Last year officially, although if you look at iTunes its this year is the 20th Anniversary of the Anime Movie Ghost In The Shell. I am assuming if your reading this then you probably already know what Ghost In The Shell is and what it is all about but incase you don’t.
Ghost In The Shell is an anime (Japanese animation) science fiction story set in Japan in the year 2029 where cyberisation (The argumentation or replacement of parts of the Human body with machines) is common place. Based on the Manga (A style of Japanese graphic novel) of the same title, by Masamune Shirow, It follows an elite security force called Public Security Section 9 who specialises in communication and cyber warfare. Led by a female cyborg called Major Motoko Kusanagi, this force set out to investigate and capture an elite hacker known only as The Puppet Master. In a world where cyberisation is so common place, that nearly all of the populous have some form of cybernetic brain argumentation or even fall replacement, people can be hacked just like computers. As the team investigates this mystery hacker, the case takes a twist when a female cybernetic body is hit by a track, and Section 9 discover the presence of a Ghost (A Ghost is the mind of a human), possibly the very Puppet Master they are after.
Unlike western animated films and television series, which is normally aimed at kids, until recently when there has been more adult orientated animation, although these tend to be comedies. Japanese anime, tends to tell more sophisticated, deeper and more intellectual stories, often more so than traditional western live action movies. This is impart because animation has more freedom as the whole world is created in the artist mind, and in their drawings. Ghost In The Shell is no exception, the fundamental theme of the Ghost In The Shell movie (and later its spin off television shows and films) is what does it mean to be human. It explores in a world with machine or artificial intelligence, where memories can be hacked and changed, and humans can have no organic components what exactly makes us human, and different from machines. It uses the science fiction themes, to raise these questions, and explores the implications of such technologies and how society and individuals react. It also shows how important memories and experience are to been human, and how changing the perception of an individual’s or group’s experience can fundermetally change a person. Although the stories explores intellectual themes, it is also an action movie, with spectacular high paste adrenaline pumping scenes. The primary characters in the movie, are well developed with distinct personalities and qualities that brings a well rounded feel to the cast of characters. The world the characters inhabit is detailed and full, giving it a sense of reality. The deeper themes, well rounded characters and detailed world make you feel less like your watching an animated film, and rather watching a cinematic master peace.
Since coming out Ghost In The Shell as spawned a sequel, Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence; Video games Ghost In The Shell, Stand Alone Complex and First Assault; as well as TV Series, Stand Alone Complex and Arise; A spin off movie Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society; Countless merchandise, figures and collectables and in 2017 a live action movie.
Ghost In The Shell was one of the first Anime movies that I ever saw, and I honestly believe it is this film that spawned my love for the genre. I have eclectic taste in Anime (I have an eclectic taste in pretty much everything though) been a fan of all kinds of films from the mecha filled science fictions worlds of Gundam and Patlabour to the beautiful and magical worlds of Studio Ghibli master peaces such as Spirited Away and Howls moving castle. I found that Japanese Anime, free from the constraints of traditional film making, can transport you to beautiful worlds, full of interesting and rich characters, and in-depth, thought provoking and entertaining stories. I have now watched and enjoyed countless Anime movies, but there is alway something that brings me back to Ghost In The Shell, whether its the movie, or one of the many spin off films, tv series or manga. The 20th Anniversary, and the recent release of Ghost In The Shell: Arise, as recently prompted me to watch all of the movies, and tv series again, and I realised that although it is 20 years old, because it is animation rather than traditional film it hasn’t dated. If for example you look through a list of movies that were realised in 1995 on IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/search/title?sort=moviemeter,asc&title_type=feature&year=1995,1995), the films on the list though still good stories, look dated. Although I don’t feel that these films have been diminished by their age they can pull you out of the fantasy when they look dated, but are meant to be set in the future; This is not the case with Ghost In The Shell.
I honestly and highly recommend that if you have never seen Ghost In The Shell , or Anime that you check it out. At the time of writing this (23rd March 2016) Ghost In The Shell is available on Netflix. Ghost In The Shell in a good introduction to the world of Anime, been more approachable and less weird than some Anime movies out there, especially ones that get the attention off main stream press.
Buy Ghost In The Shell Blu-ray – Limited Edition Steelbook from Amazon.co.uk