Synonyms: Koukaku Kidoutai
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Nov 18, 1995
1 hr. 23 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.321 (scored by 69847 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action cyberpunk psychological sci-fi
SynopsisIn the year 2029, the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking. When a highly-wanted hacker known as 'The Puppetmaster' begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster. The pursuit will call into question what makes a human and what is the Puppetmaster in a world where the distinction between human and machine is increasingly blurry.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ghost in the Shell
Alternative setting: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Sequel: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Alternative version: Ghost in the Shell 2.0
Other: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border:1 Ghost Pain
Characters & Voice Actors
I just want to start off by saying that "Ghost In The Shell" loves to asks it's audience questions. What is it that makes us human? Is it the soul (refered to as 'ghosts' in this film)? Or is it flesh and bone? What happens when your memories can be erased and replaced like music on your iPod? If your body is entirely mechanical, can you still call yourself human? If your consciousness is active, yet your body is nowhere to be found, do you still exist?
Okay, I'm giving myself a headache. Let's get to the review.
Cyborg cops battle an anonymous super-hacker who takes control of people's computerized brains and forces them to do his bidding. It's a wicked sci-fi thriller, yet it's also so much more. Not only is it a refreshingly original take on the standard Cops vs Criminals plot, but it manages to do it in such an intelligent manner. At it's core, the movie asks the audience "What is it that makes us Human?" Although it never truly finds an answer (can anyone?), it gets closer to it than any other film has yet dared to go. The best part is, with all the philosphical, existentialist and technical chatter, it never really tries to beat the audience over the head with it. Many of the "big questions" are handled in subtle ways that keep the pace of the film going, while still making the audience think. "Ghost In The Shell" is cyberpunk at it's best.
GitS came out in 1995 and still the visuals can compete with current animation standards. This film has aged extremely well. The action is wicked, every scene is full of atmosphere thanks to well detailed backgrounds, and the limited CGI is well integrated, even in such an early stage of CG animation. Yet the most astonishing part of the art is not the quality of the animation, or the artwork. It's the level of thought and polish that went into creating the look and feel of this film. As an exemple: There is a scene where the heroine, Motoko, is fighting a criminal while wearing a suit that makes her invisible. Even though she is invisble, we can still see her shadow. This is because her invisbility is only an optical illusion. There is still a solid mass blocking the light. It's little details like this one that make the visuals so incredible and, more importantly, believable.
The sounds of the film remain on the same high level as the art. Gunfire, ricochets, explosions, and even all the little computer noises are crisp and well implemented. The music is also quite fitting and original ('Making of a Cyborg', played during the opening credits, is one example). My only gripe is the voice actors are not at their best in this film (of course I mean the english cast). I greatly dislike Motoko's voice (Mimi Woods) and would much prefer Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who voiced her in pretty much every other GitS project. The rest of the cast is the same as it is in current GitS projects, but you can tell they weren't as skilled as they are today. Still, they are quite good and it by no means ruins the film.
Though all the characters had aspects that made them interesting, Motoko is really the star of the show here and is the only character who developped over the course of the film. Of course, the direction in which her character went more than makes up for this fact. Throughout the whole film she is struggling with the thought of losing her humanity due to being a cyborg, and it all leads up to an incredible finale that just leaves you in awe.
Now, I'm giving it a 10 for enjoyment, but with an asterix. I personally loved this movie to death due to just how intelligent it is. Unfortunately, it is not an easy film to get into. Very little time is taken to explain how the GitS universe works. For example: The opening scene has Motoko speaking telepathically with Batou, who's nowhere to be scene. The film never really takes the time to explain how this is done, but you do manage to draw your own conclusions once you get your first glimpse of a cyberbrain. Unfortunately, much of the film relies on just how quickly the audience can put together the little details of the world and storyline. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can make things needlessly complicated and actually alienate viewers who may not have the patience to put together the pieces of this techno-puzzle. Luckily, the principle story is simple enough, and the action is good enough so that viewers can still have fun with it. Basically, it can leave you feeling pretty stupid, but you still pat yourself on the back for seeing it through to the end. And don't be surprised if you want to watch it a second time.
With great action and an intelligent narative, "Ghost In The Shell" is a classic. It inspired "The Matrix", and anyone who has seen that film will know how great of a compliment that is. If you're into philosophical discussions about the soul and the consequences of technological evolution, see this film. If you just want to see a bunch of cyborg cops shooting stuff up, see this film. You will not be disapointed. read more
Puppet Master: ‘’And can you offer me proof of your existence? How can you, when neither modern science nor philosophy can explain what life is?’’
The story and themes present in Ghost in the Shell (GitS) are both striking and very relevant. GitS takes place in a more than possible future world where cybernetics and AI have become a social norm. The amazing detail given to the universe and the true to life reflection of today’s society makes the themes in question incredibly applicable. The different opinions in GitS are argued with a certain potency and precision. The maturity and skill of the characters in putting across their arguments will encourage the viewer to contemplate these ‘philosophical’ issues from a very serious stance.
The ‘main’ story (when I say main, it is really just an excuse to bring up these themes, which are the focus) isn’t so revolutionary in terms of originality but is definitely very intelligent. A mysterious master hacker, known as the puppet master has been causing some negative repercussions in the political world of GitS. Section 9 has thus been asked to investigate. This can be seen as nothing more than the story of an extended and very standard TV episode. And to an extent, you can’t argue with that. But rather than witnessing the usual, ‘’-enemy is introduced, -enemy makes their move, [*good guys then find a way to defeat this enemy*], -enemy apprehended’’ sort of arc, the story unfolds in a very intelligent manner. The movie uses this particular case to initially explore interesting notions in the GitS universe, such as social inequality, the soul or ‘ghost’ of a robot and corrupt politicians. The story’s themes will then take over and the resulting dialogue leads to some very interesting ideas. Overall, it is a very smart and engaging version of what would’ve otherwise had been a standard plot.
The only ‘flaw’ in the story of the movie is that it assumes you to have at least a basic knowledge of the GitS universe. Whilst there isn’t anything vital you need to know, the huge amount of detail and history can be too much to take in at times. If anything, (if you are a fan of cyberpunk/ sci-fi) this should just inspire you to learn more about the complex universe. Do not worry about being new to the universe; just have your thinking cap on.
Sound/ art- 10/10
The art and soundtrack in GitS are ground-breaking. A new method of animation at the time used for the film was basically designed to create a sense of depth in the different levels of animation. This resulted in some amazingly detailed backgrounds and city views. Beauty is in the detail, and with so much detail, you are really able to become fully immersed into the universe before you. The art style is basically a timeless example of how to animate a mature and intelligent film like GitS. For example, the opening credits was just converted computer code used in a creative way. It was lovely to see this clear, harmonious language between the universe and the media used to portray it. The art and soundtrack was so inspiring, that in the film are a series of scenes that are entirely composed of visuals of the city backed by a brilliant OST. I couldn’t help but smile in awe at the level of detail and beauty.
This is an unfair section to mark a single film on, when in reality GitS just follows on from two whole series of character development. In reality, you can watch the film without watching the TV series’. This is sadly due to the fact that you never really see the characters personalities in the film. They just operate as speakers for the themes in the film. Despite this, the cast are able to deliver these arguments with great effect because of their own maturity and strength of character.
Ghost in the Shell is an all-time classic. As mentioned, I absolutely love the detail in the universe. I want to become immersed, and I can very easily become immersed thanks to the soundtrack and artwork. You cannot help but admire what you are watching. In terms of action, GitS certainly knows how to deliver. Although not an action led film, the two action scenes actually featured are nothing short of masterpieces. There was a mixture of technology, well-choreographed combat and intense build ups. All backed up by a great atmosphere. Having all of this done in such a mature style enabled me to take everything that much more seriously which made the arguments far more engaging.
Although released in 1995, the ideas presented in GitS are becoming more and more pertinent. The ground breaking media and level of detail in GitS has and will continue to inspire many films for years to come. I thoroughly recommend you to watch this film and I encourage you to look into the other GitS films and TV series’ that are equally as stunning.
Two cyberpunk classics, but with a slightly differant approach. While Akira is more action-oriented, Ghost in the Shell is more cerebral
Both films have somewhat related questions about identity and both offer multilayers of depth worth re-watching it.
Prime examples of the cyberpunk genre. Both deal with some deep subjects, though GITS is more focused on the philosophy, while Akira is focused on action.
Both Akira and Ghost in the Shell are great cyber-punk thrillers and instant cult classics in the anime world. Both have to do with diving into the human mind and trying to unfold its secrets, mysteries and capabilities. If you enjoyed watching one of them then you should definitely check out the other.
Both are very mature and very influential cyberpunk films centered on the mysteries of humanity.
Both have great action with 90s cyberpunk/retro-futurism, set in grimy but impressive cityscapes.
Both are from the cyberpunk era of anime and both have a Blade Runner kind of feel to them. Ghost in the Shell and Akira are exquisite masterpieces, set in dark, dirty, futuristic cities. Absolute must-see movies.
Despite the fact that they were released six years apart and have different plots, Akira and Ghost in the Shell were both critical for introducing anime to Western audiences. While they're both relatively weak from a storytelling/characterisation standpoint, they're both landmarks in Japanese animation and are often lauded as cyberpunk classics. Much like how influential Akira was, Ghost in the Shell helped influence various other cyberpunk works such as The Matrix and possibly Psycho-Pass.
Opening Theme"Making of a Cyborg" Kenji Kawai
Ending ThemeReincarnation by Kenji Kawai
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