Ghost in the Shell is one of the most influential animes of all time, spinning off other movies and anime series and the live action film adaptation in 2017. Weirdly enough, I never watched the anime, instead starting directly with the live action film. As I watched both, I began to see the reach of the influence it’s had on science fiction over the few past few decades.
What’s the same? In the future, technology has evolved to such a degree where people have used cybernetics to enhance themselves, whether on a small level or extreme level. We follow Major Motoko Kusanagi, an officer of Section 9 that deals with cyber crimes. Her and her partner Bato are on the hunt for a dangerous hacker that is screwing with peoples memories and rewriting people. Major is a ghost, a living brain in a full mechanical body. Many of the breathtaking and gorgeous images have been recreated in the 2017 version, as well as the context to both.
What’s different? The anime film was a more contained story where the live action film went into some heavy Blade Runner territory, trying to make it a deeper story and give more answers. In the anime, the adversary is the Puppet Master, while the live film has a more elaborate villain. Major is more coldly portrayed in the film and surprisingly more human in the anime.
Ok, so which do I like better? Though not quite my favorite anime and/or film, I respect both of them a lot. I love the concept and art style of both. I found both fascinating and beautiful but somehow neither grabbed me as much I thought they would. I recommend watching the anime first but I think you’re solid either way. May the gaming gods bring you glory.