1Ghost in the Shell
What is it?
Created and penned by mangaka Masamune Shirow in 1989, at first the story did not look very remarkable in fact it is almost like pandering to certain fetishes. However everything changed when Mamoru Oshii decides to take a very philosophical and hard look at the story and turn it into cult classic with the movie in 1995.
Set in the dystopian, cyber-punkish future of Japan, focuses on Public Security Bureau no 9, an agency tasked to safeguard Japan from threats ranging from the corrupt officials, mega-companies, cyber-criminals , disgruntled ex-military and foreign elements in their course of work. The team is led by Motoko Kusanagi, a badass, hard-biting agent who so happens to have a kicking (not to mention sexy) cyborg body.
The franchise has three movies; The original Ghost in the Shell (G.I.T.S), its follow up Innocence and the Stand Alone Complex movie, Solid State Society. There’s the Arise OVA and also three anime series; the first and second season of Stand Alone Complex, and Alternative Architecture, which is the compilation of the OVA together with new episodes added in.
Why watch it?
Where should we start? Each of the different G.I.T.S interpretations have their own reasons of why you should watch them, but if there’s one underlying reason, is the evocative philosophies present throughout the films, anime series and OVAs.
There’s some pretty deep questions asked about what it means to be human in a post-cybernetic world, where switching bodies and brains are so common. For cyber-punk sci-fi genre fans, this anime is your playground. And all three versions, Mamoru Oshii’s movies, the Stand Alone Complex series and the Arise series, have managed to bring this underlying question and its complexities into stunning animated form.
Complex stories and beautiful, animated imagery aside, all three takes of G.I.T.S have brilliant soundtracks as well that blend extremely well with their animated medium. With composers like Kenji Kawai and Yokko Kanno involved in the movies and Stand Alone Complex respectively, you know you’re in for not just a visual, but also an auditory treat.