"Humanity has underestimated the consequences of computerization."
-The Puppet Master
Genre: Science Fiction / Action / Drama
I watched this anime feature film in English in September of 1998, and several times since then. This is the Movie version of Masamune Shirow's award winning manga series that hit #1 on the Billboard video charts back in 1996 when it was released (note: it is somewhat different from the Manga, and Shirow had very little input into the film
development). The story is set in the near future, in a world that has seen computerization and inter networking permeate all facets of society, including human beings themselves. The main characters Kusanagi & Bateau (who are cyborgs) are part of the Japanese Security Police Section 9, an elite unit created to combat cyber terrorism. Their section is trying to track down the cyber terrorist 'the Puppet Master', and in the process get caught up in a web of mystery as they try to discover the assailants true identity.
Ghost in the Shell is considered by some to be the best anime cyber-punk story since Akira. It is one of the first to heavily rely on CGI graphics, and is visually stunning. The Animation is excellent with an artistic style that is absolutely beautiful in every detail, and the story (in it's own dark style) develops the characters and situations very well considering it's short length. The complex philosophical (and very serious) plot will satisfy the most demanding viewer. I had to watch this twice before I really began to grasp some of the story's more subtle themes. I also want to note that the Manga Video dub was, as usual, more than satisfactory. Ghost in the Shell is generally considered to fall into the 'action' genre. While there are two excellent and very exciting action sequences, one at each end of the film, it is much more of a drama, spending a great deal of time developing the characters and plot. And for those of you looking for that true 'cyberpunk' feel, I didn't really take that away from the film. What you will get is a vision of our future created in such detail that you will become completely immersed in it. Truly destined to become one of anime's great classics, and a must see for all anime lovers, regardless of your preferred genre. You won't watch Ghost in the Shell, you'll experience it.
IT FOUND A VOICE... NOW IT NEEDS A BODY
In a world caught in the grip of information overload, where artificial intelligence is more than the real thing and cyborg cops spend their lives surfing on an electronic sea of living data, only the Ghost - the indefinable element of human consciousness - exists to determine who is alive and who is purely a creation of the net.
Major Motoko Kusanagi is an elite officer in the Section 9 security force: a cybernetic agent so heavily modified that little more than her Ghost remains. Along with fellow cyborg Bateau and the mostly human Togusa, Kusanagi is set on the trail of a computer-criminal known as the Puppet Master, a data thief skilled enough to hack into the very minds of his victims. His human marionettes live out existence's that are nothing more than computer generated fantasy, unwittingly committing their master's crimes while the Ghost-hacker hides in the darkness.
But as Kusanagi digs deeper into the walls of secrecy surrounding the case, it appears that the Puppet Master has a special interest in her alone. And when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shadowy Section 6, enter the scene, Kusanagi becomes tangled in a web of plot and counter plot, and realizes the true identity of her invisible assailant lies at the center of a vast and lethal political conspiracy...