If you haven’t spent the last decade nailing twelve gauge ass squirrels to the local church warden’s shed, you are aware that 攻殻機動隊, better known as Ghost in the Shell is a milestone in the up-and-coming popcultural zeitgeist of the nineties. Balanced between the chock-full action wet-dream Asian cityscape of the twentysomething era and the mindlessly perdu monologues of robotic existentialism, the movie came to be something of epic proportions on a 10/10 scale. The dialogues – both in English and Japanese – are regularly sampled in the electronic scene, the dramaturgy is well set, the voice acting (and the selection of Japanese seiyuus, voice actors) is exemplary. The movie is still a classic in the cyberpunk pantheon, giving birth to a chain of movies (such as the Matrix) and a rare example of marvel. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence boasted a better, CG-enhanced graphic style and a tsunami of harder-to-follow philosophic rants, while the two Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex TV series leant more into the faster-executed anime SF look with a better storyline (compared to Innocence, at least and the same stands for the Standalone Complex movie as well). All in all, a decent and thought-provoking, well-rounded franchise. That’s just been buttfucked by an enhanced version called Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (DVD release date in Japan is 19/12/2008).
More (pictures and epic teardrops) after the jump.
No probs with the package, though – a lovely addendum is the 16-page leaflet containing short interviews with director Mamoru Oshii, Puppet Master seiyuu Yoshiko Sakakibara and Motoko Kusanagi seiyuu Atsuko Tanaka and also some production notes. A lovely addendum, as you have nothing more to love – the DVDitself is quite Spartan, containing the movie (Japanese audio track, Japanese or English subtitles), a promotion movie and a theatrical trailer, nothing else.
As for the revamped movie itself – the intro sequence, the diving and thermo camouflage scenes and some exterior scenes have undergone a major surgery, a few others some minor redesign. Quite unfortunately, this means that the new CG shots (that now boast a reddish-yellowish tint instead of the classic green color) and the older “classic” hand-drawn scenes (that also appear to have received some post-prod effects) don’t really snap together, they just don’t match at all, however decent some scenes turned out to be (and I have to say that the final “the net is vast and infinite” scene ends up way better than the original, but still). The 3D model of Motoko is simply not lively enough (even the quite plastic characters of the Final Fantasy: Advent Children movie had more life than this version of Kusanagi) and even if you could put up with this – the re-recorded audio tracks really drive the point home: the 1995 theatrical release of the movie became a cult classic. You either refurnish every piece of the home you came to know to make it better or you are nothing better than a meddler. And believe me, this qualifies as unserious meddling.
If you want something of value in the Ghost in the Shell universe, read the Innocence: After the Long Goodbye novel. Just managed to flip it through during the holiday period and trust me, that’s one of the best science fiction pieces that I read in the past five years and certainly the best Japanese SF. So there. As for the movie: do not spend a yen on it. While the story’s still brilliant, the visual cohesion degraded, voice acting got worse and that’s the Japanese edition that we’re talking about, which is not exactly cheap to order on a really short notice and not a dime cheaper if you let the postal service take it real slow on you. Again, no.