Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ghost in the Shell

Kokaku kidotai; animated science-fiction, Japan / UK, 1995; D: Mamoru Oshii, S: Atsuko Enomoto, Akio Otsuka, Mimi Woods, Iemasa Kayumi

The year is 2029. Agent Motoko Kusanagi jumps naked from a building and shoots a criminal who is protecting himself by politics. She is a cyborg, meaning that he whole body is mechanic - only her brain is human. Her new assignment is to find the 'Puppet Master', a mysterious hacker who manages to break the "barrier" and go directly into the human brain, forcing them commit crimes for him. At first, she and her partner Bato manage to capture only a garbage man and his mentor hacker, but whose inserted memories made them just pawns of the master. One night, a female cyborg body gets assembled at Megatech and they capture it when they discover the 'Puppet Master' sent his consciousness into it. It escapes and gets protected by a tank with 6 legs. Kusanagi merges with the master. Later, she wakes up different and leaves into nature.

Ever since Japan's "Astroboy" became a hit in '63 and up to '88 when "Akira" was made, who some fans persistently hold as the best achievement of it's kind, the anime movement gained significance in the world. Impressive and complicated "Ghost in the Shell" seizes most of it's attention through philosophical questions about the difference between man and machine (some of the better lines are: "All the information of a human life are just a drop in the Ocean"; "I'm a cyborg, but you people first need to prove your existence"; "I know you're a machine but we treat like a everyone else, so don't complain!"). The film is today mostly known for Influencing the "Matrix" since the opening credits, the numbers that flow in the background are actually computer codes for the different names of the staff who worked on the movie, just like in that Wachowski brothers movie. The direction neatly cowered up the explicit violence and pulp mood, but the action conceals, while the emotions are scarcely examined. Unlike some better examples of cyborg Sci-Fi stories, this one seems grey since only the ending is really fascinating, even though this is as a whole a rather demanding and multi-layered anime that contemplates about AI consciousness, which appears outside the human existence and is thus a a blow to human ego.


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