245 of 259 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
I've read a few reviews comparing 'Ghost in the Shell' to 'The Matrix'. Personally I don't think it's an accurate comparison at all. Think 'Blade Runner' here. It has the same kind of atmosphere that made BR such a cult movie and it deals with the same subject. Compared to most other animes out there, GITS may seem a little dull, but if you're the kind who likes to...
Published on March 1, 2000
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great anime, but where is the Japanese audio, and English subtitles??!!
Excellent anime for anyone getting into the genre, or for those Shirow fans who have to have everything! A classic, but a classic with one major flaw.
That flaw being that they didn't add the original Japanese audio along with the English subtitles for this UMD! Sorry, but that is just unforgiveable, and don't get me wrong I still love it and the English audio...
Published on September 6, 2005 by S. Baker
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245 of 259 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)I've read a few reviews comparing 'Ghost in the Shell' to 'The Matrix'. Personally I don't think it's an accurate comparison at all. Think 'Blade Runner' here. It has the same kind of atmosphere that made BR such a cult movie and it deals with the same subject. Compared to most other animes out there, GITS may seem a little dull, but if you're the kind who likes to have some brain activity when watching an anime, then you'll probably like this. One other thing that caught my attention is that, like 'Blade Runner', it flows along like water. You could easily start watching it and find yourself loosing track of time. It is short tough, only 82 min. It's a shame really, because with the vast amount of sub-plots present in Masamune Shirow's original work they could easily make an anime with well over 2hrs. That aside, the animation is some of the best you will ever see. Kusanagi's battle with the tank at the end comes to mind. Very sleek. The music is also very peculiar. It's kinda of a cross between ambient, electronica and new age. It's not for everyone be warned. Unlike normal music scores, Kenji Kawai's score does not bring the action to life, quite on the contrary. It's always present very softly in the background to the point of you forgetting about it. It creates a sense of detachment, or contemplation that, in my opinion, works great for this kind of movie, however I can see why some people would disagree. All in all, this one is a true classic to be ranked along the side of Akira. Get it!
Image Quality: Very good for the most part. The anime's dark atmosphere and dull colours transfer well to DVD. The blacks aren't as good as I would hope and at some points the image quality is, for some reason, a tad worse (the intro shots for example), however times like these are few and far between. The whole image is very soft and I hoped the edges would be a little more sharp. I'm not sure if this is because of the transfer or the movie itself because I haven't seen 'Ghost in the Shell' in any other digital format and I certainly aren't going to take for reference the VHS edition *grin*. But don't let what I said put you off, as for the most part you'll be more than satisfied at the image quality. For an example, when the optic camouflage kicks in and you have the 'rainbow' effect (if you see it you'll know what I'm talking about) all the colours are very well defined and very crisp and you'll find yourself thinking how cool it looks. On another shot of Bateau inside his car more to the end, you can see water drops on the side window... try doing that on VHS. Very nice.
Sound Quality: When I bought this DVD I wasn't expecting anything special on the sound department. Boy, was I wrong. The sound comes in two flavours: English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 The stereo version is nothing to write home about. It's adequate... just. The only good thing about it is that you get to hear the Japanese voice acting which is always nice, other than that (if you've got a 5.1 setup) just forget about it. The 5.1 version is where the sound really comes to life. It hasn't got an intricate and complex soundstage like 'Twister' for example, but it sure delivers the sound with a punch. Your subwoofer will love you every time you pop in this DVD. From the roaring explosions, machine gun fire or the deep drums on some parts of the musical score, the bass is always deep and clear. Music is all around you, coming from all channels most of the time, so this at least creates an involving atmosphere, especially when the music is of the ambient type I've described. The surround channels are also nicely used. When shots are fired you get a sort of 'echo' effect going in the two surrounds. It might not be accurate, but when those HV bullets start flying around, you'll be glad to have the right setup. On the market chase scene, for example you get voices and sounds coming from the surrounds bringing the market to life. The surround channels are never aggressive nor overused, but I think this is the best you can expect out an anime.
Extras: Well, they're better than most DVD I've seen. You get a 25-30 min 'Making of Ghost in the Shell' which is narrated by the guy who does the voice of Bateau in the English version (I hope I'm right about this, it does sound a lot like him). This won't tell you anything terribly new, but it does provide a little insight at some of the techniques used.
The DVD also has a sort of index that provide information on certain aspects of the universe of 'Ghost in the Shell'. Characters, machine design, the various sections involved, etc... again, nothing terribly new, but I can see how it can shed some light in certain areas to those who aren't very familiarised with Shirow's universe or the anime itself. The rest of the extras are just ads for manga video, polygram, fan clubs, etc...
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual, existential action anime,
Major Kusanagi Motoko is a skillfully trained cyborg assassin in Newport's Section 9, who's taking out a diplomat illegally trying to give immunity to a listed programmer, demonstrates her training, including an amazing moment when she dives off a building, picks off her target, and via a thermoptic camouflage (i.e. portable cloaking device), vanishes from sight.
She and the members of her team, consisting of the mostly human Togusa, Ichikawa, and Batou, a burly no-nonsense blond cyborg with electronic eye implants, are trying to track down the Puppet Master. The Puppet Master is a master hacker who hacks into people's brains and uses them for his dirty work, presumably to carry out espionage or terrorism, leaving his puppets no memory of their infiltration. One of his puppets keeps using a public computer to try to infiltrate the brain of his wife, who is divorcing him and wants custody of their child. When he's picked up, he is told by Section 9 that his wife, child, and divorce are all false memories imprinted by the Puppet Master, causing further distress to the man when he is told the fake memories can't be erased.
However, there are two conflicts going on. One is Kusanagi's mission to hunt down the Puppet Master. The other and the one with a deeper meaning is the search for her identity within the scheme of a whole, or rather, something beyond her individual self, highlighted by her words taken from the Book of Corinthians: "For now we through a glass, darkly." This reflects an earlier statement when she says in observation of a victim of the Puppet Master, "all data that exists is both fantasy and reality. Whichever it is, the data a person collects in a lifetime is a tiny bit compared to the whole." A postmodernist flair is introduced when the Puppet Master says "While memories may as well be the same as fantasy, it is by these memories that mankind exists."
The question thus is, is it possible for the soul to exist in a highly technological world, where special operatives have cyborg shells, metabolic control systems, ESP, and cyber-brains?
Her attempt at defining the self begins with a unique face, voice, childhood memories, feelings for the future, and the set of mental processes producing a consciousness that is "me." However, upon a discovery involving the Puppet Master, she further worries that what if there wasn't a real "me," that "I believe I exist based only on what my environment tells me. ... What if a computer brain can generate a ghost and harbor a soul? On what basis then do I believe in myself?" In other words, what if there is no higher power to connect to, bringing into mind the word "religion," which means "to reconnect to."
The action sequences aren't extreme, ultraviolent, or gratuitous in the chase sequences, but are moderate, that is until the heavy artillery is brought out, at which point glass, metal, and rock starts to fly. A very intelligent, thought-provoking, one-of-a-kind existential, soul-searching anime, with Kusanagi despite its cyborg dominance showing some human traits.
48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I had to see it twice to fully appreciate it...,
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)"Ghost In The Shell" is the most engaging anime I have yet to be exposed to. I've also seen: "Vampire Hunter D", "Macross Plus" (loved it), "Do You Remember Love" (a fave), and...uh, does "Robotech", "Transformers The Movie", and "Voltron" (Golion/Dairugger XV) count? Okay, you get the picture -- I'm not exactly a die-hard anime fan yet, but I really do prefer Japanimation to any other kind of animation (seriously!); so here goes my review:
I'd heard so much good stuff about this film that I finally decided to rent it, along with 1998's "Dark City" (which was a good decision). The first time I watched it, I found myself resisting the urge to write down technical details like "Section 6", and "Section 9", and "MOFA" because they seemed to be important details to remember. The movie ran its course, and I felt a little (no, very!) disappointed. Then I decided to read what others had to say online, and they seemed to (for the most part), enjoy it. Many folks also suggested that viewers watch it at least twice. I decided to watch "Dark City" instead.
After watching "Dark City", I realized that one very cool movie released in 1999 borrowed heavily from both "Ghost In The Shell", and "Dark City", and that ground-breaking film was "The Matrix". From "Ghost", I feel that (visually) Trinity's character can be likened to Major Kusanagi (sexy, tough, short-haired), some of the combat scenes (pillars being blown away by machine-gun fire), EVEN, Trinity's deadly entrance (the same way the Major makes her deadly entrance). Lastly (and most obviously), the neck interface plugs, and the significance of the internet in this film seem to be elements borrowed for usage in "The Matrix". Even the open-ended ending reminds me of the way Neo seemed to look triumphantly on his situation with opened eyes..."Ghost In The Shell" ends in very much the same way. (Perhaps both Neo and Trinity owe elements of their identities to Major Kusanagi, or maybe I'm stretching things a little to far...)
For those of you who haven't seen "Dark City" or "Ghost In The Shell", I suggest you see them both. All I will say about "Dark City" is, in that movie, things aren't as they seem, and like "Ghost In The Shell", the film deals with our perceptions of reality, of our memories, and our souls. Upon my second viewing of "Ghost", I realized just what everyone was talking about -- "Ghost In The Shell" is a super-cool anime, that raises the bar (thematically) for any anime that aspires to deal with realistic issues. I liked it much better the second time around...
Also, I enjoyed hearing the tough-guy vocal stylings of Lunk (Robotech) and Guld (Macross Plus) return in the form of Bateau in this film (Richard Epcar). His performance was the best in my opinion. Vocally, Major Kusanagi could sound very cold and flat, but at the same time, maybe this is the way a hardened cyborg would sound -- so you never know; it may not have been a case of bad acting.
Visually, this film is simply a masterpiece. I loved the exquisite art detail presented during the riverboat scene (when we got a chance to look at buildings within the city), and the lines the artists added during monitor screen scenes (tre-cool). In addition, the final battle scene between the Major and that tank is a must-see. Also, the arguably overdone nudity isn't nearly as distracting the second time around; it just serves to add a sense of realism. Same with the elaborately depicted "offings" of the government official in the first scene, and the guy in the car near the end.
So all in all, you've just read the review of an extremely satisfied viewer. Next up? You guessed it -- "Ninja Scroll".
Thanks for reading!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a unique film for the genre.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)Ghost in the Shell has a very cranial plot, so those viewers who think anime is nothing more than flying guts and warped tentacles might as well crawl back into their sewer, because they're not going to like it. On the other hand, anyone who has seen and appreciated 2001 or Royal Space Force: Wings of Onneamis will love Ghost in the Shell. The movie is much more complex than it actually appears, and has a fascinating plot surrounding the destination of the human soul in the future, although the more memorable images are of rampant gunfire and Motoko Kusanagi's omnipresent bare breasts. The animation is excellent in both its computer and cel forms, although the character design is very original - and very worthwhile. Ghost in the Shell surpasses Akira as a vehicle for the popular display of anime largely because of its more charismatic cast and its fascinating plot. Akira dealt with similar subject matter, had a longer running time, and had the same high-quality animation that Ghost in the Shell has, but Ghost is better because it can be widely appreciated not for its spectacle but for its intelligence. Both Akira and Ghost in the Shell had important messages in them. Unfortunately Akira's violence has become a myth in its own right instead of incidental. Some people will fault Ghost in the Shell for not going to the same extremes. They should stick to Akira. In short, if you want beautiful, intelligent and original anime, Ghost in the Shell is for you. It is the showcase that Manga Video promoted, but not in the way they think it is. Still, you don't want to miss it.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's lacking...but it's still good.,
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great anime, but where is the Japanese audio, and English subtitles??!!,
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell [UMD for PSP] (UMD for PSP)Excellent anime for anyone getting into the genre, or for those Shirow fans who have to have everything! A classic, but a classic with one major flaw.
That flaw being that they didn't add the original Japanese audio along with the English subtitles for this UMD! Sorry, but that is just unforgiveable, and don't get me wrong I still love it and the English audio isn't bad it's just I'd rather listen to the original voices.
Shame on Sony and Manga Video for not including thats why I'm only giving 3 stars.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic,,
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)Ghost in the shell, a classic anime. Ghost in the Shell was originally released in the U.S. November 1995, and amazingly few sci-fi movies fail to live up to it's amazing populariy among fans of the genre. The film takes place in he year 2030, or roughly so, in which almost everyone in Tokyo, or the world for that matter has been equipped with some sort of cybernetic implant. Whether it be an arm, leg, or even a brain, cybernization is now a way of life for society. Anyway, the film opens with a woman named Motoko Kusanagi, who is cyberized to the point where it is only her brain cells that remain human. The movie basically centers around her. Normally I would give more of plot description, but considering I really suck at it i'm just going to get to the review.
Momoru Oshii is an excellent director, even though I'm not a big Jin-Roh fan, I still think he's fantastic. One thing that contiues to amaze me about this film is it's characters. What Oshii does here is he designs these characters in such a way in which we are able to relate to them and ponder our own views and relationships towards the evergrowing technologies and the effect it has on our own lives. So, basically what the whole movie boils down to is if one is enhanced by non-organic substances, meaning man made substances, are they really completely human? In other words once man and technology have merged has the line separating them both blured? With that being said, what then defines humanity? Well, in the end it is actually memories that define humanity. When one obtains a new memory, that memory is their's, it's only unique to them. Before cybernization it was the human spirit, or ghost, that defined our existance. However, if one's cyberbrain could create a ghost, as Kusanagi asks, then what would be the importance of being human then? Meaning that once somthing artificial could create a soul then what's the need of having a human body? You could just be completely artificial and have soul, just like a human. So, since a soul can no longer define humanity then one must turn to memories. They are what make us unique, we must now reley, not on our spirit but our memories for definition. However, in the world of Ghost in Shell there comes a catch. Even though cyberbrains do have amazing abilities, they do have one fatal flaw, like computers, they can be hacked into. So, basically someone could literally hack into your brain and make you think things that aren't true. For example, in the movie a garbage man was conviced that he was having a divorce with his wife, and that his wife was trying to gain complete custody of their daughter, when in reality it is revealed that he never had a wife and kid. He was a bachelor who apparently had never been married, all of his memories were fabrications, caused by a hacker. So basically this line sums it all up. "Man has underestimated the effects of computerization." Meaning that, man has underestimated what technology could do to humanity and what defines it as a species.
So thats basically it, well it wasn't really a review, I guess it was my analysis on the whole world of Ghost in the shell. So, heres a guide on what to and not to expect from the film.
I am going to make one thing clear, now listen carefully, this movie is not for people who just want a straight out action flick, it requires alot of thinking, and while the film has some action those expecting alot from the movie in that area may be a little dissapointed. Also, although the film does have some nudity, there is no sexual content whatsoever throughout the film. I know it may be hard to believe, but it's true. So those of you who have been avoiding the film in fear of it being a hentai, you don't have to worry. I mean I wouldn't recommend it to little kids, but I think Fourteen and up would be appropriate. The only other things to watch out for is some strong language, and some brief but graphic violence. Another thing, this is just a word of advice, but as far as the politics go in the film, your better off just going along with them rather than trying to figure out every conspicuous little detail. I'm not saying you should completely ignore it, because of course you do need a basic idea of what's going on in the film, but it's pretty heavy stuff, your better off devoting more of your attention to the philosiphy in the film rather than the politics that are involved. Also, if your one of those anime fans just looking for big eyed Bishonen/Bishoju animes filled with lots of useless fluff, then I suggest you look elsewhere. One thing about Ghost in the Shell is that it is very adultish, in other words it's very mature anime. It may not appeal to everyone, theres virturally no comedy, and takes itself prety seriously, it even shows in the art style. There are no big eyed people, everyone looks realistic, to a point anyway. Also, and most importantly there are no cute furry little animal sidekicks anywhere. So if your looking for a more mature side of anime then GITS is right for you. Another point, unlike Akira, which ran for over two hours, Ghost in te Shell is a relatively short film. It clocks in at around 83 minutes, so if you see the movie in the video store and it costs thirty dollars, then look elsewhere to buy it. Maybe it's just me but I would feel a little cheated if I bought a movie for thirty dollars and found out that it was only an hour and twenty minutes long. But that's just me. Now this is a warning concerning the movie's music. If your like me you will think it's awesome, however I have spoken to some and not everyone shares my opinion. Some find it very annoying and it's plays throughout alot of the film, so it's just a warning but you may not like the music, and it may effect your overall viewing experience. Besides all that though, I do have some very good news for those of you who hate subtitles. The dub on this film is well done. So if you have a problem with subtitles but at the same time are hesitant to try the dub based on bad experiences, you don't have to worry, I don't think you will have too much of a problem with GITS. The DVD on te film is also very good. It comes in five different languages, English, Japanese, German, Italian, French and Spanish, so if you don't speak english or Japanese you might have some luck with the other languages available. The video and Audio on the disk is also very well done. Now theres one thing viewers must understand about Ghost in the Shell regarding it's reltionship to the T.V. series and the other movie. If you are confused here's how everyting is related: the T.V. series, "Stand Alone Complex" takes place in an alternate reality in which the whole ending of the first movie didn't take place. As far as the Second movie is concerned, it is merely a sequel to the first movie continuing two years after the first movie left off. This actually may sound kind of stange but here's what I suggest you do. If you understand what I said about the T.V. series being an alternate reality in which the whole ending of te first movie didn't take place, and you have seen the series but not the movies then I suggest you watch Innocence first (the sequel) then watch the first movie. That's how I did it and I got more out of it. The thing is that the sequel definitely isn't as good as the first movie was, visually it's much better, but as far as story is concerned it is inferior. So upon watching the first film you may be dissapointed with the results of he second film, but this way you won't be dissapointed at all. Another word of advice, if you have already bought the original GITS DVD then I suggest you don't double dip with the new special edition. It really isn't worth it, the extras are pretty much the same, so if you have the first version that came out, just stick with that one. However if you wan't a remastered edition of the movie then maybe it would be in your intrest to pick it up.
This is truly an excellent film to behold. It highly recommed it to anime and non-anime fans alike. But before I end the review I would like you to think of somthing. Ghost in the shell: Sciece Fiction or Science Prophecy?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly made and intelligent,
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Just a whisper... I hear it in my ghost.",
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)If you hear the word "anime," or Japanese animation, and instantly think of popular shows like Yu-Gi-Oh! or Dragonball Z or Inuyasha, then it's high time to re-think those perceptions. "Ghost in the Shell" is japanese animation for adults, in terms of both content and thematic material.
Based on the original Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow and directed by Mamoru Oshii, "Ghost in the Shell" represents some of the best Japanese animation has to offer. Along with "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away," this film is one which truly showcases the creativity and artisitic potential of animation as a medium. Despite being almost 10 years old, "Ghost in the Shell" is a movie which still resonates with audiences of today.
The movie centers around Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg police officer involved in some vary dangerous work. The story starts with a bang, almost literally, as the Major assaults a secret meeting by jumping off the top of a building and shooting through a window, then vanishing. Everything about this sequence -- the gorgeous animation, the high-octane action, the developing story -- sets the stage for what is to come.
The animation of "Ghost in the Shell" raised the bar and set the standard for future animated films. The animators somehow combine the violence of the story with an unparalleled beauty in the animation that still stands out today. True works of art are timeless, and that's just what "Ghost in the Shell" is: timeless.
Of course, much of the animation is used for the many action sequences in the movie, which are quite unforgettable. From heavy-hitting gun battles to a one-on-one fight with an invisible enemy, the action in "Ghost in the Shell" is breathtaking.
The story is surprisingly complex and engaging for a relatively short film. Involving government conspiracies, a talented hacker known as the Puppet Master, and some really excellent science-fiction concepts, "Ghost in the Shell" expresses some pretty deep themes about what being human means, what constitutes a human soul (or "ghost"), and how we define ourselves as individuals. The ending is surprising and will keep you thinking.
Simply put, "Ghost in the Shell" is an animated film that sets a high bar for other animated films to achieve, on all fronts. From storytelling to animation to thematic material, it's just one of the best out there. Definitely not for kids, but well worth viewing for almost any adult. You'll hear its whispered messages in your ghost for some time afterwards.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, more intriguing than mainstream anime.,
This review is from: Ghost in the Shell (DVD)I read the reviews on this page about Ghost in the Shell. Some people do not appreciate what this film is about. It is totally different from general anime, such as Gundam, Tenchi, Eva or even Pokemon. what you have here is a very serious, groundbreaking film, worthy of international critical acclaim. As well, some people here say that the subject has been visited many times, i.e. robots having human intelligence, being able to understand emotion. WRONG. This movie was made starting in 1994, and the story was based on life (stored as computer information) travelling over the internet, and existing in the internet. This was an amazing story for a time where people were just beginning to pick up the internet.
The action sequences in this film may be few, but they are exceptional, including amazing visuals and real gunshot sounds. the story is very phylosophical, but not so that not every person could understand, but bordering on intelectualism and fantasy. The scenery is well-drawn, even though you see each for only a couple of moments. Overall, I would say that this is one of greatest animation films I have ever seen. See it.
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Ghost in the Shell by Mamoru Oshii (DVD - 1998)