Anime: Ghost In The Shell: Arise The New Movie
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Retail Price: $34.98
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the extremely popular and well known anime franchise Ghost in the Shell, the series takes place in a far off futuristic Japan. In this altered world, an excruciatingly damaging world war brought a new plateau for technology in terms of what could or couldn’t be done by cybernetic enhancements. This new development made it plausible to extend the average length of a human’s lifespan, by offering this cybernetic upgrade to mix technology and human anatomy (think cyborgs.) What makes this dangerous is the fact that humanity is completely synchronized with a computer system that creates potential to spark terrorists who can hijack one’s mind and anything that is linked to a memory of themselves.
Ghost in the Shell has provided fans with multiple series and films (also soon to be a live action Hollywood picture) and this most recent film brings a steady use of the positive qualities that Ghost in the Shell manages to create. The plot of the Arise new film puts us back in the cyber infused world, with a ghost virus that has the ability to spread throughout Japan and infect multiple targets. The point of this Fire-Starter virus is to fulfil an assassination attempt on the Japanese Prime Minister, which is done early on - sending Major Motoko Kusanagi down a rabbithole of mystery to discover the origin of the said virus. What they quickly begin to realize is that the government isn’t as squeaky clean as they want people to believe - and you can guarantee it only creates more questions.
An interesting development for this particular Ghost in the Shell story, is that a larger threat looms and has the ability to affect even their own ghosts on the case. Having targets appear at any given moment in time adds a distinct paranoia to the investigation and survival of Motoko and company. It successfully creates an understanding with viewers that they must have blind faith in themselves and each other in order to make it out of this case alive. I would say that this film proves that there is steam in the Ghost in Shell franchise after all these years, so I can’t imagine that we will see a departure of the unique franchise anytime soon.
The first scenes of the anime take us inside of Motoko’s mind and past, with some instantly captivating moments that kick off a film with a mysteriously intriguing start to the Arise umbrella. Motoko is a fascinating character to follow over the course of this journey as always, making her a pivotal character that keeps her general views or experiences internalized. I wouldn’t say that this was necessarily stronger than other Ghost in the Shell installments, giving Motoko and others more depth in separate contained stories. Arise the New Movie gave viewers a sense of conclusion to arcs previously explored, trying to find a way to stand alone. The way the film mapped out was done rather effectively like a well thought out movie, but remained without all of the necessary pieces to create an entirely victorious cinematic anime.
The animation in Ghost in the Shell: Arise The New Movie was near perfect in every way. The opening of the film utilized brilliant animation sequences from a first person POV and bestowed vivacious color choices that must have taken so much extra effort on a production scale. Witnessing Motoko in action brought me great joy to see her as one of anime’s most recognizable gun-toting heroines. As if there was any doubt that she could handle herself, the film created multiple scenarios/sequences where she was able to disarm and defeat a variety of enemies with ease. I would say that in the end, this film was a well manufactured Ghost in the Shell product that serves as a placeholder for an inevitable continuation. Ghost in the Shell: Arise The New Movie is available now on home video, so check it out to complete your Ghost in the Shell collection!
Overall Score: 7/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Motoko is a queen that is not to be taken lightly.
- The first 10 minutes of the film was a genius and ominous way to open the anime.
- Sometimes I get a little puzzled by the politics in the franchise because of the elaborate length of the series, but nonetheless it can be understood by viewers who aren’t fully aware of the backstory.
- The English dub seems to be a well-placed fit for each of the characters provided.