Monday, May 29, 2017

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)

Ghost in the Shell 2 is sequel to Ghost in the Shell (1995). I review this last because it was only one I had to get physical copy. Others I could get digitally. I might have Ghost in the Shell fatigue but I liked this least of animated Ghost in the Shells. I have to watch live action again to form opinion how this compares to it.

Major is still missing after what happened in first movie. Batou and Togusa investigate case of homicidal pleasure bots. Other Section 9 members get only brief cameos. This movie had completely opposite problem than Solid State Society. There is almost no content. Story would have made good Stand Alone Complex episode. As one and half hour movie it was full of filler. There is no memorable antagonist. There doesn't seem to be one at all. It is just faceless corporation.

Ghost in the Shell 2 mix drawn 2D animation with computer generated 3D animation. At times it looks amazing while other times it looks terrible. Most of the time it is in between. Movie has long establishing shots which serve nothing but showing animators' skills. I like slow movies but this one takes it too far to make movie longer. Interesting story is replaced by pseudo philosophical dialog.

Ghost in the Shell (1995) is one you should watch if you want to know what Ghost in the Shell is all about. Then Stand Alone Complex and Solid State Society should be next. This will be last Ghost in the Shell review for a while. I checked ones which have got praising reviews. There is more animated Ghost in the Shell but those will have to wait. There is something special Ghost in the Shell related next Thursday and then I am done with Ghost in the Shell for some time.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society (2006)

Solid State Society is sequel to Stand Alone Complex. Stand Alone Complex seasons had 26 half hour episodes. Closer to 20 minutes if you take away credits and ending animations. Solid State Society feels like third season cut into four or five episodes. All stand alone world building is gone. Main story arc, which is all this is, gets less than half the time it would get in full season. This is biggest flaw of Solid State Society.

Solid State Society happens at least two years after second season. Major has left Section 9. Section 9 is investigating Solid State Society case. They don't know it is Solid State Society case. They run into Major who is in investigating same case. Movie doesn't have time to tell us what Major has been doing after she left Sector 9. There is no time to build interesting antagonists. They just appear and tell what they have done.

Over all Solid State Society feels like ideas for third season of Stand Alone Complex were crammed into under two hours movie. It is not bad. It is quite good if you don't compare it to Stand Alone Complex. Movie builds the story well until it runs out of time and has to explain everything it can with dialog.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig (2004-2005)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig is second season to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It starts some time after first season when Section 9 gets its official status back. Second season has more political drama and darker tone than first season. It is also closer to 1995 movie. In one episode characters acknowledge they are not free but that was one of the stand alone episodes.

Second season follows Section 9 as they solve Individual Eleven case. Case involves refugees which make it feel current. Like first season this has 26 episodes which are stand alone episodes or Individual Eleven episodes. Individual Eleven episodes were called individual episodes and stand alone episodes something else. Like first season second season has one episode which doesn't fit to other episodes. This time reason is it being stupid. Court house episode didn't have same level of quality as other ones.

I wonder how criminals get caught in Ghost in the Shell world. People can change bodies and take control of other people. Both happened more than once in second season. How police can be sure it was that person and if he or she was not controlled by someone else. There are episodes where police has these problems and they were solved more based on luck than skills.

Both seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex are among best anime ever made and close to the best even when live action series are included. This was fourth Ghost in the Shell review in row. There are still two more to go.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002-2003)

Ghost in the Shell (2017) got me hooked into Ghost in the Shell. Stand Alone Complex is not same story arc as Ghost in the Shell (1995). In 1995 movie characters were in Section 9 partly because Section 9 owned their cybernetic parts. In Stand Alone  Complex they are totally committed to Section 9 no matter what happens. That is biggest difference between two. There are some other differences too but otherwise both are quite close to each others.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is 26 episode anime tv series. It follows Section 9 as they hunt mysterious Laughing Man. Series has two types of episodes. Complex episodes follow Laughing Man story arch and have stories spanning over several episodes. Stand Alone episodes are short stand alone episodes which contain episode long stories which are never returned.

Series feel like kids' anime at first but soon turn into darker and more complex themes. There is episode where serial killer skins his victims alive. I thought that went bit too far. Other episodes stayed more intellectual level. Some stories suffered from half hour episode length. Some ideas stories had required more time than they got. Series is not as philosophical as the 1995 movie until last episodes and couple moments in earlier episodes. It is must see if you liked the 1995 movie.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

After watching and liking Ghost in the Shell (2017) I had to watch this one too. I am glad I saw movies in this order. I wouldn't have enjoyed new movie as much if I had seen this one before. I still don't think new one is bad. This one is so much better comparison would have made it feel worse.

Ghost is the Shell (1995) is best animated movie I have seen. It is pretty much everything I wanted new movie to be. Scenes taken from this one to new one make more sense here than in new one. Even the "boss fight". This had philosophical aspect lacking from new movie. Now I understand reputation of this movie.

Ghost in the Shell happens in world where line between human and machine is blurred. Human brains can be read and programmed like computers. Security police section 9 is hunting cyber criminal Puppet Master who can reprogram humans to do his dirty work.

I knew this movie but I thought anime is always like Dragonball Z or Pokémon or something really weird. Ghost in the Shell is not like that. It is serious and philosophical. It is one of the best science fiction movies I have seen. I recommend checking it if you haven't seen it yet.