Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga
Ghost in the Shell (1996)

Animation and Anime & Manga movie directed by Mamoru Oshii

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"Just a whisper... I hear it in my ghost."

  • Oct 24, 2004
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.

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September 26, 2010
Could not have said it better myself, another excellent review.
September 26, 2010
Fantastic! This is one of my favorite anime movies of all time! welcome to the community!
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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #21
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this movie


The skillful blending of drawn animation and computer-generated imagery excited anime fans when this science fiction mystery was released in 1995: many enthusiasts believeGhostsuggests what the future of anime will be, at least in the short term. The film is set in the not-too-distant future, when an unnamed government uses lifelike cyborgs or "enhanced" humans for undercover work. One of the key cyborgs is The Major, Motoko Kusanagi, who resembles a cross between The Terminator and a Playboy centerfold. She finds herself caught up in a tangled web of espionage and counterespionage as she searches for the mysterious superhacker known as "The Puppet Master."

Mamoru Oshii directs with a staccato rhythm, alternating sequences of rapid-fire action (car chases, gun battles, explosions) with static dialogue scenes that allow the characters to sort out the vaguely mystical and rather convoluted plot. Kusanagi's final quote from I Corinthians suggests that electronic evolution may compliment and eventually supplant organic evolution. The minor nudity, profanity, and considerable violence would earn Ghost in the Shell at least a PG rating. --Charles Solomon

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Director: Mamoru Oshii
DVD Release Date: March 31, 1998
Runtime: 83 minutes
Studio: Palm Pictures
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