Blu-ray Review: Ghost In The Shell

With the live action remake starring Scarlett Johansson just around the corner, it makes sense that the original 1995 Ghost In The Shell anime get an updated Blu-Ray release. Thankfully the nice folks over at Anchor Bay saw fit to do just that. You don’t get any special features, but the film looks great and comes in a fancy Steelbook.

This was my first time viewing the film, so this isn’t going to be some fanboy gushing review. I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I failed to see what was so amazing about it. I know people rank it up there with Akira as one of the best animes of all time, but I just didn’t see it.

Set in the year 2029, when most people have had part or all of their body cybernetically enhanced, the story follows Major Motoko Kasanagi. She is a completely created cybernetic human who works for Public Security Section 9, along with her mostly human partner Batou.

When they stumble across a hacker calling him/herself The Puppet Master they set out to stop them. However, as they run across another government group called Section 6, they learn that there may be more to The Puppet Master than they initially thought.

What makes this film interesting is that it isn’t just wall to wall action like one might expect. It is a slow moving thoughtful film that spends more time waxing philosophically about the identity of self and what makes someone who they are rather than big shoot outs and fight scenes (but don’t worry, it has those too.)

Visually it is certainly a stunning film. Made in 1995 it does feel a little dated by today’s standards, but that should not stop anyone who appreciates quality animation from soaking up the beautiful shots throughout this film.

I was a little taken aback by the excessive nudity in the film, especially at the beginning. Better writers than I have expounded on the juxtaposition between Motoko’s nudity and her also not being a full woman. This most apparent during the opening credits sequence when we see her being created. The rest of the nudity stems from her needing to be completely naked to use her cloaking devise, which seemed a little excessive.

All-in-All, it is a fascinating philosophical look at identity, especially within the contexts of future cybernetic world, that perhaps seems more relevant today than today. Thanks to the internet and smart phones we are all connected today in ways that did not exist in 1995. This isn’t the same as cybernetic enhancements, but it’s pretty darn close.

The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD audio as well as Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a fantastic looking film and the Blu-Ray transfer preserves that beautifully.

No Extras.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this film. I’d been told so many times over the years how great it was that I was worried it wouldn’t live up to it’s expectations. While I don’t think I loved it as much as most people, I certainly think it was an interesting movie and worth watching. Anyone looking to educate themselves on the history of anima would be foolish to skip Ghost in the Shell. I’m certainly curious to see where the story goes from here.

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Ghost In The Shell. Written by Kazunori Ito. Based on the Graphic Novel by Masamune Shirow. Directed by: Mamoru Oshii. Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka and Iemasa Kayumi. Running time: 82 min. Rating: Not Rated, but contains nudity and violence. Released on Blu-Ray: March 14, 2017.