Directed by: Mamoru Oshii
Written by: Kazunori Itô, Masamune Shirow (comic)
Starring: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi and Richard Epcar
Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell is a sci-fi anime classic that combines exciting visuals with a beautifully paced story that draws on the more human ideas of identity and memory, despite its cool techy tricks and cyborg characters.
Kusanagi (Tanaka) is a cop living in a time where technology has enabled humans to strengthen and reshape their bodies with titanium and telepathic communication. When a hacker by the name of ‘Puppetmaster’ enters the scene, Kusanagi must work with her team of anti-terrorist cops to stop the hacker from gathering illegal information, engineering political movements and commit terrorist activities using innocent cyborgs who have their memories wiped clean with simulated experiences and thoughts.
With no limits on the imaginative and creative visual direction, Ghost in the Shell is no doubt a major influence in the cyberpunk movement that can be seen in both anime and Hollywood action greats such as The Matrix. While much of the dialogue feels as robotic and unnatural as its characters (it may have worked for manga, but could have been a lot more dramatically engaging as a script), Ghost in a Shell touches on thought-provoking ideas about what defines living organisms as individuals and the role of technology in dehumanizing society.
Thrilling, broodingly dark and packed with powerful concepts, Ghost in the Shell delivers riveting anime action with flare – making it one of the must-see animes of all time.