With Major Motoko Kusanagi missing, Section 9's Batou is assigned to investigate a string of gruesome murders—seemingly at the hands of faulty gynoids, or sex robots. But when a faulty gynoid leaves Batou a cryptic message, he begins to question the cause of their malfunctions. Suspicions of politically motivated murder and an illegal "ghost" quickly crop up, drawing Batou and his partner Togusa into a perilous web of conspiracy.
As their investigation goes on, the line between man and machine continues to blur, and reality and perception become indistinguishable. Confronting strange and dangerous foes, Batou and Togusa explore a futuristic world filled with machines and living dolls but utterly devoid of humanity.
No one can ever know to understand.
They can only hope to understand.
What is life, what means reality? Why does man pursue the creation of artificial life? Where do we draw the line between human and machine? What classifies the perfect species?
Ghost in the Shell: Innocence might very well fare as a compendium of philosophy due to the manifold questions it not only brings up but most often also provides the viewer with unique - maybe obscure at times - in any way thought-provoking arguments.
The movie depicts a state of cold surreality in an eerie and sterile environment. The distinction between the organic and
inorganic, between actual experience or artificial memory is of central significance.
"The imperfect nature of human perception causes the incompleteness of reality." As we perceive the world, we create our personal reality which holds neither absoluteness nor can it be considered concrete. However, because it is a product of the mind and hence incomplete, we consider it real, our own - instead of an externally imposed artificial scenario. Yet, there's no way to distinguish one from another. "You'll only ever realize later on. It's impossible to know you're in a dream when you’re dreaming."
Would we want to wake up from a dream if it was so much more beautiful than that which we consider genuine, just to seek truth?
"The mirror is not a tool for realizing the truth, but for obscuring it." And so is our consciousness. There's no verification of the truthfulness of the impressions that affect us, the memories we have, the interpretations and conclusions we come to. We are obscuring reality to make it fit our individual creations.
They definitely dwell on this subject matter. Not least due to the creepy dolls that lurk everywhere. "The doubt over whether that which looks alive is actually alive - on the contrary, the doubt that things without life might be alive" is something that's continuously played with - and the transition to another intriguing theme. The definition of life - or rather human.
"When people think 'Humans are different from robots', it is no more profound than thinking 'white is not black'." Why does man try to create machines in the image of the ideal human body? None other than a cyborg makes the quite unorthodox and controversial approach to answer this by creating an analogy between children and dolls. A child playing with a doll is essentially the same as parenting. The child substitutes the doll.
The macabre intellectual argument is taken even further. The 'content' of a child is different than that of a human, yet it is human-shaped. Therefore parenting is closest to the creation of androids which is the intent to conquer nature that created us.
A very factual and coherent argumentation - but devoid of emotion. That is obviously where the machine is lacking. And Togusa, closest to being a human in the whole movie, reacts emotionally.
Interestingly enough, about the only time the atmosphere transcends the abstract sterility of the plot is when Batou returns home to his dog. In an absolute contrast to the usually dialogue-driven story we're reduced to our visual perception and enjoy their reunion. While at first it may not seem special enough to be mentioned, the dog clearly stands out.
It is perhaps the most lively and intimate creature we're presented with. Hugging Batou from behind, scratching him with his paw in eager anticipation of the food, Batou carefully putting its ears around the feeding dish and in the end sleeping in his lap - unconditional love in a setting that otherwise shows an utter absence of this emotion.
The science that explains and defines life ultimately produces fear - "…the fear that humans might merely be the sum of simple clockwork tricks and components, in other words the fear of the phenomena called 'human' is essentially vanity."
Is the imitation of a human complete by putting a soul into a doll? Or is the existence of such a doll superior? The hacker Kim who has turned himself into a complete machine argues that either no consciousness or infinite consciousness makes a species complete and that can only be realized in dolls. "If there were such a thing as a truly beautiful doll it would be flesh and blood without a soul."
While the cyborgs might be the most complete form of existence, they are treated as inferior to man which is allegorized by the girl sacrificing the 'life' of dolls in order to be found. They are ignorantly treated as things despite the absence of a clear definition for life (which could disqualify them).
"You cry for bird's blood,
but not for fish blood.
Fortunate for ones with voice.
If the dolls had voices,
They would have screamed,
'I didn't want to become human!'"
This is by no means shallow entertainment or easily digestible. The story moves solely by its highbrow dialogues which are in a way mentally exhausting, yet quite rewarding.
Whereas the first movie impressed with detailed hand-drawn sceneries, this time around they made heavy usage of 3D CG. Although it was flawlessly executed and did not necessarily feel out of place, I could have lived with less of it. The love for detail remains nevertheless and it certainly adds to the somewhat sterile - almost clinical - atmosphere of the futuristic setting. Highly recommended.
GITS Innocence is very much spiritual successor to the original GITS film, at least in terms of presentation of storyline and interspersion of philosophy.
Innocence is a film that will appeal to some people, but others will either find the story too lacking or smothered with philosophical guff. To be perfectly honest I found the story to be extremely simplistic and shallow, there really isn't much depth here unless if you look to the quotation of classics or philosophy as depth. Almost all of the dialogue in the film is devoted to quotation, it becomes quite tedious after a while - not least because
there isn't much necessary framing for those quotations.
The supposed point this endless quoting is to question artificial concepts that have no real bearing on our world, so it ultimately feels rather pointless.
Visually the film is... inconsistent. The 2D artwork is beautiful and fluidly animated, yet it is constantly at odds with ugly 3DCG artwork. Normally I wouldn't be quite so bothered about this, my complaint here is that excessive screen time given to ugly 3DCG panoramas and sweeping shots of things-which-aren't-very-interesting. Long story short, Innocence is not as visually impressive as the first GITS film.
It's a shame that this is such a disappointing film, but if you really want to try something deep try reading the many works cited in this film.
Although a slighty confusing and very philosophical story, it flows very well and comes together seamlessly in the end. The animation was beautiful, fluid and lifelike. The CG blended well and made each frame stand out. An awesome soundtrack that set the mood very well. There was gradual character development but it just seemed to fill in where the first movie left off. Overall a very good anime but not a very accessible one. The story was very cryptic at times with a very serious undertone that require concentration. Not as much action but what it lacks makes up in atmosphere and detail. Watch if
you feel up for a strongly scripted movie which may leave you pondering the many issues it brings up.
When Oshii directed the first Ghost in the Shell he didn't just adapted the original manga, but rather made from it something of its own. Whit the second movie, rather than to give something more accessible to the viewer, he made it into something even more personal.
It’s more of a standard story than that of the previous movie or the arc of the SAC series, it’s basically just a detective story that deals whit the exploitation of technology for sex. So, while a step back in this regard, it’s good that the animated franchise tries to deal whit cyber-punk themes from different perspectives. The
first information we get makes the story start as a mystery and the conclusion is also unexpected taking what seems like a very simple premise, thus the story has a great start and conclusion. The problem tough, it’s in the middle, because while in the original movie there was a feeling of intrigue overall and some food for thought regarding the development of the events, here this is suspended whit the main characters simply knowing where to go. Fortunately, there is a big mind-screw put in there for compensation.
Whit all the stories faults, I think that Oshii also did a very good job of developing one manga chapter into an entire movie.
Now, people who appreciate the previous movie for what it was, know that they aren’t coming here for an action movie but for a movie whit action among other things, but damn good action when it comes to it. Here, every action scene is memorable.As an inconvenience of sorts tough, the cooler the scene is the shorter it is also. The action isn't distributed equally on the length of the movie as it is a signature of Oshii to make you wait on and on for the big battle.
Graphics and animation:
There are people who recommend this movie for the animation and graphics alone, so there’s not much for me to praise here, rather I will just agree whit them and make a comparison between this and the original. I would say that I actually prefer the original –I prefer the original to any anime in this regard tough- because it had just the best combination of realism and style and was ahead of its time, but this may be the anime that comes right after it. While this has a SF aesthetic, it’s quite far from the cyber-punk school popularized by works like Blade Runne. It's a more spectacular future but one that it's just as possible. While not flowing as smoothly like in the first movie, the animation is also very accomplished. 50s inspired cars, ,shattered glass, zoomorphic vehicles, a dog, etc., are all treated whit the highest respect by the graphic and animation department. That the parade scene is a high-point of the movie on these grounds alone couldn’t be more clear.
The songs “Follow Me” and “Crystal River” are both beautiful and touching pieces that express what the main character won't express in his own words. One need not worry, the traditional chants are also present.
Through the controversial decision to remove Motoko from most of the movie, Oshii made her to be one of those characters that have an almost mythical aspect to it. The relationship between the main characters is shaped by her lack of presence and when she appears again it’s all hooray. Batou and Togusa aren’t one of a kind like her but they play their respective parts pretty damn well. Batou is one big cliché but a very convincing one, while Togusa is someone for the average man to relate to. I felt that the depiction of Batou’s loneliness was very convincing.
Philosophy and symbolism:
The quotations over-load is justified to a degree whit the technology of net-implants but I would have liked to hear the characters talk more whit their own words.
What makes this movie special is that it explores the human fascination whit AI outside AI itself, managing to link SF themes whit the past and even nature.
The religious parade is probably the scene where all the symbolism is best concentrated.
Words are sometimes superfluous, other times necessary, and here there is proof for both.There is a point where the uncanny valley is discussed but this comes off as unnecessary since this was done just fine through imagery, but some well-tough reasoning concerning its main themes it's also contained in this movie.
When all the elements of this movie are added together, they may not make for the strongest story, but they sure make for a great atmosphere such as one can find only in truly great movies.
I think this movie is best seen not as a sequel to the first Ghost in the Shell, but rather a great work that is complementary to the classic.
It is easy to say that the most beautiful anime are those produced by Studio Ghibli. For sure, Ghibli’s films set the bar for what is anime art. However, although five of their films populate this list of the 20 most beautiful anime, other examples from the past four decades are just as impressive.