Mamoru Oshii’s seminal anime classic is now 22 years old, but it hasn’t aged a day
There were many Manga adaptations and anime features that found release long before Ghost in the Shell did in 1995. Films like Akira, Grave of the Fireflies, and Wicked City lit up the late eighties anime scene paving the way for future classics like Ninja Scroll and the Studio Ghibli library. But few have resonated or been as influential than Ghost in the Shell.
In a technologically advanced future cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi of Public Security Section 9 is hunting down a hacker known as The Puppet Master. With the help of her team of Batou and Ishikawa, Major is focused on tracking down their elusive target whilst also investigating the motives of rival agency Section 6 who may not be divulging all information. Their mission soon turns into a game of cat and mouse as Major attempts to confront The Puppet Master, whilst Section 6 attempt to put a stop to him.
It’s become clear over the years that Ghost in the Shell is an anime masterpiece, influencing so many filmmakers and stories since it hit the screens back in 1995. If you can go back and watch it now that quality still resonates today. The arguably high brow story and themes might alienate some new to the film, especially as it opts for steady pacing and dialogue over the mundane hail of bullets action synonymous with plenty other anime offerings out there. However that it leaves plenty to chew on come the credit roll is one of the reasons the film has stood the test of time. Ghost in the Shell is no disposable piece of film that you watch and discard after one watch, it demands repeated viewings that only enhance its power.
Chief among its successes is that it successfully builds a magical yet frightening future world dominated by technology, where memories can be hacked and erased without your knowledge before it is too late. When coupled with the fact that it achieves this whilst maintaining such a close narrative focus on the primary characters is remarkable. The existential themes are as relevant today as they were then, and more so when it comes to identity. Even if you don’t want to dive below the surface of the story the animation is still solid, and the score is just great.
If you’re new to Ghost in the Shell, or just haven’t seen it in a while, do yourselves a favour and get this anime classic in your eyeballs. Simply put, it’s brilliant.