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Ghost In The Shell II : Innocence

June 25, 2005

In a single sentence, Ghost in the Shell II manages to evoke the flavour of the first film without delivering the punch and emotion of its predecessor.

That said, I mostly enjoyed getting a chance to netflix the critter the other day. It is a shiny, shiny piece of art.

GITS II picks up a while after the first movie leaves off, with Major Kusanagi off in the never-never land of the net. Batou has teamed up with Togusa, and the two of them are hunting down whoever caused a gynoid cybershell to go nuts and kill a couple of cops. Turns out there are a few like this, and each of them come from the same manufacturer. The intrepid cops track the models to a factory in the northern zone. There, they uncover the seekrit of what’s up with the bots’ with the help of an old friend.

First and foremost, while I enjoyed the story there wasn’t nearly as much philosophy this time around. One of the most enjoyable parts of the first movie was the heavy handed man-machine philosophy that Kusanagi muttered to herself throughout the film. The puppet-master, and what he represented, was a fundamentally interesting twist. The reason behind the gynoid killing frenzy is intriguing, but it came down to a somewhat familiar trope in science fiction (one done up in a Shadowrun sourcebook, no less).

While the plot was weaker, the years have been kind to Masamune’s work. More advanced animation techniques have turned his already breathtaking art style into a fluid canvas that has to be seen to be believed. Even there, though, there were moments when the computer generation of images left something to be desired, and I longed for the animation style of the original Ghost film.

I’m told that Stand Alone Complex, the anime series based on this world, is better than the film. I’m going to be retrieving it via the flix that are Net, and I’ll see for myself. As it is, though, this is a sequel that I mostly enjoyed but could have lived without seeing.

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