Greetings! Railgunfan75 here. There are some anime works which have been able to gather an audience outside of the typical anime fans. These works have been able to become widely known because they are true works of art which can be appreciated by those who aren’t fans of anime. The Studio Ghibli films are a prime example of this. Today I present you with a review of a film which certainly has a different feel from the Ghibli films but is a classic in its own right, That film is 1995’s Ghost in the Shell.
The year is 2029 and technology has advanced to the point where humans can directly access a global computer network. After an individual known as the Puppet Master illegally hacks in to the minds of people, Major Motoko Kusanagi who is a leader of a special ops team of Japan’s Section 9 is assigned to capture the hacker. Along the way Kusanagi comes to question her own personality and humanity.
I had heard good things about this film for years even more my anime viewing days. Yet I had never gotten around to watching it until a few months ago. I really regret that decision. This film is just mind blowing and will certainly have you in a deep state of thought during and after viewing.
The plot is engaging in a very unique way. Very few films are able to mix a plot heavy with philosphy with thrilling action sequences. One minute the characters are discussing the idea of identity and humanity and the next they are in a shoot out with some villians. Such a mixture usually leads to a very clunky feeling film. However, Ghost in the Shell smoothly transitions between the two. The plot is nice and complex -in fact there were some things that I did not pick up on until my second or third viewing of the film- but that is not a bad thing. This complexity gives you a good reason to keep coming back to the film. By the end of the film, the protagonist is faced with an important decision- one which could be seen as means to define Mokoto. This scene is the climax of the film and a great payoff to the journey up to that point.
The characters are as fascinating as the plot. I will refrain from discussing most of the characters as it lessens the experience but there is one I will discuss. The main protagonist- Kusanagi is as cool and bad ass as you can get. The film gives the character plenty of opportunities to show off and she does not disappoint. Not only does Kusanagi use physical prowless to defeat an opponent but she uses strategy to do so as well. It is a bit difficult to describe the character in words as Kusanagi is quite complex. Robotic in personality (no surprise as she is a cyborg), Kusanagi is one of the main outlets for the philosophy of the film to show and she is a great outlet for it. In many cases such a character would be quite boring, but in this case because of the plot of the film this character is a great fit. Having a high energy, emotional personality with the lead character would kill the message that they are trying to send with this film. In addition the main villain of the is a great foil for our heroes. The Puppet Master is the personification of fears that many people have. Faceless throughout the most of the film, the reveal of the Puppet Master is truly a great moment.
The animation for this film looks great especially considering the age of the film. I have yet to see the updated 2.0 version at the time of this review but (and call me crazy) the original animation hold up fairly well. It is a gritty world they reside in and the animation reflects that. I also can’t fault the outdated CGI in the film as it was high quality for its time. The soundtack and voice acting are amazing. The soundtrack is very emotional and reflective and sets the tone perfectly.
Ghost in the Shell is a classic film in every sense of the world. The story is engaging and insightful, the characters are very memorable, and the whole experience is surreal. When I watched this film for the first time, I was blown away. The film receives a recommendation to buy. This film is a must watch for any anime or science fiction fan. This film most certainly lives up to the reputation it has received over the years. It is my hope that you check this film out if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.
So concludes my review of Ghost in the Shell. It was my hope to do one more review before the Jan 1st, but it looks like this will be my last review for 2015. It has been a pleasure posting this year and it is my hope to be posting more frequently in 2016. Please check out my other blog (railgunfan75.wordpress.com), Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) and Twitter (@Railgunfan75) pages for more content! Until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off! Happy New Year and see you in 2016!