Synonyms: Koukaku Kidoutai
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Nov 18, 1995
Duration: 1 hr. 23 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 8.311 (scored by 53310 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction cyberpunk psychological sci-fi
Jul 6, 2008
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
Nov 17, 2007
Story: This is the kind of stuff that university essay could be written about. I'm going to have to watch this again just to completely understand everything about this movie. Now, just so you understand, the storyline isn't amazing. But the science and the mythology this anime is based on is so incredible. I believe, according to a few sources, that if you took all the footnotes in the manga they total to over 30 pages. Or was it 200? The point is that the science that's used in this movie is absolutely amazing.
Art: The art is old. The art is...Akira old. It's very old, but the details that are in it are incredibly amazing. The art is old but it doesn't seem stale. It's that good kind of old....classic. They used some really cool effects in here...especially when some people turned invisible. Oh..major plot hole if anyone notices...there's a guy who turns invisible...with all of his clothes on. Whereas the girl....needs to strip naked...which she does QUITE often. The nudity in this is tastefully done...it's not like Elfen Lied (no offense) where Nyu shows her boobs every couple of scenes.
Character: There is major character development for two characters. Batou and the Major. No one else really gets developed too much. Sometimes they'd show you a character who did one thing and then you'd never see them again ever. I'm not complaining too much, it never bugged me at all. But you do get a real sense of humanity from these characters...that's a funny thing to say though, if you watch the anime you'll figure out why.
Enjoyment: I guarantee that almost anyone who enjoys anime will also enjoy this. Anyone who liked the Matrix will enjoy this. It's an incredibly amazing anime, it's deep, it's slightly frightening. The single thing that this anime does not have is comic relief...never once did I laugh. Never once did I actually want to laugh. This movie is so serious that if any attempt was made at making it slightly funny the attempt would surely fail.
Seriously, go...watch this anime right now, and I promise...that you will not be disappointed. read more
Dec 1, 2008
STORY - The central plot and concept is fine. As a cyberpunk fan, I think the human/machine divide is a fascinating topic that should be touched on more often and that Ghost in the Shell treats the subject well for the most part. Unfortunately, the storytelling and pacing in the movie is downright terrible. Sure, the movie's more than a decade old by now, but storytelling isn't really something that changes with time -- people have been telling stories for as long as they've existed, so I won't buy age as an excuse for all the awkward silences, scenes that were way too long, and scene transitions that didn't make sense. The political mishaps felt a little haphazard and garbled, but that wasn't really the important part so I didn't care all that much.
The important part was Kusanagi's story and inner conflict, which was allowed one dream-like underwater scene followed by an oddly tension-filled conversation that ended abruptly without explanation. It wasn't obvious enough to me that she was deeply disturbed by the prospect of her ghost having artificial origins, and it annoyed me a little that they never directly explained what a ghost was even though I guess most people would be able to deduce it from context clues. Instead of putting in more scenes that fleshed out the characters or even the political situation they were in, we got five minute montages of the futuristic cityscape that contributed little more than eyecandy. I like eyecandy as much as the next person, and I love city backgrounds in particular, but I don't want my story sacrificed for it.
CHARACTER - Motoko Kusanagi should be a multi-faceted and complex character. She should be a capable leader with strong relationships with her team members, and despite her strong and independent exterior, she should be questioning her place in society, her origins, and her future. Those are the things that the Major should be, but I only got vague impressions of all of those points in this movie. I really felt like there could have been so much more to it if they had only spent more time on developing her character instead of whatever else they were doing. Her intelligence didn't seem as important as her strength, and her relationship with Batou didn't feel particularly natural or realistic. It was very frustrating to watch.
And if Kusanagi wasn't fleshed out, then of course Batou (or as the credits seem to say, "Bateau"?) hardly was. We saw very little of him on his own, which I guess makes sense in that the movie isn't about him, but I feel like his relationship with the Major is important enough to warrant a bit more attention, y'know? I felt like we needed more of his opinions on technology, cybernetics, and I dunno... the theme of the movie? But he was just a flat support character. Why did he care so much about Kusanagi? Beats me! Aramaki and Togusa are even further down the chain -- very little elaboration beyond their positions in Section 9. What did either of them think about the human/machine divide? Who knows?
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - Cityscapes and waterscapes? Drop dead gorgeous. Interior building and laboratory designs? Nice. Gigantic machines and implementations of future technology? Wonderfully detailed. Weapons and vehicle design? Kickass. Oh, did I mention that all the action is excellent? The environment in Ghost in the Shell is really amazing looking, and it seems obvious to me that that's where they spent most of their time and energy in this movie. The character animation was pretty standard, but I did notice a lot of stillframes. It's a cheap trick to have digital thought communication and not animate lips moving, but I usually buy that. But here, in addition to that, there was also an over-abundance of panning shots, closeups, and other corner-cutting tactics.
It also really bothered me that Kusanagi's eyes seemed utterly lifeless and inexpressive the entire movie. Yes, she's a cyborg, but the point is to retain as many human qualities as possible -- even Batou seemed more expressive than she did and he doesn't even have (human-like) eyes.
MUSIC - I really love Kenji Kawai's work, so it's no surprise that I really like the music in Ghost in the Shell. Chanting and traditional Japanese instruments juxtaposed with a future teeming with technology just has an eerie quality to it. Since I did see Innocence before this original movie, I thought a lot of it seemed really similar, which I guess is a good thing? It's nice to see parallels between related things, even if it's just as simple as the music.
VOICE ACTING - Oh, god. I saw this dubbed. No one but Mary Elizabeth McGlynn should ever voice Motoko Kusanagi. In comparison, Mimi Woods's portral is bland, stereotypical, and just too... girlish? It was utterly bizarre for me to hear certain inflections in her speech, and after a while, I just tried to imagine everything Kusanagi said in McGlynn's voice instead (with only minimal success). Naturally, having seen all the other incarnations of Ghost in the Shell dubbed before I saw this movie makes me biased against Woods because I like McGlynn's portral so much -- would I have liked it better if I had actually seen this first? I really can't know.
Thankfully, both Batou and Aramaki had their SAC/Innocence voice actors already for the original movie. I haven't written a review for SAC, but it's worth mentioning that I think it's one of the best English dubs ever. All of those voices just fit so nicely. Their emotions and most of all, their personalities, are portrayed perfectly, and it's really great listening to them. Like Kusanagi, Togusa also had a different voice actor here, but while it still isn't up to par with his SAC/Innocence voice actor, it's not that bad.
OVERALL - Despite all the disappointments, I still think Ghost in the Shell has merit as a classic. Even though the storytelling was poor and the characters underdeveloped, the core theme of the movie wasn't lost. It took a while to get there, but the Puppetmaster's dialogue did clearly present the topic of a human mind with mechanical origins, and Kusanagi's actions did eventually reveal her inner turmoil over that idea. That idea is probably the only thing worth taking away from the movie though... and maybe some of those pretty backgrounds too. If you're like me and have seen everything related to Ghost in the Shell except for this movie, I'd go ahead and see it just for the sake of seeing. If you've not seen anything else Ghost in the Shell and are just curious, I'd recommend Stand Alone Complex first. You can dig up the history after you decide you like the series. :P read more
Jun 25, 2012
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.
Apr 29, 2012
The way the story is told is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Have you ever gone round to a friends house or flicked to a different channel on TV where a random episode of an anime that tells a linear story is on and you have no idea what's happening because you're obviously missing out on a lot of information? Well that's what it feels like watching this movie. Now I'm not saying that just because it's difficult to follow it makes it bad, but even in something like Serial Experiments Lain I could understand what was happening okay. And that's the problem here, unlike Lain this is a 90 minute feature film and the creators needed to take all the ideas they had as well as whatever source material they took from the manga and completely shoehorn it in. Just as some characters talk about something to do with where they are like Section 9, they're already changing the subject to "ghosts", to changing the subject to machines having identities, to some incident to do with Section 6, switching back and forth between characters in the process all with philosophy thrown in just to confuse you even more. You're never given enough time to let anything sink in.
The characters are also a problem I have with this movie. I could have forgiven the hard to follow ideas in the story if the characters had been likeable enough to hold the movie over but they're so bland and underdeveloped I didn't care about them enough to want to know if they'd make it through the situations. Most of the characters are just there to feed us more philosophical dialogue or try and explain to us what the fuck is going on in this story. They're little on personality and as I said there's no character development with the exception of the main character, but even she's just an okay character. Nothing too special. The only person I felt anything for really was the garbage truck worker who thought he had a wife and kids when really he was hacked by another machine. That was kind of sad. But other than that there wasn't really much interesting when it came to the characters.
Okay so I've bitched about this movie long enough, so let's get onto what works about it. The art and animation is fantastic. I'm a sucker for that dark and gritty look when it comes to Japanese animation and combined with cutting edge computer technology (for the time) makes it splendid to look at. It's not as good as Akira on the animation front but it's still great. Every location that is designed looks amazing and there is a lot of detail and colour to each setting. I should also mention here that I far prefer the way the characters are drawn and coloured than in the TV show that came later Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (I have little knowledge on the TV show but I've seen a few episodes). In the TV show the character designs are really bog standard not counting some of the ridiculous outfits and the colours are really bland. Here the characters have their own identity as far as the art goes. You look at these guys and you say "yeah! That's Ghost in the Shell alright!"
Still talking about animation the fight scenes are really well done too, even when the characters are invisible the flow of movement is so well detailed on a non invisible character getting hit by an invisible character that you can paint a picture in your head of where that invisible character is. It's all good stuff. The gunfight with the tank at the end is kick ass to say the least.
The music is also good but it can be pretentious and annoying at times. That choir voice that sings over some of the scenes where nothing is happening rubs me the wrong way because not only has the movie not done a lot to earn a moment like that, but it could be using that time to, I don't know, develop the fucking characters! The only scene where this works favourably is the under water scene because that at least give some insight into the main character, though that's one of the only moments in the movie where you get this.
Overall Ghost in the Shell is an overrated movie. It offers a lot of good ideas in it's futuristic setting, and considering this film was made in 1995 it makes it definitely ahead of its time when talking about what seems to be a much more developed internet but there's just far too much crammed into a 90 minute movie and there are no interesting characters to drive it nor support several viewings. I may as well also mention that Ghost in the Shell inspired a great movie we all know called The Matrix. The Wachowski brothers came to a producer after watching Ghost in the Shell and said "we want to do that for real". And by that they meant take the idea but actually add story and character depth to it, and they sure did. So in conclusion, The Matrix is Ghost in the Shell executed properly. read more
Apr 8, 2013
The story opens in a futuristic city with an attempted defection being thwarted by a group of largely cybernetic federal agents known as section 9. Section 9 is quickly charged with bringing in a hacker known as the puppet master who's trying to hack the brain of a secretary who works for an important official. Now, these events are related, but I won't spoil how they're linked on the off chance that someone reading this hasn't seen the film yet. The story here is really well constructed. Virtually every scene proves to be important. All the major plot points are introduced before they become important. Which isn't easy given how much hinges on futuristic technology. The plot initially seems rather disparate, but as it advances you realise that it's all very intricately put together with all of the events coming together to make the story whole. It does raise some interesting questions about the future and the implications of technology, but I can't give it too much credit there since the implications it deals with are nothing new to sci-fi. Still, the world is very creative and the questions aren't handled badly by any means. The only real issue with the story is that there are some substantial stretches where nothing happens. Although, to be fair, these scenes do serve to immerse you in the world which does lead to a really strong atmosphere. That being said, some of them do go on too long.
The characters aren't as strong as the story. That isn't to say they're badly done, though. They all feel fairly well fleshed out and three dimensional. That being said, there's a lot about them that isn't explained very well. For instance, Mokoto becomes obsessive about the case for no adequately explained reason. We might be able to say it's just who she is, but several other characters comment on how strangely she's been acting. Which the audience can't really recognise well since we haven't seen her outside of this case. In all fairness, there's enough information provided at the end that you can make a decent guess, but there's no way to verify it meaning it's just going to be speculation.
The art in this is amazing. The environments are rich with good texture. The technology is really impressive. The climactic fight scene is spectacular. My only issue with the art is that Mokoto randomly takes off her clothes in order to use the camouflage technology they have. Now, before anyone tries to say "that's just how the tech works" allow me to point out that another character is shown using the same technology and he does it with a fully covering suit. Mokoto's only works differently because someone wanted to draw boobs. Which would also explain the opening credit sequence. It's just ruddy fan-service. Which does detract from the film a little bit, albeit not much.
The voice acting is well done. Sakamoto Maaya, Kayumi Iemasa, Yamadera Kouichi, and Ootsuka Akio all do well in their roles. Really, there aren't any weak performances in this. The music is really well used. The only real issue with it is that it plays the same song during every atmospheric scene and the song ends up kind of over-played.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There's really only one female character in this and she can't exactly be homo-erotic towards herself. And no, the Puppet master doesn't count.
Ghost in the Shell holds up surprisingly well. The world is immersive with a great sense of atmosphere. The story is excellent and the art and voice acting both hold up really well, even after nearly two decades. Sure, it has some issues, but there's nothing that should detract from the experience too much. Unless you just hate cyberpunk you'll probably find it an enjoyable experience. I give it a 9/10. I initially ended up giving it a 6 when I was scoring it from memory, but it's actually quite a bit better than I remembered. read more
Jan 30, 2010
Action takes place in near future. Year 2029. Technology has advanced to a point where we cannot distinguish a human being from a cyborg. And that is probably the main question of the whole movie. It tries to answer it the whole time. What is life? What do we consider life? What defines life and human beings? These are the questions asked by the great philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Sigmund Freud.
The way the questions are being answered is quite original and not too harsh for a casual viewer who can still enjoy the movie without straining his brain. Generally speaking - the plot. The development is really thrilling and unpredictable. It begins with a terrorist disarmament and a car chase. And ends up with an epic battle which shows us the limit of humans. What should and should not be done by us. What can we decide ourselves, and what is determined by something we will never understand. And it is not meant for us to understand.
Throughout the movie we get to see few episodes that are a combination of several landscapes of the city and an appropriate soundtrack. This builds up an excellent atmosphere. Makes us believe we are actually living in such a city where humans have advanced technology but are not living happily. This moots us another deep question. What is the purpose of technology? To make our lives easier? Then where is the limit to it when it only makes it more complicated? Haven't we already passed that limit?
So to speak, the plot is amazing, it has nice unexpected twists, action, atmosphere, dives down deep into human psychology and tries to answer philosophical questions asked since 600 B.C.
I have to say I was really impressed. If we take into consideration the fact that the movie was made in 1995, it is outstanding. Probably the best art I have seen in such old anime movies. Character movements are really natural, I did not see flaws in there. But then again, I was too concentrated into the plot to catch a lot of details. The surroundings were detailed, but not perfect. I liked the views of the future cities. They were not too modern and polished like we imagine our future. It was realistic. Back alleys, thugs, trash old billboards. All of it created an amazing atmosphere where you can actually submerge into the world. All the action scenes were well drawn. The gun fights, car chases, etc. The background was not forgotten while concentrating on the rapid focal point like we see in many new animes. The nudity was done very well. It was not conspicuous. It was really subtle and pat. It is another detail that build up the atmosphere.
I really loved the songs. Especially the ones played during those scenes where we got to see the city imagery. The sound made me draw a parallel between the future world and prehistory. Meaning that we only advanced technologically but not morally and mentally. It is still the same world. And humans have not changed inside.
I have watched in the original Japanese Audio like everything else, therefore I will comment on the voice actors. I think they fitted characters well. I particularly liked the voices of Makoto and Bato, main characters. I don't know why but it kind of fortified their personality.
Makoto was a very well designed character. Even though it seemed that she had a ghost, she seemed emotionless when she needed to be. A sharp-witted mind of her lets her complete missions flawlessly. I don't how are all the cyborgs in that world but she seemed to think quite deep while not working. The conversation with Bato on the boat showed her true self, and emotional and confused creature. She is questioning herself the purpose of life, her origins, adaptation into the society and if she is human enough. And the fact that she is actually questioning herself like that makes her a human being.
I am giving character development only 8/10 because it seemed that Makoto was the only one that was actually developing. All other characters were quite straightforward or pretty shallow. And Makoto herself was not a masterpiece.
Now this is another part that Ghost in the Shell truly shines at. I really loved the way this movie tingled with my mind. This is not a movie that you can just sit back, relax and watch. It's an intelligent and complicated movie. And that is what I like. It might not be for everyone, especially the casual viewer. But even they will enjoy a movie as a pretty good Sci-Fi action thriller.
Ghost in the Shell. Probably the best Sci-fi anime there is. It also surpasses many live action movies, like Matrix. Yes, it does not have as much fighting scenes as other movies we see, but that's why it is great. Anime is deep. It asks us what life is and many other philosophical questions. But it missed something to be a masterpiece in my opinion. A longer plot would probably drag it to a 10.
Mar 23, 2011
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
GiTS, the story of an anti-terrorist group of men and cyborgs, as they prevent cyber crimes and try to apprehend a criminal who manipulates the memories of his victims. And this is not even the tip of the iceberg.
1995 was a major turning point in anime and stands as the point where the gold era of Japanese animation began. The industry started taking risks and making a lot of interesting titles thereafter for over a decade. A reason is the great effect Neon Genesis had on its mainland audience, which inspired the companies to fund affiliated works, things that before that anime would pass as risky and not profitable. Another reason is the coming of a new form or data recording. I am referring to the DVD which offered much higher analysis and resolution than the CD and thus allowing for anime to look better.
Also, the third generation of anime fans came to be around this point for me.
- The first is the one in the mid 60’s who grew up with Tetsuwan Atom and Tetsoujin 28. That generation was given works of producers who grew up in WW2 and thus all famous works of that time have to do with technology and sadness around a vastly changed world which seems to have lost its innocence, yet strives on with hope.
- The second is the one in the early 80’s who grew up with Urusei Yatsura and Macross. That generations was given less depressing works and a world now recovered from war and enjoying unparallel technological achievements.
- The third generation is the one I am referring to this point. Their country was going through economic depression and the end of the world speculation fuss had created this feeling of unrest and doubt to the problems technology can solve. So once again the feeling returned to a more depressing one around technology and the change of the world, just like before.
All that contributed to the creation and even to the success of Ghost in the Shell, a movie phenomenon for its time and era in general. If it was made a few years back, chances are it would flop badly because the audience was not mentally ready to accept such a concept yet. Even Akira, which was also an instant hit, was far simpler in its ideas and based half its appeal on action and mass destruction, something this movie does not have.
The story is basically the loose adaptation of the homonymous manga, which was a phenomenon on its own. And since I love lists, here are the reasons of why this film, and by extension the manga, is so great.
1) Great production values. Even better than Akira, which also counts as great. Cinematography is masterful as everything is drawn and animated in a way it feels alive, There is an amazing detail given to machinery and various parts explain brand new technologies and applications. It gives you the feeling that it is all possible and probable, making you believe them as viable and not as mumbo jumbo magic technology like in other sci-fi works. The smart camera angles, the right use of BGM, and several scenes which are used only as mute depiction of a feeling or a mood. All that make viewing a pleasure unlike anything else ever made up until then.
2) Great story and concepts. The blur between reality and virtual reality may feel commonplace today but this movie is from the oldest examples and still holds today as amongst the most mature and well-thought-of takes on the subject. In fact, more than half of all following movies were heavily influenced by this work and any similarities may as well be considered as tribute to this one. Also, unlike most other variants on augmented or virtual reality which focus on a small concept or part of the world, here the idea covers all aspects of life, from society, to religion, to philosophy, to one’s personal search for identity and happiness.
3) Great characters. Motoko, Batou and Togusa are three very easy to understand yet complicating personalities, all a product of their era, affected by the ever-present technology yet still making their own personal choices. The movie is more about them having existentialism dialogues than fighting criminals and more about separating reality from illusion to completing their mission and go home for beers. There were many shows about people turning to robots or robots trying to be people before, but most were quite simple and all ended up by having to beat a bad guy or something. Here, the main bad guy of sorts is the Puppet Master who, as corny as his name sounds, is actually a very interesting character by himself; not really evil or with hatred towards the world. In fact, nobody is really evil as is selfish and profit-centered. Mercenaries and company presidents and politicians, all of them just try to make the best of what they can in a world run by information and the power of stealth ends up being more effective than the power of guns.
I have heard lots of things from people who didn’t like the movie and almost all of them are about how the film doesn’t have great action or how they keep talking and acting all emo instead of, I don’t know, shot at stuff and laugh like they enjoy what they are doing. To those people I can only say that this is not a brain-dead action story like the Transformers or Black Lagoon. It is dialogue-heavy and full of talking around philosophy and politics and the meaning of life. It may feel like it’s preachy or overblown with emoness at times but, hey, that was what it aimed for in the first place. I too would prefer longer action scenes and that is why Story and Enjoyment don’t stand as perfect for me; but I’m not going to disregard all the rest just because of that minor issue.
A thing to take notice is that the manga version has a far different feeling, as the characters there are more comical and act more like humans. If you prefer less depressing stuff, you can just read the manga version. Also, a decade later they made two tv seasons based on the same story, and again the feeling is different as here the characters think and act more like amoral professionals rather than people who seek a reason for being. You can also check that one. And if you still find the concept simplistic after all these years and how today all that are mainstream stuff, you can also “try” to read the second GiTS manga or the watch the second GiTS movie, where things are even harder to understand. Good luck to you; I lost track at some point and my organic hard rive crashed so I left it for another time.
Bottom line, GiTS stands as most likely the best in overall and most influential cyberpunk work to hit the screens and tv screens and it is still a concept that was never surpassed in detail and attention by any other producer or filmmaker. Seriously, the Matrix trilogy looks like elementary school before it. read more
Jul 29, 2012
Story(9): The story is set in the future where cybernetics has become commonplace and nearly everyone has some form of cyberization in their body. The story follows The Major, a cyborg that is part of Section 9, a section of the police that specializes cyber warfare.The story follows a The Major as she tries to take down The Puppet Master, a hacker, however other obstructions get in her way such as rival Section 6. The action is very good and you get to know the characters. Let me say without fault that the conclusion left you thinking.
Art(9): The art of this time dates back to Akira. Which is not bad in any way in fact its pretty good.The animation is smooth and the action was slick. If you prefer modern art, then I suggest watching the remake(Ghost in the Shell 2.0, not Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence, which is the sequel).
Sound(10): The sound is just absolutely brilliant leaving you feel chilly and awe-struck.
Character(8): The character is just about the only thing I'm a bit miffed about. I didn't think they had enough time to develop all the characters but I hardly think that will hinder the movie experience.
Enjoyment(10): I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, the movies made me want more after watching it.
Overall(10): Seriously there's a reason why this movie is considered a classic among the anime community. Go watch it now. You definitely won't regret it. read more
Sep 20, 2010
The artistic interpretation of the future is phenomenal. It's one of those beautiful cityscape animes that we all know and love.
I did not find the sound to be anything special... Mostly because I didn't notice it.
The only characters I really ended up caring about were Kusanagi and the puppet master. Even then, they were a bit cold and difficult to sympathize with. Though I suppose they were part or completely computers, so that makes sense.
Even though I acknowledge that this is a well-made movie, I personally did not enjoy it much. I found it to be slow moving, and it didn't have enough passion to make me care enough about what happened. It was over very quickly, and I felt that it lacked sufficient closure. I recognize that not all movies have complete closure, but I would have liked a little more. Also, I felt as though it lacked actual substance and that it was predictable. If you read a synopsis before you watch this, you'll pretty much have everything spelled out for you.
That being said, you'll definitely enjoy this if you're into hard-core sci-fi and futuristic anime. Even if you're not, I would say it's worth watching. read more
Jul 5, 2008
The plot of the film revolves around a case involving a international ghost hacker/terrorist codenamed "The Puppetmaster". Motoko Kusunagi and her fellow section nine agents are assigned onto the investigation after a diplomats interpreter is ghost hacked and the word is "The Puppetmaster" is involved.
GITS is a wonderfully made movie. The action scenes are awesome, the storyline is full of plot twists and is quite compelling. The artwork is incredible, and the performances of the vocal actors are to be commended. Some may find the music annoying but I loved it. In retrospect it's a great anime. One definitely worth a look and a must for anime collectors and otakus alike. I give it 10/10. read more
Nov 3, 2011
If you havent seen it, do so now.
It's my favorite animation movie of all time.
The best combination of soundtrack, graphics, story and style.
And considering it was made in 1995 makes it better :)
Domo arigato Mamoru Oshii
( PS: I'm not a fan of comparing this movie with matrix. It stands alone.)
Dec 12, 2010
The first time i watched this anime i was niave young lad who was mostly at the time just interested in anything that looked like a good anime or cartoon, i happened to stumble upon this movie round a friends house after he said he had not watched it yet an so we sat an deicated 1 hour and 25 minutes of our lives to this film...
to this day ten years later this is by far thee greatest most impact on me anime movie i have ever watched.
The story is extremely philosphical and does not hesitate to pull straight into the thick of things, normally when i watch an anime an the story is not too well explained at the beginning i generally tend to lose hope an give up after a while, however with this anime somthing gripped me, whether it was the fantastic artwork for its time or the fact the first scene is simply breathtaking i don't know but it worked, its set in the now not too distant future an the world is mostly comprised of cyborgs or humans with some amount little or small of cyborg enginearing in their body, are main character is completely cyborged up however her brain still functions as a human, though calling her a "her" is not quite correct, infact im not entierly aware if she started off as a boy or girl, possibly a question answered in the manga but ive yet to read that.
anyway moving onto the story, the film is mostly based around or main character major kusanagi of the crime force section 9, pursuing a hacker known only as the "puppetmaster" who has been hacking into people's cybernetic mind using the net through which people communicate and recieve data, this story will have you question alot the most basic yet hardest question, "what is it really that make's us human?".
for its time the artowrk is absoloutely amazing, the darkened colours fit very well with the stories over all dark plot an feel bringing the anime up to challenge any modern day anime of the same genre.
very original yet affective sound tracks found here and again very fitting for the type of anime this is, you will understand when you watch it!
Character development in this does play a part but not hugely, overall you dont really learn a great deal about each character but enough to realise whats going on and there motives, major kusanagi an batou will be the main characters here you will be closely following, both hard veterened soldiers/detectives with both equal amounts of cybonetics in there bodies, tho more so the major, for real development on the characters id suggest the adaption to this anime "ghost in the shell: stand alone complex" which im still currently watching and is proving to be very good as well.
I tend to find i love any anime that can make me question something we as humans take for granted in our everyday lives, an what better question to ask then as to why do we exist, what really differs us from each other apart from our visual looks? and can any of us really say we are free when can not honestly define the word? for this reason this anime will grab you and pull you in and i gurantee, you will not be disappointed with the results! read more
Nov 4, 2009
It looks great. The film is over a decade old now but it's visuals still hold up. The soundtrack is wonderfully atmospheric, there's terrific action, and generally there's a great deal of substance and intelligence behind it all.
As far as influence goes without Ghost in the Shell there probably wouldn't have been The Matrix either. read more
Feb 5, 2008
This anime was okay to the extent I will watch number 2 and the series sooner or later. Probabaly watch innosence tomrorow. I just finished number 1... This wasn't the best film and I will explain why...
This wasn't the easiest of anime to get into, maybe the actual series has a better story line. I'm still kinda thinking what the point of it was..futuristic cyber robot hacker...and the cyborgs seem to be controlled by ghosts...hich i beleive ghost is refering to some sort of program that is realistic and human-like...sinc eit's a program it's hackable and their actions get contolled or information leaked or something...it's all done for political reasons anyway...If your the whole cop investigation person this would be a great story line for you...it was okay.
Animation was nice, well draw and designed, nice effects and touchs to make it look pretty :]
Sound was pretty cool, seemed quiet oriental-ish, if thats the right word, went well with the movie though.
Characters we're very unique with their own traits, quite dark and serious like...how you'd expect a strict cop to be...mature.
I thought some parts of the movie was cool but I cant say I enjoyed every second of it, and I doubt I would watch it again, maybe. read more
Jun 23, 2012
P.S. I should also warn you that there will be spoilers, as this review is mostly aimed at those who have already seen this film and are looking for somebody else's opinion on it. If you didn't see the film, I'd recommend you to watch the movie anyway, even after I spoil it for you.
First thing that should be said about GITS, no matter how cliched it might be, is that it is a classic. It's a work of art. And being a work of art doesn't mean that it is absolutely perfect in every aspect. No, GITS does have its shortcomings, but after you properly think about the film, none of these shortcomings are crucial to the film's message and aims. Being a work of art means that the movie is perfect in the way that matters, and that it achieves its set goals and purposes. You won't hear anyone talking bad about, say, Crime and Punishment just because there isn't a thrilling plot or some great mysteries, because the book isn't about that. And even though it does have an interesting and suspenseful plot, in the end Ghost in the Shell isn't about crime fighting or counter-cyberterrorism.
No, Ghost in the Shell is, first and foremost, an ode to transhumanism and a philosophical work that centres on issues of identity and finding an answer to one's existential questions in a world where you can't be sure that your identity is even "yours". But before I dive into the real substance of the movie, I'd rather take care of the technical side of things.
One of the more important things that should be stressed when reviewing GITS, is that it's largely a visual experience. Indeed, this is one of the most atmospheric, most visually stunning movies EVER, including all Western animated movies. What's so special about GITS's visuals? Well, for starters, every single shot in the movie was made with great care and effort. The amount of detail on most frames is amazing - even when we're in the middle of an intense action scene ( where most other animated movies tend to cut corners on backgrounds, features etc. ), the movie keeps the same level of detail and clarity that's present in the more artsy and slow paced scenes. Newport City, where the story takes place, was modeled after Hong Kong, and the production crew made a trip to Hong Kong and shot a bunch of photos which they later used to create a setting that is not only extremely cyberpunkish in appearance and style, but also quite realistic, making the whole future setting of Ghost in the Shell much more believable and "real" than the setting of such movies as Akira or Blade Runner ( which was a clear inspiration not only for the visual style of GITS, but the cyberpunk genre in general ). In the middle of the movie there is a whole scene, several minutes long, with no dialogue or plot whatsoever, just a number of sequences and shots depicting a depressing, somewhat run-down, claustrophobic and oppressive place in which the story takes place. The scenes immerse you in the futuristic world where extreme poverty and depravity are juxtaposed to the shiny, glass-covered and a bit surreal corporate world of office towers, neon signs and luxurious shops.
Just like the style, the animation and graphics of GITS are top-notch. Keeping the sense of realism established by the style and graphics, the animation team has put a lot of effort into making the motions and effects as realistic as possible - objects fall or fly so naturally, you can almost "feel" their mass, human motion is fluid and natural... I'll give you an example of how much thought and effort was put in this movie - there's a scene in which Motoko confronts a criminal while wearing her termo-optic camouflage ( invisibility cloak ). The scene takes place in shallow water, and while she is invisible, her shadow can be seen on the bottom; her camouflage only deflects the light, giving an illusion of invisibility, but there's still a physical object blocking the sunlight.
Character designs are great, fitting the personalities of each of them; Motoko and Batou, who are both cyborgs, mostly have an expressionless, robotic appearance.
This is especially true for Motoko, who has a fully cybernetic body, with only her brain remaining biological. It is important to note that there's a large difference in Motoko's movie incarnation and her appearance in the manga and Stand Alone Complex series. Here she has lifeless, pale green eyes as opposed to red in the manga. Also, she has a somewhat androgynous face and a masculine body, and both these characteristics are essential not only to her personality and character development, but also to one of the underlying themes of the film, which I will discuss later.
Batou, while mostly a cyborg, still retains much more of his biological body and thus more humanity than Motoko, which is reflected in him showing much more emotion than the Major, and having more facial expressions. All the other characters also have detailed, interesting and memorable designs.
Overall the visual aspects of Ghost in the Shell deserve a perfect score, and it would be worth seeing this film for the visuals alone.
But the superb visuals alone are not enough to create a truly mesmerizing experience that completely immerses the viewer into the world that you have created. In order to make the viewing experience complete, you also need a well-made and a well-timed soundtrack, and Ghost in the Shell is just as brilliant in the audio department as it is in visuals. While all the little things like gunfire, random chattering of people in the market or splashes of water are very important in creating a realistic and vibrant setting, it is Kenji Kawai’s brilliant soundtrack that gives the movie its second layer, that of a gloomy and eery future where technology warps and changes the very essence of our society and our identity. The real jewel in the sountrack’s crown is the song “Making of a Cyborg”, a haunting choral piece played during the opening credits, where we can see Motoko’s body being built and her brain placed inside of it. But this song is a lot more than just a nice-sounding piece of music; like many other things in this movie, there’s a deeper meaning and symbolism in it.
As the opening credits roll ( in form of a “rain” of green letters and numbers that was copied by the Wachowski brothers in the Matrix movies ), we see Motoko’s brain, her ghost, being lowered into the skull of her cybernetic body, her shell. After that, skin, hair and fat tissue are added to the body, and by the end of the credits, her body is fully complete. During the procedure, there are several shots of her in a fetal position, and the whole process is carried out in a way that very much resembles a birth of a human. The entire scene is meant to represent a symbolic birth, but also a kind of marriage.
The song I previously mentioned, “Making of a Cyborg”, is in fact a marital chant that is supposed to protect the newlyweds from all the evil influences and temptations. Thus, by considering both the visual and auditive aspects of the scene, we can see that it is meant to represent the “marriage” between Motoko’s mind/ghost and her body/shell. With hindsight, it can also be interpreted as foreshadowing of the union between herself and the Puppet Master.
The idea of rebirth is one of the main underlying concepts during the film, and is most obviously represented through the merger of Motoko’s mind with the Puppet Master, which results in a creation of a new, higher entity, that is at the same time both Motoko and the Puppet Master – their union changes them, but also allows them to retain all of the characteristics and traits that make them who they are ( “We will both undergo change, but there is nothing for either of us to lose” ). Being “reborn” should not be taken literally, as neither of them physically dies and is reborn, but should be interpreted more as a change. Motoko is “reborn” in a sense that she becomes a new person ( her mind/ghost changes ), just like her “first rebirth”, in which she was given a new body, changes her physically, from a biological human to a complete cyborg. The need for change is stressed on several occasions, and it is pointed out by the Puppet Master that it is in the essence of human nature to constantly change and adapt ( Motoko: “Can you guarantee that I will still be my old self?” Puppet Master: “I cannot. People change, and your longing to remain “yourself” is what ultimately limits you.” ).
The idea of change is expanded upon by both Motoko and the Puppet Master asserting that the strength lies in diversity. Early in the film, Motoko explains to one of her co-workers, Togusa, who is the most biologically human member of Section 9, that she brought him to Section 9 from the local police force because they need diversity; no matter how technologically advanced and capable the cyborg members of the unit are, a skilled hacker could theoretically incapacitate them all with a single virus, seeing as their cyberbrains all function on the same operative system. Thus, by having Togusa among them, they can retain operational capacity even during such emergencies.
The Puppet Master’s motives for wanting to merge with Motoko and create a new entity, rather than simply copying himself, are quite similar. He ( or she ) fears that a single virus could destroy all of his copies, since copying gives no originality and diversity, and opts for a union with a human instead.
Search for answers is the second main theme present in the film, and is interwoven with the ideas of rebirth and change. The pursuit of the Puppet Master changes Motoko’s psyche further, and she starts to question her own identity as a human after seeing to what extent can the person’s memories and feelings be manipulated and fabricated. While the idea of tampering with memories and the existential questions that arise from that were directly inspired by/taken from the 1982 movie “Blade Runner”, and as such aren’t as original, Ghost in the Shell provides a completely different answers and resolutions to them. While the replicants from Blade Runner yearn to become human and live longer as ordinary people, Motoko’s quest to find the answers to her own existential and metaphysical questions results in her embracing the change and pursuing the alternative means to define her own identity. During the opening credits Motoko unites with her cybernetic body, and we see her body in all its detail and complexity. During the film we can also witness all the stunning abilities of a cybernatically enhanced body – improved reflexes and perception, superhuman strength and agility... But during the climactic fight scene, Motoko is unable to defeat the armoured tank. In an attempt to open the hatch and disable the tank, she overloads her body and it gets torn apart. She falls down from the tank, broken and helpless. Her body is completely destroyed and her invisibility suit is split apart – in the beginning we saw her being built, and now we’ve made a full circle to see her broken and vulnerable. Fortunately, Batou saves her from being killed by the tank, and even though her body has been severely damaged, she remains alive. From this we can extrapolate that it isn’t her body that defines Motoko, it’s her mind, her determination to pursue her own goals and answers. She then boldly steps into the future, becoming what can be described as the next step in human evolution; she no longer needs any physical means to identify herself. This concept of humans transcending their fragile physical bodies and becoming something “more” is the essence of philosophical thought called “transhumanism” ( look it up ), and while some people might be alienated by this, it should be pointed out that the movie doesn’t shove this message down the viewer’s throat. The whole idea of the film is a quest for answers and questioning your core beliefs about what makes us human; is the essence of being human being completely biological? Maybe it’s only the brain that matters because it holds our mind, our thoughts and memories? Or maybe we should go a step further, maybe it’s only our mind, our ghost, regardless whether it resides in neurons or in the vastness of the Net? The movie merely presents its own answers to these questions, and leaves it up to the viewer to agree or disagree with them. The answer that Motoko finds does not necessarily have to answer our own questions, especially since we are not ( yet ) cyborgs and therefore cannot fully empathise with her.
I’ve already mentioned several times that the movie deals with the issues of identity, but it goes a step further than that, and also focuses more specifically on the issues of female identity. Yes, this movie has a subtle feminist message, and before you roll your eyes thinking “how can a movie with so many scenes of female nudity have any kind of feminist message?”, please allow me to elaborate.
Yes, there is a number of scenes where Motoko is nude, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that none of them are meant to be erotic. Let us return to the opening credits; the scene opens with images of Motoko’s body still being merely muscles and bones. We can see all the complex machinery that powers the body and keeps her alive. After the body is complete, Motoko is standing nude and bare-breasted and the wind is sweeping her hair. But how can you look at her as an erotic figure when you know that under her soft skin lies the cold reality of a machine built of metal and wires, and when just a moment ago she had no eyes, skin or hair? The same goes for the final fight scene when her body breaks down – as she’s desperately trying to open the hatch, her body goes from its normal slender figure to an overly muscular one. After that her body is broken and parts of her are literally flying through the air. Coupled with the fact that she has an androgynous face and a muscular, manly figure ( thus taking away from the notion that she’s supposed to have the appearance of a playboy model to entertain the male audience ) , but also a deep and complex personality ( evident in her thoughtfulness and emotional strength ), as well as there being a few scenes like the one in the boat where Batou averts his eyes when Motoko undresses, the movie forces us to think: “Should I really be seeing her merely as a lustful figure? Isn’t it a bit misogynistic to reduce her to a mere object of sexual fantasies”. I was already asking myself these questions when I first watched this film, and after I read/heard several opinions of other people on this film, I became confident that I wasn’t reading too much into this.
You are free to disagree, but for me, the movie sends a subtle message that we should see women for who they are as persons, rather than judging them merely by their appearance.
There are several other metaphors and symbols in the film, expressed solely through visuals. Probably the most apparent of these is the wall relief from the tank-battle scene. During the scene Motoko manages to dodge the tank’s fire, but the tank continues to shoot and destroys the relief on the wall behind Motoko. The relief is in form of a tree depicting the evolution of fish ( I think ), and the tank destroys almost all of it, but the bullets run out just before it blows off the word “hominis”. The word is a genitive singular form of the latin word “homo”, which means “man”, or “human”. The metaphor of the machine destroying every other species except man can be viewed in two different ways.
One way to interpret the metaphor is as a subtle environmental message; the tank destroys all species on the relief, which can be seen as a criticism and a warning of how our technological advancement and growing economy endangers and destroys our environment, pushing many animal and plant species into extinction.
The second interpretation is much more in the spirit of the movie and was probably director’s true intention, rather than the somewhat less likely environmental message. The fact that the gunfire stops just before the word for human can be seen as a warning that our technology poses just as much of a threat to us as it is to our benefit. The idea that our technology, if not kept in check and handled responsibly, could be our demise is presented more directly by the tank itself nearly killing Motoko, but also by the actions of the Puppet Master; an extremely powerful rogue AI that is able to rewrite people’s memories and manipulate them at will. The whole technological aspect of the movie is supposed to show the viewers the infinite positive possibilities that the future holds ( after all, Motoko finds her answers in technology, sort of ), but also that there exists the other side of the coin and that while we shouldn’t restrain our technological advancement, we should also handle the technology wisely and responsibly.
Another metaphor expressed through visuals is the recurring motif of falling/sinking and jumping/emerging. The examples include the opening scene in which the Major jumps off a building, and the scene in the middle of the film where she goes scuba-diving. The motif of her sinking and then emerging to the surface is essentially the theme of rebirth I already mentioned, and the notion that one has to sink, abandon a part of their old self, before they can emerge and be “reborn” as a new person. The jump part of the motif(s) can be interpreted as a leap of faith that Motoko has to make before she merges with the Puppet Master.
If you are still with me on this review and haven’t yet been discouraged by its preposterous length, then bear with me for just a little longer, the end is near.
After all this praise on Ghost in the Shell’s technical aspects and all the intellectual sustenance, I should point out some of the shortcomings, and these are mostly related to the plot and the pacing of the movie.
The greatest problem in this film is its relatively short running time – the whole movie is only 82 minutes long. While this wouldn’t be such a problem if the movie was merely an action thriller, the fact that a large portion of the movie is made of philosophical dialogue and action scenes means that there is relatively little time left to resolve the plot points. This results in a somewhat awkward pace of the film, with short scenes of expository dialogue followed by long scenes of intense action which are in turn followed by equally long scenes featuring no plot at all ( the aforementioned sequence of cityscapes and streetlife in Newport City ). Another problem with the plot is that the technological aspects of the world in which the story takes place ( i.e.the cyberbrains ) are not directly explained, and unless you’re familiar with the manga you have to figure these things out for yourselves, which can be difficult seeing as the plot progresses very quickly during the first half of the movie and you can’t afford to dwell on such thing for too long if you want to keep up with the plot.
Likewise, the philosophical dialogue can feel unnatural given the scene and circumstances, and it takes away from the overall feeling of realism. However, this doesn’t bother me as much as it should, probably because of the nature and general atmosphere of the movie, so I can forgive them for dropping the sense of realism in order to properly frame and express the philosophical message.
Probably the greatest problem with the plot though, isn’t the pacing or the heavy philosophical dialogue, but a certain plot point that isn’t satisfactorily resolved. I’m talking about the scene where Chief Aramaki orders the Section 9 SWAT team to storm the safehouse of Colonel Malles. In the manga this scene is much, much longer and it explains the motives and aims of both Colonel Malles and the Puppet Master during this affair, thus concluding the entire case. In the film, however, they cut the scene just as the Section 9 is about to storm the place, and what happens is never explained. While the outcome of the case isn’t crucial to the second half of the film or the ending of the story, it still leaves an impression that the case in the first half is incomplete, and it confuses the viewer, who has to extrapolate what happened for himself.
And last, but not the least – the characters. Many reviewers complain about the supposed lack of character development in the film, but I find the main characters very well developed for a movie that only lasts 82 minutes.
I have already covered much of Motoko’s character over the course of the review, so I’ll just add a couple of minor things. One interesting thing about her is that she appears to be an adrenaline addict; she frequently puts herself in risky and dangerous situations like jumping off the building backwards or fighting tanks on her own rather than waiting for support ( there’s also a bit of stubbornness in that ). Her hobby, scuba-diving, clearly shows this addiction to adrenaline. It’s a very dangerous pastime considering her cybernetic body has a titanium skeleton and therefore weights hundreds of pounds, and if the floaters she’s carrying break down, her body’s weight will pull her to the bottom and she will drown. She also appears to have a somewhat laid back attitude towards her nudity, having no problem taking off her diving suit in front of Batou, although it might be that she only allows herself such freedom in front of him, since the two seem to be very close.
Batou is, after Motoko, the most developed character in the film, and serves not only as her trusted companion, but also as a contrast to her inhuman, somewhat cold and unemotional persona. While Motoko seems to have a knack for philosophy and is quite thoughtful, Batou is much more down-to-Earth and pragmatic. Even though his body is also largely cybernetic, it doesn’t make him insecure in his own identity, unlike the Major. He is much more confident in himself than she is in herself, and repeatedly has to remind Motoko that she really is human. This contrast between the characters of Motoko and Batou really plays off well and gives the movie some much needed dynamics in interactions between characters. It also appears that Batou has feelings for the Major than aren’t merely that of a colleague or even a friend, as he shows subtle signs of affection and care for her on several occasions. And even though he’s all tough and confident on the surface, when it comes to his feelings for Motoko he comes across as shy, hesitating to explain why he accompanied her on the boat when she goes diving, and then hesitating again during the final scene when new Motoko decides to leave. He also seems to have great respect for Motoko, averting his eyes when she undresses, as he respects her too much to objectify her. In fact, Batou’s character may be more developed than the Major’s.
Finally, it’s over. I apologise for dragging this review for so long, but I wanted to make it as complete as possible, and Ghost in the Shell is a movie of such scale and depth that dissecting it properly takes a lot of time. I don’t think that there’s anything more to add, so I’ll just say again: Ghost in the Shell is a work of art that every anime fan, no, everyone who likes movies and visual media in general should see. There really is no other animated movie quite like it and it deserves its rightful title as a timeless classic. If you haven’t watched it yet - what are you waiting for?
Mar 2, 2013
Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow, Ghost In The Shell is about Motoko Kusanagi, a female cyborg soldier and leader of Section 9, that's trying to catch hacker simply named The Puppet Master. The Puppet Master can control anything like implanting false memories into another cyborg or even hack into any military system device at will and therefore, making him a real threat to the team and the whole city. So the race is on to catch this hacker but Kusanagi discovers that there's something much more to this hacker than just... Well being a hacker.
Without spoiling the whole story (cause If I do, I will get my head chopped off by GITS fans), it talks about the idea of robots having a conscious mind and with a conscious mind on the robots, it makes them more human than us, which is a damn good possibility since this is set in a future where technology is more advanced and powerful enough to create cyborgs as replacement if the human race will ever be extinct. I also liked The Puppet Master in this movie, which he is a cyborg hacker on the outside but on the inside, he doesn't want to destroy the world, he just wants to be something else than just a walking machine. With that said, my main problem with the film is that the characters are not that much interesting or well-developed. Yes, Kusanagi is a bad-ass cyborg soldier that can kick ass but on the whole, she's not that much interesting as a character in this film and I really wish that the writer could have given her like a struggle of trying to find the meaning of being human in a soulless body but here, she's just a soldier that can kick-ass, that's it.
The side characters are not much of help either. They feel like walking stereotypes that are just waiting for something big to happen and they're not very fleshed out either. Which is a big shame since I do like this one character named Batou, the cyborg with the augmented eyes, was really cool and the only character that I cared in the whole damn film. As for the action in Ghost In The Shell, it is really good but again, the problem is that there's barely a lot of action in the film. It starts with a very cool opening when Kusanagi takes down a bunch of cyborgs while invisible and it leads to the "more talking, less action" route, which I have nothing against it but they could have made more action scenes in order to have a balance of action and story. GITS has a lot of good story ideas going for it and it works but the characters are just boring as hell and there isn't enough entertainment value to enjoy it even more.
But I will admit that GITS is gorgeous to look at. It was done by Production I.G. and the animation is a real stunner for an anime film to be released in 1995. The detail of the characters to the incredibly good looking visuals and to the futuristic design, GITS is a masterpiece in the animation department and the scenes where they show-off the animation is simply beautiful to look at while the chanting plays in the background. Speaking of chanting, the music is really mesmerizing and it contains one of the best opening chant songs in film history, delivering a chilling sense of dread and mystery into the world of GITS. The dub is pretty good with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn delivering an awesome performance as Kusanagi, Richard Epoar doing a decent job as Batou and for whoever voiced The Puppet Master, he was excellent in the role.
While I don't think Ghost In The Shell is a perfect film, it still delivers a very good story with a great idea to back-it up. It's just that I wished they could have developed the characters a bit better and to have the film a balance between more action and more story. If you missed out on the phenomenon that is GITS, go check it out. It's a fascinating film that will still be remembered for all eternity. read more
Nov 9, 2012
Slow, but very smooth. Looking through it, you can safely forget about traditional Hollywood "porridge" from shots. Plans, shots, actions are replaced smoothly and evenly. However an atmsofer quite gloomy, intense and causing associations with the nuary. Such image is created by a city dullness, gloomy remarks of characters and a certain block of action. And, only you having seen at the beginning of the film shots with green figures, in the head there is an image Neo with agents Smith. :)
Characters act practically without emotion and always truly and coolly choose the best exit from current situation. There is illusion of that not only the outside world is computerized , but also internal. Such reception authors masterfully stretch main thought through all film - identity of artificial reason and the present.
Deep, but on sense it is not loaded. But after all nevertheless difficulty is present at this film. This cybernetic history is overloaded in respect of the text. In other words, characters prattle with each other too much. But in thoughts of characters there is a reason share. Certainly "Ghost in Shells" it is impossible to call a store room of new post-philosophy, but it is possible to take pair adequate ideas from there.
Concerning music. In this plan, the most serious blockbuster could envy this film. The scene (certain "interval" between conversations of heroes) with city landscapes especially pleases. Composers tried!
And time speech came about concrete scenes of the film, it would be desirable to mark out one of them. That moment when to the dustman say that all his life, all that he considered present is only a fruit of imagination of the Puppeteer which forced the guy to believe in this invention. Present, as far as it is terrible to understand that you are actually anybody and achieved nothing. You aren't a person, you are the tool in hands someone.
Film is rather interesting, but specific. To understand it - means to undersign for own erudirovannost. read more
Dec 7, 2011
It's a very artistic and philosophical movie... which means it's not for everyone !! Not everyone will get it.. not everyone will understand it.. and for a movie with such high praise, there will always be prejudice and criticism.. This movie did not touch me with all the philosophical stuff and all the questions asked about life.. but I can see how it did for others !! For meh... for something to be deep, u really have to care for the characters and really understand them. And this is where GITS failed. The Major was made to robot'ish to really care for her feelings and what she questioned (Am I a robot, or am I human just cause ppl treat me like I am). In my eyes, she was just a robot and her ghost (soul) could always get another body.. so I didn't really care to much for her... The thing with the Major never blinking was made purposely... cause director Oshii wanted her to look more like a doll... it just didn't work for meh... Human emotions are a part of what makes u human, and In the movie... The Major is more robot than she is in the series... so no empathy on mah behalf...
The animation, the plot and how creative things are done was what intrigued meh. (what makes u human!?) I'm also a huuuge fan of creative artists using others's materials and making em their own. (like a true japanese). There are aloot of segments in the film which f.eks inspired people like the wachowski brothers to make The Matrix (they even stole some scenes, right of the bat)!! And some scenes in GITS are just groundbreaking to look at !! Not to mention GITS is hugely inspired by Neuromance and Blade Runner !!
Picture this movie coming out when u were older... u had never seen anything similar to it.. not anything even near it.. and u watch it for the first time !! It's mesmerising, groundbreaking, tansparent !! That's why this movie is considered so highly rated.. It's easy for people like me, who didn't see the movie until years later, to criticize it's philosophy, themes and moral, and say I've alrady seen this... this is nothing special..
This movie is wether u like it or not, groundbreaking in every single way !! The Animation, story, characters and not to mention the very creative awesome futuristic world GITS have created for us !! (the animation then, was unmatched.. nuthin could even compare)
This movie have inspired alot of people.. including huuuge artists in the movie business...Quentin Tarantino has even stated that this is the best animated movie EVER.. James Cameron (Avatar), Michael Bay (The Island) and as I said.. The Matrix came out of it.. and that was also a groundbreaking movie which every movie geek to date has either seen or heard of !! And guess what!? The Matrix also inspired other movie makers aswell !! And GITS was part of this !!
This is not everyone's cup of tea !! It certainly was not mine, because of the slow pacing in the story and the under developed characters !! I enjoy the series alooot more !! But, if u call urself a movie and anime freak !! This is a MUST SEE !! It is a classic, inspirational and agroundbreaking movie, wether u like it or not !! So pretty plz... don't be one of the ignorant assholes calling this an overrated movie... read more
Nov 23, 2012
After realizing this he decides to think differently and kill his maker, but he's not really aware of this, he's been programmed to do it, this with the objective of giving a heads up to the robot hating detective in town and avoid robot's dominating the world. But then before he can help saving the world he's hired as a household robot and programmed to clean the house and do the chores all of this while learning what it 's like to be a real human being.
After acquiring every human emotion in existance he realizes that the detective failed and the world has fallen in the gears of robots. So he decides to travel back in time to stop the an evil robot from killing the chosen one, a kid who would then become the robot hating detective.
When going back in time he finds out that the evil forces from the planet his metal once belonged to are about to invade earth in look for a power source that gives them life, so he calls all his friends to battle and gets them to dress like cars so people won't notice they are actually robots but at the end everyone knows they are robots, even the people who shouldn't so it's pretty stupid because it doesn't make sense, anyway they beat the evil forces and so the robot is allowed to go back to the future.
It is a very touching movie. read more