Search - Essence of Anime: Ghost in the Shell on DVD

Essence of Anime: Ghost in the Shell
Essence of Anime Ghost in the Shell
Actors: Steve Davis, Richard George, William Knight, Hank Smith, William Frederick
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2007     1hr 22min

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Movie Details

Actors: Steve Davis, Richard George, William Knight, Hank Smith, William Frederick
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Futuristic, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Manga Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Animated
DVD Release Date: 09/04/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 22min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX
Reviewed on 3/23/2010...
One of the best Animes. The "questionable for children" you should read as "don't let your kid watch this until they are 16"

Great voice acting (in the English version at least and I would expect nothing short of amazing in Japanese)

Script is well done, the characters are believable interesting and well developed.

Artwork is (was) groundbreaking, they have some really clever things going on here, as far as body movements (articulation) shape depth and color, are all very well done.

The storyline is interesting and maintainable, once you get settled into it (which the opening does a wonderful job) it is easy and natural to follow. There are a number of twists that are both interesting and clever.

All around this is a solid anime, and a great permanent addition to your collection. If you are simply curious about anime there are worse to start with, just make sure that you are also a sci fi fan, as there are some elements that are reminiscent of Blade Runner (futuristic, terrorist themes...)

Movie Reviews

Packaging different only
Dale Cooper | 04/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This dvd is the exact same one as the 1998 version. The only difference being the cardboard sleeve pictured. Once you take off the sleeve, it's the same dvd case as the earlier one. So beware, this dvd for collectors only!!! Those willing to pay 18 bucks for a piece of cardboard!!!"
The cold eyes of a new life form
Roman Martel | California USA | 08/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ghost in the Shell is one of the rare sci-fi movies that manages to entertain as well as pose interesting questions. To often sci-fi is used as entertainment only with fun trappings of zipping space ships and explosions. There is a place for that kind of story and hell, I enjoy them.

But every once in a while I wish there was more stuff like Ghost in the Shell. You get a interesting story with a resolution that makes you think. On top of that, the animation is still stunning even over a decade later. For me it ranks up there with the top tier animated films like "Princess Mononoke" and "Akira".

First off the animation is very impressive for a number of reasons. The backgrounds include amazing amounts of detail for a mid 90's feature. There is some use of CG, but there is plenty of hand drawn stuff here. The most stunning sequence is where the Major is journeying down the water ways of the city. There is no dialogue, only animation and music. The visuals show the city living around her, no freeze frames or still bodies, everything is moving and alive. It starts to rain and the effect is amazing, transforming this near future metropolis into something beautiful and sad all at the same time.

Those familiar with the manga by Shirow will be a bit disappointed to see much of his character design has been revamped. The characters are given a more realistic look and the comedy of the manga has been toned way down - instead the movie is deadly serious and very moody.

The action set pieces are top notch. The two key ones are a chase into a crowded market place. Again, everything is moving in the market, the villain is camouflaged and attempting a desperate escape. The tension is high and the visuals are excellent. The second involves the Major being seriously outgunned by a tank, and yet doing everything she can to turn the tables. The animation is fluid and angles and mood are used to drive the intensity to a solid climax.

The story combines elements from the manga, picking up a villain here, a plot point here, a revelation there and mixing them all together. Normally this type of approach could end up hurting the film and creating a mish mash of story lines. But the writers have integrated all of it together very well. The key story involves the puppet master and his quest to become something more.

It is the themes that are in the manga and are well executed in the anime that make this film work so well. The character of the puppetmaster is interesting (and probably based off the idea introduced in the novel "Neuromancer"), and it's quest is intriguing. The ending always leaves me a bit chilled. What kind of being has been created and what will it do. The possibilities are endless.

The sound effects and music are well done and used to help create and sustain mood. As I mentioned this mood is one of tension and melancholy. The score is interesting in that it uses a very traditional Japanese sound and mixes it with a minimalistic and sparse soundscape. It's very effective in the film, but I know several people that find the main theme to this film to be too discordant and irritating. I think it fits in its own way, but I also understand their point of view.

Voice acting in Japanese fits the film a little better than the English cast does. When I first saw the movie it was with the English cast and some of the lines just never seemed to click. I'm not sure if they were playing the cyborg characters as robots or just trying to affect the gloom of the film in the voices, but it just didn't work. The Japanese actors seem to have a better handle on it and the subtitled script seems a little clearer as well.

Director Mamoru Oshii takes all these pieces and adds his own spin on it. Oshii is a man who takes his time telling a story. Even though there are moments of explosive action, for the most part the movie moves at a slow pace, allowing the viewer to drink in the world of the film and most importantly the mood. This creates a common complaint I see leveled against the movie - it's boring. I see where the argument comes from, but I'm never bored watching it. It is not an action film: it is an idea film with action in it. The themes of humanity and identity are what drive the film - not the action. As I mentioned this is very different from what Shirow did in his manga. The themes were there and sometimes they were focused on, but it was done with more humor and more action. It doesn't make Oshii's approach wrong, or Shirow's right. In fact I enjoy both. Oshii adapted the manga and put his own touch on it, and for me he struck a great balance. This was disrupted a bit in his follow up which ended up sacrificing storytelling for philosophy - but that's another review.

Manga has re-released this film a number of times, and has presented us here with what appears to be the same DVD as previously offered, but with a new cover sleeve (and oddly enough one that isn't even used in the film. It looks closer to Shirow's original work). Also this is not part of the "Stand Alone Complex" television series. It does lead into the second feature film, "Innocence", but as I said it is not directly tied to Shirow's work. Still it's a great price for a classic sci-fi anime."