Witness the formation of the legendary Public Security Section 9. When a clandestine organization hacks every car in the city, Kusanagi recruits a lethal team of cyber operatives to clamp down on the chaos and make the city safe again.
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.
Motoko and Batou work to try to stop a terrorist organization whose symbol is the Scylla. Meanwhile, Togusa investigates a murder of a man who possessed a prosthetic leg manufactured by the Mermaid's Leg corporation.
In the year 2027, a year following the end of the non-nuclear World War IV, a bomb has gone off in Newport City, killing a major arms dealer who may have ties with the mysterious 501 ... See full summary »
Newport-City 2029: Major, an advanced female cyborg, is in charge of the anti-terrorism etc. unit reporting directly to the government. Taking out terrorists and freeing hostages at an embassy doesn't go smoothly. Major investigates why.
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 »
The year is 2030 and an influx of refuges have effortlessly transformed themselves into a terrorist organization known as the Individual Eleven. With a sadistic intent of mass destruction, ... See full summary »
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.
Freed of her responsibilities with the 501 Organization, Motoko Kusanagi must now learn how to take orders from Aramaki. Someone hacks the Logicomas, and Batou enlists the help of former army intelligence officer Ishikawa and former air artillery expert Borma. Kusanagi also seeks to enlist ace sniper Saito and undercover cop Paz into the new Public Security Section 9.
An entertaining feature that retains the Ghost in the Shell feel
When it comes to Ghost in the Shell, I wouldn't necessarily say I am a die hard fan,though I would describe myself as an avid appreciator of the franchise. I own each of the movies, including Solid State Society and the 25th anniversary edition, and each of the comic books, including Human-Error Processor. Now, despite the original Border, Ghost Pain, failing to live up to initial expectations, Ghost Whispers certainly makes up for it. Having introduced the characters and their personalities during Ghost Pain, the second feature is free to crank up the entertainment, which ironically reflects Motoko's character. No longer connected to the 501, she describes herself as been a freelance operative, which for me, was reminiscent of her working position during Shirow Masamune's Drive Slave, where she was instead going by the name 'Chroma'.
Moving on, much like Ghost Pain, this feature does not abide by any previous conceptions that have been made about the characters. During Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, Motoko, Batou, Ichikawa and Saito each met during the non-nuclear war, the Major's brilliant performance as an on the field tactician, convincing each of the others to work with her again when Section 9 was conceived, a back-story that is essentially torn to ribbons. By contrasting Ghost Whispers with previous installments in the franchise, it is doubtful the film will ever successfully measure up, however, as a stand alone project, it certainly never ceases to entertain.
The team dynamics, alongside the occasional use of humor and the smart-ass comments which Motoko sometimes makes, reflect the feel of Masamune's comics. This commonality makes the feature feel more believable than its predecessor when been analyzed in accordance with the Ghost in the Shell universe. The colors used throughout Ghost Whispers are all very beautiful and exceptionally detailed, the greens, blues and reds especially looking flawless. The sparks which erupt the moment a bullet slams or ricochets off an object are a nice touch in immersing the project with more richly detailed action scenes, that are further emphasized with the gorgeous explosions.
By taking advantage of slow motion techniques on occasion, not only do the developers allow the audience more time to enjoy the fight scenes, but to concentrate on specifics, many details been fundamental in understanding the story. On top of this, the camera work, which at one point is from the point of view of a motorbike tearing along the highway is truly a work of brilliance, and despite this been animated, the techniques employed sometimes makes you forget for a second that you are not instead experiencing a live action occurrence.
Unlike in Ghost Pain, the Logicoma unit has a far larger role, and remains as adorably cute as the Tachikoma's in both Masamune's comic, and the Stand Alone Complex series. Moreover, the scenes where the Logicoma glides around the city like spider-man, are great to behold. On top of this, seeing Paz in a more prominent role than we have previously in other Ghost in the Shell adaptations grants the audience the opportunity to appreciate his character, although the heightened senses in his nostrils never receive a mention.
As with Ghost Pain, the beginning and concluding themes do not offer the viewer the same amount of pleasure as soundtracks from previous creations, though the soundtrack during Ghost Whispers really contributes to the action scenes. The music, reminiscent of disco and retro themes, reflect the soundtracks of eighties science fiction titles, and helps connect the viewer with the kind of world that Masamune was perhaps envisioning when he first created the manga. The action scenes, which include a battle involving a transforming tank, and a couple of high speed chase scenarios, never feel forced or out of place, and despite the level of blood been perhaps minimalistic, the amount of severed limbs we get to appreciate is really quite astronomical.
The story has a similar feel to some of the creations penned by Masamune's hand, although the decision to title the project Ghost Whispers seems a little bewildering. The act of a ghost whispering, although often discussed in other titles, is a rarity in this feature, and eventually when a character openly discusses this particular topic, it feels a little forced, as though it were inserted for the purpose of been inserted. Although fans of the franchise may hypothesize their own ideas from the limited information obtained, it would have been nice to flesh out the notion of a ghost whispering, especially as this is the title of the project.
In conclusion, Ghost Whispers is a really fun ride, and though it may not live up to the movies by Mamoru Oshii, or Stand Alone Complex, the storyline is reminiscent of what audiences would hope to expect from the franchise. In contrast with Ghost Pain, it is a great step forward, and if the following two Borders are able to continue along a similar vein, this should hopefully prove to be a worthwhile edition to add to your Ghost in the Shell collection.
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