In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner.
A.D. 2034. It has been two years since Motoko Kusanagi left Section 9. Togusa is now the new leader of the team, that has considerably increased its appointed personnel. The expanded new ... See full summary »
"Memories" is made up of three separate science-fiction stories. In the first, "Magnetic Rose," four space travelers are drawn into an abandoned spaceship that contains a world created by ... See full summary »
In this prequel set one year after the fourth World War, cyborg and hacker extraordinaire Motoko Kusanagi from the military's 501st Secret Unit finds herself wrapped up in the investigation of a devastating bombing.
The year is 2029. The world has become intensively information oriented and humans are well-connected to the network. Crime has developed into a sophisticated stage by hacking into the interactive network. To prevent this, Section 9 is formed. These are cyborgs with incredible strengths and abilities that can access any network on Earth. Written by
L.H. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ghost in the Shell is a masterpiece. I would go so far as to say that it's the second best science fiction film I've ever seen (behind 2001, of course), but no one knows about it. I find it terribly unfortunate that the only American viewers familiar with Ghost in the Shell are anime fans, many of whom overlook the film's complexity and see only its nudity and violence. The movie kind of gets in its own way-- within the first five minutes we see the heroine's nude body as well as a very messy head-exploding scene, and many of the viewers who would otherwise end up enthralled by the film's abundant style and intelligence immediately dismiss it as exploitative anime trash. Every time I show this movie to non-anime fans I have to explain beforehand that Ghost in the Shell is a serious work of science fiction and that everything in it, including the adult content, is part of the point the movie makes about where our society is headed.
The film is stylish, artistic, and beautiful. Masamune Shirow's stunningly believable vision of the future makes the jump from manga to anime remarkably well. As brilliant as the comics are, I really prefer the film version, which eliminates the nearly pornographic T&A (the film has nudity but it's clearly not meant to be titillating) and all of the exaggerated comic relief which only detracted from the manga in my opinion. The film's action sequences are strikingly different from the overly stylized symphonies of destruction seen in most action films. Gunfire, martial arts combat, and car chases are depicted exactly as they would occur in the real world-- without fast music or Armageddon-style hyper-editing or any of the needless cinematic baggage we've come to expect. But it's the movie's ideas that make it great, particularly in the last half hour, when thoughtful viewers learn what this story is all about-- the emergence of a new kind of life form, an intelligent and self-aware intelligence that can live indefinitely without ever inhabiting a physical body. The film argues that this will occur within the next thirty years, and the superbly ambiguous ending inspires us to come up with our own ideas of what will happen to humanity once this new life form begins to reproduce. This is filmmaking that should be seen and discussed.
And now the disclaimer. All of the above comments refer to the subtitled Japanese version of the film, NOT the English dub. Simply put, the dub ruins everything. A good example is Kusanagi's wry comment at the very beginning of the film. An officer who is communicating with Kusanagi through a kind of electronic telepathy tells her there's a lot of static in her brain. In the original Japanese version (as well as in the manga) she replies that "It's that time of the month," but in the dub her comment is inexplicably changed to "Must be a loose wire." It's completely insane-- do they think that, in a film with considerable nudity and graphic violence, people are going to be offended by a PMS innuendo? The whole movie is filled with such intelligence-insulting changes; please do yourself a favor and watch the subtitled version.
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