Ghost in the Shell (GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 Gōsuto In Za Sheru/Kōkaku Kidōtai?, lit. Ghost in the Shell / Mobile Armored Riot Police) is a 1995 Japanese anime science fiction film based on manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. The film was directed by Mamoru Oshii, animated by Production I.G, and scripted by Kazunori Itō, with voice acting by Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka and Iemasa Kayumi.

A sequel to the film, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, was released in 2004.

Plot Edit

In the distant future, the world has become interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. Much of humanity, including the protagonists, has direct access to this network through cybernetic bodies, or "shells", which possess their consciousness and can give them superhuman abilities.

Major Motoko Kusanagi, a female police officer and leader of Section 9's assault team, is assigned to capture an elusive hacker known as "the Puppet Master". Her team, Batou and Ishikawa, triangulate their activity with a garbageman. The man believes he is going through a divorce and thinks he is using a program obtained from a sympathetic man to illegally ghost-hack his wife's mind to find his daughter. Kusanagi and her team arrest both the garbageman and the man who gave him the program, but they discover that both men's memories were either erased or implanted, which means they themselves were ghost-hacked by the Puppet Master, who remains at large.

Soon after, a facility is hacked and programmed to assemble a female cybernetic body. The body escapes but is hit by a truck; Section 9 investigates and examines the body. The completely robotic body seems to have a human ghost inside - perhaps the Puppet Master himself. Officials from Section 6 visit Section 9 and explain that the body was made to lure the Puppet Master's ghost and trap it inside. Kusanagi espies the conversation and decides to "dive in" the body and face the Puppet Master's ghost. Before she succeeds, the ghost activates the body. Section 6 then storms Section 9 and takes the body away.

The information from the body leads Section 9 to uncover a mysterious Project 2501. Section 6 claims the project was created to catch the elusive hacker, but the project was initiated before his appearance. Section 9 speculates that the project itself created the Puppet Master, who then escaped, and Section 6 now wants him back. Daisuke Aramaki, the head of Section 9, suspects that the project and the Puppet Master were tools of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The escape might lead to revealing secrets that could embarrass both Section 6 and the ministry.

The getaway car carrying the Puppet Master meets up with another, and they split off. Batou stops the original car, which turns out to be a decoy. Kusanagi follows the second car to an abandoned building, where she fights with a spider tank that was deployed to stop her. Batou arrives in time to save Kusanagi and destroys the tank. With Batou on guard, Kusanagi now faces another cybernetic body. The Puppet Master now reveals himself and says that, in Project 2501, Section 6 created him to illegally hack ghosts for its own interests. The Puppet Master became sentient but unable to reproduce or die. He was looking for Kusanagi to merge with her and create a new being. As a result, he would be able to die and Kusanagi would live on with his ghost. Batou tries to disconnect the drive, but he is hacked and stopped by the Master.

Helicopters from Section 6 approach the building with orders to destroy everyone inside to cover up Project 2501. The Puppet Master blocks their targeting systems. When he starts merging with Kusanagi, snipers blow their heads off, along with Batou's arm.

Kusanagi wakes up in a child-sized cyborg body in Batou's safe house. Batou says her original body was destroyed in the fight. He recovered her head intact and attached it to the new body. Nakamura is questioned and the Foreign Minister resigns as an aftermath. As she is to leave, Kusanagi acknowledges she is now neither herself nor the Puppet Master, but a combination of both. Batou says he will always be there for her. She exits the house and gazes out over the city, pondering possibilities of the future.

Production Edit

The film was directed by Mamoru Oshii, animated by Production I.G, and scripted by Kazunori Itō, with voice acting by Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka and Iemasa Kayumi

A reproduced version of the original film titled, Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 2.0 Gōsuto In Za Sheru/Kōkaku Kidōtai 2.0?) was made in celebration for the release of The Sky Crawlers in 2008.[2][3] For the film's Version 2.0 release, all the original animations were re-produced with latest digital film and animation technologies, such as 3D-CGI. The original soundtrack was also re-arranged and re-recorded.

Japanese music composer Kenji Kawai, who orchestrated the score for the original 1995 production, remixed the Version 2.0 soundtrack in 6.1 Channel Surround. Academy Award Winner Randy Thom of Skywalker Sound reprised his role as Sound Designer, after previously working on Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.[2]

In the new soundtrack, Japanese voice dialogue was also re-recorded, with some variation from the original script to modernize the speech. The original male voice of the "Puppet Master" character, Iemasa Kayumi, was replaced by the female voice of Yoshiko Sakakibara (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence's Haraway).[2]

Related media Edit

A Photo-CD of the film was released on November 20, 1995, in Japan.[4] A spin-off novel written by Endo Akira titled, Ghost in the Shell: Burning City (攻殻機動隊灼熱の都市 Kōkaku kidōtai shakunetsu no toshi?), was published by Kodansha and released on November 1995.[5] It was later followed by a sequel titled, Ghost in the Shell 2: Star Seed (攻殻機動隊2: Star Seed?), and was released on January 1998.[6]

Soundtrack Edit

Ghost in the Shell

"See You Everyday" is different from the rest of the soundtrack, being a pop song sung in Cantonese by Fang Ka Wing. It can be faintly heard playing in the marketplace scene, when Batou is hunting the ghost-hacked puppet.

The song played at the end credits is "One Minute Warning" from the album Original Soundtracks 1 by Passengers, a collaborative effort between Brian Eno and U2. It is one of only three tracks on the album to come from an actual film, the remainder of the tracks are from non-existent films.

According to the soundtrack's liner notes, the haunting choral song that plays throughout the film is a wedding song, sung to get rid of all evil influences that are about to follow. The lyrics of the song itself seem to reflect the union between Kusanagi and Project 2501 which takes place towards the end of the movie. Kenji Kawai originally wanted to use Bulgarian folk singers, but was unable to find any, so he relied on the Japanese folk song choir he used earlier in the Ranma 1/2 anime. The song uses an ancient form of the Japanese language mixed with Bulgarian harmony and traditional Japanese notes.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "M01 Chant I - Making of Cyborg"   4:31
2. "M02 Ghosthack"   5:16
3. "EXM Puppetmaster"   4:23
4. "M04 Virtual Crime"   2:44
5. "M05 Chant II - Ghost City"   3:37
6. "M06 Access"   3:18
7. "M07 Nightstalker"   1:47
8. "M08 Floating Museum"   5:07
9. "M09 Ghostdive"   5:55
10. "M10 Chant III - Reincarnation"   5:47
11. "See You Everyday" (Bonus track) 3:26

Releases Edit

In Japan, the film was released in VHS on April 26, 1996.[7] The DVD version was released on February 25, 2004, and in Blu-ray on August 24, 2007.[8][9] In North America, the film was released in DVD on March 31, 1998, by Anchor Bay.[10] A special edition of the film was scheduled to be released on December 2004.[11] The special edition contains an additional disc containing character dossiers, creator biography, director biography, Ghost in the Shell trailers and previews.[12]

The "2.0" version was released in theatres in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Sapporo on July 12, 2008.[13] The film was released in DVD and Blu-ray on December 19, 2008, in Japan.[14][15]

The North American release for the film was scheduled to be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on the DVD and Blu-ray format. The Special Edition release was scheduled to include the original 1995 release alongside the Version 2.0 on a Double Layer Blu-ray, and complimented with the inclusion of a soundtrack CD and booklet with commentary detailing the Version 2.0 production. This has since changed and Manga Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray on November 24th, 2009. The original version of the movie is included on the disc, but it is merely the 480i laserdisc master encoded in 1080i. The original English dub was used for the new 2.0 version with the new sound effects.(citation needed)

Reception Edit

Ghost in the Shell received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 94% approval rating on the review aggregator web site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 31 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "A stunning feat of modern animation, [Ghost in the Shell] offers a thoughtful, complex treat for anime fans, as well as a perfect introduction for viewers new to the genre."[16] Raphael See of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews gave it four stars, praising the art and visuals stating, "The animation is smooth, fluid, and lightning fast, and the art is moody and sharp." However, See criticized the ending as predictable.[17] Clark Collis of Empire Magazine also stated that the film was predictable. Collis also praised its production values.[18] Chris Beveridge of Mania gave it a mixed review stating, "It's a good story, but has a few falters along the way."[19] The Nihon Review praised the film's production value and story yet criticized the film for the plot's predictability and for certain scenes being "useless".[20] Johnathan Mays of Anime News Network praised the animation combined with the computer effects stating, "...perhaps the best synthesis ever witnessed in anime".[21] Niels Matthijs of Twitch Film praised the film stating, "Not only is Kokaku Kidotai an essential film in the canon of Japanese animation, together with Kubrick's 2001 and Tarkovsky's Solyaris it completes a trio of book adaptations that transcend the popularity of their originals and [give] a new meaning to an already popular brand." Matthijs also ranked it #48 of his personal favorites.[22]

Ghost in the Shell made an impression on a number of filmmakers. Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of The Matrix and its sequels, showed it to producer Joel Silver, saying, "We wanna do that for real."[23] Director James Cameron has called it "the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence". The film was the first anime video to reach Billboard's #1 video slot at the time of its release.[11] The film ranked 35 on Total Film's top 50 Animated Films list.[24] The film ranked 8th Top Selling Anime DVD Movies on January 31, 2006.[25]

References Edit

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "「スカイ・クロラ」公開記念VERSION2.0始動!『GHOST IN THE SHELL 攻殻機動隊2.0』", The Sky Crawlers (2008 film) official website, 2008-06-19. Retrieved on 2008-08-03. (in Japanese) 
  3. "「GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊2.0」公開初日トークショー開催!「イノセンス」上映決定!", The Sky Crawlers (2008 film) official website, 2008-07-12. Retrieved on 2008-08-03. (in Japanese) 
  4. GHOST IN THE SHELL 攻殻機動隊 PHOTO-CD (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved on 2012-12-04.
  5. 攻殻機動隊 灼熱の都市 (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2012-11-25.
  6. 攻殻機動隊2 Star Seed (in Japanese). Retrieved on 2012-11-26.
  7. GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 (VHS) (in Japanese). Tsutaya Online. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
  8. GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 (DVD) (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved on 7 December 2012.
  9. GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 (BD) (in Japanese). Bandai Visuals. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
  10. Ghost in the Shell DVD. DVD Empire. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ghost in the Shell Anime Special Edition. ICv2. Retrieved on 28 November 2012.
  12. Special Edition "Ghost in the Shell". Anime News Network. Retrieved on 7 December 2012.
  13. Ghost in the Shell to Return to Japanese Theaters. Anime News Network. Retrieved on November 9, 2011.
  14. GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊2.0 (DVD) (in Japanese). Bandai Visuals. Retrieved on December 6, 2012.
  15. GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊2.0 (BD) (in Japanese). Bandai Visuals. Retrieved on December 6, 2012.
  17. See, Raphael (2010-11-22). Ghost in the Shell. T.H.E.M.. Retrieved on 2012-10-20.
  18. Collis, Clark. Ghost in the Shell. Empire Online. Retrieved on 2012-10-20.
  19. Beveridge, Chris (2010-11-22). Ghost in the Shell. Mania. Retrieved on 2012-10-23.
  20. Ghost in the Shell. The Nihon Review. Retrieved on 2012-10-25.
  21. Mays, Johnathan. Ghost in the Shell DVD. Anime News Network. Retrieved on 2012-10-29.
  22. GHOST IN THE SHELL (Personal Favorites #48). Twitch Film (2006-01-31). Retrieved on 2012-12-15.
  23. Joel Silver, interviewed in "Making The Matrix" featurette on The Matrix DVD.
  24. Top 50 Greatest Animated Movies. Total Film (2010-11-22). Retrieved on 2012-10-20.
  25. Top Selling Anime DVD Movies. Anime News Network (2006-01-31). Retrieved on 2012-12-05.

External links Edit

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