Story and Characters
Our story follows Motoko Kusanagi, AKA the Major, as she searches for an elusive hacker named The Puppet Master. This notorious figure had been hacking into important people, such as governmental officials.
Oshii has managed to craft a very clever film that doesn't just rely on lots of action. Action scenes are used sparingly but effectively, building up tension before each scene. It's grounded and keeps you watching.
The real meat is the stuff in-between the action, most notably Motoko's struggles with her own humanity. She is a full cyborg, consisting of a fully cybernetic body with her human element being her 'ghost', a word used in the GITS universe to stand for one's consciousness. Upon meeting the Puppet Master her own perceptions on what makes someone human are really challenged.
The characters in the film are strong, especially Motoko. I really liked the working relationship she had with her partner Batou, they played off each other very well and it felt like they had a genuine friendship.
The film is paced very well, with slow scenes soaked in the atmosphere of the setting followed by the upping of the tempo leading to action.
The Technical Stuff
For a 1995 film this is certainly a great looking anime and holds up pretty well by today’s standards. It has a strong art style that goes for a grimy, realistic look and it just works wonders. A great scene to demonstrate this is the one where Motoko travels on a boat atop a river filled with rubbish, really showing how society is very much showing signs of desecration.
The music used is fantastic and works really well with the feel the film is going for, that of a more philosophical approach to cyberpunk.
This film consists of cyberpunk themes, what it means to be alive or human and cyborg fun. This is a big yes from me!
We have an anime classic that everyone should try and see especially if you are a cyberpunk fan. I recommend you watch this film first if you haven’t watched any Ghost in the Shell.
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