Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: This movie should be used as a masterclass on how to use CGI in anime. The animation is simply amazing and completely blew me away. This is to date the best looking anime I've ever seen.
SOUND: Like the art there has been put considerable effort into the music and sound effects. This isn't that odd though as this is a movie and movies generally have a bigger budget than series. Voice acting is excellent.
CHARACTERS: With Motoko out of the picture after the first movie we now focus on Batou. He has taken her place as field commander of Section 9 and tries hard to replace her.
STORY: It is some time after the Puppet Master event and Motoko is still missing. With her gone it is now Batou who commands the field operations. Current case is finding out why dolls suddenly start going berserk and killing people. The path leads to the darker side of humanity and it take all of his skills to make it out alive.
RANT: When I said that this was the best looking anime I've ever seen I meant it. This anime looks amazing but at times I wonder if they went for looks instead of story. Yes it looks amazing but the story just grinds to a hold every now and then to show you this amazing scene that has nothing to do with anything.
In this case I'm talking about the scene where Batou goes home and just hangs out with his dog. It looks gorgeous but has nothing to do with the rest of the story. At most it is a set up to an attack that happens a bit later when we follow Batou on his way home again. As a set up it works just fine but you could have easily cut 90% of the sequence and you would have lost nothing of importance. The dog never appears again in the anime so...yeah.
I'm a fan of the GITS series so I would have bought this regardless but even if you hate the series I would suggest getting it simple for the visuals alone.
3 years after the disappearance of Motoko, Batou is assigned with Togusa to investigate a string of murders by sexaroids, female androids created for sex. What they find is a series of events delving deeper into the world of man-machine interface than ever before.
To put it simply, Innocence is nowhere near the same level of storytelling as the first Ghost in the Shell film and to some people, this may come as a massive disappointment. However, I felt that although the film was somewhat lacking in the plot department, there was enough of it that the same quality of depth in the story was still felt. It manages to portray the interesting effect of, what could happen should humans become too attached to machines. It is this basis, which underlie the entire Ghost in the Shell franchise, that makes Innocence still of an acceptable level for viewing. Don’t go expecting to fully understand everything in one viewing, as despite a well written plot, it’s still hidden behind the animation.
I’m not going to hold back in this section. Innocence is by far, one of the best animated films ever to be released. No arguing there, as it lets rip with some stunning 3D graphics that literally is a visual orgasm. Feast your eyes upon how they seamlessly blend you standard anime format with the computer graphics. It’s a film made to stun and take your breath away, with more movement than I’ve ever seen before in the background scenes. To not give Innocence anything other than a 10 for this would be criminal as it delivers the best of animation.
Kenji Kawai stunning score for Ghost in the Shell is reprised here, with the composer producing some incredible music themes. The opening is stunning and the simple, yet effective score perfectly accompanies this. It is rare to see a film where the music is so carefully blended into the scenes with untold precision. But this is not the only place where the sounds should be noted. Having watched the extras that came with the film, it is extraordinary to find out the sheer lengths they went to produce the sound. The music box theme was written and then made into an actual music box system to produce the authentic feel. Just these small bits help make a massive difference and when you throw in slower speaking Japanese cast, the effect is inspirational. The same consistency with the quality of communication is maintained in the film.
Those who saw the original Ghost in the Shell film will see the reprisal of Section 9 again. The focus though, is less with the Major who disappeared following the events of the first film, but on Batou. While this transition may upset some people, I felt that it helped to keep freshness about the film. After all, most of the franchise likes to focus on what the Major is doing and doesn’t expand as much as it could on the other members of the team. With Innocence we get the opportunity to see this development and goes so far as to make each of the new characters an individual, with their own circumstances.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this film was made to be one of the best animated films ever made. It was nominated, but failed to win at the 57th</sup> Cannes Film Festival and while it may be seen as a lesser status film than the original; it still manages to produce some brilliant animation, sound and character development. The only qualm with it is that the storyline is somewhat confusing and hard to follow. But despite this it should be regarded as one of the modern masterworks of anime.
First of all, if you are not a big GITS fan, turn back now, this is not a movie for you!
Innocence is bad. I watched it back to back with the original GITS movie, which is longer, but felt like it was over in an hour. Innocence however dragged on endlessly. It's pacing is the absolute worst, and as the mediocre story pans out we are forced to endure a needless torrent of quotes that in such quantity, eventually become redundant. The only points this gets is for the scene of Batou's home, which was done well, but can hardly be considered story. Discussing the plot further would be an insult to my own intelligence, as it ultimately gives up and after wasting time on a lengthy set up, never delivers on anything.
Probably the best. And I mean the best I've seen, easily. It's a huge shame that this falls in the look-great-but-suck category, because the blend of cg and animation is perfect. Almost all this anime's score is thanks to this.
Pretty average, but this is mainly opinion, I'm sure the score would be higher if I had more appreciation for the track this anime profusely pops up. Regardless, the audio if anything distracts from the atrocious excuse for a plot.
The only points here are for the slight development of Batou, or at least the attention they give to his personal life are acceptable but short lived and serve absolutely no purpose. Other than that, few characters are mentioned and none developed.
This is the hardest anime movie I have ever had to get through, and if you look at my other reviews I have seen some pretty slow stuff. It is boring, painfully so, the entire way through. I hate to say it but I felt a weight off my shoulders as the difficult ordeal of reaching the other side of the hour and forty minute long movie. Check out Batou's home scene, which really should have been in the tv series, and maybe skim through the film for the great visuals, but if you are seeking anything to the quality of the rest of GITS you will be sorely dissapointed.
"Life and death come and go like marionettes dancing on a table. Once their strings are cut, they easily crumble."
~ Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence ~
Filled with puzzling quotes, this one being crystal clear - No ties, no goals, no control, no purpose. An apt phrase written on the walls of a lunatic ex-hacker's home. As a sequel with a deep and frighteningly thought provoking storyline, GITS2:I is best viewed with the experience of viewing (and understanding) the first Masamune Shirow film, because while it could work as a stand alone film, there are several references, returning characters and themes that are best grasped beforehand.
"When dialog fails, it's time for violence" (Story)
Those familiar with the original film from 1995 will be fairly better off interpreting the story here, as Batou, a beast of a heavily machine augmented man, struts about his police unit with his new partner, Togusa, often taking the law into his own hands when he deems fit. Even when troubling crimes arise, his attitude stays largely the same. The crimes in question are grim and the reasons behind them even worse - most likely why the film has a over 15's rating. Set in 2032, mankind has implemented machines into everyday life, more importantly, machines that ressemble the appearance of humans. This is the creepy theme that runs through the film, questioning a humans need for its creations to ressemble the creator. GITS2:I reveals the harsh but inevitable truth that these androids (gynoids) are being created for far sinister purposes than to aid in the workplace. As the title suggests, these machines are inhabited by the 'ghosts' or essence of the people they once were or resembled. However when a series of these machines malfunction and commit gruesome crimes, Batou and Togusa are called up to figure out just what the hell is going on. The one thing these gynoids have in common? They're all sex dolls. So when the crime syndicate, the Yakuza are revealed to be involved in the kidnapping of young girls, the situation becomes even more dire. The story is intriguing and unsettling, but unfortunately let down whenever a conversation lasts over 5 minutes.
"Just as luck appears in three, so does misfortune." (Visuals, Environments & CGI)
This is when the visuals come into question - as this film is very well received thanks to its glorious CGI integration with the animation, its obvious that its where all the budget went. Many conversations are dreerily held in dark rooms with 2 or 3 people talking, with a mouth moving and the occasional blink. This is the problem in my eyes, because all the animations of movement looks fantastically smooth, but there are so many times when everyone stays completely still whilst the they dish out pages of dialogue thats as dim as the lifeless pictures. The surroundings in particular look devine, with bright neon signs outside, lighting up the night sky and classy roll's royce style cars polluting the roads. The design of the gynoids is menacingly awesome as their eyes glow and all seem to loo like geishas. My personal favourite graphics where scenes with Batou's dog. That's right, the most inappropriate, unnecessary aspect of the film. The director makes it personal as he has the same breed of dog (a Basset Hound) and makes sure all the visuals with the dog very well done, and as a dog owner myself, I can see the attraction and similarities. Conversations aside, the action scenes normally contain anime character designs and extremely detailed CGI surroundings, blending together seamlessly.
"No, I'll lead. You're so damned big, I can't cover you!" (Summary)
Being totally honest, I like the idea of the film more than watching it - kind of makes me sleepy - and at 100 minutes, I believe it is too long for what's in store, almost as if some scenes are used as filler and not relative. There's also several sayings, mainly from Batou, that just sound a bit silly really such as: "no matter how far a jackass may travel, it will never return as a horse." and "When there is no right or wrong it's time to beat the drums and attack". The case may say 'from the makers of spirited away and howl's moving castle' but this isn't a legitimate fact as Studio Ghibli films are renown for their stories, so the creators are behind the visuals more than anything else. The music though is just spine tingling as before, with the same theme song used again - a chillingly beautiful 'Japanese Wedding' song supposed to ward of evil influences. Also, the CGI interludes (with the aforementioned song) are visually dazzling, if a little mental with its parade balloons, performers and machines.
Double Disc Set DVD Features
-Sneak Peaks for GITS series
-Interview with director