Ghost in the Shell 2, Innocence, 2004.

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Last year I decided to watch and review Ghost in the Shell for the first time and I really enjoyed it, but one of the criticisms I received is that I didn’t research the film enough! I fully take that on board but do like to write about my first impression of a film as they seem to take on their own life after that. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence was going to need a little bit of research as I found this film far more elaborate than its predecessor. I decided if I was to take an in-depth look at some of the imagery and dialogue then I would have to dig deeper to give it the justice it deserves. Time to log back in . . . . .

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Batou is back and he is investigating a murder by a gynoid, a feminine human-robot.

“One of the things I realised straight away is that the Hollywood film 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 has a new partner now, Detective Togusa and they find out that the victim killed by the gynoid is somehow connected to Locus Solus and a gang called the Yakuza.

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Batou and Togusa visit the morgue/workshop where the gynoid has been taken and it’s this scene that really starts to catch my imagination. “What the Hell are you talking about?” Miss Haraway is present as Batou examines the robot, she goes on to explain that viruses and human production errors could cause a robot to malfunction. Her next theory is something a lot darker and far more sinister and pretty much a reflection of humanity. She explains that a robot killing itself could be a result of robots becoming disowned, often becoming vagrants and eventually killing themselves in a protest against their own obsolescence. “Can we get back to reality here?” She explains that the gynoid brought in was used for sexual purposes but has found a puzzling message in a data file stored inside the body. After a few listens to the message, it seems to be saying “Please help us”  Togusa is completely shocked and all you can see is the flicker of light in his eyes. Batou and Togusa leave as Miss Harraway clips back her eyes and plugs herself into a computer.

There has been another murder at a Boathouse and again the name Locus Solus is revealed again. A Shipping Inspector, Jack Walkson has been bludgeoned to death. At Section 9 headquarters, we learn more about the murder from the Cheif, It was precise and was committed by a Cyborg that has some kind of claw, very inventive! Later the Chief pulls Togusa to one side to ask how Batou is doing, then goes on to say One need not have been Caesar in order to understand Caesar”  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 this story is really coming together now. 

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Maybe the Chief was right to worry about Batou as he visits a Yakuza hideout and goes on a killing spree, eventually finding the cyborg responsible for the murder, he takes him out as well. The current boss admits his predecessor was somehow involved in Locus Solus but insists he doesn’t know how. Batou enters a store on the way home and is somehow warned by Major and then shot in the arm by an unseen assailant. Batou’s e-brain has been hacked and he attacks the store occupants and shoots himself in the arm. Apparently, this was created to cause a scandal and an attempt to shut down the investigation from Section 9.

The Chief decides that Batou and Togusa are to go undercover, of the grid completely in the far North Frontier. Batou says to Togusa “If life is information then society and civilization is a mass storage system.” Togusa replies with some quotes 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.” Batou and Togusa find the location of Kim, a psychopathic hacker with a fascination with philosophy, life and death. Time gets a bit crazy as the same scenario in Kim’s mansion repeats over and over again with different variations. Batou is warned by the Major again and realises that his and Togusa’a e-brains have been hacked, not before Kim reveals the location of Locus Solus and his involvement with the organisation.

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Batou heads down to the underwater ship of Locus Solus, Togusa has hacked Kim’s memory to use his access codes to get Batou on board. Locus Solus becomes aware of this and destroys Kim’s brain. Bad news for Batou as all the gynoids on the ship have been ordered to destroy everyone on board. Batou manages to fight his way to the centre of the ship where he meets up with the Major again who is remotely controlling a gynoid, eventually, they both manage to take control of the ship.

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The Major reveals the truth to Batou about the gynoids, Locus Solus hired the Yakuza to kidnap young girls to use their minds to help make the gynoids more human, a process called ghosting. Jack Walkson who was murdered had uncovered this and planned to save the girls by having the gynoids kill their owners, eventually attracting the police. Batou explains that Walkson might have saved the girls but he also caused pain and suffering to the gynoids by interrupting the ghosting process. Batou turns to the Major and asks her if she is happy now. The Major tells Batou that she will always be beside him on the network and disconnects.

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I have watched this film a couple of times now and I’m still finding new things in there that surprise me. First of all, the animation using computer animated graphics is pretty amazing and some of the shots make me realise why this just couldn’t work with a Hollywood remake, Manga is its home and rightly so. I am also highly impressed with all references in there towards philosophy. I’m not saying I understand it all yet, but I know I can go check those out in the future and the whole point of my site was to learn new things. What I really liked about this film is that as much as it is fantasy, it very well could be something we need to deal with in the future, a future that isn’t that far away. My only real gripe with the film is the dubbing of the voices as the characters have no real tangible voice, just a monotone of endless words that are sometimes hard to understand. I really didn’t know what to expect when I first watched this film, I now know about the level of sophistication and mastery it takes to make these and it has made me realise something very important. I’m no Magna expert, I’m barely even a novice, so I think I’m just going to enjoy watching these films without trying to explain something I don’t understand fully myself yet. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited about the journey I’m about to go on but this review has put me back a long way because it’s just so hard to describe but the OCD in me wouldn’t let me move on till I had completed it. Who knows, maybe one day I will feel a little more comfortable to actually put pen to paper again.

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Do you have any recommendations for Magna that is worth checking out? I will carry on looking at what Ghost in the Shell has to offer but is there anything you think I should really check out first? Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment or like if you enjoyed this post.

4 thoughts on “Ghost in the Shell 2, Innocence, 2004.

  1. If you want a real mind-fuck trip into japanese sci-fi manga: BLAME! by tsutomu nihei. Read that, then read noise, then reread all two, then go hunt for meaning around the interweb 😀 Keep the netflix movie last, it doesn’t have much to do with story of the manga. IMHO it’s the best sci-fi manga out there. At the very least it’s unique and there isn’t anything around even resembling it, trust me, i searched. The art is fantastic, in particular from half the story onward. After you read BLAME! you can have a look also at abara, biomega and sidonia from the same author. Keep in mind blame is the masterpiece and these get progressively worse, but they all are at least good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting read! A huge fan of Oshii’s GITS, though it’s been a few years since I’ve seen Innocence so I’m due for a re-watch
    Donna Haraway’s presence here is fascinating to me – I once read an analysis of the first film that explained the first film’s influences or similarities to her Cyborg Manifesto, but it’s been years since I’ve read it so I can’t remember what points it was making haha

    Liked by 1 person

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