Ghost in the Shell
|Ghost in the Shell|
Cover of The Ghost in the Shell, the first entry of Ghost in the Shell
|The Ghost in the Shell|
|Written by||Masamune Shirow|
|Original run||May 1989 – November 1990|
|Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface|
|Written by||Masamune Shirow|
|Original run||September 1991 – August 1997|
|Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human Error Processor|
|Written by||Masamune Shirow|
|Original run||1991 – 1996|
Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊 Kōkaku Kidōtai , literally "Mobile Armored Riot Police") is a Japanese seinen manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The manga, first serialized in 1989 and later published as its own tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, told the story of the fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, led by protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi, in the early 21st century of Japan.
Animation studio Production I.G has produced several different anime adaptations of Ghost in the Shell, starting with the 1995 film of the same name, telling the story of Section 9's investigation of the Puppet Master. The television series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex followed in 2002, telling an alternate story from the manga and first film, featuring Section 9's investigations of government corruption in the Laughing Man and Individual Eleven incidents. The year 2013 will see the start of the Ghost in the Shell: Arise film series, a prequel to the original manga.
Primarily set in the mid-twenty-first century in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama, Niihama Prefecture (新浜県新浜市 Niihama-ken Niihama-shi ),[Note 1] otherwise known as New Port City (ニューポートシティ Nyū Pōto Shiti ), the manga and the many anime adaptations follow the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. Political intrigue and counter-terrorism operations are standard fare for Section 9, but the various actions of corrupt officials, companies, and cyber-criminals in each scenario are unique and require the diverse skills of Section 9's staff to prevent a series of incidents from escalating.
In this cyberpunk iteration of a possible future, computer technology has advanced to the point that many members of the public possess cyberbrains, technology that allows them to interface their biological brain with various networks. The level of cyberization varies from simple minimal interfaces to almost complete replacement of the brain with cybernetic parts, in cases of severe trauma. This can also be combined with various levels of prostheses, with a fully prosthetic body enabling a person to become a cyborg. The heroine of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is such a cyborg, having had a terrible accident befall her as a child that ultimately required that she use a full-body prosthesis to house her cyberbrain. This high level of cyberization, however, opens the brain up to attacks from highly skilled hackers, with the most dangerous being those who will hack a person to bend to their whims.
The world has also taken on vastly different forms, with Japan emerging from both a nuclear World War III and non-nuclear World War IV relatively unscathed, save for the loss of Tokyo and surrounding cities. The government's creation of a nuclear fallout scrubbing nanomachine called the "Japanese Miracle" gives the nation sway in the global sphere, with the American Empire, one of several nations to emerge after war has split the United States, vying for the technology to restore their nation to its former glory.
The Ghost in the Shell (攻殻機動隊 THE GHOST IN THE SHELL Kōkaku Kidōtai Za Gōsuto In Za Sheru ) begins in 2029, and features Section 9, led by Chief Daisuke Aramaki and Major Motoko Kusanagi, as they investigate the Puppeteer, a cyber-criminal wanted for committing a large number of crimes by proxy through "ghost hacking" humans with cyberbrains. As the investigation continues, Section 9 discovers that the Puppet Master is actually an advanced artificial intelligence created by a department of the Japanese government, taking up residence in a robot body. After destroying the latest host of the Puppeteer, Section 9 believes all is well, until the Major discovers the Puppet Master in her own mind. After hearing the Puppeteer's wishes to reach its next step in evolution, Kusanagi allows it to become one with her own ghost. After this event, the Major leaves Section 9 to work as a private contractor, with the remaining members of the unit Batou, Togusa, Ishikawa, Saito, Paz, Borma, and Azuma, continuing their work as covert operatives, occasionally meeting up with the Major in her various guises. These stories were later collected under the name Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor (攻殻機動隊1.5 HUMAN-ERROR PROCESSER Kōkaku Kidōtai Ittengo Hyūman Erā Purosessā ). In 2035, the Major, now known as Motoko Aramaki, works as a security expert for Poseidon Industrial, now an entity composed of multiple identities that she controls via the network in other prosthetic bodies that attack industrial spies, assassins, and cyber-hackers, solving various crimes, while still at her day job. However, a psychic investigator finds something dangerous emerging as the teachines of a professor of artificial intelligence fall into the wrong hands and attempt to intermingle with the Major's current evolving sense of self. These stories are collected under the title Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface (攻殻機動隊2 MANMACHINE INTERFACE Kōkaku Kidōtai 2 Manmashīn Intāfēsu ).
The first film Ghost in the Shell, written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, generally follows the Puppeteer plot of the first manga The Ghost in the Shell, but the interpretation of characters is different; in the English dub of the film, the Puppeteer is referred to as the Puppet Master. Its sequel Innocence is an original story inspired by a chapter from The Ghost in the Shell. The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex television series and its related media, written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, are in an original setting set after The Ghost in the Shell wherein the Major never made contact with the Puppet Master although a similarly named entity appears in the made-for-TV movie. The upcoming Ghost in the Shell: Arise film series, written by Tow Ubukata, are a prequel to the original The Ghost in the Shell manga, set a few years before it and will feature the formation of Section 9.
Creation and development 
While writing the manga, Masamune Shirow struggled to make it neither too complex nor too simple. Shirow said he drew approximately 40 pages per episode and it took him 40 days to finish one episode. He has also stated that he had always wanted the title of his manga to be "GHOST IN THE SHELL", even in Japan, but his original publishers preferred Kōkaku Kidōtai (攻殻機動隊?). He had chosen "Ghost in the Shell" in homage to Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine, from which he also drew inspiration.
When developing Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface, Shirow initially wanted to use a new title by changing the last kanji character meaning "military unit" (隊 tai ), to the homophonic kanji for "body" (体 tai ) so that it would translate "Mobile Unit Body Entity" (攻殻機動体 Kōkaku Kidōtai ), but eventually he decided not to do so. Shirow considers the manga a completely different kind of work and not a true sequel, as the plot of Ghost in the Shell revolved around Public Security Section 9 and Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface follows what happens to the Major after she merges with the Puppeteer. Shirow drew the color pages on computer, in which he states was difficult to due to technical issues with his computer. In the "short-cut" version of the manga, Masamune Shirow made the color darker and softer, but used more contrasting colors in the "standard" version.
Ghost in the Shell originally ran from April 1989 to November 1990 in Kodansha's manga anthology Young Magazine, and was released in tankobon format on October 2, 1991. The dates in the chapter titles are set up in DD-MM-YYYY format. Dark Horse initially published it in English monthly into eight comic issues from March 1, 1995 to October 1, 1995 with the translation of Studio Proteus. Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface ran in Young Magazine from September 1991 to August 1997. Four chapters that were not released in tankobon format from previous releases, were later collected into a single volume titled Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor serving as an interquel. The manga was published in July 23, 2003 by Kodansha.
Other merchandise 
A number of artbooks detailing the concept art and world of Ghost in the Shell have been released. A box set titled Kōkaku Kidōtai Cyberdelics (攻殻機動隊Cyberdelics) was released on July 8, 1997. The box set contains a collection of posters illustrated by Masamune Shirow, a booklet and a puzzle. A guidebook titled The Ghost in the Shell: Mechanical Analysis Reader (攻殻機動隊メカニカル解析読本 Kōkaku Kidōtai mekanikaru kaiseki dokuhon ) was published by Kodansha and released on January 16, 1998. An art book titled The Ghost in the Shell: Fuchikoma Papercraft (攻殻機動隊フチコマ立体図鑑 Kōkaku Kidōtai fuchikoma Rittai Zukan ) was released by Kodansha on July 24, 2000. The book contains several different artwork and paper cut out figures of the Fuchikoma.
Two animated films based on the original manga have been released, the first in 1995 titled Ghost in the Shell, and the second in 2004 titled Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, or simply Innocence in Japan. Both films were directed by Mamoru Oshii and scores composed by Kenji Kawai. The first film was later re-released with updated graphics in 2008 under the title Ghost in the Shell 2.0.
As of 2008, DreamWorks has acquired the rights to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga with Steven Spielberg. Avi Arad and Steven Paul are confirmed producers; Jamie Moss was originally hired to adapt the manga into a screenplay but in October 2009 it was announced that Laeta Kalogridis had replaced Moss as writer.
Video game 
The PlayStation third-person shooter game loosely based on the first film and the manga was developed by Exact and released on July 17, 1997 in Japan by Sony Computer Entertainment, and distributed by THQ and released on November 3, 1997 in North America. A soundtrack titled Megatech Body was released as well, featuring various electronica artists.
Stand Alone Complex 
An animated television series inspired by the manga titled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was broadcast on Animax from 2002 to 2003, followed by a second season titled 2nd GIG in 2004 and 2005, and finally as the film Solid State Society in 2006. A massively multiplayer online game is also in production based on Stand Alone Complex. Yoko Kanno composed the extensive score for all of the Stand Alone Complex media.
A series of films serving as a prequel to the original manga titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise was announced on January 15, 2013, with Kazuchika Kise as chief director and Tow Ubukata as head writer, with the first film in the series will be released in theaters on July 22, 2013. Cornelius has composed the score for the Arise films.
Ghost in the Shell had received mainly positive reviews. Publishers Weekly praised the manga for its artwork: "Masamune's b&w drawings are dynamic and beautifully gestural; he vividly renders the awesome urban landscape of a futuristic, supertechnological Japan." Leroy Douresseaux of the website ComicBookBin gave the manga an A stating: "It is visually potent and often inscrutable, but its sense of wonder and exploration makes its ideas still seem fresh two decades after its debut." Peter Gutiérrez of the website Teenreads praised the manga, writing: "In short, Ghost in the Shell is hard sci-fi of the best possible sort: the type that’s so full of both undiluted artfulness and philosophy that it’s arguably a must-read even for those who don’t usually take to the genre." The website Read About Comics praised the artwork, however criticized the manga for it's story pacing and collection of short adventures stating, "I’m glad I got to experience Shirow’s artistic view of the future and am a little interested in the idea of his Intron Depot art books, but on the whole Ghost in the Shell was a massive shell game: flashy and fascinating from a glance, but ultimately empty when you decide to dive in."
Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface had sold over 100,000 copies from its initial printing in Japan. Diamond Comic Distributors ranked the manga #7 in its Top Performing Manga list of 2005. Mike Crandol of Anime News Network criticized for being too complex and overwhelming stating it is "too technical for its own good" but praised the new artwork, stating that Shirow's "canny drawing skills are supplemented by an innovative use of CGI graphics that represent the series' boldest artistic endeavor." Publishers Weekly praised the artwork as "the color and b&w graphics are stunning, brilliantly evoking the nonvisual world of data transmission" but criticized the story can be confusing.
Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor was ranked #10 in The New York Times Manga Best Seller List on October 19, 2012. Scott Green of Ain't It Cool News praised the manga for its footnotes that "alone are worth the price of admission. The degree to which he apparently takes every aspect seriously and the amount of information he'd like to convey verges on a disorder."
The removal of a two page sex scene in Studio Proteus's localization of Ghost in the Shell was not well received, with readers reacting negatively to the removal of the previously uncensored content that was included in the original Dark Horse release. Toren Smith commented on Studio Proteus's actions claiming that requirement of the "Mature Readers Only" would translate into a 40% lost in sales and likely have caused the immediate cancellation of the series. Shirow who grew tired of "taking flak" over the pages agreed to the removal and reworked the previous page.
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