Test your Ghost in the Shell Knowledge.
By Valerie Complex
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most popular Japanese animated series of all time, and one of the few to hit the mainstream in America. The existential themes coupled with the ground-breaking animation from Production I.G. made Ghost in the Shell a hit with critics and fans alike.
With the release of the live-action adaptation, set to hit theaters on March 31, now is the best time to get up to snuff on the details before seeing the film.
Here are eight details you should know about Ghost in the Shell, before seeing the Hollywood adaptation.
When pitching the idea for the Matrix to producer Joel Silver, Lana and Lily Wachowski were very specific with their vision. They showed Silver the Ghost in the Shell anime and told him they wanted to make a similar film. From the cyberpunk feel to hacking your brain to upload information, you can see bits of Mamoru Oshii‘s work throughout the Matrix series.
In Ghost in the Shell you’ll hear the term “Ghost” used a lot as in the far future the term “ghost” describes an individual consciousness or a soul. In a time where human, cyborg, and robot co-exist, a ‘Ghost’ is what gives every entity their individuality, regardless of how much biological material is replaced with technological substitutes.
The slightly more playful nature of the manga is also a bit explicit. There are panels that show the Major fantasizing about participating in an all female Ménage à trois. In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex season one, there is a scene of Motoko laying half naked in bed with two partially dressed wine women. It didn’t look like a slumber party either.
The Ghost in the Shell manga isn’t as heavy handed as the animated movies. Some would even say the manga is more on the fan service/cheesecake side. If you look through the pages of the manga, you will see Section 9 doesn’t take life too seriously. It wasn’t until director Mamoru Oshii decided to adapt the manga that Ghost in the Shell took on a more philosophical approach.
Although Ghost in the Shell: Arise was released in 2015, it’s considered a prequel to the 1995 film. Arise follows a young Motoko Kusanagi. Before joining Section 9, Motoko is a secret agent for the 501 Organization, a company that owns her current prosthetic body. Working for 501, Motoko meets Daisuke Aramaki, Batou, and the future members of Section 9.
Although Arise is the latest animated series to be released in the Ghost in the Shell timeline, chronologically, Solid State Society is the last update fans have on the Major and the members of Section 9. Solid State Society takes places right after the events of Stand Alone Complex season 2.
When referencing the Major’s many looks, fans remember her Shell from the first film or her look from the Stand Alone Complex television series. However, between Ghost in the Shell: Arise and Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, the Major has had so many body swaps that it is difficult to keep up with them all (if I had to guess, I would say 6-7 shells).
Motoko Kusanagi’s past is not discussed beyond what is seen in the Arise series. However, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex season 2 provides some critical answers to Motoko’s parents and cyborg origins. I am not going to give away the reveal, you’ll have to watch the entire season.
Eight episodes may seem like a lot but trust me, this doesn’t scratch the surface. It takes a full watch to understand what Ghost in the Shell is about. Even then, it may require a second and third viewing.
Are you excited about the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell? Let us know in the comments