple of Ghost in the Shell TV series (Stand Alone Complex) and a related movie that are much more faithful to Shirow's original, and hence less philosophical and more action-oriented than this movie. Past that, this movie has the most in common with another of director Mamoru Oshii's films, Jin Roh. It also shares many elements with two dark and philosophically heavy TV series, Serial Experiments Lain and Boogiepop Phantom. You might also give several of movies based on Shirow's works a try, though none are of the same quality (at least animation-wise) or as dark: Appleseed, Black Magic M-66 (intentionally cheesy), and Gundress (unintentionally even cheesier). The dark-future cyberpunk theme is also done in Bubblegum Crisis and the A.D. Police Files OAVs, but the latter is much more like Ghost in the Shell than the former (Bubblegum Crisis is a lot more punk than cyber, and considerably less deep). NOTES AND TRIVIA Ghost in the Shell was released theatrically in both the US and Japan. In fact, the dubbed version was also released on video in Japan, subtitled in Japanese. While the film Innocence follows this one in plot, the Stand Alone Complex TV series and related movies are not directly connected, and have far more to do with the original comic than the movies (or the comic sequel). A note about the director: Mamoru Oshii, now a renowned anime director, has been at work since the '80s, bringing a surreal touch to parts of the wacky comedy Urusei Yatsura, among other things. His style has since solidified into dark, reserved, complex stories such as this one, epitomized by his later work Jin Roh, which is in many ways the same story as Ghost in the Shell told in a different setting. A second note about the title: Although "Ghost in the Shell" is the English title and "Koukaku Kidoutai," meaning something to the effect of "Mobile Armored Tactical Group," is the Japanese title, it would be more accurate to say that the title is both. On the original manga cover and in the movie, both titles are written (the former in English, even on the original Japanese versions), so you could probably say that either one is the title--particularly since the Japanese title uses some very obscure characters. This is kind of like another of Shirow's comics, Orion, which had that English title along with a title in Japanese. A third note, about the video game: The old PlayStation game of the same name is worth mentioning, since it included several sequences of real cel animation. Furthermore, the animation was *not* taken from this movie--it was created specifically for the game. What's really interesting is that the animation and characters in the game are true to Shirow's originals--the art looks like Shirow's, and the characters all have the personalities that they did in the comic (though the actual gameplay is of debatable quality).

Although it can feel a bit dated, GitS is a prime example of what a group of dedicated individuals with a fantastic source material can do. The voice acting is top-notch, the visuals amazing (even by today's standards), and the score hauntingly beautiful. The problem, however, is the pacing issue. While the movie certainly makes the most of it's total run-time, some characters aren't fleshed out enough to form emotional bonds with. That is the only thing holding this masterwork back from greatness.

Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic crime/mystery anime set where the boundaries between humans and computer intelligence have blended in. Throughout the course of the film the viewer is constantly asked what is the difference between a human and A.I. in the world. This creates a philosophical plot that may seem daunting at first, but well done nonetheless. Story: 8/10 The story may seen confusing at first. It is a little difficult to follow with all the science talk and unraveled mystery within the film. After taking a step back I really appreciated the story's complexity and uniqueness. It reminds me a lot of the movie Blade Runner: dark and philosophical. Animation: 7/10 For a 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell's animation was well done. The city setting was futuristic and like a neo-noir. I especially liked the attentive detail to the human bodies. A re-released version called Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is a graphically updated version of the old film. So there are many ways someone can enjoy the animation. Sound: 7/10 The sound was pretty standard. Nothing stuck out like a soar thumb in neither a good nor bad way. The music was eerie and seemed more primitive and tribal in contrast to the futuristic theme. Enjoyment: 7/10 Personally this wasn't the most spectacular thing I watched, but it's definitely worth the watch especially if you are into steam punk and more thought-driven anime. Your brain won't hurt after watching this, but you may have some questions that can be easily answered. Overall: Overall I give Ghost in the Shell a 7/10. It has a unique plot, a philosophical story, and detailed futuristic noir animation. If you are looking for something with more depth I would highly suggest picking this up. It was worth the watch and has me interested in pursuing the rest of the franchise.

Story: The story centers around section 9 as they are deployed to solve criminal cases in this cases dealing with ghost hackers, a ghost being this anime's term for the human consciousness. The case in this film deals with a cyber terrorist known as the puppet master and the name alone should already be able to suggest what it is that he or she does. Plot: If there is one thing I could say about Ghost in the shell's plot is that it is tight, it never strays of point and every event leads up to one finale. This film doesn't waste time on anything unnecessary and because off this it manages to fit a lot of information into its short run length. The film manages to bring up a lot of themes whether it be during a short conversation between Batou and the Major or merely through its events having you question whether this cyberization is right by merely seeing what things happen to common people because of it. It does this all while weaving an intriguing mystery throughout the plot in the form of who or what is the puppet master something which both is and isn't answered. There are indeed many questions asked such as what defines sentience? what if your memories are fake, does that make them meaningless? what part of us is human, is it just the brain or is it more than that? Exposition and structure: The exposition in Ghost in the shell is handled beautifully and in a manner that I can really admire as it doesn't go out of its way like other pieces of fiction to explain details of the world within character interactions while trying to make it seem believable that one character is informing the other usually by having it be something that the other character had no prior knowledge of. Ghost in the shell instead opts to play out under the notion that everyone already knows all the basics of the world and you just have to figure out what it means in other words "show don't tell", when done wrong it makes the plot hard to follow but in this instance it allows it to flow nicely, you can figure out what ghost and shell means and by presenting information in this way no time is wasted in this film's short time span of 86 minutes. There is still of course some exposition given through dialogue but it is always kept short and to the point, for example when Togusa asks the Major why he, a regular cop was chosen to work for section 9 which leads the Major on to explain how he has near to no cyborg implementation on his body and she claims that they need someone like him. this tells the viewer that everyone else in section 9 does have some sort of cyborg implementation and the short scene near the beginning of the major's body being built already told is that she is the only one who is fully a cyborg and since she mentioned implementation with the body and not replacement of the body we assume that the rest of the members of section 9 are only partially cybernetik. I feel that the only significant flaw in the story was the Film's length and that it could have been even more had it been longer which in it's own right would also be a compliment. Characters: I would like to start out by saying that I felt that this was the area where the length of the film hit the overall outcome the hardest as due to time constraint there wasn't much room to develop the secondary characters but the Major made up for this by having an extreme amount of depth with doubt about her own existence and having her say "it's that time of the month" showing that even though she is a cyborg she still perceives herself as a human being, she also undergoes significant change due to an event that happens later in the story but I shall not go into detail on that as that would be a spoiler. The secondary characters however do have great charisma and both their actions and personalities help add to the story through finding new information to opening you up to new ideas, one secondary character however which is well developed is the puppet master as they through questioning their own existence and communicating with the major bring more even more themes related to the setting. in the end all the characters manage to feel human (as ironic as that may be) and they are generally quite memorable which is important as what they say and do is what is important in the plot of Ghost in the shell. Art & Animation Art: The designs of the characters are on the more realistic end of the spectrum which helps add to the serious tone that this film creates and the technology on display while somewhat dated in aesthetic, they do look like they could really exist especially taking in account that this was made in 1995 but I feel the design is the strongest with the characters that are ghost hacked as they are specifically drawn to look uncanny, close to human but not close enough as if to show that their humanity had been taken away. The detail also adds to the atmosphere as it makes it is very gritty and helps add to the immersion of the show, the art blends in perfectly with the setting and it somehow reaches a level of detail that is hard to reach even by today's standards and when you take into account that this was hand drawn you can't help but be in awe at this film's splendor. Animation: The movements are fluid and the motions seem once again realistic giving an even greater sense of immersion but where the animation truly shines in this film is the direction. The overall story is well paced, not going by to fast and leaving you confused but also not going to slow causing boredom in the viewer and even though this film is so tight for time it even at one points devotes a minute or two to just showing the scenery, from the grimy buildings and rivers to the run down market place which helps you take in the setting and contextualize everything that happens on a subconscious level. It also allows for the viewer to have a break and take everything in before the dense plot to progress and get more complex without causing confusion, I must say that I really did appreciate this scene especially since there was such a restriction on time. Not to mention that when the scene changed to another one there was a short pause during the new scene so that you had time to realize a new scene had started, this seems simple but in reality when you don't do this the film shall fell cluttered, too fast paced and becomes hard to follow especially in a dialogue heavy film. Sound: Music: The soundtrack suits this film very well and helps set the mood for every scene, it may not be powerful like a Kajiura track but it is beautifully composed and manages to create a very entrancing yet distant atmosphere with slow build ups throughout the tracks adding more sounds as it progresses but never getting too fast, clouded or heavy until it slowly fades out at the end having sounds be removed from the piece and leaving you in awe. However when there is a more intense soundtrack required the composer Kenji Kawaii delivers. The entire soundtrack feels almost supernatural in a sense, it is hard to explain but at the same time it is mesmerizing with my favorite track being Nightstalker. Voice acting: Both the Japanese and English dubs were solid and while their are some voices which could be better in the English dub it was truly amazing for its time as the voices of the ghost hacked people felt distant and emotionless while when a character did need to show emotion the voice actors were able to pull it off nicely. The puppet master also had a very monotone voice which in the context of the story suited them nicely. Sound effects: There were no major problems with the sound effects, gun shots sounded like gunshots and footsteps sounded like footsteps, there are rarely times where the sound effects wowed me but they all felt real which I feel is a much more important aspect for this film as in the end while it portrays a world more advanced than ours it portrays it in a way that makes it feel like it is possible, a world that we could reach some day. Value: With the influence this has had on the genre both inside and outside the medium to a the point where it inspired the matrix and the themes that this film explored which could be ones which we may face in the future I would say that this is definitely a must watch film regardless of whether or not you are an anime fan.

**Themes** \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ The dangers of computerization and cyberization  \[This Movie & Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence\] When do we stop being human  \[This Movie & Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence\] What it is like to be human & what is defined as a sentient life form  \[This Movie & Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence\] Government conspiracies  \[This Movie\], government corruption  \[This Movie\], political espionage \[This Movie\], illegal intelligence gathering \[This Movie\] & crime syndicates \[Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence\] \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ **The People Who Worked on The Film** \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ Movie Directed By: Mamoru Oshii Movie Produced By: Yoshimasa Mizuo                                  Ken Matsumoto                                  Ken Iyadomi                                  Mitsuhisa Ishikawa Movie Written By: Kazunori Itō Movie Based on: Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow Music Done By: Kenji Kawai \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ **What I Have To Say About The Movie** \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ There is enough in this movie to keep you invested, from action to philosophy. The score that Kenji Kawai did for this movie is an interesting one because Kawai tried to imagine the setting and convey the essence of that world in the music. He used the ancient Japanese language of Yamato in the opening theme "Making of a Cyborg". The composition is a mixture of Bulgarian harmony and traditional Japanese notes; the haunting chorals are a wedding song sung to dispel all evil influences. Symphony conductor Sarah Penicka-Smith notes that the song's lyrics are fitting for the union between Kusanagi and Project 2501 at the climax of the movie. Kawai originally wanted to use Bulgarian folk music singers, but used Japanese folk singers instead. "See You Everyday" is different from the rest of the soundtrack, being a pop song sung in Cantonese by Fang Ka Wing. - Information Taken From The Wikipedia Page From The Film This is one of the most modest in terms of content that you would expect to be in a Rated R Movie: considering what it is based off of because the manga is sexualized, there is no sexualizing of the cyborg's \[Motoko Kusanagi\] body and the nudity only serves to illustrate that Motoko Kusanagi is a female. \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_

\[Warning, this review is pretty old alongside being one of my first. Looking at it now, I definitely don't think it does the film justice, and perhaps a future rewrite will be able to provide a more in-depth look at one of my favorite anime. I still stand by my verdict at the end, this is a must watch for any anime fan, I just don't think it encapsulates all of the praise and criticism that I could give it now. Regardless, here's my old review.\] There are quite a few examples of anime which have inspired and provoked grand new ideas and concepts, pushing the film medium forward in creativity. Ghost In The Shell is one of those anime. The story of Ghost In The Shell revolves around Matoko Kusanagi, who is actually just a robot with the personality of the actual Kusanagi inside. Makoto AKA The Major is a part of Section 9, a sort of cyber police in the futuristic world of 2029. They have to deal with this thing called The Puppet Master, a hacker who causes trouble hacking into other people’s ghosts. So it’s up to the Major, Bateau, Section 9’s chief and a whole bunch of other awesome people to put an end to the puppet master’s scheme, but he may be hiding a few little secrets that could change the way The Major sees herself and the world. The best thing about this film is how well it explores the ideas it presents. They treat human minds as if they were computers and not only do they get some interesting concepts out of it, but for the characters whose minds were made partially by technology, it’s fun to see how much their personalities are souls and how much are programs. Some of them have mixtures and you never fully know which one is present at a time. They play around with it a bit and it helps build the intrigue of the characters themselves as well as the futuristic world they inhabit. Psychobabble runs high in this film, and since the major dilemma of the main character is getting a grasp on herself as an entity and where she exists in this world, it's fantastic material for when you're in a philosophical mood. There’s also a bit at the end where they focus on the importance of evolution instead of having personalities generated from data. Even though the film is only 80 minutes long, it still was able to get in a ton of exploration of themes, as well as having a coherent, intriguing story and a few breather scenes. Yeah there are some scenes where the film pauses for a few minutes and shows you around the futuristic landscape, letting you take in everything that they’re presenting to you in a very short amount of time. The animation for Ghost is godlike, and I’m convinced this is up there with some of the most well-animated pieces in history. In my opinion, Production I.G. was never able to hit a level of animation like Ghost after this movie. Granted they're known as some of the best animators in the industry, but still, nothing would be able to top the amount of detail and fluidity in this movie. The style of the anime itself was enough to jumpstart an era of cyberpunk, which eventually brought us stuff like Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, and, well, more Ghost In The Shell. It was also one of the first anime to use 3D effects together with 2D animation, and I really think it holds up today. It’s only restricted to the technological aspects in the world, like the thermal optics suits or the computer visuals. Compared to the sequel which had entire environments made in 3D, this one knows to use it sparingly instead of needlessly exploiting it. Even in the remake, Ghost In The Shell 2.0 the 3D is still overused. Was it really necessary to CG the Major in the introduction when she just reverts to 2D a few minutes later and remains that way for the rest of the film? Anyway, for this they knew it would look cool if used in moderation, and I think it still looks great to this day. The music is also fantastic because it’s used sparingly. I only remember about five bits of soundtrack because they only played the score in a few scenes in the entire movie. They can be really atmospheric at times, specifically during the final battle and in the intro sequence, which are also animation highlights of the film. Overall, Ghost in the Shell is a film that should not be missed if your a fan of anime, sci-fi, cyberpunk, or just good films in general. It has fantastic marks in great storytelling, smart content, and animation. The exploration of themes is very strong, especially for the amount of time they had. And a cast of memorable characters rounds this off as one of the best animated films of all time. I give this anime a score of 8.8/10 (4.5 stars) and a <u>Must Watch</u> rating; an essential for any anime fan.

Ghost in the Shell - What makes us Human? The Story The year is 2029, technology has advanced so far that the cybernetic bodies or “shells” are able to house a person’s consciousness “ghost”.  This leaves a lot of vulnerability for those people as brain hacking is possible.  Enter our protagonist Motoko who works for Section 9 full of cybernetic cops as they attempt to halt a threatening hacker known as the Puppetmaster.  The film then proceeds to question what makes a person human and challenges the blurred lines between human and machine. Ghost in the Shell upon my first viewing I will admit I disliked due to my lack of knowledge on the concepts within the film, flashforward 1 year later I decided to view the film again and I appreciated it a lot more.  It is a beautifully crafted sci fi movie highlighting upon the themes of existentialism, evolution, and also what it means to be human while being a story about questioning one’s own identity.  Since in this universe everything including memories can be accessible online there are some moral issues that are addressed like the value one’s own privacy.  With memories being online they can easily be altered or replaced by hackers into another person due to a term called ghost hacking.  This adds fear to the characters we encounter as they question if the reality that is being experienced truly reality?  Or has everything we’ve known been a lie and isn’t true in the slightest?  The film delivers these themes in a mature fashion, albeit sometimes dumped upon the viewer but overall they’re conveyed in a satisfying form.  One problem I did have though was without basic knowledge of the universe the viewer can get somewhat lost within its terminology which I had to look up on several occasions within the film. The “Ghost” as mentioned throughout the film is a term used to refer to one’s consciousness which ultimately is the only factor that retains one's individuality as a human after becoming a cyborg.  Watching the characters deal with such a strange ideology is very interesting as we hear Motoko refer to her ghost several times as if she’s unsure of how human she truly is, talking to her ghost the 3rd person rather than being a part of her.   The final speech by our antagonist the puppetmaster is worth a mention, pay attention to all of his dialogue because though it can be perceived as a bit of an info dump the idea of a program gaining consciousness, desiring to feel human emotions and experience death is truly intriguing.  There are some subtle religious symbolisms like the water in the beginning of the film correlating to baptism, and also evolutionary concepts are mentioned and shown as seen with the tree of life on a wall in the film. The film besides its philosophies and themes has some finely choreographed action, they may not be like the actiony scenes from “Psycho Pass this show up” but that’s because this film is moreso dialogue based and doesn’t need a heavy focus on action.  I believe that the technology in this film is very imaginative between the creation of cyberbrains, the thermo-optical camouflage, and the cyborgs which adds to an interesting cyberpunk world of Ghost in the Shell.  Even though it’s a film and the world can’t be fully explored within the hour and 20 minutes the film does a very pleasant job at showing us the technology, discussing the various existing crimes, displaying groups of people who function within the world, and presenting the cityscape with both it’s clean and dirty halves through various establishing shots.  The conclusion was fascinating, but I’ll leave it at that to prevent spoilers, all I’ll say is the main conflict is resolved. The Characters Sadly due to the runtime of the film characters hardly get any sort of crucial development so this is the weakest component.  But I want to notably talk about our main protagonist Motoko. Motoko from what I’ve seen in the film is characterized as very skilled in fighting, highly perceptive, knowledgeable, and serious leaning more towards masculinity than her feminine side.  What makes her character interesting is the constant deterioration of her humanity throughout the film as she questions how much of her “ghost” she still possesses and if it’s even still existent, almost as if she believes she is a full robot.  Her spouting of philosophies truly makes everything she mentions captivating however this allows for some of her dialogue and interactions amongst characters to seem quite artificial rather than realistic.  Throughout the film we do glimpse a slight amount of development for her character, see how she truly perceives reality and events surrounding her, and overall see the humanized part of her by the end. The rest of the cast is mostly utilized as conduits to assert the themes of the film.  There’s nothing truly special about Bato in the film nor any of the other characters, they were only useful in that regard. The Art/Animation The artstyle is highly mature bestowing realistic body proportions to its character models as well as making the bloody scenes appear gruesome.  A lot of establishing shots are used to exhibit the operations of the city, between the claustrophobic alleyways to wide shots where we get a full scope of the city.  We get to see both the unappealing slum part of the city with intricate details such as litter in the river and the sterile city section where everything is clean and the enormous buildings.  This was carefully shown through an excellently edited montage sequence in the middle of the film, look at this beauty of a shot.    In order to emphasize the corrupted essence of the setting an abundance of darker colors are mainly used to enhance the gloomy nature of the city as well as its characters.  The animation is remarkably smooth with all the characters having extremely natural movements, the action pieces being admirably choreographed, and background characters moving instead of being static.  There is a certain beauty to Ghost in the Shell’s fluidity that few films have yet to achieve with finesse and it still holds up to this very day. The Sound The ost for Ghost in the Shell contains an array of pieces that are very eccentric.  On one hand we have a brilliant piece entitles “Making of Cyborg” which is strikingly suitable for the atmosphere of the film, while eerie pieces like “Ghosthack” and “Puppetmaster” are vastly unsettling for the more uncanny elements of the film.  The sound design is phenomenally crafted with attention to detail from the sounds to gunshots to simply the sounds of footsteps in water.  As for the voice acting, watching in sub instead of dub the performances are satisfying, sometimes monotone especially during the more thematic dialogue but overall was acceptable, nothing to write home about. Overall I believe that this film wasn’t the masterpiece that many hail it to be, but it’s still an insightful film that definitely left its impression upon the film industry as well as in the minds of many anime fans.  So that’s why I’m awarding this film with my rating of greatness!

Ghost in the Shell is classic and wellmade. Without this there would not be The Matrix but this is more scifi than action and the Matrix is more action than scifi. I would cry if someday in future there would be a great Hollywood live action adaption of Ghost in the Shell.

Mamoru Oshii's grand magnum opus. What brilliance does one simple human being can drastically change the shape of a genre we know as "science-fiction". Ghost in the Shell was a mainstream success back in 1995, became a blockbuster hit in the west defining the genre of anime and sci-fi as a whole. Without this brilliance, the anime industry would've been dead in spite of the bankruptcy in the majority of the anime studios shutting down. It is also the anime that inspired the Matrix, one of the most influential and beloved movie in the West. Ghost in the Shell itself was an inspiration for the 1982 sci-fi classic Bladerunner, as the aspects of the movie were borrowed from it. Oh Ghost in the Shell, there's an undying loving bond that immediately draws my attention to you and that is the presentation. Ghost in the Shell takes place in Newport City of 2029, after a world war, cybernetics are common and can be placed with prosthetic in any human. One particular cyborg, Major Motoko Kusanagi, was created and thus joins a task enforcement unit called Public Security Section 9, where she and her team, Batou, Togusa, and Chief Aramaki, are tasked to hunt down a notorious hacker known as the Puppet Master The plot seem very simplistic, maybe even shallow. However, that's not the main strong point what makes Ghost in the Shell a subtle and brilliant masterpiece. You see, there's a simple question some of us ask, "what makes us human?" a simple question yes, but Kusanagi herself goes through a dilemma where she questions her own very existence of her "humanity", whether she has a "ghost" inside of her. Of course, the metaphor for Ghost in the Shell is a representation of a speculation of a soul inside of a machine. Ghost in the Shell was famous for its brilliant writing when conveying philosophical ideas and symbolism. It is also known for the heavy dialogue which some viewers may find tedious and dull, but strongest point does come from the heavy dialogue. As for symbolism, the art style is definitely the most impressive with scenery and background, reminiscent in the actual city of Hong Kong, which Newport City was inspired by. The luscious landscape of a rural and urban vibe that mixed the sci-fi elements of the movie giving the entire movie with an atmosphere so dense and wide to admire. The atmosphere in Ghost in the Shell also gives a mysterious vibe and sometimes a sense of danger in the city Kusanagi was part of figuratively and physically. Many of the scenery goes along with the symbolism helps develops more subtle metaphors that shapes Kusanagi's dilemma. Motoko herself portrays herself as if she is human but not entirely. Most of her dialogue hints the emotions she points out when being morbidly curious of her humanity. Kusanagi's character is a cyborg, she can be a female or rather a male since she has no specific gender despite the fact she is obviously physically looks like an actual female. She does however, acts bulky, tough, strong-willed and independent as a cyborg while keeping the feminine appearance. She's recognized as human among her colleagues and teammates. The action in this movie are beautifully choreographed, mostly taken in motioned captured like aesthetics. Very very impressive which greatly surpasses the classic 1988 Akira which factually has much of an expensive budget value than other anime. Great impact of the guns ricochet and the amazing future tech that is visually stunning to see. Oh yes, the animation of this movie is superb for a 1995 anime. Oh the soundtrack, the most iconic soundtrack made by the legendary Kenji Kawai who's musical score consist of choirs and traditional music similarly to Akira. The soundtrack are visceral, god-like, temple like wedding theme that fits perfectly in conveying the uncertainty of comparison between cyborg and human especially the soundtrack "Reincarnation" used in the beautifully stunning intro of the movie, where Kusanagi was first created. Mystical and majestic, the music are like sex to the ears. Ghost in the Shell was not only influential but also a landmark anime film that transcended the standards of an average, mediocre anime. A mainstream masterpiece most adults adore despite the shallow story but the jaw-dropping stunning visuals, very complex philosophical ideas, amazingly realistic action, phenomenal soundtrack that is instantly a memorable piece of music, and dialogue cleverly written and used metaphors to display Motoko Kusanagi's dilemma. A must watch anime film if you're a self-proclaimed hardcore anime fan. Rated: 5 stars!

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