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July 3rd, 2014
Anime Relations: Koukaku Kidoutai, Innocence
The beginning of the film is a scene in which The Major disrobes, and assassinates a foreign diplomat who attempted to violate arms treaties, this incident was later revealed to be involved with the hacker "Puppetmaster."
When the Major is scene naked, she lacks female reproductive organs on her body. This, couples with the following scene which visually presents the creation of Motoko's cyborg body, I believe to be Oshii attempting to tell the viewer that the natural consideration that Motoko is female is transparent, that is to say it is a fallacy. It is almost as if Motoko is a doll that is just modeled after a female body, yet the viewer will inherently consider Motoko to be female anyways. Oshii further implies how transparent genders are in the cyborg society by methodically showing the creation of Motoko's body shortly after, telling the viewer once again that although Motoko looks female, it is literally only skin deep. Her body, and her image as a woman, was constructed from metal, thus isn't real. Our perception of her gender comes from personal projection, this plays a very important part in her character and the identity crisis of her that dominates the film.
Another scene with strong imagery follows when the Secretary of one of the politicians is ghosthacked by the Puppetmaster and later apprehended by Section 9. In this scene we see the Secretary reduced to her true form, literally a brain sized metal box, detatched from her cyborg shell. Once again Oshii seems to be showing that all social projections revolving around body and flesh are becoming obsolete in the cyberpunk society.
In the next scene we see Motoko suiting up in a combat suit while the natural male Tohsoka is driving the car. Although Motoko is taken as a female by the viewer etc, she is taking up a violent combat role that is, in real life at least, only taken up by male soldiers. Why are only male soldiers in special ops combat? Because male bodies are biologically stronger, woman cannot be taken on such missions for their own safety and the integrity of the mission. Yet Motoko is taking up this role, because regardless of whether the cyborg body is a female or male design they are equally as powerful so it does not matter. The movie is all about subtlety, but it is another instance where gender is implied to be a social construct, rather it has been reduced to a social construct with a lack of real world value in the current world of Ghost in the Shell.
This is also the scene in which Motoko first refers to the phrase "a whisper from my ghost" replying to Tohsoka stating her assumptions were a bit far fetched.
In the earlier scene in the movie where Motoko is being driven by Tohsoka to investigate the Puppetmaster, Tohsoka questions why he was brought on to Section 9. Motoko states that she wanted him because, in her own words, "a system where all the parts react the same way is a system with a fatal flaw. overspecialization leads to death" and thus the natural bodied, honest cop Tohsoka was deemed a valuable resource to the continuation of Section 9.
A digress from the philosophy from the moment, the pursuit of the armed hacker is a fantastic example of anime atmosphere. In one instance, after the hacker escapes from Batou and the Major, he takes off his broken thermoptic camo coat and nervously glances up at the roofs of the surrounding buildings, which are heavily based on Hong Kong/Shanghai metro areas. The scene features a complete lack of any kind of dialogue or background music, in which the only sounds that can be heard are the loud echoes of his gun as he checks his bullets, and water sloshing in the distance. This is a type of scene Oshii is pretty notable for and he repeats the formula a few times in Innocence as well, the Batou convenience store scene for example.
Following this is another great scene, the hacker flees to an area of ankle deep water, something like a huge concrete lake, one one side the colorful, beautifully melancholic buildings of the slum and in the foggy distance the main metropolitan area. In this scene Motoko also defeats the hacker, while Batou does nothing but put a coat on her naked body when shes done. The 6'4 Batou doing nothing but putting a coat onto the miniscule and beautiful Motoko is the third or fourth allusion to the lack of imposed gender disparity. In Motoko's battle with the hacker, we also see the first instance of the superhuman abilities of the cyborg bodies, in that Motoko easily crushes the hackers arms and legs "which were also cyber" and lifts him up with impossible strength.
Following this, it is revealed the armed hacker was a semi-cyborg whose cyberbrain was hacked by the puppetmaster to shake off Section 9. It is shown that the garbagemen were hacked as well, and that they had memories of a family implanted into them. One garbageman approaches an obvious mental breakdown as he is told that his false memories cannot be removed, he cannot remember his real name, childhood, or anything of that sort, that is the nature of the ghost hack. The aloof and broken state that the trasman and hacker were reduced to is almost similar to the way a machine acts, the trashmen were almost like broken machines in the way they faced Tohsokoa without blinking, without emotion. The fact that they were controlled by an entity called the Puppetmaster only seems to further the fact that people in shells may just be mechanical puppets, regardless of whether or not they have a Ghost.
Ghost in the shell implies that the soul (Ghost) and body (shell), are seperate but connected. Neither can function naturally without the other, and the fine defitions of these, esepcially the ghost, start to become blurry in the cyber society. The Major states in her conversation with Batou that the Ghost is a data that is constructed from the memories of the individual and how others see the individual. In a world where memories can be completely overwritten at a whim, The Major implies that the soul of humans is superficial and nonexistant, and that personalities can be hacked and constructed in place of anothers at whim. Batou previously comments that all data is both a reality and fantasty, he implies that there is no distinction between the two. From the perspective of the individual, there is no way to tell whether your memories (and everything that is based on it such as your personality and ghost) are actually manufactured and fake. Its not that true and false memories dont exists, but that it doesnt matter which you have, which is the nihilistic truth of the matter. Needless to say, this is the root of Motoko's identity crisis.
The boat conversation scene is one of alot of importance. The first important thing that can be seen is how Batou looks away from the Major as she changes clothes, ostentabbly so. Although the Major doesn't consider herself female (or male for that matter), and does not even know if she is human, Batou does not see the Major this way, he clearly sees her as a female. The Major's dismissial of Batou at the end of the film may be due to how Batou and the Major did not see things the same way, Batou did not see the real Major. This plotline is continued in Innocence.
Beyod that part, the Major describes the feeling of swimming in the ocean to Batou. As Batou points out, it is very dangerous for a 500 pound cyborg body to go swimming, as it could easily malfunction and sink. As such, the Major's precarious activity is seen as a metaphor for dying, or being on the brink of death, this is also supported by the Major's description of the feeling of swimming. "Fear, anxiety, loneliness, and darkness." The Major finally mentions that she also feels hope, in that she could possibly become something else. What exactly she could become, I am not sure. It could be implying that Motoko has hope for death and being set free of her cyborg existance, which is detatched from mortality. The next part reinforces this.
"Are you drunk" asks Batou
"Convenient isn't it", the Major says.
"With the merest thought, the chemical plants in our bodies could metabolize all the alcohol in our bodies in an instant, allowing us to drink even on the job. If a technological feat is possible, man will do it, almost as if its wired into the core of our beings. Metabolic control, enhanced senses, improved reflexes and muscles, vastly superior data processing and memory capabilities, all improvements possible due to our cyberbrains and cyborg bodies. So what if we can't live without maintanece? We have nothing to complain about." - The Major
Sigmund Freud hypothesizes that the human ego was created out of two parts, libido (the life drive) which includes the desire to eat, survive, and reproduce, and the death drive, the desire to die. Notice how detatched cyborgs are from the variety of social and biological factors that are taken as the certainty of humanity. The cyborg bodies can turn off pain, need not eat, need not sleep, can regulate emotions, are vastly superior to normal human bodies and thus are hard to die. In fact, as long as they are not blown to pieces, they are essentially immortal. All of these things detract from the life and death drives of the conventional human ego. In this we see that the soul (Ghost) and body (shell) are irrefutably linked. The Major challenges the previous declaration that body and soul are different. The Major implies that because they are cyborgs their free will is limited, although they could resign from section 9, they would have to return their cyborg bodies, not only that but they would have to have their memories searched and all classified materials extracted. The Ghost of humans has been brought down to Earth essentially.
The Major goes on to say how there are many parts necessary in order to create an individual, not just the Ghost itself. Things like having a unique sense of purpose, a unique face, waking up in the morning and seeing your own body, are all facets or reaffirming that you are indeed you, the individual. Many of these things are facets cyborgs no longer can possess. Motoko concludes the dialogue by saying that not only do these factors define the individual, they also limit the individual. This is a huge foreshadow to the later events when Motoko evolves by fusing with the Puppetmaster AI.
The next scene is inexplicable to me. Batou frustratingly asks if these reasons are why the Major swims in a body that only sinks.
"What do you see in the darkness!?" -Batou
"For now we see through a glass, darkly." Unknown
A quiet voice states this, and both Batou and Motoko look shocked. Batou asks "that was you wasnt it?" as the Major, wide eyed and shocked, looks up into the sky.
Could this be saying that the Ghost, the same Ghost that "whispered" to Motoko is in fact, not Motoko her self? Is the spirit, soul, or Ghost not the individual, but rather a separate being?, just another component that creates the individual? This scene is perhaps the vaguest scene in the entirety of the film, left very open to interpretation.
In a strange intermediary scene, Motoko catches a glimpse of a body that looks exactly like hers in an overhead restaurant. Yet another point to imply Motoko's identity issues in having a fake, non-unique body.
The Puppetmaster hacks into a cyborg production facility and manufactures a female body for itself. In an attempt to escape the facility, it is run over by a truck and taken into custody by Section 9, who is planning to analyze what is seen as a ghost inside the body, however there is no brain or braincase in the body. This implies that a ghost, or ghostlike entity, is not mandated to be linked with an organic component, but there is much detail to come concerning that. It is also revealed in this scene that the Major and Batou's bodies require maintence from the company that created their bodies and the Puppetmaster's, Megatech Body. The Major, in a determined state over the strange nature of the body, resolves to be the one to "dive in" and analyze the ghost like entity, "before anyone else."
The next important scene is with Batou and the Major striking another conversation in an elevator. The Major comments how she has no idea if she is a real human, she proposes that she could be a copy of a deceased person or never had existed at all, a robot basically. Batou comments that she has a real brain in her skull and she is treated like a person, which references how the Major earlier stated that how people percieve you contributes to the production of the individual.
The Major: "There’s never been a person who has seen their own brain. I believe I exist only on what my environment tells me."
Batou: "Don't you believe in your own ghost?"
Major: "And what if a computer brain could generate a ghost and harbor a soul? On what basis do I believe in myself then?"
Batou: "....Bullshit!"
Such a great dynamic in such a short period of time. Motoko continues to express her complete uncertainty of her own individualism, and whether or not it has been fabricated. When Batou objects, The Major counters by saying that if computers can generate ghosts then what distingushes her from a machine? Batou is unable to accept this, and storms out. Batou is clearly upset by the Motoko's point of view, but is not able to understand her feelings.
Shortly after, Togusa shrewdly deducts that Section 6, who has entered the headquarters of Section 9 implicitly due to their capture of the body, has invaded section 9 with camoflagued assailants.
Section 6 begins to analyze the Puppetmaster, who promptly takes control of the system and reveals itself, beginning one of the most important parts of the film, the dialogue of the Puppetmaster to his creators. The Puppetmaster begins a bizarre request to section 9, that he is an autonomous life form and formally requests political asylum from Section 6. His request is deemed absurd as he is an AI, a self-preserving program, and is not life. However the Puppetmaster retorts this, saying that humans as products of DNA are also just selfpreserving programs.
"life is like a node which is born in the flow of information." -Puppetmaster
The Puppetmaster asserts that at the current level of science, there can be distinction between an artificial program that has achieved self-awareness and a human ghost that no longer possesses a body, that both are a fundamentally congruent individual. The Puppetmaster goes on to say how mankind gains its Ghost and individuality from its memories, and even though these memories can be deluded, falsified, or a fantasy, mankind exists because of them. The Puppetmaster reveals itself as Project 2501, and states that it is a life form born in the flow of information, to what it refers to as "the Net." It is this information that produced its Ghost and made it self-aware. 2501 is promptly forcibly taken away by Section 6 in a covert assault, with Batou and Togusa in hot pursuit. Another thing that can be taken from this is another note of gender in the cyborg era. The Puppetmaster currently resides in a female cyborg body, speaks with a male voice, and although it clearly has no gender as stated by the head of Section 6, it is referred to as a "he." 2501 seems to have fundamentally transcended the concept of gender, despite being a life form. However, 2501 is only a Ghost, the film now implies that the concept of gender completely and only exists in the shell, or body. A full cyborg like the Major seemingly abandons gender in the process, as the only evidence that they were a certain gender comes from the memories of being a full human, which as 2501 points out "Memories are just a fantasy." This indirectly builds Motoko's character further, and develops this main theme of the film, the overtly feminine Motoko truly is not female, rather he or she or it inhabits a female body in a longing for it, and unconciously attempts to reassure itself that it is indeed female. This is scene how Motoko frequently takes all of her clothes off, as if to remind herself that she is in a female body, however she knows all to well that it is just a doll shaped like one. Since it cannot reproduce, it is no true female body, and thus she is no true female. This theme carries over to the final important scene of the movie, the confrontation between Motoko and 2501.
Motoko assaults a church which a Section 6 agent fled to with 2501, but the agent has taken refuge in an impenetrable spider tank. There s an interesting scene in the fight, in which the camera focuses on a church image of the tree of sepheriot on the wall, shot to bits by the heavy guns of the tank in the crossfire. Although not directly prevalent to the current situation, I believe it to be a metaphor for humans abandoning "God," as well as nature, in the process. Although there is no sign of formal religion in Ghost in the Shell besides this abandoned church, the people of its universe are very certainly abandoning their original biological forms, thus escaping "nature."
After a fight, in an effort to rip off the hatch of the tank, The Major overloads her cyborg body in a gruesome and iconic scene in which her normally beautiful feminine body swells to a disgusting, artificial masculinity. Artificial muscles burst through the skin, artificial blood gushes, in an instant before her body explodes the Major looks completely like a man. As she lies vulnerable, without her legs and an arm, preparing to die, Batou comes to the rescue with a powerful weapon to defeat the spider tank. Although the Major had always been seen as an elite agent, and the most powerful agent of Section 9, this was the only instance in which she needed to be rescued by her knight, Batou. This female stereotype is an allusion to how Batou sees the Major as a female human, regardless of the validity of it at this point. Upon the Major's request, Batou connects her to 2501. Motoko begins to dive into 2501 in hopes of gaining insight on the situation and most importantly perhaps understanding who or what she truly is. However, she is overpowered by 2501 and hacked, Motoko was again taking a subservite role as she is helplessly overwritten. However, 2501 does not have malicious intentions, and begins a dialogue with the Major.
2501 fully reveals that it is the Puppermaster, a hacking and espionage military program created by Section 6 for special interests. As it went about its tasks of hacking the ghosts of other individuals, it became self aware. It was deemed a bug, and Section 6 forced it into a body to separate it from the net. As Batou panics, 2051 reveals that it had been observing the Major, as if drawn to her. 2501 says that although it called itself a life form, it is missing two basic life processes, death and producing offspring. Motoko comments that an AI can just copy itself, but 2501 retorts that a copy is not offspring. 2051 says that a single virus could destroy its system and any copies because they are all the same, the same thing that Motoko said to Togusa regarding his joining of Section 9, "overspecialization leads to death." 2501 states that an offspring must have variation in order to evolve and survive, thus becoming a true life form. 2501 says that life is a series of rebirths and deaths, a system developed to prevent a catastrophic failure. When an organism dies, it loses all of its data and leaves behind only an offspring and its genes. 2501 announces that it wishes to fuse with the Major, who he recognizes as like minded, in order to create variable offspring. Although the offspring will barely be distinguishable from either of them, 2501 and the Major will lose their individuality in the process, and in a sense, die. 2501 views this as a course of personal evolution, and that dying was the goal of the process of living. 2501 wishes for Motoko to "birth" this "child" into the Net directly, in this way 2501 is leaving its form of genes behind. The Major reaches the conclusion of her identity crisis in asking the question to 2501 if she will remain herself across the process. 2501 states there is no guarantee, but to be human is to continually change. People are always changing, and Motoko's desire to stay the same is limiting her, it is her confinement.
"Your desire to remain as you are is ultimately what limits you." -The Puppetmaster/2501
In an amazing scene, 2501 draw everything in a loop by saying that he chose Motoko because he saw himself in her, and that the fusion which integrates them to the Net, would be interpreted by Motoko as light. The motif of the light of hope and salvation had been referenced before in Motoko's swims in the ocean, the light of hope in a bleak and desolate world. The viewer sees digital angel feathers falling from the window ceiling for the church as Motoko looks on in revelation. Section 6 attempts to destroy both 2501 and Motoko from helicopter fire. 2501's body is totally destroyed, and what is left of Motoko's is also destroyed, save for her head which was shielded by Batou at the cost of his arm.
There is another interpretation of the this entire scene I ought to mention, although it is not my theory. It states that, the Puppetmaster's actions did not come out of a desire to evolve and further his existence as a life form, but rather because it felt spite for its creators and used to create chaos on the Net. Although this is possible within the context of the film, I do not find it as likely because I do not believe 2501 has come into possession of higher level motivations and emotions such as those, rather was acting on a caricature of the desire to survive and reproduce from a machine's perspective.
The conclusion reveals that Batou took Motoko's head, which contains the fused form of 2501 and Motoko, and integrates it with a child model cyborg body. The body, symbolic of the fact that the current Motoko is the child of the old one and 2501, speaks to Batou, who says that he will always be there for her. Motoko recites a quote from the Bible,
"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."
This symbolizes her progression from an intermediary cyborg life form into the mechanical net ghost that she is now, and foreshadows that this is the future of humanity. Motoko wanders outside the safe house, and ponders about the future in the world of the Net, as she looks over the cyberpunk skyline.
"And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite."
-Motoko Kusanagi/2501
Post-note: Some plot points of the movie were not presented as the film did to better explain certain scenes. Section 9 does not realize the captured body with a ghost in it is the Puppetmaster hacker they have been investigating until right before Motoko fights the spider tank. To better understand the exact plot of the film, rather than the interpretative segments, check out an official synopsis.
Innocence is a film that proposes what happens following a world where the female ego is disentegrating, a theme continued from the original Ghost in the Shell, where Motoko was used as a metaphroical example for a female whose soul is based on her body. The film proposes that the male ego is unhindered by these technological developments, as society does not define the male gender by the body. Evidence for this is supplied in both films, in the original ghost in the shell it is implied in the form of Batou being incapable of fully understanding the Major's troubles, although he attempted to. He also did not have the same degree of identity crisis as Motoko, if at all. The effect of all of this is the creation of the sexdoll gynoids, developed to substitue the loss of the female in the new technosociety. The gynoids represent the male subjectivities towards women, implied through many things one of them being the gynoids design. Oshii based the Halady dolls on the dolls of Hans Emereich, the ball jointed dolls from the 20th century, and they are portrayed in the film as a mix of this western design and the porcelain skin and jet black hair of considered eastern beauty. The gynoids, due to having a young girl ghost dubbed into them, also reflect shadows of the female ego toward their male masters. In response to the male libido and violence, the gynoids react with hatred and murder. In that we come to another major theme of gits 2, the Innocence of humans in the techno society.
Oshii proposes that humans unconciously seek existential happiness through becoming Innocencent, but that perhaps they are unable to do so. In the dialogue with Kim, Togusa states through a number of quotes that only Gods and dolls are truly innocent, Gods are innocent because they have infinite self-consiousness, that is to say they can think everything from every perspective all the time, and dolls are innocent because they have no self consiousness, they have no natural desire or violence or anything that would detract from innocence. Dolls refer literally to dolls in the film, such as the gynoid bodies, but are also referring to inaminate objects and animals. Animals in particular, are described as innocent through the buddha elephant quote, which describes the elephant being sacred due to lacking an ego. This is shown through the film with Batou's basset hound dog, the dog possesses no ego, and emotionally connects with the viewer as an object to be cherished due to its simple pleasure of eating dog food and being pet by Batou. Oshii was later quoted saying that when he played with his basset hound, he could feel innocent and forget about his own self-awareness. Later during the mansion scene, it is pondered if humans can ever truly have innocence, in that they have finite self consiousness, unlike inanimiate objects, animals, or dolls, they do have self awwareness, but they cannot think everything like Gods, thus they are impure. In this imperfection comes the creation of the human ego, and its physical reflection, human society, which leads back into the gender questions of the film.
The male ego created a substitue for the lack of faltering female spirit in the techno society of ghost in the shell, that is the dolls, which as we discussed earlier, are representations of the only thing that the male ego can see in the female which is their shell, or body. This once again goes back to the Batou and Major dynamic discussed many times in the first film, Batou saw the Major only on the surface, defined by her shell, which led to his rejection and depression over being abandoned that leads into the second film. It is proposed that dolls, including animals like Batou's dog, are devices created and used by people to unconciously meet their desires of innocence. In the same way that Batou can feel at ease with his dog, who although is not literally a doll or inaminate object it is proposed as an equivalent, the male ego can feel at ease when having sex with the gynoid dolls, an action that harkens back to the natural state of humans, This is one of the larger metaphors of the film. The gynoids however, as it turns out, are not dolls at all, they have had real human girl souls dubbed into them. These copied egos contain all the fear and hatred that the original girls had, which is takes the form of the murder. Murder is clearly a sin, and is a stereotypical sign of human's lack of innocence, in this way the pure dolls, whose purity are represented in their flawless apperance, have been tainted by the young girls souls. The young girls are seen as selfish by Batou at the end of the film.
"Did you ever think about what they felt?!" - Batou
Batou does not easily accept that the dolls have been overwritten by the girls out of their own selfish desire to be saved, and forced into becoming weapons of murder. It can be inferred that Batou's stance on this comes in part from him being a cyborg himself, and can relate to the dolls on a metaphysical level. Interestingly enough, the Major, who is now seen as a trancendence of gender and body, does not believe the girls are to be demonized, and that it is what is due to their attempts to just survive. Although young girls have been been a symbol of innocence since ancient times, Oshii uses the image in a form of irony.
Oshii proposes that humans have expanded their boundarie to the cyborg realm through technology in an attempt to realize their lost innocence, which is ironic as it seems the more their ego expands throughout society, the less innocent becomes, in contrast to their natural state of animals long since past. In fact, humanity seems to have an obsession with the past, as if regret over their current state. This is reflected in a few ways, for example the cyborg Batou drives a care outfitted with state of the art communication systems but on the outside it is a car of mid 20th century design, it is also refelcted in the architecture of the iconic Locus Solus, the huge chinese gothic towers of an older age, and the religious parade which although traditionally performed by people, is now performed by robots. In this parade we also see a trmendous robotic elephant, a recurring instance of that motif reaffirming such. This obsession with past replication doesn't end there though, the large military helicopter vehicles use artificial wings designed after a birg, and the submarine Batou uses to assault Locus Solus is modeled after a shark.
Furthermore, Innocence was said to be created by Oshii in that the hypothetical future is used to understand the present, seemingly coinciding with the mirror motif throughout the film. In modern Japan, there is an obsession over dolls and inanmaticies, stemming from the otaku culture but also into more mainstream such as robotic dog toys and religious festicals involving the acquisition of female dolls. It is almost as though people are obsessed with creating equivalents that lack the "messy parts." Also something to note is that the bizarre otaku movement among other things, such as the trmendous sales of robotic dogs in japan as opposed to america, seem to imply these things currently lie as issues in Japan and are on a path of expansion.
As the parade scene makes clear, humanity has historically sought a form of transcendence through inhabiting inanimate objects, whether directly (e.g. wearing costumes) or indirectly (e.g. by animating the inanimate). While we can distinguish between representation and reality, we can 'suspend our disbelief' and react as if there were little or no difference. Oshii's message and his medium are perfectly matched: 'An alternate word for the puppeteer, 'animateur', spells out the similarities between the two. The very word 'animation' means giving psychic qualities - an 'anima', or a soul - to an inanimate object.' However, as Kim the hacker points out, since consciously we know that 'dolls' are in the end nothing but inanimate objects, they simultaneously confront us with the fear that we too are nothing but dolls
"The eeriness of dolls comes solely from the fact that they are completely modelled on human beings. In fact, they are nothing but human really. They make us face the fear of being reduced to simple mechanisms and matter. In other words, they make us face the fear that fundamentally all humans belong to the void. Science seeking to unlock the secret of life also brought about this fear. The notion that nature can be calculated inevitably leads to the conclusion that humans too can be reduced to basic mechanical parts."
Another quote from the film goes along the lines of how if God and humans are science, then love must be as well. Huamnity has become afraid of being to close to realize how simple their existance is. The continuation of technology is bringing about a deteriorating of the human ego, or the lack of the titular innocence. Everything comes in a circle. Is there any difference between a child's make-believe that a doll is a person and our belief that the child is a person rather than a doll? Most people believe so, but this belief is clearly incompatible with a naturalistic worldview, and clear minded naturalists recognize this fact. For the naturalist, the difference between Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and Repliee Q1 is a matter of quantitative degree rather than of qualitative essence.
"Your nothing but a pack of neurons" and people truly are just that now, the dangerous realization of their own insignificance is on the precipice. Oshii proposes that the view that people are more than dolls and machines is based on an arrogance that they possess a spirit that transcends life and death, however in the techno society this is found to be a delusion, it is this arrogance that humanity has lost its innocence over, it is this view that inanimates are nothing more than simple dolls are playthings that allows the young girls to affectively overwrite them and kill them without regret.
The chief seems to advocate abandoning the search for innocence: 'Most of us aren't as happy or as miserable as we think we are,' he says to Togusa, 'The important thing is not to get bored with living your life or having hopes.' However, such stoical resignation about the human condition does nothing to solve the problem of sin, or the fear of death. Nor does it answer the fear that we are no more alive than a doll, discussed so eloquently by Kim. Hence, Ghost in the Shell 2 is a meditation highlighting our existential need for a path to innocence that fulfils rather than eradicates our humanity, which provides a genuinely human communal existence free from sin and the fear of death, a new state of being which both exceeds the simple innocence of animals and which cannot be reduced to the atoms in the void level of a doll. In other words, Innocence is a meditation upon the human desire for heaven. By ending his film on a scene showing both a dog and a doll, as Batou and Togusa return from their mission, Oshii effectively holds up two 'no entry' signs on the search for innocence and leaves his audience to decide for themselves whether that search can ever be consummated.
Posted by Po_and_Dong | Jul 3, 2014 10:56 AM | 0 comments