Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ghost in the Shell

There are two ways to watch Ghost in the Shell. One is to follow the story, work out who is doing what to who and why, which ones are the good guys and which ones the bad. To do this it helps to understand that "ghost" is used to mean "soul" or "consciousness" rather than "scary dead thing". The heroine, Kusanagi, and her colleagues are a special semi-secret all powerful police division that is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most of these special agents have had body modifications, in some cases whole new bodies. Between operations Kusanagi worries whether, with all her body modifications, she is still human. The division’s top priority becomes the "Puppet Master" and via an escalatingly violent series of operation Kusanagi comes face to face with the "Puppet Master" and the metaphorical mirror image of her own situation and her worries are turned on their head by the "Puppet Master's" request.

The other way to watch this is to allow the experience to wash over you. It is a vision of ultimate high-tech domination of nature. Man totally manufacturing his own environment. But it is also tinged with paranoia and uncertainty. Twentieth century buildings are abandoned or are slums. Its a teenage boy’s dream world where the best secret cop is more curvaceous than a centrefold and her job requires her to eschew the flack jackets or long coats of her male counterparts in favour of getting naked during every ambush and fire fight! A world where technology is all powerful, is used to solve every problem and is concentrated in the hands of a few.

Ian’s Rating 4/5

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