This past weekend I took my daughter, one of her best friends, and the best friend’s mom to see Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Both of the girls are 11 year old 5th graders studying Japanese in school and while they are both anime fans, I was rather dubious at first of the wisdom of taking them to see a PG-13 film knowing the graphic nature of the first Ghost in the Shell film. This had originally been suggested by the friend’s dad who knew that I was an avid anime fan. The dad was unable to come due to illness, so mom filled in.
After giving it some thought and considering the personalities of the girls, I decided to take a chance. Besides, I figured it would be a good opportunity to show the friend’s mom that anime is not just for kids. Both my wife and I went to some length to warn them about this, but like many Americans, they tended to think that anything animated was a kid show. Well after Ghost in the Shell 2 that would all change.
Now as for the movie itself, it was pretty good. This is a very stylish film that does a good job of blending computer generated graphics with cel shaded hand drawn characters and backgrounds. The look is not unlike Witch Hunter Robin, just on a greater scale. Ghost in the Shell 2 is a good cybercop movie with decent doses of action and a heavy dallop of philosophizing over life, death, and what it means to be human. If you liked Blade Runner, then you will probably like this too.
As for the girls, they enjoyed it though the philosophical talk may have been over their heads. There’s nothing too shocking, and sexual content is virtually nonexistent, which is interesting given that the central plot revolves around the question of why robots made for sex (gynoids) are killing their masters. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. And the mom enjoyed the film too, quite impressed with the visuals in particular.
Ghost in the Shell 2 is currently playing at only two movie theatres in Chicago with no marketing to speak of. This is really too bad, because on more screens and advertising this could be a top ten box office film just as the Chinese martial arts drama, Hero, has been this summer.