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Ghost in the Shell (1996)

Cast: Steve Davis, Richard George, Hank Smith, more...
Director: Mamoru Oshii
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Manga Video Entertainment
Genre: Anime, Foreign, Science Fiction Anime, Anime Feature Films, Yakuza
Running Time: 82 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

In the year 2029, the world has become interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. That same network also becomes a battlefield for Tokyo's Section Nine security force, which has been charged with apprehending the master hacker known only as the Puppet Master. Spearheading the investigation is Major Motoko Kusanagi, who -- like many in her department -- is a cyborg officer, far more powerful than her human appearance would suggest. And yet as the Puppet Master, who is even capable of hacking human minds, leaves a trail of victims robbed of their memories, Kusanagi ponders the very nature of her existence: is she purely an artificial construct, or is there more? What, exactly, is the "ghost" -- her essence -- in her cybernetic "shell"? When Section Six gets involved in the case, she is forced to confront the fact that there is more here than meets the eye, and that the Puppet Master may hold some of the answers she seeks. But little does she know that he has been seeking her as well. ~ Emru Townsend, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Late Visit to an Anime Classic by talltale October 17, 2004 - 9:01 AM PDT
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I'm tardy in catching up with this nearly decade-old animne classic, but the appearance in theatres of its sequel piqued my interest. GHOST IN THE SHELL has stood the test of time remarkably well: Its story and themes are interesting and forward-looking, if not terribly original (the idea that we are all part of the great cosmos has been done-to-death). Visually, the film is quite powerful. About a half-hour into it, there comes a 3-1/2-minute walk through the city, handled with no dialog--just visuals and music--that is so potent, beautiful and strange that this section alone is worth the entire movie (as well as many lesser examples of anime).

Again the search for self in Cyberpunk by hneline1 September 6, 2002 - 6:37 PM PDT
11 out of 12 members found this review helpful
This is a beautiful anime in the realistic style of Perfect Blue, Jin-Roh the Wolf Brigade and Wings of Honneamise. The theme is classic cyberpunk -- in an urban world ruled by tech corporations and competing nations, cyborgs with human brains and replaceable bodies form a special government task force to combat hackers and other "Net" terrorists. The cyborg leader of this squadron, Major Motoko Kusanagi, starts questioning her own identity and memories as a human being while pursuing a master hacker.

The action sequences are superb, especially those depicting Kusanagi's combat technique. The urban and tech worlds are richly detailed. The characters are engaging. The nudity fits smoothly into the reality of this world and is not gratuitous. However, as much as I wanted it otherwise, I found the ending prosaic. This movie is still a solid action-adventure and well worth watching within the cyberpunk genre, but I felt like it only touched upon the many human vs. artificial intelligence issues and could have had more angst. What defines a life form? Are we still who we are if we are just copies of memories? Are we still alive if we don't have real memories? Blade Runner still rules cyberpunk.

BTW, the DVD contains some good extras including a "Making of Ghost in the Shell" documentary and a guide with short writeups about the creator (Shirow Masamune), the director (Mamoru Oshii), mechanical design, the "Net", etc. The documentary was entertaining but the guide writeups could have been more detailed.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.54)
865 Votes
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