Ghost in the Shell DVD
Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, et
Director: Mamoru Oshii
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Ghost in the Shell DVD
Hard to follow but worth it
"Ghost In The Shell" is the most engaging anime I have yet to be exposed to. I've also seen: "Vampire Hunter D", "Macross Plus" (loved it), "Do You Remember Love" (a fave), and...uh, does "Robotech", "Transformers The Movie", and "Voltron" (Golion/Dairugger XV) count? Okay, you get the picture -- I'm not exactly a die-hard anime fan yet, but I really do prefer Japanimation to any other kind of animation (seriously!); so here goes my review:
I'd heard so much good stuff about this film that I finally decided to rent it, along with 1998's "Dark City" (which was a good decision). The first time I watched it, I found myself resisting the urge to write down technical details like "Section 6", and "Section 9", and "MOFA" because they seemed to be important details to remember. The movie ran its course, and I felt a little (no, very!) disappointed. Then I decided to read what others had to say online, and they seemed to (for the most part), enjoy it. Many folks also suggested that viewers watch it at least twice. I decided to watch "Dark City" instead.
After watching "Dark City", I realized that one very cool movie released in 1999 borrowed heavily from both "Ghost In The Shell", and "Dark City", and that ground-breaking film was "The Matrix". From "Ghost", I feel that (visually) Trinity's character can be likened to Major Kusanagi (sexy, tough, short-haired), some of the combat scenes (pillars being blown away by machine-gun fire), EVEN, Trinity's deadly entrance (the same way the Major makes her deadly entrance). Lastly (and most obviously), the neck interface plugs, and the significance of the internet in this film seem to be elements borrowed for usage in "The Matrix". Even the open-ended ending reminds me of the way Neo seemed to look triumphantly on his situation with opened eyes..."Ghost In The Shell" ends in very much the same way. (Perhaps both Neo and Trinity owe elements of their identities to Major Kusanagi, or maybe I'm stretching things a little to far...)
For those of you who haven't seen "Dark City" or "Ghost In The Shell", I suggest you see them both. All I will say about "Dark City" is, in that movie, things aren't as they seem, and like "Ghost In The Shell", the film deals with our perceptions of reality, of our memories, and our souls. Upon my second viewing of "Ghost", I realized just what everyone was talking about -- "Ghost In The Shell" is a super-cool anime, that raises the bar (thematically) for any anime that aspires to deal with realistic issues. I liked it much better the second time around...
Also, I enjoyed hearing the tough-guy vocal stylings of Lunk (Robotech) and Guld (Macross Plus) return in the form of Bateau in this film (Richard Epcar). His performance was the best in my opinion. Vocally, Major Kusanagi could sound very cold and flat, but at the same time, maybe this is the way a hardened cyborg would sound -- so you never know; it may not have been a case of bad acting.
Visually, this film is simply a masterpiece. I loved the exquisite art detail presented during the riverboat scene (when we got a chance to look at buildings within the city), and the lines the artists added during monitor screen scenes (tre-cool). In addition, the final battle scene between the Major and that tank is a must-see. Also, the arguably overdone nudity isn't nearly as distracting the second time around; it just serves to add a sense of realism. Same with the elaborately depicted "offings" of the government official in the first scene, and the guy in the car near the end.
So all in all, you've just read the review of an extremely satisfied viewer. Next up? You guessed it -- "Ninja Scroll".
The skillful blending of drawn animation and computer-generated imagery excited anime fans when this science fiction mystery was released in 1995: many enthusiasts believe Ghost suggests what the future of anime will be, at least in the short term. The film is set in the not-too-distant future, when an unnamed government uses lifelike cyborgs or "enhanced" humans for undercover work. One of the key cyborgs is The Major, Motoko Kusanagi, who resembles a cross between The Terminator and a Playboy centerfold. She finds herself caught up in a tangled web of espionage and counterespionage as she searches for the mysterious superhacker known as "The Puppet Master."
Mamoru Oshii directs with a staccato rhythm, alternating sequences of rapid-fire action (car chases, gun battles, explosions) with static dialogue scenes that allow the characters to sort out the vaguely mystical and rather convoluted plot. Kusanagi's final quote from I Corinthians suggests that electronic evolution may compliment and eventually supplant organic evolution. The minor nudity, profanity, and considerable violence would earn Ghost in the Shell at least a PG rating.