Ghost in the Shell (1996)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Anime, Sci-Fi Action  |   Release Date - Feb 2, 1996 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, Japan  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Emru Townsend

Based on a manga by Masamune Shirow and directed by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell marries the best aspects of both creators' styles. As in Appleseed, Shirow's tale is set in a near-future that should, by rights, be a utopia, yet still has a need for specialized police and military. Once again, Shirow uses his characters to pose questions about the nature of humanity -- how we regard each other, how societies form, and how we can expect to cope when technology pervades every aspect of life to the point where the line between man and machine blurs. Oshii, who has turned even the most popular of properties into personal, pensive films (Urusei Yatsura, Patlabor 2), runs with Shirow's world of high-tech thrills and armchair philosophy and makes it his own. He adds layers of luscious, CGI-enhanced visuals and a dark, moody soundtrack, and paces it all in a way that makes even the most pulse-pounding action scenes seem dreamlike.