In the near future, society has embraced the benefits of technology. Automation has taken hold in many aspects of every day life, and cyborgs aren't science-fiction any more. A great computer network encircles the globe and has rendered national borders obsolete. In this world, hackers are particularly dangerous as they can alter a person's 'ghost' (what others might call a 'soul') and create false memories remotely. After a translator to a high government official has had her ghost hacked, Major Motoko Kusanagi is assigned to find the hacker responsible...a mysterious hacker known only as 'The Puppet Master'. This will lead the cyborg on a journey where she begins to question what it means to be human. This movie is a mix of high action and introspection as it explores the impact of technology on humanity. The artwork for this movie is amazing as it depicts a bleak and sterile future. Watch for director Mamoru Oshii's trademark: beagles.
I know you’ve probably already heard the hype, but in my opinion it deserves it. This is one of the most incredible animated feature films ever made. Dark, gritty, and asking "where does humanity end, and technology begin?" The plot is a very Japanese one, looking at the problem of identity in an ever evolving world. Visually and stylistically, it seems more Oshii than Shirow, and really should have been longer, but nonetheless it is breathtaking. Intense visuals, haunting music by Kenji Kawai, and a deep mature story make this a fantastic choice for any anime fan.
Herself the Elf sez: Some people dislike this movie because the story is a bit convoluted and it can take a couple viewings to fully understand what's going on. Plus Oshii has this tendency to have long monologue segments, which can be annoying. But on the whole, the exquisite balance of stunning visuals and music more than make up for it. Ghost in the Shell has some of the most perfect and beautiful sequences in film, much less anime. A big bonus in the transition from manga to anime is the elimination of Shirow's obsessive focus on the minutiae of every mechanical component. Add in the truly excellent dub job by Manga (why couldn't they have done such a good job on Perfect Blue?) and you have a true classic that's perfect for introducing people to anime.
Available subtitled or dubbed through Manga Entertainment.
The Ghost In The Shell Experience a comprehensive guide to GITS