Dusting Off… Ghost in the Shell
What is it?
Directed by Mamouro Oshii, Ghost in the Shell is an animated sci-fi film produced by the legendary Manga studios in Japan and set in the year 2029. Its lead character is Major Motoko Kusangi, an officer in the Security Services who also happens to be a cyborg. Along with another cyborg named Bateau and a human called Togusa, Moytoko is in pursuit of the Puppet Master, a formidable data thief with an ability to infiltrate the consciousness of his victims. This allows him to use them as puppets to commit his crimes for him.
Orientated firmly towards an adult audience, this animated sci-fi classic was never really a mainstream hit, but it’s a cult favourite among Manga fans and sci-fi fans alike.
Avatar director James Cameron has described it as: “The first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence. An important visionary work.” High praise indeed from the man who stills holds the record for the biggest-grossing movie in history.
Why should I revisit?
If Akira was the breakthrough film for Manga, Ghost in the Shell is the film that consolidated the studio’s reputation. The plot line is worthy of a Philip K. Dick novel and the animation is incredibly beautiful in places.
There’s also an interesting story behind the film’s soundtrack. Although they are not credited, part of the film’s music was written and performed by Brian Eno and U2, taken from recording sessions for their 1995 collaboration album Original Soundtracks 1, a collection of pieces for (mostly) imaginary films released under the name Passengers. If you listen closely you can hear The Edge’s distinctive chiming guitars all over the soundtrack.
Who will enjoy it?
Anyone who is a fan of Manga films, Japanese films in general or graphic novels will find plenty to like about this classic animation.