The new Ghost in the Shell(GitS) movie is going to be released on March 31st. I’ve already told you that it’s one of my most anticipated spring movies. Now, I’m going to tell you why.

 

First, a little background. GitS is a Sci-Fi media franchise created by Masamune Shirow. The series follows Major Makoto Kusanagi and her comrades in Public Security Section 9: a counter-terrorist branch of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. It was originally a Manga that ran in Young magazine from April 1989 to November 1990.Since that time the GitS empire has expanded steadily. It now includes 4 video-games, 2 manga sequels, 5 animated movies, 3 television series, and 3 OVA.

GitS continues the classic “soft” Sci-Fi tradition of tackling real world issues through the use of techno-magical symbolism. While it may seem to focus on the political and economic issues raised by a merging of man and machine, the series is really about belonging and identity.

Alienation and righteous indignation are the forces that drive many of the antagonists in GitS. The Laughing Man in the 1st season of Stand Alone Complex best embodies this. Spoilers incoming. The Laughing Man was cracker/hacker who goes against the government and powerful medical corporations in order to expose the fact that they colluded to endanger the public. He is brought down by Section 9 but his goals are eventually realized. Spoilers ended.

Major Kusanagi looks amazed as she is bathed in blue-white light.
She’s usually more composed than this.

 

The notion that there is only so much you can do to change the world is another recurring theme in GitS. As powerful as the characters can seem at times, they are still kept in check by forces much more powerful than they are. The protagonists are frequently frustrated in their efforts by the meddling of the government.The Major might be a nigh unkillable cyborg but even she is at the mercy of bureaucracy.

It is rare to see that in popular fiction these days. Contemporary fiction frequently promotes the idea that you can alter whatever you want about the world or your life as long as you can find the courage and inner-strength. It also reinforces the belief that the modern world is a fundamentally just place. So it’s refreshing to see that, in the world of GitS, the bad guys are sometimes good and that victories are always compromised. In that way, GitS is one of hardest works of Sci-Fi around. Let’s hope the new movie lives up to its namesakes.

What do you think of GitS? Is solid Sci-Fi or weeaboo junk? Leave a comment and let me know.

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