Thursday, November 29, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Ghost In The Shell

You can not talk about cyberpunk without bringing up this one! This is the movie that even anime haters have seen and liked. Mamoru Oshii, director of Sky Crawlers and Patlabor pioneered anime sci-fi in the 90s with this film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's manga series.

Set in a future where androids and cyborgs are commonplace, a special Japanese enforcer unit called Section 9 gets called into handle cybercrimes and sticky foreign affairs. Matoko is a major on this team, and she and her partner Batou get called into handling a case on the illusive hacker known as the Puppet Master. After trailing some unsuspecting garbage collectors, they think they have their man, but he turns out to be another puppet himself. Then, a robot body escapes from a government cybernetics lab, and is brought into Section 9 headquarters. Two agents from the rival Section 6 show up to claim it saying that was now hosting the cybernetic essence referred to as a "ghost" of the Puppet Master. It reveals itself to be a living entity that was created by Section 6 to control people's ghosts, and its come to Section 9 seeking asylum. Commandos make off with the body, so Matoko and Batou take off after their getaway car. Matoko corners them in an abandonned church, although the car is protected by a robot spider tank(not a Tachikoma, BTW). She almost gets crushed by the tank, but Batou manages to stop it with a bigass gun. Matoko then dives into the Puppet Master, and he reveals to her that arranged all this in attempt to merge his programming with her ghost in order to create an entirely new lifeform. Matoko doesn't get a chance to disagree as both she and the Puppet Master's body's are totalled by Section 6 agents. Hours later, Batou was able to salvage what there was of Matoko's ghost into the robot body of a young girl, although she claims she is now longer Matoko or the Puppet Master, but their composite prodigy. She then leaves planning to spread herself throughout the net.

This movie was one of the few to actually be released in U.S. theatres in the 90s. The blend of computer graphics with Oshii's dynamic animation direction is superb. It's influence is apparent in several other American productions like Batman Beyond, The Matrix and Equilibrium. The film itself spawned off a sequal, Ghost In The Shell: Innocence, plus the Stand Alone Complex anime TV series which has a movie followup and two compilation movies. The original was recently redone in a new version, Ghost In The Shell 2.0, which is the same film, but now with new 3D graphics which add a definate bonus to it, and not in some lame Star Wars: Special Edition way. The dub is pretty good, although most U.S. otaku probably ally themselves with the English cast from the TV series instead. All in all, the 2.0 version is a paramount acquisition for your personal anime ark!

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