Groundbreaking, seminal, visionary: these are the necessary adjectives to be predicated upon Ghost in The Shell.
2009 Movie. Director: Mamoru Oshii. 83 minutes. Blue-Ray, bilingual. Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Originally released in 1995, Mamoru Oshii’s startling – and growingly – accurate look at the future tracks a typical story in the life of Major Motoko Kunsanagi. With a body more cybernetic than flesh, she hunts the streets of Hong Kong for the elusive Puppet Master. In this world, hacks are no longer limited to laptops and government mainframes but destabilize human brains and limbs themselves. Amid corporate and political intrigue, how do you hunt a criminal capable of manipulating machines and human bodies? When consciousness can exist and operate in cyberspace, a new and truly global stage in human existence emerges.
Immensely popular from the get-go, this film successfully spawned numerous feature length and television spin-offs. It’s definitely and deservedly one of the core anime franchises. Groundbreaking, seminal, visionary: these are the necessary adjectives to be predicated upon Ghost in The Shell.
Now, advanced technology hits the streets with such speed that we have seemingly forgotten the importance of the cyberpunk genre that began in the early 80’s – only because we’re gradually living its vision. Alongside the novels of William Gibson (who also contributed to the birth of steampunk) and Bruce Sterling, Ghost in The Shell gave us a prophetic glimpse of a human life fully integrated and truly symbiotic with technology. Wrapped in the trappings of film noir and the detective genre, their dark cool reintroduced and legitimized sci-fi into mainstream television, artistic, and literary circles around the world. Ghost in The Shell and others like it are quite important in the context of how we conceptualize our digital future.
Fortunately, Manga (a Starz Company) has digitally rebooted this essential anime feature. Better still, on Blue –Ray Oshii himself supervised the remastering, which includes a few new 3D-CGI scenes, new voice recordings from the original cast, and a new score from Kenji Kawai. In full 1080p, you cannot miss this!
Moreover, Manga has also announced that Steven Spielberg has acquired the rights for a live-action film. Though cyberpunk seems a little dormant these days, with the new advances in film technology and life in general, I think we’re all about to be reminded of how accurate this voice was.