Ghost in the Shell (25th Anniversary Edition) – Mamoru Oshi

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Releasing from Anchor Bay today, is the 25th anniversary edition of this unprecedented anime film. The downside to it, is that despite that it’s the 25th Anniversary of the original manga, there are sadly no bonus features on the disc.

On the plus side, the film looks very nice on Blu-Ray, and comes in the original Japanese 2.0 audio with English subtitles, or a lossless 5.1 English audio.

High sci-fi, with ruminations on the soul or ghost, and great action sequences elevate this above most of the live-action fare of the time, and even now! Major Kusanagi (voiced by Atsuko Tanaka) is a cyborg cop, who metes out justice and deep thoughts seemingly in equal measure. When she and her partner, Bateau (Akio Otsuka) find themselves chasing down an elusive hacker, known as the Puppet Master, they may get more than they bargained for, as he seems to be one step ahead of them all the time. He/she/it has hacked his way into people, planting false memories to manipulate them, changing governments, and slowly, apparently, making more sinister moves.

The film balances action and story nicely, giving Batea, Kusanagi and the Puppet Master (Iemasa Kayumi) fully realized characters, that coupled with the life-like designs of the animation, cityscapes, and action sequences make for a very entertaining film. The opening sequence, featuring an assassination is brilliantly constructed though the garbage truck sequence is undeniably my favorite.

The further Kusanagi and Bateau become involved in the case, the more she needs to know and understand the Puppet Master, when truths are revealed and conjecture about intelligence evolving is presented, and pondered.

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This is smart sci-fi, and while most people see animation and think family, or kids fare, this is not the case for this, and most Anime. The story, as presented, is adult in nature, dealing with high brow themes, the action is violent, and gory, and there is even a healthy measure of nudity.

If you’ve never seen this one, and you’re looking for some brilliant cyberpunk science fiction, this one serves wonderfully, and still looks amazing.

This anniversary edition is being released to celebrate the anniversary of the phenomenon, and original manga. If you enjoy this one, I urge you to take a look for the original story, the follow-up films, the stand-alone series, and the mangas those inspired as well.

The story is still relevant, the sequences and animation are still stunning, and just rewatching it, I actually chastised myself that it had been so long between viewings for me.

As mentioned, the only real hang-up I had with this release is the lack of bonus features. It does come with a wonderful little booklet featuring an interview with Oshi, as well as the film’s impact and the worlds it has created in its various incarnations, but I found myself wishing they had been presented in a special features documentary instead. But if you aren’t keen on behind the scenes stuff, and have never seen this one, or simply want to add it to your collection, now is the time, with this beautiful edition.

Ghost in the Shell (25th Anniversary Edition) is available from Anchor Bay today!

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