Kkaku kidtai (1995) Ghost in the Shell
Directed by Mamoru Oshii
1995, a truly groundbreaking year for anime, on one hand you had a series that broke all the rules and set the standard for virtually every series that followed it, Neon Genesis Evangelion and you had this anime film, Ghost in the Shell a huge influence not only on other anime films but on film and "Cyberpunk" in general.
Would the film The Matrix exist at all if it hadnt been for this film? I really doubt it, from the designs and visual imagery to the existentialism, philosophy and psychology, take 70% Ghost in the Shell and 20% Alice in Wonderland then throw in a little religion and bits and pieces from many classic Sci-fi films and you have The Matrix.
Back to the film, the plot is pretty complex and at times difficult to hang on to but this film has such re-watch value, I know Ive seen it at least 10 times over the years. When it came out there was nothing else like it, CGI was used but was toned in to fit perfectly with the standard animation, and the physical dynamics are still breath taking. The script is deep at times and although it pertains to the characters and their circumstances, in some ways we have all felt the need to question ourselves and our place in the world.
Set in the future, the film revolves around a team of Government agents (Section 9) trying to trace a hacker known as The Puppet Master who has been manipulating people by interacting with their brains through the net, the team led by Major Motoko Kusanagi are for the most part, Ghosts within a shell, human brains and souls within a partial or totally cyborg body. Fairly standard material you may think albeit pretty complex as the plot twists and turns. But (and for once a very positive but) its the depth of the characters and their discourse with each other, the reality of the world they exist in, the whole tone of the anime and the absolutely outstanding soundtrack that makes this still rank as a classic of anime and science fiction.
I could go on for pages proclaiming my love for this film, instead Ill just say, watch it, soak in its atmosphere, get lost in the complexities of its plot and the intricacies of its central characters, appreciate the quality of the artwork and the soundtrack and you too will find a great deal to appreciate and enjoy.
Highly recommended, a stunning piece of work.
BBFC rated 15.