Ghost in the Shell (1995)

ghost in the shell poster 1995 movie japanese
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great action, great looking

Story sometimes gets overly complex

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Ghost in the Shell

Studio: Kôdansha/Bandai Visual Company/Manga Entertainment

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Comic Book

Release Date(s):  September 23, 1995 (Premiere)/November 18, 1995 (Japan)/December 8, 1995 (UK)/March 29, 1996 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

ghost in the shell 1995 cloaking device thermo optic camoflage

Now you see me…now you don’t!

A hacker called the Puppet Master has been attacking the city, and Public Security Section 9 led by Major Motoko Kusanagi has been brought in to stop the hacker.  The Puppet Master however might not be all he or she seems to be.  To stop the Puppet Master, Kusanagi must first find out who or what the Puppet Master is…and what the ultimate goal of the attack is.

Directed by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell (/攻殻機動隊 or Gōsuto in za sheru / Kōkaku kidōtai which translates to Ghost in the Shell/Mobile Armored Riot Police) adapts Masamune Shirow’s manga which ran from May 1989-November 1990.  The movie was a wide launch by opening in Japan, the UK, and US on the same day but fared poorly (despite good reviews) in the international markets before finding cult audience.

ghost in the shell puppet master

You can never take my….FREEDOM!!!

Cyberpunk is a genre that I sometimes like and other times find hard and almost unattainable.  I think jargon-y talk often feels forced, and as a matter of the genre, cyberpunk stuff doesn’t always hold-up with advancements in technology.  Ghost in the Shell is one of the better examples of the technology, but a combination of cyberpunk and Japanese animation could be off-putting to some viewers.

I like the basic themes of Ghost in the Shell, but sometimes the movie feels overly complex.  The ideas of self and individuality remain topical and helps the movie stay relevant.  The multiple organizations within the film and the varied conspiracies start to really pile up and a simple viewing doesn’t always allow you to completely understand what is occurring.

ghost in the shell kusanagi links with puppet master

Two become one

The animation for the movie is great.  It is slick and smooth and has that Japanese style.  Instead of the cheap Japanese animation you see in TV series, it is fully developed and shows how Japanese animation isn’t what some of the perception is (like Pokémon or for older viewers G-Force aka Battle of the Planets).  The animation is real and dark.

Ghost in the Shell raises a lot of interesting questions about the blending of our society with technology and the idea of self.  In a world where more and more people want to be part of “the collective” through social media which often seems like a popularity contest, Ghost in the Shell looks at people who want to be out and individual.  The movie was influential and can be seen in movies like The Matrix (just another movie it stole from).  Ghost in the Shell was followed by an unrelated sequel Ghost in the Shell 2:  Innocence in 2004 and a live-action version released in 2017.

Related Links:

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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