D-MAIL ANIME REVIEW:
GHOST IN THE SHELL - SOLID STATE SOCIETY
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Cyberpunk
Original text: November 2014
Editing and rewrites: June 2017
Studio: Production I.G
Original year of release: 2006
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Writer: Yoshiki Sakurai & Kenji Kamiyama
Runtime: 110 mins
STORY AND CHARACTERS
There comes a point where saying how much you love a franchise becomes redundant because everybody already either knows or can instantly tell. However I feel that, such a point has not been reached yet so I'm going to state it one more time: I looooove Ghost in the Shell. I admit that this is not a very original statement as many people have expressed similar feelings in the past. But Ghost in the Shell is one of the few long running anime franchises not targeted towards teenagers but rather adults. In terms of structure, the franchise is perhaps less like a long running shonen and more similar to the likes of Gundam, with many different iterations spread out over a very long period of time. And like Gundam, besides serving a steady stream of new shows, we are treated to a theatrical movie once in a while. It is one of those movies that I'm going to be discussing here.
Set three years after the events of 2nd GIG, The Major has disapeared and Section 9 is now headed by Togusa while the Tachikomas have been replaced by the "not even half as fun" Fuchikomas. This time around Togusa and his team have to track down The Puppeteer (not to be confused with The Puppet Master from the 1995 movie), another genius superhacker who specializes in ghost hacking. So far so Ghost in the Shell. From there, it also plays out in typical Ghost in the Shell fashion. The case turns out to be far more complex than expected and the team gets caught up in yet another web of political intrigue and murder.
This movie is very much Ghost in the Shell by the numbers and that's fine because those numbers are still awesome. It's tense, thrilling and keeps you guessing as to what is really going on all the way upto the big climax. Despite its short runtime, the pacing of the film is top notch. Kamiyama didn't overstuff the story with deep philosophical ponderings or big action setpieces. Instead he did what he does best. Telling a straightforward but well plotted story. The result is a movie that's not all that deep or original but hella entertaining
Of course it does have its issues. Ghost in the Shell is one of those franchises that heavily relies on its lead character. Who in this case, is Motoko Kusanagi, aka the Major. In this movie however, The Major is largely absent from the story and doesn't really step into the spotlight until the very end of the film, which I found a little disapointing.
ART AND ANIMATION
For those who've either been living under a rock or are not very knowledgable about the anime industry: Ghost in the Shell is Production I.G's cash cow. If I were a cynic I'd say Production I.G makes a new Ghost in the Shell whenever they need money, because they know that whatever they put out will make them lots and lots of dough, as long as it has the title Ghost in the Shell attached to it. As such, they've never been too afraid to spend some money on the franchise, because they already know they'll make a profit in the end. Add to that the fact that Solid State Society was a theatrical movie and you can guess just how high the budget for this film was. And it really shows. While Stand Alone Complex already looked freaking amazing Solid State Society one-ups it in every regard with even more detailed character designs and even better animation.
As for the music...just listen to this:
Solid State Society is a Ghost in the Shell movie worthy of that title. It looks phenomenal, the music is awesome and the story is complex and entertaining. However, I am still bothered by how they basically held back The Major until the final act of the movie and I do wish it had a more original story with some thematic depth to it. Overall Ghost in the Shell - Solid State Society is a movie I enjoyed watching. Just not one I'll rewatch anytime soon.
Ghost in the Shell - Solid State Society is licensed by Manga Entertainment in the US and UK. While the US release is DVD only the UK release includes both DVD and Blu Ray. You can also stream it on Hulu. But only if you happen to live in the US unfortunately.
D-Mail Anime Review: Ghost in the Shell - Solid State Society
Kerberos continues his review series on Ghost in the Shell with the third Ghost in the Shell film: Solid State Society, which takes place in the...
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