Ghost in the Shell

Japanese Title; Kokaku Kidotai
Also Known As: GitS
Genre: Action/Drama
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Bandai Visual/Production I.G.
Director: Oshii Mamoru
Vintage: 1995
Intelligence Agency Report by: The Macaque
In the year 2029 a hacking program, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for espionage purposes, is on the loose. This program, or rather a virtual being without a body, goes by the name of Puppet Master. Major Kusanagi Motoko, an android who had most of her body replaced with high-tech parts, and her male companion Bateau are put on the case. It’s a race against time to capture this rampant hacker, before it manages to find a mechanical body, suitable for defecting to another country. In this ‘neo-punk’ setting, nothing is what it seems to be, and everyone are to be treated as suspects.

Field Agent Report by: The Macaque
Overall 8.50
(not an average)

The first word that springs to mind when the name Ghost in the Shell is mentioned, is hype. Back in the mid 90’s distributors even went as far as advertising this movie on MTV. Still a very rare occation today.Ghost in the Shell and one Akira did have the honorary mission of bringing anime to the western world. People went crazy, hordes turned into otaku’s overnight. Those westerners who had been into anime for a longer time could only watch by as their private little underground hobby turned into the entertainment of the masses.

History, and marketing aside, Ghost in the Shell is a very good movie. The dungloads of cash poured into the project clearly shows. The animation is gorgeous, and the decadent city looks breathtaking throughout. It’s everything the creator, Shirow Masamune, could have ever dreamt about, and then some. When you combine the work put down by the master of melancholy, director Oshii Mamoru, and the minimalist-genius, composer Kawaii Kenji, you automatically end up with a product that looks, feels and sounds great. However there is also a story to be told among all of this brilliance, and this is where Ghost in the Shell falls just that fraction of an inch short of feeling complete.

The plot is well structured and complex per se, and the characters are likeable, even though lacking a bit of depth. Somehow, when you return from your little escapistic trip at the end of the movie, it all feels like you’re waking up from anesthesia. Having a very nice feeling inside, but with very few memories from the previous two hours. It’s not to say that the movie is bland, because it’s really edgy at times. It’s just that Ghost in the Shell is truely a captive of its own reputation. Falling a little short of perfect, means it might seem worse than it actually is. Go figure.