Anime Masterworks

image by Veronica V. Jones

Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

A disassembled gynoid and a basset hound. Batou is surrounded by the images of flapping birds. A closeup of one pale gynoid -- a female robot -- with others in the distance. A robotic geisha with an open chest cavity.

Mamoru Oshii has easily outdone himself with Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, a powerful sequel rooted in the dystopian future envisioned by Masamune Shirow. That’s saying something, as the original reintroduced the world to anime as high art almost a decade ago.

Nearly every frame of this new movie is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and the integration of traditionally animated characters and complex 3D environments is nearly perfect. But this movie isn’t just a pretty face: the philosophical quandaries and psychological acrobatics come in a constant stream of words and symbols. The root of all this moral confusion will be familiar to anyone familiar with master Shirow or the cyberpunk genre: the blurred line between humanity and artificial life.

Simply put, if you ever want to call yourself a fan of anime, science fiction, or film noir, you must repeatedly watch this film, and praise it to anyone that will listen.

Written by in September of 2004. Last edited February 2015.

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