gits 25th anniversary email

Beyond Fright Review: GHOST IN THE SHELL 25th Anniversary Bluray

GHOST IN THE SHELL 25th Anniversary Edition

GHOST IN THE SHELL 25th Anniversary Edition

Every genre has their classics, films that helped define a pivotal point, in which the tides turned and something was brought to audience that blew them away. The horror genre has the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN‘s, the action genre has their DIE HARD, TERMINATOR 2‘s etc.  When it comes to animated films that aren’t the Disney type, very few films stand out as much as the great Japanese classics such as AKIRA and one of my personal favorites, Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 masterpiece, GHOST IN THE SHELL. Both films gave Japanese film animation such epic entries, that though often imitated, were never duplicated in quality. With Anchor Bay’s newly released 25th Anniversary (of the original manga’s release) Edition Bluray of GHOST IN THE SHELL, I thought it would be fun to jump into it and take a look at whether it’s a good one to pick up.

Taking place in the future, GHOST IN THE SHELL follows Motoko Kusanagi, a Major in an agency called Section 9, a group whose mission is to find a hacker that is about as genius as humanly possible, one with the nickcame of “The Puppet Master”. It’s a future in which people are connected electronically via a network that can control everything from emotions to giving characters a strength that a normal human being wouldn’t have the possibility of having. Everything is connected within the network, and the network controls everybody’s “shells”, which are basically cybernetic bodies filled with their feelings and ideas.

Being the genius hacker that he is,  “The Pupper Master” is able to hack into people’s “ghosts”, getting information and making them do what he wants. Half of the film follows Motoko and her team trying to catch The Puppet Master, and when that finally happens, GHOST IN THE SHELL heads into a broader and more epic territory having to do with another division of the agency having more to do with not only The Puppet Master but also the idea of “Ghost Hacking” into people to carry out different things.

It’s a sci-fi epic film, not just for animated film, but for filmmaking in general. The story is a grand one and it really pushes the lack of being afraid to add a sense of sexuality into the mix, something that American animated films don’t do very often these days. The locations and designs in GHOST IN THE SHELL fall somewhere between that of BLADE RUNNER and THE FIFTH ELEMENT, and the ideas presented in the film are ones that make you think about things more than just your typical sci-fi film. I’ve always found similarities between GHOST IN THE SHELL and THE MATRIX, but instead of its characters being trapped in a made up reality, in GITS it’s not the reality that the characters are trapped in, it’s their bodies. It’s more of their essence and being are contained within the electronic network, and can be placed within different ‘shells’. It’s a grand story, full of action, espionage and mystery, all transplanted into a sci-fi surrounding that just demands your attention from start to finish. Very few films that fall into the manga-like animation category knock it out of the park as well as GHOST IN THE SHELL, and it looks as great as it possible could on this release.

The definition looks absolutely wonderful, and it’s about as impressive as you could imagine in HD. The colors stand out, and it’s like watching the film for the first time. The only thing lacking in the release, is any special features, which would have been great to check out. With a film that is definitely a classic in its respective genre, it seems off to have a 25th Anniversary Edition without much included, aside from the film itself.

While the lack of special features is unfortunate, the film itself, and how spectacular it looks, the release is still a stand out and worth picking up. It’s a must own for any fans of Sci-Fi, Action and/or Japanese animation, and will forever go down as one of the best films in those genres.