Anime Meta-Review


Ghost in the Shell


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Kookaku Kidootai
  • type: movie
  • grade: worthy
  • people: Shirow
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
    • This title is a personal favourite.
  • made: 1995
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Masamune Shirow shows off his mastery of technical design in this cinematically animated tale of cyborg police and a future world where the distance between human and machine has become paper thin. The story is largely original, borrowing from the original manga but wisely choosing to represent only a small subsection. The specific plot involves an elite police special forces team, many of whom are almost entirely cyborgs, on the trail of the `puppet-master'. This super-hacker seems immune to capture, and is also able to hack into living and cyborg minds. As the story develops politics starts to interfere as the true secrets behind the puppet master emerge. The animation is excellent, some limited computer animation is well integrated and there is impressive technical design (ie. shirow) and action scenes. The characters are good, with Motoko Kusanagi being a fan favourite, and the dialog is mature, albeit somewhat reserved and cryptic. This combines with the good (and bravely japanese) sounds, rich backgrounds and stylish design to create a very moody, cyberpunk type ambience. The only weakness is one shared with many of his other works, at times the pace lags, and the philosophy may seem confusing or artificially inserted, especially to those unfamiliar with the author. Still, it is a good demonstration of a subtle and ultimately positive connection between the virtual and physical in the hands of a technically aware creator, backed up with top notch production. It has also received wide release, and great popularity, in the west which makes it an important film in expanding western anime. This also means that most anime fans have already seen it multiple times.

Since this has has a major cinematic release it even has a Roger Ebert Review. There is a review at THEM who love the animation, but think the story needs more `meat'. This Review from the Anime Critic wonders if the hype was justified. The Anime Review goes even further in this review stating that the film is an Akira derivative (open to argument) and the pacing is slow and "lackadaisical" with only rare action, which seems reasonable criticism. Akemi's AnimeWorld like the original source and this rendition, having a long review, and also providing the japanese title (which does not translate to the English). Lord Carnage goes even further, saying in this review that it deserves the hype it got


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:18 WST 2009