GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 (1995)


GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 is a 1995 anime cyberpunk film directed by 押井 守 (Mamoru Oshii) and written by 伊藤 和典 (Kazunori Itō) starring 田中 敦子 (Atsuko Tanaka), 大塚 明夫 (Akio Ōtsuka) and 家弓 家正 (Iemasa Kayumi). It tells the story of 公安9課 (Public Security Section 9)’s investigation to capture the Puppet Master, an entity that hijacks people’s ghosts for criminal purposes. An explanation of every term used here can be found in the Wikipedia article “World of Ghost in the Shell”.

Far from being an ordinary crime film, Ghost in the Shell explores the complex themes of gender identity, humanity and sexuality in a cybernetic world. I was almost troubled by 草薙 素子 (Motoko Kusanagi): a feminine cyborg, far from being a female human, she (?) is only anthropomorphic, has a human voice, and seems to be sentient. Most of the film is about her quest for humanity and her machine (a)sexuality.

The art direction amazed me, the city being a generic Asian sprawl inspired by Hong Kong, there was room for an intricate background of perpetually moving objects, masses and crowds. The special effects don’t use much CGI, a welcome trait, even two years after Jurassic Park, the technical brilliance could have been soiled by rapidly obsolete visuals.

Notwithstanding its cultural significance on the whole science-fiction genre, Ghost in the Shell is well worth watching for amazing visuals and thought-provoking pondering about cybernetics.