8 Things You Didn’t Know About Ghost in the Shell

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Test your Ghost in the Shell Knowledge.

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.

Ghost In The Shell Influenced The Matrix Series

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

What Is A Ghost?

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

Motoko Kusanagi Is LGBTQ

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

Started As Sci-fi Fan Service But Evolved, Thanks To Mamoru Oshii

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

Ghost In the Shell: Arise Is A Prequel To Everything

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

Ghost In the Shell: Solid State Society Is The Last In The Series

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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.

The Major Has Had Many Looks

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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 Childhood Revealed

8 Things You Didn't Know About Ghost in the Shell

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

You can find Valerie Complex on Twitter @ValerieComplex.

 

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Episode 3: ‘Above the Law’ Review

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Javi remains engaging, but this mid-season point can’t quite live up to the premiere.

Telltale Games’ third season of The Walking Dead continues the trend of the two-part season premiere, exploring its themes of family through the strong lens of its new protagonist, Javi. And though A New Frontier continues to do right by its lead, the narrative problems of the two-part premiere persist in this good but not quite great mid-season episode.

After making such a sympathetic protagonist in Clementine for two seasons, A New Frontier continues to find unique ways of making Javi equally likeable. “Above the Law” kicks off with yet another look at Javi’s life in the early days of the outbreak. Watching Javi take charge of his brother David’s family feels as vital to his story as anything in the present-day storyline. These flashbacks are some of the series’ quieter moments, sure, but they can offer greater impact than any of the franchise’s most bombastic scenes.

The full picture Telltale continues to paint of Javi throughout the season is A New Frontier’s greatest triumph. His plight remains one I’ve genuinely cared about since the season began, never once making me doubt Telltale’s decision to switch protagonists for this entry. “Above the Law’s” flashback in particular, while not quite as cinematic as those in the two-part premiere, serve as a strong launching pad for the Javi I am creating through my dialogue and action choices.

I felt like I was testing Javi’s limits while staying true to the character.

And A New Frontier consistently makes me feel like I can shape Javi’s personality within the lines of the story. The first two episodes allowed me to make Javi a man who saw light even in the darkest of times and people, and the choices presented in “Above the Law” allowed me to deepen those character traits. But “Above the Law” also let me bring moments of weakness to Javi’s life. I felt like I was testing the limits of the choices my Javi would make — whether in his alliances to family of blood or bond or in just how far he’d go to avenge those he loved — while still remaining true to the character I helped to fashion.

Without spoiling too much, he’s faced with decisions and conversations that rewardingly unveil new facets of the character. And it doesn’t hurt that this third episode includes a couple of great opportunities to have Javi pick up his baseball bat for a whole new purpose.

Though Telltale finds intriguing ways to flesh out Javi’s story, the flashbacks for Clementine’s story often fail. Melissa Hutchinson’s performance continues to sell the hard road she’s traveled, but I find Clementine’s actions and conversations in the present to be much more engrossing than in her flashbacks. “Above the Law’s” flashback was the most engaging of the three. I’m all for showing over telling, but the way Telltale shows Clementine’s past isn’t interesting enough yet to merit actually playing through it.

Both the past in present, episode 3 finally offers a deeper look at the titular New Frontier. It’s relatively par for the course when it comes to The Walking Dead civilizations structurally — fortified buildings co-opted to be whatever this community needs. What’s meant to set this Richmond hideout apart is the batch of new characters “Above the Law” introduces. Most of them, unfortunately, come across more as caricatures than as fully drawn personalities.

That would be fine if the series decides to spend more time with them in the future, but the lack of any real connection to them makes the episode-ending plot points far less impactful. I found myself still caring about Javi and the people he holds dear in the episode’s final moments, but the twists and turns they find themselves in aren’t all that shocking.

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 3: 'Above the Law'  Review
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier — Episode 3
The third season of The Walking Dead game series, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier begins the tale of mysterious newcomer Javier, while also continuing the journey of young survivor Clementine.

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The Verdict

Despite a lackluster ending to “Above the Law,” A New Frontier’s third episode kept me invested in Javi’s story, if not the plot as a whole. I’m a bit more wary heading into the latter half of the season after the jarring number of character entrances and exits in this episode, but if the strong character work continues, I’m more than willing to roll through the bumps of this mid-season episode. Telltale has found a sharp lens in Javi through which to analyze the ideas of family as bonds we’re forced into and choose to make ourselves. And he’s a lens, even in the season’s weakest moments, I still find myself wanting to help survive.

Mafia 3 Free Trial Version Out Now Alongside New DLC

It’s a big day for Mafia III, as the game’s next free DLC is out today alongside a free demo version of the game for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The free demo is 24 GB on PC, 27 GB on PS4, and 25 GB on Xbox One, developer Hangar 13 announced in a blog post. The demo lets you play the first act of Mafia III, which features a bank heist gone wrong. This sets up the story for what’s to come.

If you like what you play and what to pick up the full game, the good news is that all of your progress stays with you. Additionally, the game is half off now through April 17.

As for the new expansion, Faster, Baby adds more cars and makes you an even more deadly driver through things like proximity mines that you can lay as traps. The update also lets you throw grenades while driving, which can help you get out of hot situations. Here’s the launch trailer:

Faster, Baby is included with Mafia III’s $30 DLC Pass and the $80 Deluxe Edition. Alternatively, you can purchase it by itself for $15.

Following Faster, Baby will be two more expansions, including Stone Unturned and Sign of the Tines. These are both included with the DLC Pass as well.

Mafia III launched in October and shipped 4.5 million copies in its first week, setting a new record for 2K Games. For more on Mafia III, check out GameSpot’s review.

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    Free Mafia 3 Demo Is Available Now

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    Progress carries over, too.

    If you’ve been sitting on the fence about Mafia III, 2K wants you to give it a try, for free, beginning today.

    The entire first act of Mafia III can be downloaded and played on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Progress from the demo transfers over to the full game, should you purchase it once the demo completes.

    The demo releases along side “Faster, Baby,” the first paid DLC for Mafia III. The DLC introduces a “new narrative and more to explore,” along with a new town, Sinclair Parish, where Mafia III protagonist Lincoln and new character Roxy Laveau join forces to “take down the corrupt and powerful Sheriff ‘Slim’ Beaumont.”

    Mafia III originally launched in October of last year and went on to be the fastest selling game in 2K history, moving 4.5 million copies in its first week. Sales slowed after the first week, with 2K reporting during its quarterly financial briefing lifetime sales of the game have reached 5 million copies.

    In our Mafia 3 review, we praised the game’s excellent story and characters, but felt it was held back by some uninspired gameplay elements.

    Seth Macy is IGN’s weekend web producer and just wants to be your friend. Follow him on Twitter @sethmacy, or subscribe to Seth Macy’s YouTube channel.

    Star Wars Rebels: Dave Filoni Discusses Kallus’ Arc, Maul’s Fate, and More of Season 3’s Big Storylines

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    Refreshers included!

    Warning: Full spoilers for Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 follow.

    Star Wars Rebels just wrapped up its third season, with several notable events occurring along the way. With the third season now complete, I spoke to the show’s co-creator and executive producer Dave Filoni for an in-depth post-mort on many of Season 3’s biggest moments and events (including a key death), the decisions behind them and much more.

    IGN: Let me start out asking about the finale and Kallus, because this character has been one of my favorites to chart. It reminds me of Asajj Ventress in Clone Wars, who was a villain at first but then had these other layers revealed. Did you debate if he actually would make it out of there or not and how did you decide what his path would be?

    Dave Filoni: I think it was always a plan from the very beginning that Kallus would probably turn. We had a little debate back and forth. It was a bit challenging at first because in a way he almost comes across in the first season as the bad inspector that you would see in so many programs. But I think the turning point was when we did the Enemy Mine homage with Kallus and Zeb on the ice planet. Because you have to look at Kallus and say, well, I’m thinking like the Rebels that he’s just a villain.. But what is he as a person? What is his life like? He’s old enough to have been around prior to the Empire crossing over into the Clone Wars. What experience does he have? We tried to tell the story that perhaps even Zeb is misunderstanding who Kallus is. They’re accusing each other of doing terrible things but they’ve both done terrible things and good things. So that was an interesting episode to try to bring Kallus out into the open and say he doesn’t have what the Rebels have. He doesn’t have anyone supporting him. He’s sort of a loner for the empire.

    Once you say we’re going to turn him and he’s going to act as a Fulcrum, there is a debate about, “Do we kill him or should he make it out.. Should we kill him off?” But it didn’t feel right. It would be pretty sad that this guy that was a bad guy actually turning into perhaps a good guy… Why should he pay a price for that good thought? That didn’t seem like it would be communicating the right story point. You have to be careful now because a lot of people think in storytelling, “We’re going to do what’s not typical and we’re going to go against the grain!” But if the purpose of doing that is because we’ve never seen it before or to be sensational, why are you telling that story? What’s the benefit to killing him off? It would communicate the message that he tried to change and he died and nothing came of it. You’d have to have a purpose for his death. It’s kind of a long answer but it felt like his character could serve more in the future, in a positive way, especially for the viewers watching.

    Star Wars Rebels: Dave Filoni Discusses Kallus' Arc, Maul's Fate, and More of Season 3's Big Storylines

    (L-R) Pryce, Thrawn and Kallus in Star Wars Rebels.

    IGN: Watching the original trilogy as kids over and over, we all started to speculate about side characters like Piett, who’s a bad guy, but not as bad as some of the others. When you get to delve into the Empire and you’ve got Thrawn, Pryce, Konstantine and Kallus, is it nice to get to show a little bit more of what daily life is like for an Imperial?

    Filoni: Yeah, and we’re lucky to have the time to do it. What you find out is that a lot of the Imperials are greedy opportunists who are self-serving and will use their position to become wealthy and powerful. Piett is fine that Ozzel gets taken out because it’s good for Piett. When you look at Kallus, Kallus is a person that in a lot of ways believes they’re doing the right thing. He believes in the security of the Republic that now is an Empire. He has a story that tells you that Saw Gerrera and his extremists were brutal, which we now know is true – that these good guys that Ezra sees, there are different layers to them. It brings into focus what it means when you’re fighting for the right cause and trying to be good and in the end, the only path you can do that with is a selfless path, one that’s not serving your own interests which is where the Jedi go. But Kallus has his own kind of awakening especially in the loneliness of his existence. He realizes he’s part of the machine and you wonder… I think there are Imperials who know they’re part of the machine and accept it and know that’s their role. Even with Thrawn, you get a look at an Imperial officer who is completely devoted to the vision of existence that the Emperor wants. Thrawn isn’t just different from other commanders because he’s tactically smart or because he’s an alien, but he’s different in his commitment and belief in what the Emperor is trying to achieve in the galaxy.

    IGN: Fans were very excited about Thrawn coming onto the show. I imagine it’s tricky though, because like with Vader, on one hand some of the audience actually wants to see this villain succeed to prove how formidable they are, but he can’t just come in and kill all the main characters or something. So did you kind of have to figure out what the balance is to both show he’s a threat but also keep the story in play?

    Filoni: Yeah, that is the most difficult thing. You want the most legendary bad guys to come in but you can’t have them exist solely on reputation. You have to consider the people that have never read the books or have no idea who Thrawn is. We have to prove to them when they watch the show that Thrawn is a great threat and a great commander. We did that well with Vader, but we did that by incredibly limiting him in his appearances. Now, it paid off, I think, in the end with how we used Vader. With Thrawn, there’s at the beginning, a greater conceit that he’s going to be the primary villain this season. And we kind of pushed Maul more into that shadowy guy that we don’t want to interact with as much because then we have to reveal more about him. What works with Thrawn is that Thrawn is willing to be patient. He’s willing to observe and I think it actually still fits his character. It’s not strange to say that Thrawn would use a situation where he’s caught Hera Syndulla to learn more about her so he can catch more than just her in the future. So we were able to use it to our advantage even though I think fans are always aching for a victory from him. If I had the scale and scope to do it, it’d be great to show side battles that Thrawn is probably winning against other Rebel threats and Rebel cells. Hopefully we can cover that in other material or comics or books somewhere so you’re getting a better view of the character now that he’s in play .

    Continue on for more with Dave Filoni…

    Continues