Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

[Image of the creation of Major Kusinagi]

Based on the manga series by Shirow Masamune, Ghost in the Shell is a truly groundbreaking film. Few other anime films have been able to merge traditional animation and CGI (computer graphic imagery) so seamlessly. The DVD and the Special Edition VHS both contain a special 30-minute "Making of..." segment which in part details this groundbreaking achievement, as well as information on the film's score, the voice actors, and more.

[Image of Major Kusinagi]Ghost in the Shell focuses upon Major Mokoto Kusinagi; like most of her co-workers, she is a cyborg agent of Section 9, a government entity charged with investigating ghosthacking crimes. Most of her body is now make of technology, providing her with such advantages as being able to communicate in a telepathic-like fashion with other Section 9 agents and accessing computers through the dataports on the back of her neck. However, should she decide to resign her government post, Major Kusinagi must first give up the technological enhancements as well as the "memories" they hold, effectively trapping her forever within the dangerous world of a Section 9 agent.

In a society in which many "people" have cybernetic enhancements and "full-replacement" cyborgs are considered normal, Section 9 is in pursuit of the Puppet Master, an entity born within a future incarnation (circa 2029 A.D.) of today's Internet. Existing only as data, the Puppet Master is virtually impossible to find and capture, especially since "he" ghosthacks other cyborgs to have them commit "his" crimes. Further, "he" is also pursuing a specific goal, unbeknownst to the members of Section 9.

While this view of the future is in itself very intriguing, philosophy often comes to the foreground of the film. What does it mean for a cyborg to question his/her/its "Humanity?" Is it possible for a cyborg to have - and find - an identical double? With a body that only sinks, what could a cyborg possibly ever find within itself by diving in the sea? While these and other philosophical questions often arise, they do not detract from the film, and in fact provides stronger character development.

Ghost in the Shell certainly does not lack in action. The opening sequence of the film includes a great bungee-jumping sniper scene. The technology presented in the film provides several excellent means of concealing weapons and advantages for fighting in hand-to-hand combat. The old abandoned warehouse combines the film's final battles with the philosophical questions underlying the entire film.

Like many anime titles, Ghost in the Shell does contain female nudity. On a small screen, the nudity is noticeable, but it is not consuming. However, on a big screen, the nudity simply cannot be avoided, even though it is often necessary for the scene in question (such as the opening title sequence).

If at all possible, Ghost in the Shell should be experienced on a large screen. While the nudity question above is very prevalent on a large screen, the visual detail of the film is truly revealed, presenting a world which is very deep in its depth and the intricaties of buildings and vehicles are absolutely breathtaking. The many contrasts between light and dark are much more striking on a large screen, and the effects of the traditional-CGI mix create unsurpassed visual effects.


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