Ghost in the Shell question

Okay, this one's for you anime aficionados out there!;-)

I watched the first Ghost in the Shell movie (Canada, USA, Europe) last night, and I thought it was terrific! The ending, I felt, left a little to be desired, but what the heck? Of course, I now want to rent Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Canada, USA, Europe).

What I want to know is where the two anime series fit in all this? The Wikipedia page says that both series occur in a different continuity. . .

Expect my review in the near future. My video store only had the original version, but I just saw a trailer for the remastered Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (Canada, USA, Europe) and it looks even more fucked-up!

29 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

A word of warning Pat... GitS: Innocence is really, really bad. It goes too far in trying to be all philosophical and forgets it is supposed to be entertaining. As far as I can recall it's the director of the first movie's own story, so I guess could really be said to be non-canon.
Avoid at all costs.

Standalone Complex however is all kinds of awesome. As to where it fits in with the films... it's just kind of its own entity. You don't really need to have seen either film to enjoy it and it doesn't directly reference them.
I'd say skip the second film and try watching a couple episodes of the series. You'll enjot it a LOT more.


Adam Skinner said...

GITS itself was okay, but the series GITS: SAC/SSS are much better.

Fortunately SAC was condensed into movie form, and so was the 2nd gig. You can also find SSS in this form as well. SAC/SSS are both part of the first series, whereas the 2nd gig comes after those.

I haven't watched the films (though they're in 720p and good stuff), but I have seen the series on Netflix Watch Instantly and I enjoyed it a lot. I actually got bored with it in the beginning but went back (much like Kurau: Phantom Memory) to watch it later and got hooked.

I really did enjoy the OP (and maybe ED) songs on this one though.

Lookf4r said...

I loved the second film. It was the first and only animated feature to ever compete for the Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival. With that said it does tend to be more art house that the first film. It just depends on the kind of films you like I suppose.

saalon said...

Ramah is correct. Innocence is horrible. Beautiful looking, but terrible.

The series is its own continuity, and eventually tells the story - kinda sorta - that the movie covers, but it acts as an expansion of the themes of the series. If you dig GitS and you want to see a pretty great anime series, Standalone Complex is worth the watch.

Innocence is not. At all.

Dawfydd said...

More specifically, the original GITS adapted the main story arc of the GITS manga, whilst SAC mined the wealth of side stories that 90 minutes just couldn't handle.

SAC goes much further than this though, and depending on time I would reccomend treating yourself to the watching the 1st & 2nd gigs in their entirety.

The best analogy I read for it was it was like a hi-tech verison of 24 in each episode. The final act, Solid State Society, is pretty spiffy as well.

Innocence is a tricky one as, yes, it does tend to go a bit too far up it's own arse at times, but it works pretty well as a follow up to the events of the first GITS. And it looks gorgeous.....

Eric said...

Be careful with the Netflix series watching on watch instantly. Not sure if is is the first (SAC) or second series (2nd Gig), but one of them has the episodes out of order at the end. Didn't ruin it for me, but it was awfully confusing. I watched one episode and felt like I had missed something, then I watched the next one and realized it was what I had missed.

Anonymous said...

The TV series has no relationship to the movies, just the same characters. Watch both and the SAC movie, it's all great. And that's coming from someone who generally hates anime.

Anonymous said...

After the last film, Solid State Society, it appears as though the writers are trying to set up Stand Alone Complex as a prequel to the first Ghost in the Shell film. The two series have long been felt to be separate entities, but this has changed. It tied in the ending of SAC with the first film, so I would recommend watching Innocence, then SAC, and Solid State Society last of all.

Tristan said...

To add to the chorus of voices, you will not find a more gorgeous anime tv series than 2nd gig, it looks stunning, though the story is as twisty as all ghost in the shell stories are. Solid State Society is also amazing. Innocence is beyond confusing and boring.

Anonymous said...

As this is on my Essential SF Movies list all I have to say is better late then never :P

And you really should watch the series. Visual visions of emerging post-human societies are rare and this is the best.

GunMetalBlue said...

Yep, what they said. GITS: SAC, 2nd Gig and SSS are all LEAPS and BOUNDS ahead of the crap that Innocence was. Do yourself a favour and pick up the's badassery at it's finest, and yeah, it LOOKS absolutely gorgeous!

Charles said...

No relation but think of the TV series as a prequel of sorts, or what Kusanagi's organization does on a daily basis (as opposed to the world-shattering event of the movies).

Gabe said...

SAC also has one of the best intro tunes of any series ever.

Simeon said...

Strange people with strange opinions. Here's the Alpha and Omega. Read and be enlightened!

Uhm, yeah, where was I? Oh yes.

So, Innocence is VASTLY different to the original GitS. It is way more philosophical, far more "Cyber" and far less "Punk". I'd say it's actually a postcyberpunk piece. It is an intoxicating watch, filled to the brim with quotations from various sources, and none of those are picked at random or just to sound cool. It also has the most touching and profoundly "human" scene I've seen in Anime (Batou's home, you'll know it when you get there). It is not for everyone and takes an effort to actually "get", but it is an amazing movie, although in a profoundly different way than the original GitS. I'm gonna sound like a douche now and say that people who hated it mostly just didn't understand it. And there is a LOT to understand in Innocence.

SAC is another continuity entirely (not a prequel or sequel of any sort) and follows the spirit of the manga more accurately. It can best be described as a "cyberpunk crime thriller" and is way more mainstream than the two movies. That said, it's still one of the best anime shows in existence and worth every minute. SAC: Second Gig is a bit weaker than the first season, but still very good IMO. Warning! Do not watch the condensed versions of the seasons. They aren't worth it and you'll lose most of the impact the full show has.

There is also a movie - GitS: Solid State Society - which is a sequel to the two seasons of Stand Alone Complex. It's very weak and mostly reuses material from the show, mixed with ideas from the two Mamoru Oshii movies (the original GitS and Innocence)


Pat, whatever you do, whatever you hear, DO NOT, I repeat - DO! NOT! - watch the 2.0 version. This is not a new version of Innocence, but a complete bastardization of the 1995 original, and it is so bad in so many ways that I could not stress enough how much of a bad taste it'll leave in your mouth if you liked GitS. The only thing worth on that Blu-Ray is the original version, put as an "extra" that isn't even written on the back cover...

mikasund said...

I really loved the original/ first GinS and wasn't so impressed with second film. But, I didn't much like the series either.

Anonymous said...

Well it's been a long time since I watched Innocence now (and I am in no rush to watch it again) but I don't recall not GETTING it. I just didn't like it.
I found it boring and overly-philosophical and no amount of misplaced CGI eye-candy can make up for that.

Anonymous said...

Oops... forgot to add that it is Ramah posting again.

Simeon said...

"Getting" something is not something you "detect" not doing. The themes underlying Innocence are too interesting and masterfully used (especially in concert with the first GitS) to not appreciate them if you DO get it. Innocence is as much an evolution of the original as it is anything else.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Well I certainly disagree with that.
If I don't get something then I am aware that I don't get it. I don't need someone to tell me I don't get it.
I can appreciate fine art but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

If I alone enjoy something I don't assume it because everyone else doesn't get or understand it. It's just the way my taste lies.


Simeon said...

"Taste" is something amazingly complicated and it has a LOT to do with "getting".

But let me explain. Mind you, I'm not being condescending, just trying to clarify.

There are books/movies/whatever that confuse you. Sometimes you see there is something deeper which you haven't understood, and then you know you didn't "get" the thing. Sometimes they're just confusing for no good reason but that's beside the point.

Innocence is neither of those cases. It isn't confusing. It's just multilayered. You could enjoy (or not) each one of its layers without ever being aware of the others' existence. In which case you didn't "get" them, and you didn't realize you didn't get them, because you didn't realize they existed.

Now, you are perfectly free to disagree again and say that those layers don't exist in Innocence or that you saw through them and didn't find them worth the trouble. It's your right. But be careful. If you pick the last option, I'm gonna ask you for examples ;)

Anonymous said...

It's been far too long since I watched it to give examples of what I perceived this film's actual meaning to be. I remember it being boring. I remember it being up its own arse. I remember it having lots of CGI "cutscenes" lifted straight from a computer game that didn't gel with the rest of the animation in any way, shape or form.

To use your own argument about layers I would use my own example...

If I decide to make a meal out of vinegar, cheesecake and marmite it's gonna taste like crap. Each ingredient might be nice on its own (except Marmite of course which is the devil's own toe jam)but together they still taste like crap. Just because I know what went into it doesn't make it taste nice. And just because I know that I intended to make something that tastes nice doesn't make it so. Even though I GET my intention and understand the process and what each individual layer is.
Someone might like it though.

Alright... it's a useless analogy but I still feel it holds.

I'd be interested to know what it is you get about it though, that you feel others don't. To hear your specific examples of layers.
Are you a philosophy student with a Bartletts?

I'm not trying to be argumentative for the sake of it btw. I strongly felt that it was a bad film and I can see you strongly feel otherwise.


Simeon said...

No, I'm a grad Classical Music student actually.


As for layers. How about the stark contrast between the opening sequence of GitS and that of Innocence? The first is about creating a cyborg for practical purposes (Motoko needs a stronger body to do her job). The second is about creating an android for pure pleasure (the doll is a sex bot). This shows how far the assimilation of technology into "humanity" has gone in the years since the events of the first movie.

In a symbolic sense the first opening sequence is about creating freedom - Motoko's original body is crippled (I don't think this was mentioned in the movie, but it's in the tv show and I believe in the manga as well), so this new stronger, faster body gives her a freedom she has never possessed. The second opening sequence is the complete opposite - you see the creation of a prison - a robotic body in which - as we find out at the end of the movie - an innocent child's soul will be captured.

Also there is the entire concept of rape. You have these innocent girls who are raped again and again not in body, but in soul - in their Ghosts, imprisoned in the sex dolls. This is a symbol of humanity's innocence, lost in the machines created by its own hand. Another example of the same thing is the scene where Togusa gets lost in the reality loop in the manner during the second half of the movie. Same idea.

Then you have the literally hundreds of citations - visible and invisible. The model of the androids - "Hadali" - is based on the name of the perfect woman two characters in a 18th century novel try to create (I don't recall the name of the book). The doctor in the lab is named after a famous female scientist (again, can't remember the name) who said "I'd rather be a cyborg than a goddess". Batou's dog is a direct link to Philip Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep".

Etc. etc. etc.

This is all off the top of my head and not having seen the movie in over a year.

Unknown said...

About anime's to watch, have any one recomended to Pat to see Neon Genesis Evangelion?
i just wondered what readers of this blog and its creator thought about that particulare anime serie/film'(s)

Simeon said...

He hasn't started to watch tv series yet. And I think there are at least 10 shows that should take priority before it's time for Eva. It's not a beginner's show.

Anonymous said...

GitS1 has a strong structure, but GitS2 more or less deliberately throws all regular requirements of dramatic structure over board. It's good from an ideas-viewpoint, by analysing the symbolism and diving into the atmosphere. The atmosphere doesn't really suck you in, but you can get into it, and then it's fine.

It's really weird overall, but still logical, and you should be open for "artsy" moviemaking.

Just some 2 cents here.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to carry on this discussion with any level of... er... vigour when it's admittedly been so long since I saw the film. From how you describe it I would certainly have been well aware of the parallels between the beginning of the two films.
I've never heard of "Hadali" so that at least would have gone over my head. Rape... innocence... hardly a stretch to connect them...

The thing about symbolism is, it's there to enhance a product, not BE the product. If you like something and you get the symbolism, either consciously or otherwise, then it can lift something from being merely good into the realm of greatness. If, on the other hand, you think it's toss, then all the symbolism in the world isn't going to change that.
I still maintain that at the time of watching I understood that film well enough to appreciate what message it was trying to tell me but even so, if it's expected that you have to get and understand every last nuance of what a writer intended in order to like something then I believe that writer has failed in his job. I welcome "challenging" or "thought-provoking" but navel-gazing alone isn't enough. Doesn't make it deep and profound, just boring.

That you liked it well enough to defend it against naysayers is great but I still dispute your claim that people "didn't get it." Rather that people probably watched it, got it, turned it off wanting something more alongs the lines of Standalone Complex.


Anonymous said...

Btw.. I'd be lying if I said your comments haven't made me want to watch it again. I might have to dig out the DVD again now just to reaffirm to myself my feelings for it. Who knows... it may be one of those films that get better upon reassessment. I doubt it but I will certainly go for it with an open mind. :)

Oh... and I was wondering if you could elaborate on why the GitS 2.0 is so bad? I know next to nothing about it, other than it's had some kind of makeover and re-recorded soundtrack. I assume they've added a load of obvious CGI backgrounds like in Innocence?
What have they done and why is it so bad so I know to definitely avoid it.



Simeon said...

If I made you wanna see it again, that's good enough for me.

As for 2.0. The CGI is like a patch and it's all over the place. The animation (i.e. movements) of the characters is amazingly unrealistic, way worse than what Innocence offered. Also, the overall coloring has shifted towards the brownish-gold gamma of Innocence, and the first GitS just isn't about that kind of atmosphere. And it doesn't match with the original animation which is still about 80% of the movie.

I don't know about the soundtrack, apart from the fact that the Puppet Master is a WOMAN here, and frankly I don't care. When I saw the kitsch "300" slow-mo (like for example when Motoko makes her face invisible in the beginning) I just wanted to puke somewhere.

The only true merit 2.0 has is the HD, but frankly, why would I want to see it in HD, when the new parts look worse than "Resident Evil: Degeneration"?

Chris M said...

I didn't mind Innocence to be honest. I just treated it as a different way to carry on from the first film. I liked the references and moral questions embedded throughout the film, particularly the one of Hans Bellmer's dolls.

The series is definately worthwhile. My only regret is that they only made two series and that there needed to be more character development (2nd series did attempt it but needed more imo).