Ghost in the Shell

January 20, 2006

Year: 1995

Directed by: Mamoru Oshii

Written by: Kazunori Itô, Shirow Masamune (Manga)

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Key Cast Members:

  • Major Motoko Kusanagi: Atsuko Tanaka
  • Batô: Akio Ôtsuka
  • Section 9 Department Chief Aramaki: Tamio Ôki
  • Togusa: Kôichi Yamadera
  • Rating: 10 out of 10


    screen capture

    And where does the newborn go from here…the net is vast and infinite…

    Overview: After Akira, a case can be made for Ghost in the Shell being the most influential anime ever. While Akira was the first anime to crack international markets, GITS rose anime to something “real,”, and opened the doors for events like Disney’s pursuit of Miyazaki, and eventually, the truly incredibly pace of anime we see today. More important for cyberpunk films, GITS provided a myriad of thoughts and visuals that have been expanded upon in virtually all subsequent cyberpunk animes. James Cameron refers to GITS as the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence.” In addition to a wonderfully complex and introspective story, we get heart-thumping, realistic action, all served up with some incredibly revolutionary animation techniques that places GITS on a juicy platter for all to enjoy.

    ~ Fair warning – there are a few plot spoilers below in the matrix discussion – I simply couldn’t write this, especially with linkages to the Matrix without including an interpretation of the ending of GITS. ~

     

    screen capture

     

    GITS shows us a very realistic looking near future set in the year 2029. The visuals are intricately detailed and depict grunge settings next to the highly sanitized corporate world. In 2029, people have the ability to augment their bodies with cybernetic replacement parts. In some cases, people have almost fully replaced their human bodies, leaving only their brain encased in a cyborg shell. The brain is even augmented with hyper-intelligent access to knowledge and communication packages. But the person, and we use that term loosely now, still has a ghost, or soul if you will – an emergent property of life that separates a human from a robot. Even though the majority of their human material is replaced with a cyborg-like shell, if the individual retains their ghost, they still retain their personality and individuality – their humanity if you will.

    This cyborg shell is not the same as a robot. The limbs and body still communicate with the brain in a digital nervous-system-like operation. If we include Masume Shirow’s vision (the writer for GITS), the cyborg’s sexual parts are even fully functional. This means that in essence, their cyborg shell aids in the creation of an individual’s ghost. While this is terrific, a downside is the ability for evil-doers to engage in Ghosthacking – or the taking over of someone’s perceptual control, or worse, augmenting their artificially enhanced memory.

    The story centers on Major Motoko Kusanagi, an almost fully mechanically enhanced cyborg secret operative working for Section 9 – Japan’s anti-terrorism division. As the movie progresses Motoko and her cyborg partner, Batau start to uncover a plot involving another ministry that seems to be engaged in a cover-up. Eventually, we find that this cover-up involves a seemingly nefarious hacker named the Puppet Master. In pursuing the Puppet Master, Motoko finds out that all is not what it seems- that in fact the Puppet Master is a sentient program, and never had a body. More interesting, the Puppet Master has been looking for Motoko!

     

    screen capture

     

    Revolutionizing Anime: Oshii revolutionized animation in GITS with a myriad of new and innovative computer graphics techniques. In short, Oshii pushed the boundaries for state-of-the art animation with GITS. Oshi scanned his animation cells in to a digital system so that he could import them into an editing suite to get all sorts of cool lens effects. For instance, in the above pic, Oshii is able to emulate a contra-pull type effect where the camera moves back, and the lens moves forward. In viewing this, the background expands while the foreground eerily stays in the same place. This works wonderfully for Motoko’s questioning of humanity speech. And this is only one of many interesting used of digital shots. Other techniques include interesting overlays that depict either brain activity or maps, for instance.

     

    screen capture

     

    Questioning Humanity: Ghost in the Shell still provides anime’s the best examination in the questioning humanity. GITS is dominated by an ongoing discussion of what it means to be human and really, what it means to be alive. Is Motoko really still human? Even she doesn’t know the answer anymore, and actually questions whether she really has a ghost (how would she be able to differentiate a fake ghost from a real one?). This line of questioning is artfully developed in a way that makes Motoko the character in all of anime that I empathize with the most. You truly feel for the dilemma she finds herself facing.

     

    screen capture

     

    What is the Matrix? If we examine the Matrix, we find that both the visuals and storyline are heavily influenced by Ghost. There are some rather explicit visual “nods” in the first Matrix, including the opening digital sequence, Mr. Smith’s building jump where he breaks the concrete beneath him (this is virtually identical to Motoko pursuing the first puppet victim), and the shooting of the fruit stand where Neo is running near the end. On top of this, we have a reversal of roles in the Matrix, where Neo plays Motoko and Trinity emulates Batau. And again, the Wachowskis make no bones about where their influence came from – they, as much as anyone, have contributed to Ghost’s ever increasing popularity.

    In looking at the storyline, we find even more interesting parallels. Ghost in the Shell ends with Motoko merging with the sentient program called the Puppet Master (Project 2501). This allows the Puppet Master produce a diversity of offspring that is simply not possible to do with copies alone. This has a direct parallel to the scifi view of Neo in the above review. While Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is the philosophical sequel to Avalon, the Matrix trilogy is just as clearly the sequel to Ghost in the Shell. Whereas GITS ends with this merging of a sentient program with a human ghost, the Matrix expands on this idea. We see Neo take the same journey, but in a very different way. He conducts this symbiotic merging over 3 movies whereas Motoko does this in a matter of minutes. We see Neo, through this merging of sentient program with a human, become the “one” – an omnipotent style being. This characterization is similar to the characterization that Batau gives of Motoko in GITS2 in his dogs and gods versus flawed humans speech.

     

    screen capture

     

    Also interesting is the linkage between the puppet master’s desire to digitally produce offspring with Neo’s reloading of the Matrix. The puppet master discusses this at the end of GITS in the “Life perpetuates itself through diversity and this includes the ability to sacrifice itself when necessary” monologue. If you trace the linkages, Neo’s reloading of the Matrix this is a method for the sentient program portion of Neo to create diversity and offspring. The merging of Neo allows the sentient program to grow and develop in ways simply not possible by itself. Familiarity with Neo’s Ghost allows it to make the changes necessary to correct the errors that build up in the current Matrix that prompt the battery people to disbelieve their surrounding.

     

    screen capture

     

    Finally, Ghost gives us a truly interesting vision of the future. We get sound astoundingly realistic and grungy cityscapes that are filled with the most impressive technological horrors. Is it truly a stretch to imagine that technology will augment our physical abilities? This is the bionic man taken to another level. On top of this, if we truly can learn to connect manufactured parts to our nervous system, is it really that far of a stretch to imagine that our brains become augmented? And over time, is it truly a stretch to believe that the line between humanity and robot won’t be blurred? GITS questions these articles of faith in such a believable way that we have seen a shift in our overall thinking on this issue.

     

    The Bottom Line: Truly, even if you ignore all this philosophical stuff, Ghost in the Shell is simply an awesome movie! The action is terrific, the visuals are great, the soundtrack is devine…I could go on and on. If you just see one anime, Ghost in the Shell, still my favorite anime, is hands down the one to get.

     

    Page 2: More GITS Screencaps –>>

     

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review anime ghost shell

    ~ <STRONG>Fair warning – there are a few plot spoilers below</STRONG> in the matrix discussion – I simply couldn’t write this, especially with linkages to the Matrix without including an interpretation of the ending of GITS. ~
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell07.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    GITS shows us a very realistic looking near future set in the year 2029. The visuals are intricately detailed and depict grunge settings next to the highly sanitized corporate world. In 2029, people have the ability to augment their bodies with cybernetic replacement parts. In some cases, people have almost fully replaced their human bodies, leaving only their brain encased in a cyborg <i>shell</i>. The brain is even augmented with hyper-intelligent access to knowledge and communication packages. But the person, and we use that term loosely now, still has a <i>ghost</i>, or soul if you will – an emergent property of life that separates a human from a robot. Even though the majority of their human material is replaced with a cyborg-like shell, if the individual retains their ghost, they still retain their personality and individuality – their humanity if you will.

    This cyborg shell is not the same as a robot. The limbs and body still communicate with the brain in a digital nervous-system-like operation. If we include Masume Shirow’s vision (the writer for GITS), the cyborg’s sexual parts are even fully functional. This means that in essence, their cyborg shell aids in the creation of an individual’s ghost. While this is terrific, a downside is the ability for evil-doers to engage in <i>Ghosthacking </i>- or the taking over of someone’s perceptual control, or worse, augmenting their artificially enhanced memory.

    The story centers on Major Motoko Kusanagi, an almost fully mechanically enhanced cyborg secret operative working for Section 9 – Japan’s anti-terrorism division. As the movie progresses Motoko and her cyborg partner, Batau start to uncover a plot involving another ministry that seems to be engaged in a cover-up. Eventually, we find that this cover-up involves a seemingly nefarious hacker named the Puppet Master. In pursuing the Puppet Master, Motoko finds out that all is not what it seems- that in fact the Puppet Master is a sentient program, and never had a body. More interesting, the Puppet Master has been looking for Motoko!
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell12.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <span class=”iTitle”>Revolutionizing Anime: </span>Oshii revolutionized animation in GITS with a myriad of new and innovative computer graphics techniques. In short, Oshii pushed the boundaries for state-of-the art animation with GITS. Oshi scanned his animation cells in to a digital system so that he could import them into an editing suite to get all sorts of cool lens effects. For instance, in the above pic, Oshii is able to emulate a contra-pull type effect where the camera moves back, and the lens moves forward. In viewing this, the background expands while the foreground eerily stays in the same place. This works wonderfully for Motoko’s questioning of humanity speech. And this is only one of many interesting used of digital shots. Other techniques include interesting overlays that depict either brain activity or maps, for instance.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell19.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <span class=”iTitle”>Questioning Humanity: </span>Ghost in the Shell still provides anime’s the best examination in the questioning humanity. GITS is dominated by an ongoing discussion of what it means to be human and really, what it means to be alive. Is Motoko really still human? Even she doesn’t know the answer anymore, and actually questions whether she really has a ghost (how would she be able to differentiate a fake ghost from a real one?). This line of questioning is artfully developed in a way that makes Motoko the character in all of anime that I empathize with the most. You truly feel for the dilemma she finds herself facing.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell10.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <span class=”iTitle”>What is the Matrix? </span>If we examine the Matrix, we find that both the visuals and storyline are heavily influenced by Ghost. There are some rather explicit visual “nods” in the first Matrix, including the opening digital sequence, Mr. Smith’s building jump where he breaks the concrete beneath him (this is virtually identical to Motoko pursuing the first puppet victim), and the shooting of the fruit stand where Neo is running near the end. On top of this, we have a reversal of roles in the Matrix, where Neo plays Motoko and Trinity emulates Batau. And again, the Wachowskis make no bones about where their influence came from – they, as much as anyone, have contributed to Ghost’s ever increasing popularity.

    In looking at the storyline, we find even more interesting parallels. Ghost in the Shell ends with Motoko merging with the sentient program called the Puppet Master (Project 2501). This allows the Puppet Master produce a diversity of offspring that is simply not possible to do with copies alone. This has a direct parallel to the scifi view of Neo in the above review. While <a href=”/movie/decade/2000-current/ghost-in-the-shell-2-innocence/”>Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence</a> is the philosophical sequel to <a href=”/movie/decade/2000-current/avalon/”>Avalon</a>, the Matrix trilogy is just as clearly the sequel to Ghost in the Shell. Whereas GITS ends with this merging of a sentient program with a human ghost, the Matrix expands on this idea. We see Neo take the same journey, but in a very different way. He conducts this symbiotic merging over 3 movies whereas Motoko does this in a matter of minutes. We see <a href=”/movie/essays/understanding-the-matrix-trilogy-from-a-man-machine-interface-perspective/”>Neo, through this merging of sentient program with a human</a>, become the “one” – an omnipotent style being. This characterization is similar to the characterization that Batau gives of Motoko in GITS2 in his <i>dogs and gods versus flawed humans</i> speech.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell15.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Also interesting is the linkage between the puppet master’s desire to digitally produce offspring with Neo’s reloading of the Matrix. The puppet master discusses this at the end of GITS in the “Life perpetuates itself through diversity and this includes the ability to sacrifice itself when necessary” monologue. If you trace the linkages, Neo’s reloading of the Matrix this is a method for the sentient program portion of Neo to create diversity and offspring. The merging of Neo allows the sentient program to grow and develop in ways simply not possible by itself. Familiarity with Neo’s <i>Ghost </i>allows it to make the changes necessary to correct the errors that build up in the current Matrix that prompt the battery people to disbelieve their surrounding.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/ghostshell02.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Finally, Ghost gives us a truly interesting vision of the future. We get sound astoundingly realistic and grungy cityscapes that are filled with the most impressive technological horrors. Is it truly a stretch to imagine that technology will augment our physical abilities? This is the bionic man taken to another level. On top of this, if we truly can learn to connect manufactured parts to our nervous system, is it really that far of a stretch to imagine that our brains become augmented? And over time, is it truly a stretch to believe that the line between humanity and robot won’t be blurred? GITS questions these articles of faith in such a believable way that we have seen a shift in our overall thinking on this issue.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <span class=”iTitle”>The Bottom Line: </span>Truly, even if you ignore all this philosophical stuff, Ghost in the Shell is simply an awesome movie! The action is terrific, the visuals are great, the soundtrack is devine…I could go on and on. If you just see one anime, Ghost in the Shell, still my favorite anime, is hands down the one to get.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”right”> <a href=”/ghost-in-the-shell-page-2-more-screencaps/”>Page 2: More GITS Screencaps –>></a> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>cyberpunk movie review anime ghost shell

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, AI (no body), Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Man-machine Interface, 10 Star Movies, Hacker Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Animes, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 – 1999 by SFAM.

    Wonderful Days {Sky Blue}

    January 16, 2006

    Updated April 14, 2006
    Year: 2003

    Directed by: Moon-saeng Kim, Park Sunmin

    Written by: Moon-saeng Kim et al.

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

    Rating: 9 out of 10

    Overview: More often than not, most of the best scifi movies are coming from other countries. Anime is no exception. Wonderful Days (Called Sky Blue in some US locations) is a visual masterpiece of 2D/3D blended animation. While movies like Sinbad, with its wonderful background, but completely stuck on 2D characters shows us the low-end of this spectrum, Wonderful Days is a terrific example of the best in 2D/3D blended animation. This futuristic cyberpunk tale is not the most original, but is done more than well enough to allow to you be totally “wowed” by the visuals and incredible 3D positional sound.

    Wonderful Days takes place in a dystopic future in the year 2140. The world has been decimated and ravaged by war, reckless exploitation of the earth and over-pollution. Clouds have all but blocked out the sun and human civilization is on the brink of elimination. In this chaos, a group of elites have developed a method of using the pollution to create an energy source, and have used this to build a magnificent city called Ecoban.

    Thousands of Refugees have flocked to the Marr, the outskirt wasteland of this Ecoban in the hopes of gaining entrance, but unfortunately this has become a society of the elite and the masses. Instead, the citizens of Ecoban use the Marr as their personal slave labor to work the machines which keep Ecoban running. Life is cheap for the Marr, and the Ecoban elite care far more about their power generation than they do the welfare of the Marr. Unfortunately for the citizens of Ecoban, it appears as if the earth is starting to recover, and the level of pollution is dropping. The governing council has decided to use any means possible to maintain pollution levels to keep their hold on power.

    On a more personal level, this story revolves around three people, who knew each other as children living in Ecoban, but are now adults.

    Jay – a cute female captain of the Ecoban guard, who has begun to
    doubt the system she supports.
    Shua – who was cast out of Ecoban as a child under dubious circumstances, only wants to show his adopted kid brother of the streets, Woody, what a blue sky looks like. He saw this once as a child with Jay, and has spent his life trying to overthrow Ecoban in order to see it again.
    Cade – the security commander of Ecoban, who is deeply in love
    with Jay.

    Shua, with the help of a aging Ecoban Engineer-turned resistance leader named Dr. Noah, who was involved in the creation of Ecoban’s power source, has infiltrated Ecoban’s key computer, the Delos System. There he hopes to get information to learn how to destabilize and destroy Ecoban. Unfortunately, he sets off alarms, and is forced to escape, and ends up facing off against his former best friend Jay. After he escapes, Jay seeks him out in the Marr, and they eventually re-establish their friendship, and eventually their love for one another. Meanwhile, Cade, with the help of the Malevolent Commander Locke will stop at nothing to protect the city he loves. When he finds out that his former rival Shua is involved, and that he is re-established contact with Jay, he only has one course to pursue – the total destruction of Shua and the resistance.

    The Cinematography:While the story is by no means original, the cinematography is simply stunning on every level. Wonderful Days uses real film-like effects to increase the “realness,” believability and engagement far more than any animation I’ve seen. We get everything from the use of out of focus backgrounds, changing focal points, lens flares, jerky camera movements, and incredibly interesting perspective shots. On top of this, we get wonderfully rendered raindrops, rendered under-water explosions intermixed with hand drawn fire, and the most incredible array of deep and vibrant color effects in virtually every scene.

    And while all this is astounding, what truly blows you away is the quality of the intermixing of 2D and 3D animation. Its almost hard to explain how well the 2D animation is blended, especially if you’ve seen something like Sinbad, which almost just layers the 2D on top of a background like velcro puppets on a background. Here we get blended effects that truly serve to tie the 2D with the 3D animation. Wonderful Days is simply the best out there at this type of animation.

    Sound Effects: While the cinematography is the real crown of this movie, the sound effects aren’t far behind. Truly, this is the best use of positional surround sound I’ve heard in an anime. We have wonderful “swoop” sounds by the motorcycles that are as good as live action racing movies, realistic explosions complete with pieces flying at you, detailed gunfire and wind sounds, and more importantly, a clear level of care throughout that rarely is equaled. As an interesting effect, the selections in the score are almost disconcerting in how different they are. We have everything from rock music to a wonderful use of opera at the end for emotional building.

    Is this Cyberpunk? You bet it is. While we don’t have the traditional merging of man and technology, all the other elements are here in spades. We get a glorious depiction of a the seedy underground, the powerful elite, impressive hacking, a wonderfully rendered dystopia, flawed heroes, and most importantly – style in abundant quantities!

    ]

    The Bottom Line: If you’re interested in seeing the best in immersive scifi anime, Wonderful Days is a fine choice. While it doesn’t have close to the philosophical depth of Oshii’s movies, the story moves along and the immersive action is simply breathtaking. You truly do think you’re watching a continual piece of art go across the screen. And again, while the story is neither complex nor innovative, it is decently well done, especially if you dig cyberpunk-type themes. However, the quality of the cinematography and the intense care given to this film easily raises Wonderful Days up one of my favorite all-time cyberpunk movies.

    Get this for the visuals and overall cyberpunk style. Wonderful Days truly deserves to be seen by all.

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    screen capture

     

    Wonderful Days takes place in a dystopic future in the year 2140. The world has been decimated and ravaged by war, reckless exploitation of the earth and over-pollution. Clouds have all but blocked out the sun and human civilization is on the brink of elimination. In this chaos, a group of elites have developed a method of using the pollution to create an energy source, and have used this to build a magnificent city called Ecoban.

    screen capturescreen capture

     

    Thousands of Refugees have flocked to the Marr, the outskirt wasteland of this Ecoban in the hopes of gaining entrance, but unfortunately this has become a society of the elite and the masses. Instead, the citizens of Ecoban use the Marr as their personal slave labor to work the machines which keep Ecoban running. Life is cheap for the Marr, and the Ecoban elite care far more about their power generation than they do the welfare of the Marr. Unfortunately for the citizens of Ecoban, it appears as if the earth is starting to recover, and the level of pollution is dropping. The governing council has decided to use any means possible to maintain pollution levels to keep their hold on power.

    screen capture

     

    On a more personal level, this story revolves around three people, who knew each other as children living in Ecoban, but are now adults.

    • Jay – a cute female captain of the Ecoban guard, who has begun to
      doubt the system she supports.
    • Shua – who was cast out of Ecoban as a child under dubious circumstances, only wants to show his adopted kid brother of the streets, Woody, what a blue sky looks like. He saw this once as a child with Jay, and has spent his life trying to overthrow Ecoban in order to see it again.
    • Cade – the security commander of Ecoban, who is deeply in love
      with Jay.

     

    screen capturescreen capture

     

    Shua, with the help of a aging Ecoban Engineer-turned resistance leader named Dr. Noah, who was involved in the creation of Ecoban’s power source, has infiltrated Ecoban’s key computer, the Delos System. There he hopes to get information to learn how to destabilize and destroy Ecoban. Unfortunately, he sets off alarms, and is forced to escape, and ends up facing off against his former best friend Jay. After he escapes, Jay seeks him out in the Marr, and they eventually re-establish their friendship, and eventually their love for one another. Meanwhile, Cade, with the help of the Malevolent Commander Locke will stop at nothing to protect the city he loves. When he finds out that his former rival Shua is involved, and that he is re-established contact with Jay, he only has one course to pursue – the total destruction of Shua and the resistance.
    screen capture

     

    The Cinematography:While the story is by no means original, the cinematography is simply stunning on every level. Wonderful Days uses real film-like effects to increase the “realness,” believability and engagement far more than any animation I’ve seen. We get everything from the use of out of focus backgrounds, changing focal points, lens flares, jerky camera movements, and incredibly interesting perspective shots. On top of this, we get wonderfully rendered raindrops, rendered under-water explosions intermixed with hand drawn fire, and the most incredible array of deep and vibrant color effects in virtually every scene.
    screen capturescreen capture

     

    And while all this is astounding, what truly blows you away is the quality of the intermixing of 2D and 3D animation. Its almost hard to explain how well the 2D animation is blended, especially if you’ve seen something like Sinbad, which almost just layers the 2D on top of a background like velcro puppets on a background. Here we get blended effects that truly serve to tie the 2D with the 3D animation. Wonderful Days is simply the best out there at this type of animation.
    screen capturescreen capture

     

    Sound Effects: While the cinematography is the real crown of this movie, the sound effects aren’t far behind. Truly, this is the best use of positional surround sound I’ve heard in an anime. We have wonderful “swoop” sounds by the motorcycles that are as good as live action racing movies, realistic explosions complete with pieces flying at you, detailed gunfire and wind sounds, and more importantly, a clear level of care throughout that rarely is equaled. As an interesting effect, the selections in the score are almost disconcerting in how different they are. We have everything from rock music to a wonderful use of opera at the end for emotional building.

    screen capture

     

    Is this Cyberpunk? You bet it is. While we don’t have the traditional merging of man and technology, all the other elements are here in spades. We get a glorious depiction of a the seedy underground, the powerful elite, impressive hacking, a wonderfully rendered dystopia, flawed heroes, and most importantly – style in abundant quantities!

    screen capture]

     

    The Bottom Line: If you’re interested in seeing the best in immersive scifi anime, Wonderful Days is a fine choice. While it doesn’t have close to the philosophical depth of Oshii’s movies, the story moves along and the immersive action is simply breathtaking. You truly do think you’re watching a continual piece of art go across the screen. And again, while the story is neither complex nor innovative, it is decently well done, especially if you dig cyberpunk-type themes. However, the quality of the cinematography and the intense care given to this film easily raises Wonderful Days up one of my favorite all-time cyberpunk movies.

    Get this for the visuals and overall cyberpunk style. Wonderful Days truly deserves to be seen by all.

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, Utopia Surrounded by Poverty, Dystopic Future Movies, 9 Star Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Animes, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 – 2009 by SFAM.
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    Armitage: Dual Matrix

    January 14, 2006

    Year: 2002

    Directed by: Katsuhito Akiyama

    Written by: Naoko Hasegawa, Hideki Kakinuma

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

    Rating: 4 out of 10


    Armitage: Dual Matrix DVD

    Overview: While the budget for the animation is better than the original Armitage, the story is SIGNIFICANTLY worse. The place where Armitage III shines (identification with the characters) is exactly where the sequel is most lacking. They ramp up the cool explosions and fights while substituting mannequins for the lead characters. This was a sequel without a story – the message had already been communicated in the first one, and now there’s nothing left to do but rehash it, only with more incoherently and with more explosions. And really, I find the animation style in the first one lots better, especially for Armitage.

    However, the two hot Armitage replicants in wings and skin-tight clothes are pretty cool. In fact, they were definitely the highlight of the movie for me.

    Also, as an unintended plus (or minus, really), if you check out the English track, you get to hear the voice of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) reprise his famous role as a side-kick. Only this time he’s a cyborg doctor (but still sounds the same).

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review

    However, the two hot Armitage replicants in wings and skin-tight clothes are pretty cool. In fact, they were definitely the highlight of the movie for me.

    Also, as an unintended plus (or minus, really), if you check out the English track, you get to hear the voice of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) reprise his famous role as a side-kick. Only this time he’s a cyborg doctor (but still sounds the same).cyberpunk movie review

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, 4 Star Movies, Animes, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 – 2009 by SFAM.

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

    January 14, 2006

    Year: 2004

    Directed by: Mamoru Oshii

    Written by: Shirow Masamune (Comic), Mamoru Oshii (Screenplay)

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

    Rating: 10 out of 10


    Overview: If you’re looking for the best instance of awesome 2D-3D anime with an incredible philosophically laden story, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence is the hands down winner. While I still like Wonderful Days more on pure cinematography, it doesn’t hold a candle on either the story or the philosophy. Oshii is truly a master at providing an incredibly intricate, fully researched message about the direction of humanity in a wonderful anime package. Make no mistake – Oshii is fully up on co-evolution theory (the co-evolution of man and his tools) and has something very interesting to add to the discussion. And while it has all of this, GITS:2 does suffer overtly and purposefully from the absence of its star character – Motoko.

    screen capture

    Major Motoko, the main character from the first Ghost in the Shell movie (which might still make an appearance here…) is no longer here, and the rest of the cast has to pick up the pieces and move on. Bateau (Ôtsuk), major motoko’s partner from the first movie, and a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot – one created solely for sexual pleasure – who slaughtered her owner. Togusa, the mostly human detective that Motoko found in Ghost 1 is assigned as Bateau’s partner. The plot thickens as the movie progresses, and the two are sent to a number of incredibly cyberpunk looking locations to uncover the truth.

    Overall, this movie has the feeling of a cast trying to cope when the major star has left. Similar to the Borg Encounter when Picard is removed, or maybe some of the first star trek series when Captain Kirk is lost somewhere doing green chicks, Motoko’s disappearance dominates a most of the back story. We get to see almost a character study of Bateau, a mostly cyborg being who has suffered the loss of the closest person alive to him struggle to maintain meaning in his life
    and Togusa failing to live up to Bateau’s expectations as a partner. While the characters are able to work fine within the plot, the movie suffers from the lack of both sex appeal and the lack of a truly dominant character.

    Similar to other Oshii films, there are instances where the plot gets put on hold to allow the philosophy to explored. This is a different sort of pacing (again copied by the matrix) which some like and others find pretentious (I like it!). The philosophy breaks are interesting, but only get fully connected at the end. Additionally, the plot is twisting enough and only clarified in the end that a second viewing would aid in comprehension.

    screen capture

    Even if you don’t like the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo or strange pacing, Ghost 2 should be seen as mandatory viewing for its truly mind blowing merging of computer imagery and hand drawn animation artistry. This is cyberpunk at its finest! Truly, Neuromancer’s William Gibson would be floored with the continually awe-inspiring scenery that’s intermixed with the grittiest of settings. I lost count of the number of sets I would have loved to freeze and place on my wall. From the creation of robots complete with fiber optic circuitry and positronic brains, to the dingy alleys of the underworld, the vast expanses of the futuristic building-scapes, this movie employs every color palette in the most effective manner imaginable. Often, you almost stop paying attention to the subtitles to just take in the scene in all its heavenly glory.

    On top of this, we get trademark moments of Oshii pacing. Oshii is fully content to leave the dialogue aside for a while and let the mood develop from the visuals and sound. Very few movies do this effectively – Avalon and GITS:2 certainly come to the top of the list. In short, the pacing makes GITS:2 a fully immersive experience in a way that visuals alone couldn’t do.

    screen capture

    GITS 2 Philosophy: In looking at the philosophy, the first Ghost was dominated by a discussion of what it means to be human and being alive. It culminated in the creation of a new species – the merging of a sentient program called the puppet master with Motoko, an alive human complete with a soul (ghost). Without knowing the details of Ghost 2, one would have expected in seeing the first movie that Oshii would have explored this vast new experience in Ghost 2, Yet this was not to be, as instead the story takes a very different perspective to the ideas covered in the first movie. Innocence is really tracing the idea that what we “see” isn’t at all real, and that reality as a concept needs significant revision. This is done in a variety of ways through mirror analogies, VR segments and discussions of whether there is a difference between artificial life and real life. In this sense, GITS2 is far more the philosophical sequel to Avalon.

    screen capture

    Ghost 2 almost turns the perspective from Ghost one on its head and looks at what it means to be a sentient program and how even humans seeking to become fully cyborg struggle to attain this plateau of ever increasing sensory perception and understanding. Taking Decarte’s notion (“I think, therefore, I am”) that sentient life does not require a ghost, Ghost 2 explores the notion that a sentient program or robot (called a “doll”) might NOT want to have a ghost, and looks at what happens when ghosts are foisted on dolls. Ideas taken for granted in the real world, like the demarcation between life and death get blended and rendered almost meaningless.

    On Dolls: Let’s go into a discussion of dolls for a moment: On one hand, dolls in our terms are purely fake, but in the eyes of a child, are actually “real” in the sense that they are assigned virtual persona and as an object and affect the behavior of the child. In effect, the notion of the child’s mind being constrained to her head is challenged – the child’s mind functions “virtually” in the doll. This notion of a doll is also examined in the sense that it contains our greatest fears – that all we are is a “shell” without something actually unique inside that makes us special. In making a cyborg “doll” that mimics a human – GITS2 poses that we are creating a human-looking shell that is sentient in the Descartes sense, but is not complete. Even worse, when given a facsimile of a ghost, we are doing real harm to the doll as the doll is now neither a stable sentient robot nor a human, but a bastardized thing in-between.

    In total, there is this ongoing discussion of three types of “ultimate” life forms: God, Dolls, and animals. They all embody the notion of innocence. God (in this sense, almost synonymous with Major Motoko’s new form) is all knowing so basic human frailties no longer affect her. Needs and desires that humans have are non-existent for God. Dolls, and in cyborg version of dolls – sentient robots, are also perfect in that they can think but don’t fall prey to human inadequacies. Finally, Oshii argues animals such as dogs are innocent. Their joys in life are simple ones – Batou’s dog scenes also serve to demonstrate that which is still “human” about Batou – everything else in his life has been rendered meaningless. In this sense, interestingly the dog takes on the same roll as a doll does with a child – This shows Batou’s mind expressing its “virtual” humanity externally.

    screen capture

    Throughout the movie are instances of humanity’s self-gratification, extreme self-importance and the consequences of over-indulgence. From the enormous cathedrals to the dingy alleyways, to the making of dolls in our own “perfect” shell of ourselves, Oshii’s message is that we are doing everything possible to hide ourselves from true humanity. The beautiful imagery of GITS 2 is the result. Freedom comes not through materialism, but through real “humanity.” However, one wonders whether Oshii thinks real humanity is in anyway restricted to humans. At some level Oshii is saying our bodies are now obsolete, and that what makes us human, our shell, may not be the purview of humans.

    screen capture

    As for the details of the merging of traditional hand drawn animation, there are a few scenes where the Babylon 5-like ships or statues don’t quite fit, but for the most part, the expansive scenes have incredible depth, and the close-ups are as exquisite as a portrait. You are truly missing out on a feat of artistic beauty if pass this movie up. And overall, GITS:2 is clearly in of the best new cyberpunk movies out. Watch it – you won’t be disappointed.

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence2.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Major Motoko, the main character from the first <a href=”/movie/decade/1990-1999/ghost-in-the-shell/”>Ghost in the Shell</a> movie (which might still make an appearance here…) is no longer here, and the rest of the cast has to pick up the pieces and move on. Bateau (Ôtsuk), major motoko’s partner from the first movie, and a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot – one created solely for sexual pleasure – who slaughtered her owner. Togusa, the mostly human detective that Motoko found in Ghost 1 is assigned as Bateau’s partner. The plot thickens as the movie progresses, and the two are sent to a number of incredibly cyberpunk looking locations to uncover the truth.

    <br>
    Overall, this movie has the feeling of a cast trying to cope when the major star has left. Similar to the Borg Encounter when Picard is removed, or maybe some of the first star trek series when Captain Kirk is lost somewhere doing green chicks, Motoko’s disappearance dominates a most of the back story. We get to see almost a character study of Bateau, a mostly cyborg being who has suffered the loss of the closest person alive to him struggle to maintain meaning in his life
    and Togusa failing to live up to Bateau’s expectations as a partner. While the characters are able to work fine within the plot, the movie suffers from the lack of both sex appeal and the lack of a truly dominant character.<br>

    <br>
    Similar to other Oshii films, there are instances where the plot gets put on hold to allow the philosophy to explored. This is a different sort of pacing (again copied by the matrix) which some like and others find pretentious (I like it!). The philosophy breaks are interesting, but only get fully connected at the end. Additionally, the plot is twisting enough and only clarified in the end that a second viewing would aid in comprehension.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence3.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Even if you don’t like the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo or strange pacing, Ghost 2 should be seen as mandatory viewing for its truly mind blowing merging of computer imagery and hand drawn animation artistry. This is cyberpunk at its finest! Truly, Neuromancer’s William Gibson would be floored with the continually awe-inspiring scenery that’s intermixed with the grittiest of settings. I lost count of the number of sets I would have loved to freeze and place on my wall. From the creation of robots complete with fiber optic circuitry and positronic brains, to the dingy alleys of the underworld, the vast expanses of the futuristic building-scapes, this movie employs every color palette in the most effective manner imaginable. Often, you almost stop paying attention to the subtitles to just take in the scene in all its heavenly glory.

    <br>
    On top of this, we get trademark moments of Oshii pacing. Oshii is fully content to leave the dialogue aside for a while and let the mood develop from the visuals and sound. Very few movies do this effectively – Avalon and GITS:2 certainly come to the top of the list. In short, the pacing makes GITS:2 a fully immersive experience in a way that visuals alone couldn’t do.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence4.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    <span class=”iTitle”>GITS 2 Philosophy: </span>In looking at the philosophy, the first Ghost was dominated by a discussion of what it means to be human and being alive. It culminated in the creation of a new species – the merging of a sentient program called the puppet master with Motoko, an alive human complete with a soul (ghost). Without knowing the details of Ghost 2, one would have expected in seeing the first movie that Oshii would have explored this vast new experience in Ghost 2, Yet this was not to be, as instead the story takes a very different perspective to the ideas covered in the first movie. Innocence is really tracing the idea that what we &quot;see&quot; isn’t at all real, and that <em>reality</em> as a concept needs significant revision. This is done in a variety of ways through mirror analogies, VR segments and discussions of whether there is a difference between artificial life and real life. In this sense, GITS2 is far more the philosophical sequel to <a href=”/movie/decade/2000-current/avalon/”>Avalon</a>.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence5.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Ghost 2 almost turns the perspective from Ghost one on its head and looks at what it means to be a sentient program and how even humans seeking to become fully cyborg struggle to attain this plateau of ever increasing sensory perception and understanding. Taking Decarte’s notion (&quot;I think, therefore, I am&quot;) that sentient life does not require a ghost, Ghost 2 explores the notion that a sentient program or robot (called a &quot;doll&quot;) might NOT want to have a ghost, and looks at what happens when ghosts are foisted on dolls. Ideas taken for granted in the real world, like the demarcation between life and death get blended and rendered almost meaningless.

    <br>
    <span class=”iTitle”>On Dolls: </span>Let’s go into a discussion of dolls for a moment: On one hand, dolls in our terms are purely fake, but in the eyes of a child, are actually &quot;real&quot; in the sense that they are assigned virtual persona and as an object and affect the behavior of the child. In effect, the notion of the child’s mind being constrained to her head is challenged – the child’s mind functions &quot;virtually&quot; in the doll. This notion of a doll is also examined in the sense that it contains our greatest fears – that all we are is a &quot;shell&quot; without something actually unique inside that makes us special. In making a cyborg &quot;doll&quot; that mimics a human – GITS2 poses that we are creating a human-looking shell that is sentient in the Descartes sense, but is not complete. Even worse, when given a facsimile of a ghost, we are doing real harm to the doll as the doll is now neither a stable sentient robot nor a human, but a bastardized thing in-between.

    <br>
    In total, there is this ongoing discussion of three types of &quot;ultimate&quot; life forms: God, Dolls, and animals. They all embody the notion of innocence. God (in this sense, almost synonymous with Major Motoko’s new form) is all knowing so basic human frailties no longer affect her. Needs and desires that humans have are non-existent for God. Dolls, and in cyborg version of dolls – sentient robots, are also perfect in that they can think but don’t fall prey to human inadequacies. Finally, Oshii argues animals such as dogs are innocent. Their joys in life are simple ones – Batou’s dog scenes also serve to demonstrate that which is still &quot;human&quot; about Batou – everything else in his life has been rendered meaningless. In this sense, interestingly the dog takes on the same roll as a doll does with a child – This shows Batou’s mind expressing its &quot;virtual&quot; humanity externally.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence6.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Throughout the movie are instances of humanity’s self-gratification, extreme self-importance and the consequences of over-indulgence. From the enormous cathedrals to the dingy alleyways, to the making of dolls in our own “perfect” shell of ourselves, Oshii’s message is that we are doing everything possible to hide ourselves from <em>true</em> humanity. The beautiful imagery of GITS 2 is the result. Freedom comes not through materialism, but through real “humanity.” However, one wonders whether Oshii thinks real humanity is in anyway restricted to humans. At some level Oshii is saying our bodies are now obsolete, and that what makes us human, our shell, may not be the purview of humans.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence7.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    As for the details of the merging of traditional hand drawn animation, there are a few scenes where the Babylon 5-like ships or statues don’t quite fit, but for the most part, the expansive scenes have incredible depth, and the close-ups are as exquisite as a portrait. You are truly missing out on a feat of artistic beauty if pass this movie up. And overall, GITS:2 is clearly in of the best new cyberpunk movies out. Watch it – you won’t be disappointed.

    <br>cyberpunk movie review

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, AI (no body), Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Man-machine Interface, 10 Star Movies, Android Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Animes, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 – 2009 by SFAM.

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

    January 14, 2006

    Year: 2004

    Directed by: Mamoru Oshii

    Written by: Shirow Masamune (Comic), Mamoru Oshii (Screenplay)

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

    Rating: 10 out of 10


    Overview: If you’re looking for the best instance of awesome 2D-3D anime with an incredible philosophically laden story, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence is the hands down winner. While I still like Wonderful Days more on pure cinematography, it doesn’t hold a candle on either the story or the philosophy. Oshii is truly a master at providing an incredibly intricate, fully researched message about the direction of humanity in a wonderful anime package. Make no mistake – Oshii is fully up on co-evolution theory (the co-evolution of man and his tools) and has something very interesting to add to the discussion. And while it has all of this, GITS:2 does suffer overtly and purposefully from the absence of its star character – Motoko.

    screen capture

    Major Motoko, the main character from the first Ghost in the Shell movie (which might still make an appearance here…) is no longer here, and the rest of the cast has to pick up the pieces and move on. Bateau (Ôtsuk), major motoko’s partner from the first movie, and a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot – one created solely for sexual pleasure – who slaughtered her owner. Togusa, the mostly human detective that Motoko found in Ghost 1 is assigned as Bateau’s partner. The plot thickens as the movie progresses, and the two are sent to a number of incredibly cyberpunk looking locations to uncover the truth.

    Overall, this movie has the feeling of a cast trying to cope when the major star has left. Similar to the Borg Encounter when Picard is removed, or maybe some of the first star trek series when Captain Kirk is lost somewhere doing green chicks, Motoko’s disappearance dominates a most of the back story. We get to see almost a character study of Bateau, a mostly cyborg being who has suffered the loss of the closest person alive to him struggle to maintain meaning in his life
    and Togusa failing to live up to Bateau’s expectations as a partner. While the characters are able to work fine within the plot, the movie suffers from the lack of both sex appeal and the lack of a truly dominant character.

    Similar to other Oshii films, there are instances where the plot gets put on hold to allow the philosophy to explored. This is a different sort of pacing (again copied by the matrix) which some like and others find pretentious (I like it!). The philosophy breaks are interesting, but only get fully connected at the end. Additionally, the plot is twisting enough and only clarified in the end that a second viewing would aid in comprehension.

    screen capture

    Even if you don’t like the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo or strange pacing, Ghost 2 should be seen as mandatory viewing for its truly mind blowing merging of computer imagery and hand drawn animation artistry. This is cyberpunk at its finest! Truly, Neuromancer’s William Gibson would be floored with the continually awe-inspiring scenery that’s intermixed with the grittiest of settings. I lost count of the number of sets I would have loved to freeze and place on my wall. From the creation of robots complete with fiber optic circuitry and positronic brains, to the dingy alleys of the underworld, the vast expanses of the futuristic building-scapes, this movie employs every color palette in the most effective manner imaginable. Often, you almost stop paying attention to the subtitles to just take in the scene in all its heavenly glory.

    On top of this, we get trademark moments of Oshii pacing. Oshii is fully content to leave the dialogue aside for a while and let the mood develop from the visuals and sound. Very few movies do this effectively – Avalon and GITS:2 certainly come to the top of the list. In short, the pacing makes GITS:2 a fully immersive experience in a way that visuals alone couldn’t do.

    screen capture

    GITS 2 Philosophy: In looking at the philosophy, the first Ghost was dominated by a discussion of what it means to be human and being alive. It culminated in the creation of a new species – the merging of a sentient program called the puppet master with Motoko, an alive human complete with a soul (ghost). Without knowing the details of Ghost 2, one would have expected in seeing the first movie that Oshii would have explored this vast new experience in Ghost 2, Yet this was not to be, as instead the story takes a very different perspective to the ideas covered in the first movie. Innocence is really tracing the idea that what we “see” isn’t at all real, and that reality as a concept needs significant revision. This is done in a variety of ways through mirror analogies, VR segments and discussions of whether there is a difference between artificial life and real life. In this sense, GITS2 is far more the philosophical sequel to Avalon.

    screen capture

    Ghost 2 almost turns the perspective from Ghost one on its head and looks at what it means to be a sentient program and how even humans seeking to become fully cyborg struggle to attain this plateau of ever increasing sensory perception and understanding. Taking Decarte’s notion (“I think, therefore, I am”) that sentient life does not require a ghost, Ghost 2 explores the notion that a sentient program or robot (called a “doll”) might NOT want to have a ghost, and looks at what happens when ghosts are foisted on dolls. Ideas taken for granted in the real world, like the demarcation between life and death get blended and rendered almost meaningless.

    On Dolls: Let’s go into a discussion of dolls for a moment: On one hand, dolls in our terms are purely fake, but in the eyes of a child, are actually “real” in the sense that they are assigned virtual persona and as an object and affect the behavior of the child. In effect, the notion of the child’s mind being constrained to her head is challenged – the child’s mind functions “virtually” in the doll. This notion of a doll is also examined in the sense that it contains our greatest fears – that all we are is a “shell” without something actually unique inside that makes us special. In making a cyborg “doll” that mimics a human – GITS2 poses that we are creating a human-looking shell that is sentient in the Descartes sense, but is not complete. Even worse, when given a facsimile of a ghost, we are doing real harm to the doll as the doll is now neither a stable sentient robot nor a human, but a bastardized thing in-between.

    In total, there is this ongoing discussion of three types of “ultimate” life forms: God, Dolls, and animals. They all embody the notion of innocence. God (in this sense, almost synonymous with Major Motoko’s new form) is all knowing so basic human frailties no longer affect her. Needs and desires that humans have are non-existent for God. Dolls, and in cyborg version of dolls – sentient robots, are also perfect in that they can think but don’t fall prey to human inadequacies. Finally, Oshii argues animals such as dogs are innocent. Their joys in life are simple ones – Batou’s dog scenes also serve to demonstrate that which is still “human” about Batou – everything else in his life has been rendered meaningless. In this sense, interestingly the dog takes on the same roll as a doll does with a child – This shows Batou’s mind expressing its “virtual” humanity externally.

    screen capture

    Throughout the movie are instances of humanity’s self-gratification, extreme self-importance and the consequences of over-indulgence. From the enormous cathedrals to the dingy alleyways, to the making of dolls in our own “perfect” shell of ourselves, Oshii’s message is that we are doing everything possible to hide ourselves from true humanity. The beautiful imagery of GITS 2 is the result. Freedom comes not through materialism, but through real “humanity.” However, one wonders whether Oshii thinks real humanity is in anyway restricted to humans. At some level Oshii is saying our bodies are now obsolete, and that what makes us human, our shell, may not be the purview of humans.

    screen capture

    As for the details of the merging of traditional hand drawn animation, there are a few scenes where the Babylon 5-like ships or statues don’t quite fit, but for the most part, the expansive scenes have incredible depth, and the close-ups are as exquisite as a portrait. You are truly missing out on a feat of artistic beauty if pass this movie up. And overall, GITS:2 is clearly in of the best new cyberpunk movies out. Watch it – you won’t be disappointed.

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence2.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Major Motoko, the main character from the first <a href=”/movie/decade/1990-1999/ghost-in-the-shell/”>Ghost in the Shell</a> movie (which might still make an appearance here…) is no longer here, and the rest of the cast has to pick up the pieces and move on. Bateau (Ôtsuk), major motoko’s partner from the first movie, and a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot – one created solely for sexual pleasure – who slaughtered her owner. Togusa, the mostly human detective that Motoko found in Ghost 1 is assigned as Bateau’s partner. The plot thickens as the movie progresses, and the two are sent to a number of incredibly cyberpunk looking locations to uncover the truth.

    <br>
    Overall, this movie has the feeling of a cast trying to cope when the major star has left. Similar to the Borg Encounter when Picard is removed, or maybe some of the first star trek series when Captain Kirk is lost somewhere doing green chicks, Motoko’s disappearance dominates a most of the back story. We get to see almost a character study of Bateau, a mostly cyborg being who has suffered the loss of the closest person alive to him struggle to maintain meaning in his life
    and Togusa failing to live up to Bateau’s expectations as a partner. While the characters are able to work fine within the plot, the movie suffers from the lack of both sex appeal and the lack of a truly dominant character.<br>

    <br>
    Similar to other Oshii films, there are instances where the plot gets put on hold to allow the philosophy to explored. This is a different sort of pacing (again copied by the matrix) which some like and others find pretentious (I like it!). The philosophy breaks are interesting, but only get fully connected at the end. Additionally, the plot is twisting enough and only clarified in the end that a second viewing would aid in comprehension.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence3.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Even if you don’t like the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo or strange pacing, Ghost 2 should be seen as mandatory viewing for its truly mind blowing merging of computer imagery and hand drawn animation artistry. This is cyberpunk at its finest! Truly, Neuromancer’s William Gibson would be floored with the continually awe-inspiring scenery that’s intermixed with the grittiest of settings. I lost count of the number of sets I would have loved to freeze and place on my wall. From the creation of robots complete with fiber optic circuitry and positronic brains, to the dingy alleys of the underworld, the vast expanses of the futuristic building-scapes, this movie employs every color palette in the most effective manner imaginable. Often, you almost stop paying attention to the subtitles to just take in the scene in all its heavenly glory.

    <br>
    On top of this, we get trademark moments of Oshii pacing. Oshii is fully content to leave the dialogue aside for a while and let the mood develop from the visuals and sound. Very few movies do this effectively – Avalon and GITS:2 certainly come to the top of the list. In short, the pacing makes GITS:2 a fully immersive experience in a way that visuals alone couldn’t do.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence4.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    <span class=”iTitle”>GITS 2 Philosophy: </span>In looking at the philosophy, the first Ghost was dominated by a discussion of what it means to be human and being alive. It culminated in the creation of a new species – the merging of a sentient program called the puppet master with Motoko, an alive human complete with a soul (ghost). Without knowing the details of Ghost 2, one would have expected in seeing the first movie that Oshii would have explored this vast new experience in Ghost 2, Yet this was not to be, as instead the story takes a very different perspective to the ideas covered in the first movie. Innocence is really tracing the idea that what we &quot;see&quot; isn’t at all real, and that <em>reality</em> as a concept needs significant revision. This is done in a variety of ways through mirror analogies, VR segments and discussions of whether there is a difference between artificial life and real life. In this sense, GITS2 is far more the philosophical sequel to <a href=”/movie/decade/2000-current/avalon/”>Avalon</a>.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence5.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Ghost 2 almost turns the perspective from Ghost one on its head and looks at what it means to be a sentient program and how even humans seeking to become fully cyborg struggle to attain this plateau of ever increasing sensory perception and understanding. Taking Decarte’s notion (&quot;I think, therefore, I am&quot;) that sentient life does not require a ghost, Ghost 2 explores the notion that a sentient program or robot (called a &quot;doll&quot;) might NOT want to have a ghost, and looks at what happens when ghosts are foisted on dolls. Ideas taken for granted in the real world, like the demarcation between life and death get blended and rendered almost meaningless.

    <br>
    <span class=”iTitle”>On Dolls: </span>Let’s go into a discussion of dolls for a moment: On one hand, dolls in our terms are purely fake, but in the eyes of a child, are actually &quot;real&quot; in the sense that they are assigned virtual persona and as an object and affect the behavior of the child. In effect, the notion of the child’s mind being constrained to her head is challenged – the child’s mind functions &quot;virtually&quot; in the doll. This notion of a doll is also examined in the sense that it contains our greatest fears – that all we are is a &quot;shell&quot; without something actually unique inside that makes us special. In making a cyborg &quot;doll&quot; that mimics a human – GITS2 poses that we are creating a human-looking shell that is sentient in the Descartes sense, but is not complete. Even worse, when given a facsimile of a ghost, we are doing real harm to the doll as the doll is now neither a stable sentient robot nor a human, but a bastardized thing in-between.

    <br>
    In total, there is this ongoing discussion of three types of &quot;ultimate&quot; life forms: God, Dolls, and animals. They all embody the notion of innocence. God (in this sense, almost synonymous with Major Motoko’s new form) is all knowing so basic human frailties no longer affect her. Needs and desires that humans have are non-existent for God. Dolls, and in cyborg version of dolls – sentient robots, are also perfect in that they can think but don’t fall prey to human inadequacies. Finally, Oshii argues animals such as dogs are innocent. Their joys in life are simple ones – Batou’s dog scenes also serve to demonstrate that which is still &quot;human&quot; about Batou – everything else in his life has been rendered meaningless. In this sense, interestingly the dog takes on the same roll as a doll does with a child – This shows Batou’s mind expressing its &quot;virtual&quot; humanity externally.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence6.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    Throughout the movie are instances of humanity’s self-gratification, extreme self-importance and the consequences of over-indulgence. From the enormous cathedrals to the dingy alleyways, to the making of dolls in our own “perfect” shell of ourselves, Oshii’s message is that we are doing everything possible to hide ourselves from <em>true</em> humanity. The beautiful imagery of GITS 2 is the result. Freedom comes not through materialism, but through real “humanity.” However, one wonders whether Oshii thinks real humanity is in anyway restricted to humans. At some level Oshii is saying our bodies are now obsolete, and that what makes us human, our shell, may not be the purview of humans.

    <img src=”/images/gits-innocence7.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    As for the details of the merging of traditional hand drawn animation, there are a few scenes where the Babylon 5-like ships or statues don’t quite fit, but for the most part, the expansive scenes have incredible depth, and the close-ups are as exquisite as a portrait. You are truly missing out on a feat of artistic beauty if pass this movie up. And overall, GITS:2 is clearly in of the best new cyberpunk movies out. Watch it – you won’t be disappointed.

    <br>cyberpunk movie review

    This post has been filed under Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, AI (no body), Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Man-machine Interface, 10 Star Movies, Android Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Animes, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 – current by SFAM.