6 November 2015 | quincytheodore
Gorgeously animated sci-fi, although might not be easy for newcomers to pick up and plug in.
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most enduring and beloved anime franchises, also widely known for inspiration for the Matrix. It's also one of the most reworked franchises, with many iterations and alternate versions, which aren't entirely accessible for some viewers. If one can pass this hindrance, the literal New Movie possesses high quality sci-fi with excellent artworks and voice acting.
Plot is a continuation from the most recent Arise: Alternative Architecture TV animation, which is television version of Arise four movies. If all of these etymologies confuse you, it's all right, this series is known for its complexity. Arise itself is a new rework, thus the artwork might not look like old version, especially the slimmer protagonist Motoko Kusanagi.
While this is not so out-of-the-world like many previous iterations, it's not easily available for newcomers, even for fans who didn't watch the Arise version. It's skimped on many narratives and character introductions. It certainly doesn't have "previously on" segments, so this can feel alienating, especially when the movie has many specific jargon and terms associated with the plot.
Fortunately, the sheer production is brilliant enough to compensate for the inaccessibility. The world Motoko lives on is very splendidly done, it's also the world with prejudice, not for skin color but for the prosthetic parts one wears inside. Motoko is born fully augmented, making her a special operative. The same technologies are also used on different aspects like stealth, warfare, and even communication with virtual private chat, so the characters might seem speaking telepathically.
The visual is very aesthetically and thematically pleasing. It's a futuristic setting, but not so far off that it becomes unidentifiable. There are tons of cultural and urban scenery, some of which look utterly gorgeous, even those in brief scenes. Bits of graphical details scatter on the vista, as nifty foundations for intriguingly futuristic world.
Aside for the immense amount of details, action is also fluid and inclusion of 3D effect looks admirably fitting. Voice actors do wonderful jobs here, especially the veteran Maaya Sakamoto who delivers wide range of emotions, there are subtle variations even with the stoic character.
For fans, this is a nice continuation of new series with polished execution. For newcomers, it's almost akin to watching The Matrix straight on its second movie, rather overwhelming but can be still pleasing due to its sheer production.