Film Friday- Ghost in the Shell

Film Friday- Ghost in the Shell

Movies-

One: The film’s plot follows the hunt by the public-security agency Section 9 for a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master. With the assistance of her team, Motoko Kusanagi tracks and finds their suspect, only to be drawn into a complex sequence of political intrigue and a cover-up as to the identity and goals of the Puppet Master.

The overarching philosophical themes of the film include self-identity in a technologically advanced world. The music, composed by Kenji Kawai, includes an ancient Japanese language in a wedding song that serves as a key piece of music leading up to the climax of the film. Widely considered to be one of the greatest anime films of all time, critics particularly praised its visuals, which were achieved through a combination of traditional cel animation and CG animation. The film has served as inspiration for filmmakers such as the Wachowskis.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence: known in Japan as Mobile Armored Riot Police: Innocence, is a 2004 anime/computer-animated science fiction sequel to the 1995 film Ghost in the Shell. Released in Japan on March 6, 2004, and in the US on September 17, 2004, Innocence had a production budget of approximately $20 million (approximately 2 billion yen). To raise the sum, Production I.G studio’s president, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, asked Studio Ghibli’s president, Toshio Suzuki, to co-produce.

With a story loosely connected to the manga by Masamune Shirow, the film was written and directed by Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii. The film was honored best sci-fi film at the 2004 Nihon SF Taisho Awards and was in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The soundtrack for the film was released under the name Innocence O.S.T. and a related novel called Innocence: After the Long Goodbye was released on February 29, 2004. This film makes many allusions and references to other famous works, such as The Future Eve. The foreign DVD release of the film faced many issues ranging from licensing to audio.

Plot-

In 2029, the world is interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. Much of humanity has access to this network through cybernetic bodies, or “shells”, which possess their consciousness and can give them superhuman abilities.

Major Motoko Kusanagi, an assault-team leader for the Public Security Section 9 of an unnamed post-WWIII Japanese city, “New Port City”, is assigned to capture an elusive hacker known as the Puppet Master. Her team, Batou and Ishikawa, use triangulation to seek out the Puppet Master. Their suspect is a garbageman who believes he is using a program obtained from a sympathetic man to illegally “ghost-hack” his wife’s mind to find his daughter. Kusanagi and her team arrest him and the man who gave him the program, but discover that their memories were either erased or implanted: “ghost-hacked” by the Puppet Master.

A facility is hacked and programmed to assemble a female cybernetic body. The body escapes but is hit by a truck; Section 9 investigates and examines the body, which seems to have a human “ghost” inside—perhaps the Puppet Master himself. Officials from rival agency Section 6 visit Section 9 and explain that the body was made to lure the Puppet Master’s ghost and trap it inside. Kusanagi espies the conversation and decides to disconnect her consciousness from her current body and connect or “dive into” the body and face the Puppet Master’s ghost. Before she succeeds, the ghost activates the body. Section 6 storms Section 9 and reclaims the body.

The information from the body leads Section 9 to uncover the mysterious Project 2501. Section 6 claims the project was created to catch the hacker, but it was initiated before his appearance. Section 9 speculates that the project itself created the Puppet Master, who then escaped, and Section 6 now wants him back. Daisuke Aramaki, head of Section 9, suspects that the project and the Puppet Master are tools of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The escape might lead to the release of secrets that could embarrass Section 6 and the Ministry.

The getaway car carrying the Puppet Master meets another, and they split off. Batou stops the first car and realizes it is a decoy. Kusanagi follows the second car to an abandoned building in an area affected the hardest by flooding from the rains, where she is ambushed by an invisible spider-like armored vehicle using therm-optic camouflage. Batou arrives in time to save the badly damaged Kusanagi. With Batou on guard, Kusanagi faces the body stolen by Section 6. The Puppet Master reveals himself and explains that, under Project 2501, it was created by Section 6 to hack ghosts for individuals and Section 6. While wandering various networks, the Puppet Master became sentient and began to contemplate its existence; it was troubled by the fact that it could not reproduce or die. It plans to merge with Kusanagi’s ghost to experience mortality; Kusanagi would live on with its ghost. As it could not crack Section 6’s attack protection, it was forced to escape in a physical body.

Batou tries to disconnect the drive, but the Puppet Master ghost-hacks him. Helicopters from Section 6 arrive with orders to destroy everyone inside to cover up Project 2501. The Puppet Master disrupts their targeting systems. As it starts merging with Kusanagi, snipers blow their heads off, along with Batou’s arm.

Kusanagi wakes up in a child-sized cyborg body in Batou’s safehouse. Batou explains that her original body was destroyed in the fight; he recovered her head and attached it to the new body. Kusanagi acknowledges she is now neither herself nor the Puppet Master, but a combination of both. Batou says he will always be there for her. She leaves the house and gazes out over New-Port City.

TV Series-

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime television series produced by Production I.G and based on Masamune Shirow’s manga Ghost in the Shell. It was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, with original character design by Hajime Shimomura and a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno. The first season aired on SKY PerfecTV!’s Perfect Choice from October 2002 to October 2003 and was positively received by critics. A second season titled Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG aired on Animax from 1 January 2004 to 8 January 2005.

The series centers on the members of an elite cybernetic law enforcement unit known as Public Security Section 9 as they investigate cyber-crime and terrorism cases; these cases often are connected to their pursuit of an elite “Super Class A” hacker and corporate terrorist known as “The Laughing Man”. A series of associated short comic animations, titled Tachikomatic Days, aired after each episode. These shorts star the Tachikoma “think-tanks” from the main series, and they typically relate directly to the story of the preceding Stand Alone Complex episode.

The first season was also adapted into a feature-length OVA titled The Laughing Man, which was released in 2005 and two manga series in 2009. The series had also received video game spin-offs for the PS2, PSP, and mobile phones. 2nd GIG was also later adapted into a feature-length OVA entitled Individual Eleven, which was released in 2006; Solid State Society, a TV-film sequel to the Stand Alone Complex series, was also released in that year.

Plot-

The members of Section 9. From bottom left to top right: Paz, Borma, Saito, Batou, Motoko, Togusa, Aramaki, and Ishikawa

The series takes place in the year 2030, where many people have become cyborgs with prosthetic bodies. Primarily set in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama, Niihama Prefecture, the series follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. While the group investigates various crimes, both seasons feature ongoing investigations into two incidents that embroil the group in corruption within other branches of the Japanese government.

The first season of Stand Alone Complex focuses on the Laughing Man incident, wherein a hacker ultimately reveals to the Major that he had discovered that several micromachine manufacturing corporations, in association with the Japanese government, suppressed information on an inexpensive cure to a debilitating cyberization disease in order to profit from the more expensive micromachine treatment. He abducted one of the owners of the company and attempted to force him to reveal the truth on live television, resulting in the hacker live-hacking everyone’s vision and cameras at the event to cover his face with the stylized laughing face logo that became synonymous with his image. His popularity spawned several genuine imitators, resulting in the series’ titular Stand Alone Complex. When Section 9 discovers that these companies and several Japanese politicians later used the Laughing Man’s image to garner public support and profit, they begin a campaign to disseminate the truth, ultimately leading to the Cabinet labeling them as domestic terrorists and forcibly disbanding them, resulting in the capture of several members and the apparent death of Motoko Kusanagi. However, it is all a ruse to deceive the government, and the very alive and well members of Section 9 regroup to bring the micromachine corporations and corrupt politicians to justice, resulting in the dissolution of the current Japanese government.

The second season, 2nd GIG, set two years after the events of the first season, explores the political and social ramifications of the two world wars that took place prior to the events of the series. At the time of the Third and the Fourth World Wars, about three million Asians became refugees and were invited into Japan as a source of cheap labor. These “invited refugees”, based on the reclaimed island of Dejima, soon became unemployed in the post-war period, and their social unrest borders on outright war. Section 9’s involvement in the refugee issue begins after they successfully stop a hostage crisis caused by a terrorist group known as the Individual Eleven, after which newly elected Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki officially reinstates the organization. The group seems to be modeling themselves after the May 15 Incident, where a group of naval officers assassinated the Prime Minister and then gained the support of the public, and hope to stir up the refugees’ spirits by fighting for them against the Japanese government. The group also comes into contact with Kazundo Goda, head of the Cabinet Intelligence Service, who gets assistance from the group in defusing several instances between the refugees as well as assisting him in transporting plutonium through Dejima, result in several failures and refugee deaths, further straining relations. Section 9 ultimately discovers that Goda has been manipulating both events behind the scenes, leaking the social virus that creates the Individual Eleven ideology and creating a new Stand Alone Complex, as well as the intentional failures with the refugees. However, he cannot account for the charismatic Hideo Kuze who genuinely believes in the best for the refugees and helps rally for their independence from Japan. Throughout the investigation, Kusanagi discovers she may know Kuze from her childhood. Ultimately, Goda is found guilty of his part in the refugee incidents and killed before he can defect to the American Empire, but not before his ministrations also result in the death of Kuze.

In the film Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society, taking place two years following the resolution of the Individual Eleven incident, the Major has left Section 9, and Togusa is now field commander, leading an investigation into several deaths of refugees from the Siak Republic, which results in the discovery of a government computer system coordinating the kidnappings of 20 thousand abused children who have had their cyberbrains replaced and placing them under the care of several senior citizens made comatose by another government program that takes care of all of their bodily needs. Their investigation, which brings the Major out of hiding, reveals an entity known as the Puppeteer behind the kidnappings, but the Puppeteer is a rhizome formed by the collective will of the senior citizens, and it was only the Siak Republic’s intent to use the kidnapped children in their plans that led to their downfall. However, the investigation further reveals that a member of the House of Representatives is also using the children for his nationalistic purposes, and Section 9 with the Major infiltrates a welfare center where the MP brainwashes the children, resulting in the Puppeteer revealing his own identity that the senior citizens wished to give the children free will in their future, with the politician interfering in that new plan.

Live-action film-

In 2008, DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga. Avi Arad and Steven Paul were later confirmed as producers, with Jamie Moss to write the screenplay. In October, 2009, it was announced that Laeta Kalogridis had replaced Moss as writer. On January 24, 2014, it was reported that Rupert Sanders will direct the film, with a screenplay by William Wheeler. On September 3, 2014, Margot Robbie was in early talks for the lead role, but by October 16, 2014, the lead role was instead offered to Scarlett Johansson. On January 5, 2015, Variety confirmed that Johansson would star in the film. Paramount Pictures will co-produce and co-finance the film and handle overseas distribution. The film is scheduled to start production in early 2016 for a March 31, 2017, release date by Touchstone Pictures. But in September 2015, it was reported that DreamWorks and Disney would not renew their distribution deal, set to expire in August 2016, with The BFG being the last film to be released under the original agreement. Due to this, Universal Studios will handle the domestic distribution for the film. On October 23, 2015, Jonathan Herman was hired to write the script. On November 10, 2015, Variety reports that Pilou Asbaek was cast as Batou. On November 19, 2015, Deadline reported that Sam Riley was in talks for the role of the film’s villain The Laughing Man, but on February 4, 2016, Variety reported that Michael Pitt was in talks for the role.

 

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