Ghost in the Shell
Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Police, Psychological, Mystery, Futuristic Cybernetic Technology
First Released: November 1995, 83-minute film. There have been several additions to the series, but this review will focus on the original 1995 film.
Summary: It is the year 2029 and technology has broken down the barriers of our world in the form of cybernetics. The most notable change to humanity is in the form of brain-hacking. Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster, a fugitive hacker. What starts out as a simple pursuit becomes increasingly complex as humanity is called into question. The Puppetmaster and Section 9 question what constitutes life in a world where the distinction between human and machine is increasingly blurry.
Ghost in the Shell is an intelligent anime that raises a philosophical question: What makes something a human? It seems straightforward, but it is not clear in Ghost in the Shell. Everybody in Section 9 has cybernetic enhancements, and in the case of Major Motoko, she is a cyborg that can have her conscience moved from one body to another if the body is destroyed. Is Motoko a human? This is the question that Motoko asks herself repeatedly throughout the film.
Ghost in the Shell provides a mixture of action with deep philosophical questions that could potentially come up in the future. It is impressive how the well the future is portrayed in a film that was released in 1995. More impressive still is that the film is based on a manga from 1989. The technology used in the film is fascinating to see. The story is well-written, the characters interesting and not one-dimensional. The one criticism I have for the film is that it could have been longer. There are a lot of complicated concepts brought up in the film and more time could have been spent on to explain these concepts.
You might enjoy this if: You want to find out why Ghost in the Shell is one of the original must-see anime films out there.
You might not like it if: You want an anime that you can just sit back and watch without having to think.
Note to the Viewer: I would not recommend watching Ghost in the Shell 2.0. It is the same as Ghost in the Shell, but with poorly added CGI in various parts.