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June 12, 2012

Anime Review: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell is the original 1995 movie that inspired the hugely popular anime series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. What this original movie brought are the answers to anything and the beginning of everything.

Ghost in the ShellSynopsis:

In the year 2029, the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking. When a highly-wanted hacker known as 'The Puppetmaster' begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster. The pursuit will call into question what makes a human and what is the Puppetmaster in a world where the distinction between human and machine is increasingly blurry.

Review:

I may have accidentally (or perhaps more intentionally) watched the anime series before the movie, so I pretty much understood the whole movie without being lost. I noticed many similarities in style and setting between the anime series and the movie. Anyhow, putting the comparison aside and solely focusing on the movie, the story is actually really well compiled. There is no other anime that an compete with Ghost in the Shell that features a cyberpunk world, futuristic technology, bionic humans, and an awesome elite police unit. The story is quite imaginative and futuristic-oriented and quite unbelievable to an extent. You just have to accept this as a fact and try follow the story along. In a future world where technology has taken over everyday life. there are cases of extremist hackers that try to wreck havoc in society. It is up to Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops to stop the 'Puppetmaster' in any way possible. The action is engaging and the cool futuristic technology is quite enjoyable indeed. This is a story definitely for heavy sci-fi and cyberpunk fans.

The art was quite good for a 1995 movie. Comparing to today's standards, the art may seem to "old" or "grainy" for our liking. From an "unbiased" point of view, the movie had quite excellent animations and nice use of a dark colour scheme to convey the feeling of a cyberpunk world.

The sound track was decent and the voice acting was superb. The movie even had voice affects for intercom speech and psychic messages, which was rather superb. Each characters had their own unique voice actors which easily distinguishes the characters from one another even if they are speaking off-screen.

The movie shows little of the Major's past. These questions get mostly answered in the anime series, so for those which have already seen the series will know all about the Major already. However, for those who haven't, this movie does not go into much detail into her past. What you are given here is the current situation she is in and what she is to do about it. Section 9 is also a mysterious unit containing a few other cybernetically enhanced cops that you will know little about. If you don't watch closely to the dialogue, you may miss minor details that reveal the connections between each of the characters and how everything is linked together.

For one, this movie is basically the introduction to the anime series in a vague way. The anime series does well to answer questions and background information that has been left out in the movie. The story was well presented and the visual were decent. This anime is definitely for sci-fi fans who are into futuristic environments and cybernetic humans.

STORY: 7
It was a nice action movie with plenty of technical jargon and sci-fi elements.

ART: 7
The art was well animated for its time and used an appropriate colour scheme that conveys feelings to the audience.

SOUND: 7
Distinct voice acting between characters with some appropriate sound effects.

CHARACTER: 8
The characters in Section 9 are all there; the ones we come to enjoy from the anime series.

ENJOYMENT: 8
As a sci-fi fan, I mostly enjoyed the movie. There were some long conversations but the rest was fine.

OVERALL: 7
If you ask me if I preferred the movie or the anime series, I would pick the anime series. The movie was a nice introduction but lacked the imagination and structure that the anime series had.