Ghost in the Shell - movie
In the future there are no nations. All borders have been broken down and the world survives on a more local level tied together by a vast computer network. And in the information age, information itself is worth more than anything. The ministry of foreign affairs knows this, and in order to retrieve information; it created an intelligence that exists inside the net. It should have been the perfect spy. But something went wrong. Major Kusanagi works for the Internal Bureau while attempting to find the psycho hacker named the "Puppet Master". But it turns out that the Puppet Master is actually the very spy created by the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Through all of this Kusanagi begins to question not only her tasks, but her humanity. The Puppet Master however has a proposition: one that could answer all of her questions.
This review will be somewhat unfair. Why? It comes down to seeing the wrong anime at the wrong time. Around the late 90s Ghost in the Shell was billed as this awesome revolutionary anime that was sooo deep. To me it didn't state much I hadn't read in science fiction books before. Besides there was all this cyber-everything crap in the 90s. We were all going to do cyber everything. Have cyber pets, the Internet was going to do everything for us, and we'd spend our days in "virtual reality". Hey, it's the 21st century. Where's my freaking flying car? The manga started the series in 1989 when some of these ideas were pretty new, it's just unfortunate that it came out among the virtual reality garbage that saturated the 90s for a while (for me anyway).
But even so, the story and theme is really pretty solid. Unfortunately I had difficulty getting into it because all of the characters were so emotionally detached, and had so few human elements in their characters. It blunts the point of Kusanagi questioning her humanity when she doesn't seem to act particularly human herself. Then again perhaps that was intentional. Maybe people integrated with machines to the point where they had almost become machines themselves? *shrug* I donno - I'm not that philosophical.
Animation wise Ghost in the Shell delivers. It's high budget and very well executed. The eye candy is good enough that it's worth watching on that merit alone. While I've never been a fan of the stuff myself, as far as the cyber-punk genre goes, this is pretty much the ultimate cyber punk anime, although I wouldn't exclude sci-fi fans either. I think the story was a bit weak, but it does make some good philosophical points that flesh things out fairly well. For a title with movie time constraints that was forgivable.
2.0 - Ghost in the Shell has also been redone as a "remastered" version. I'm a big fan of classic animation and to be blunt: I think mixing in more shiny crap was a waste of time. The animation and designs were jaw dropping in their day, and just as beautiful today ... just less shiny. For anime fans that like things which are gaudy, I guess this delivers in that aspect. The music was remixed as well, and some dialogs redone and re-recorded. The impact of modern sound techniques can improve a show, and that was utilized well here, but this of course is dependent on your sound setup. As I said, I'm biased so I think 2.0 didn't add anything that made it worth the effort.
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