Last week I watched and reviewed Ghost in the Shell for the first time and I really enjoyed it. I did make a vital mistake and watched the Hollywood remake at a later date but it still did not dampen my interest; thankfully. One of the criticisms I did receive was that I didn’t research the film enough, I do take that on board but I like to try and write what my first reaction is to a film. Ghost in the Shell is a little bit more complex than that and I have decided to write about this a little differently! As soon as I began to watch Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence I suddenly started to realise this film was far more elaborate than its predecessor, I decided if I was to take in in-depth look at some of the imagery and dialogue then I would have to cover this film in two parts to do it any kind of justice. Now don’t get me wrong, this is my view of the things that mean something to me within the film. It was written and directed by Mamoru Oshii with a budget of $20 million, Again I didn’t read anything about this film before I watched it and was so surprised by the quality of the animation by I.G Productions. Okay, time to log back in.
From the start, we are introduced to Batou as he investigates a murder by a gynoid also known as a doll-like sex robot! One of the things I realise straight away is that the Hollywood remake I watched was actually taking elements from the whole franchise instead of the first film as I first thought. What an amazing design for the gynoid! Batou now finds himself working with another detective Togusa as they find out the victim killed is somehow connected to Locus Solus and could have been killed by a gang called the Yazauka. Now it is the next sequence of the film in the morgue that really catches my imagination and makes me start to realise this film is really dense in metaphors and meanings. “What the Hell are you talking about?” Miss Haraway is interviewed after her autopsy of the gynoid and she goes onto explain how a robot could kill itself. Miss Haraway goes on to explain that viruses and human production errors could cause a robot to malfunction. Next is something a lot more sinister and pretty much a reflection of humanity. She explains that a robot killing itself could be a result of some robots becoming disowned, often becoming vagrants and killing themselves is a protest against their own obsolescence! “Can we get back to reality here?” Now she explains that the robot was used for sexual purposes and she has found a message in a data file from the robot, after a few listens it sounds like “Please help us” Now don’t get me wrong there is a lot I have missed out on from this conversation but I am finding it hard to think about it never mind trying to explain it. There is a really wonderful shot as Miss Haraway is talking and it shows Togusa looking shocked at what he is listening too as all you can see is the flicker of light in his eyes. After she finishes talking she removes her eyes and plugs herself into a computer. After that whole sequence, you definitely start to understand nothing is quite as it seems.
Yet another murder at a Boathouse and the name Locus Solus is popping again. A gruesome killing of a shipping inspector with some boating tools, lovely! Batou does find a 3D picture of a young girl, I wonder if that will come up again, I’m pretty sure it will. So, let me get this right? the murderer is a sophisticated cyborg that has been altered? I will say one thing about this film, basically, if you blink, then you will not just miss it, but miss half of the kitchen table as well. Next thing I notice is that Batou has himself a dog this time around and I’m already wondering if that is a robot? Well, I guess it isn’t hard to come up with that assumption. Again, beautiful visuals as the dog is staring into a ball with a fish spinning inside. Next, we are back at Section 9 and get a full detailed report about the murder. It was precise and the cyborg has some kind of claw and like I said this needs splitting into two parts as I have got a headache already trying to understand this! Something of significance I do notice is when the Chief pulls Togusa to one side to ask how Batou is doing, then he says “One need not have been Caesar in order to understand Caesar” Now before you all start thinking this a link to Planet of the Apes like I did; It is, in fact, a key concept in classical social theory; apparently. To me, it says you can learn anything about anyone if you try hard enough? Not only that Togusa asks why he was picked for this case and the Chief tells him that the Major had picked him before the incident with Puppet Master. I guess the story is really coming together now.
Maybe the Chief was right to worry about Batou as he opens fire at a Yazauka hideout. Beautiful animation as the enemy’s eyes get hacked and Batou goes on a killing spree. Inside Batou finds the killer cyborg from earlier and kills him also. Now I am starting to think that he has had some kind of connection with the Major the more this story moves on? This is why I like to take most of my notes as I am watching these films for the first time because I get to enjoy and write the story as it unfolds. The next part though has me really confused as Batou has a shootout in a convenience store, I first I think Batou has been attacked but after a few rewinds I notice it is, in fact, his buddy from section 9 shutting him down! And like that the story gets even more complicated as it turns out Batou has been hacked and whoever has done it is trying to disgrace him. Apparently, the Chief knew about this, well everybody knew apart from Togusa.
Next, the Chief decides the stakes are getting way to big and Batou and Togusa are to go undercover and off the grid in the far North Frontier. Again, this sequence is full of metaphors as Batou explains that if life is information then society and civilization is a mass storage system. Even Togusa gets in on the fun and starts talking about verses from the bible. “How precious are your thoughts, O God! How great is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand! When I awake, I am still with You.”
And this is the end of Part One for me. I didn’t really expect there to be so much involved in an animated film like this and I haven’t even watched the second half yet! Anyway, I am enjoying the story but it really is hard to put into words what you are watching sometimes. Part Two will be with you soon.
Do you have any thought on Ghost in the Shell 2? If you do then please leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading.