Ghost in the Shell

(132 votes, average 4.42 out of 5)
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Comments (156)
  • Taufiq91  - The best thing about GiTS...
    ...are the Japanese voice actors aka seiyuus

    I love Atsuko Tanaka as Major Motoko Kusanagi. I fell in love with her voice more in the Stand Alone Complex series.
  • Kallikanzarid
    Errhhh... do not use dubs please! American VAs are horrible, they can hardly convey any emotion and prefer to just read the lines with a weird rhythm emphasizing every 3rd word.

    And it's not by design: I could hear the same problems in Gundam and Haruhi dubs I was unfortunate enough to hear.
  • Xikar  - That's your opinion.
    Dubbing is getting a lot better than it was in the early 90s. And in some cases at least feels on par with the source material. Or they least find an equal voice for an english speaking audience as they would for the original japanese one.

    In any case sage very nice review or summery of GITS. I still need to see this film. But I did enjoy the series.
  • Kallikanzarid
    Can you point me to an example of a good dub? I admit I almost never watch them, and when I do, English phonetics weirds me out, so it could be just bias on my part.
  • Xikar
    Well its always a matter taste as well. But most of the recent Funimation Dubs for example.
    FMA:Brotherhood, and One Piece are very nice. Both sound right to me when compared to the source material. Also the fact they don't censor unless something else is blocking them (like TV airing standards, and even then they have uncut versions for home release.

    Most of the Viz licensed material is well acted, as well as Bandai (who handle the gundam series, along with the GITS SAC series)
  • Minato
    The Cowboy Bebop dub and the Baccano dub are considered better then japanese seiyuus. It's mostly because they are set in a place where they should speak english which makes it easier to add things like accents and such. There's also Hellsing. Funimation has done some good too. Much better then what we got in the 80's and 90's. So Bennett, a review of the sequel coming up?
  • Coffee:Black  - Dubs
    While it's true that there are some horrendous dubs out there, especially before the localization of Anime became a regular occurrence, I disagree with "hardcore" opinion that English voice actors lack the range to convey emotion or personality as well as their Japanese counterparts, and would say that in recent years a lot of the bad dubs are usually due to low budget localization teams who don't have the money to hire real actors and don't have a full grasp of either language in order to create convincing dialog. Usually in those cases you end up with stiff and overly literal translations of the original material that don't make sense when the actors say them in English because we just don't use that type of phrasing as native English speakers.

    On the other hand, as native English speakers I feel that most people who watch their anime in the original Japanese don't have the proper upbringing or grasp the intricacies of Japanese language or culture enough to make any sort of judgment on how well the Japanese dialog is being delivered. The only way to know for sure is to learn Japanese, which most don't and even if they do they still just won't understand some of the more subtle cultural references and idiosyncrasies without having been raised in that culture themselves.

    Furthermore, those who claim that the subs are a more accurate translation are usually full of shit because the subs are often being translated by the same teams of people who translated the dub version. Just because it's written down does not mean that it's more complete, in fact it is usually just the opposite as even in subtitling something for this the same language you will often see phrases and words cut out in order to convey the gist of a line of dialog rather than the complete sentence so that the pacing of the story is not ruined by forcing the viewer to read through a ton of dialog in a very short amount of time. If you don't believe me, go ahead and watch any movie made in America with the English subtitles on, you will see what I mean. A translation is still a translation, whether it's spoken or written and both usually get cut down in order to fit for timing and pacing.

    Anyway, there are some really good dubs out there, many of which have already been mentioned by other people and usually you will see that a lot of the really good ones usually have the same voice actors being brought back to work with each other, you can usually trust anything that has Crispin Freeman, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Richard Epcar, or Steve Blum in it. There are also some studios that tend to have very good English castings and great translation teams, Bones is one of the best in my opinion, they also have some of the better stories and characters in modern anime.

    I watch a good amount of anime but usually choose the dub over the sub because I am usually listening to it while I work, I'm a freelance illustrator so my eyes ar...
  • Kallikanzarid
    >> On the other hand, as native English speakers I feel that most people who watch their anime in the original Japanese don't have the proper upbringing or grasp the intricacies of Japanese language or culture enough to make any sort of judgment on how well the Japanese dialog is being delivered. The only way to know for sure is to learn Japanese, which most don't and even if they do they still just won't understand some of the more subtle cultural references and idiosyncrasies without having been raised in that culture themselves.

    I think you're overestimating the issue: seiyuu are usually markedly better even at basic emotions, and they also understand the basic archetypes better, which also helps.

    For me, there is also a notion of phonetics. English is phonetically very far away from Japanese which makes even good dubs sound very weird, which makes subs a much better alternative. Also, subs are usually quickly translated into Russian, and this language is closer to Japanese phonetically, which is an added bonus for me personally :)
  • Vismutti

    Wait wait wait.

    Uhm... so you're a Russian? Then why are you judging English dubs? They aren't made for you, they're for English natives.

    Just for the record; I'm not a native English speaker either and I hate the English dubs too. Which is why I don't watch them. But I also know that I'm not qualified to judge them. And I don't have to, either. I know some natives who like some dubs and that's good for them.

    ... If I got it wrong, though, and you're actually an English native who just happens to speak Russian then sorry, ignore the above. In that case I just say: clearly, dubs just aren't your thing so don't watch them and don't complain about them. (Unless it's a movie/series available only dubbed.)

    And what do phonetics have to do with this...
  • Kallikanzarid
    What makes me so incapable of judging English dubs? I regularly watch movies and TV shows in English, I am very much used to hearing American English speech. So when it comes to comparing line delivery in two languages, I feel I'm as capable of judgment as any native English speaker.

    Phonetics has a lot to do with dubs, because of the huge differences between the two languages. But I mostly complain about lack of expression in English dubs compared to both original delivery and expression in live-action drama (especially stage drama, which is where seiyuu come from).
  • PlayMp1
    It's not that all English VAs are worse, it's that localization teams don't have the budget to go get amazing VAs. Metal Gear Solid, after MGS1 (LIQUIIIIIIIID!), had pretty good English VAs because Konami is a big friggin' company and MGS is far more popular here than it is in Japan (IIRC).
  • Lotus Prince
    "Can you point me to an example of a good dub?"


    Cowboy Bebop.

    Yu Yu Hakusho.

    Hellsing (TV series, and Ultimate).

    Afro Samurai.

    Dragonball Z.

    Slayers (except for Xellos, of course).

    Goldenboy (raunchy, yes, but Kintaro's voice is freaking AMAZING).
  • Wookiee
    A good dub? Try Code Geass. It actually fits the setting for it to be in English and the voice actors do a great job.
  • Kallikanzarid
    Bad example: I'm so much used to 'Ryuryushu' and 'Shi-Tsu' that hearing 'Lelush' (especially with that particular pronounciation of 'u') makes me wanna kill somebody :D

    Also, Fukuyama is much better at delivering Lelush's hammy lines like 'Ryuryushu vi Buritania ga mei jiru', it's more theatrical when he does it.
  • wyrdwad
    R.O.D. the TV has the best dub I've ever heard in any anime. I actually prefer it to the Japanese original, by leaps and bounds. If you watch one show dubbed, that's the one I'd recommend. The voice director, Taliesin Jaffe, even went so far as to cast actual children (who can act, no less!) in the roles of children, and actual British people as people with British accents. Amazingly rare, that. (:
  • JetstreamGW
    Baccano! It's actually better than the original, from all accounts I've heard.

    Most of the time, Yu Yu Hakusho is good too.

    If you can do its style of show, Ouran High School Host Club also has an excellent dub.
  • SanJ922
    I actually prefer the Hetalia dub to the original, since the English actors use the accents for the countries they portray.
  • Ethereal Cheese
    Ghost Stories and Shin-Chan. Excel Saga and Cromartie High School weren't bad either. The only good serious one that I can think of would be FMA, though I'm sure many would disagree with me.
  • Anonoman1988
    If anything from Studio Ghibli isn't good enough for you, I'm afraid nothing will be. All of the actors hired by Disney to perform the dubs are professional actors who have studied everything from voice overs to theater.

    And I really do hope that it's just your personal bias that makes you say that all American voice actors, who also act in general, are, to put it in your own words, 'horrible'. If not, you're either a major weeaboo or incredibly ignorant.
  • Iancettuaun  - Good dubs eh?
    I can't believe nobody mentioned it yet. Watch "Black Lagoon" those are probably some of the best english dubs I ever listened to(including Movies and games)! Just search for a clip on youtube, you won't be dissapointed.
  • Sonicrose
    Part of the POINT of Sage's reviews is to highlight horrendous dubs and show what bones we were thrown in the 90s. I will grant that the voiceacting in Ghost in the Shell isn't great, but it's hardly dreck like some anime.

    I like the voice acting in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in English more or less fine.

    FMA is a great dub job.

    In general, I do still prefer the original Seiyu, but I've found a lot of anime these days are at least tolerable in English.
  • ladydiskette
    Ghost in the Shell: If you want your teenage boys to watch something with intellectually stimulating storyline and complex struction just lure them in with the false promise of huge tits. XD

    Anyway, I never really could get into the movie as much as I did the "Stand Alone Complex" series. I think the SAC series had really good english dub acting, you could really feel the voices fit the characters unlike in this movie I felt. But given the fact that this was made WAY before the SAC they probably had some time to make trial and errors in the term of finding good voice acting when it came to the series.
  • Yeahwhatever
    Oh, shut up. Try not to be such an ignorant, insufferable fucking weeaboo when you're bashing dubs for things you don't even know, thanks.

    You're insulting an entire community of talented voice actors based on some blatantly anti-american, racist, pre-conceived load of biased weeaboo horse shit, when you're clearly over-generalizing about something you know fucking nothing about.

    You're clearly the type of Japanophile-obsessed hateful dumbass who probably makes these baseless dub-bashing generalizations, while being too proudly ignorant of the actual process, to even so-much as know the actual name of one fucking voice actor, whose job and talent you just pissed on. Go to fucking hell.

    I mean, who the hell do you think you are? It's not goddamn 1982 anymore. What's the last fucking dub you actually listened to? Speed Racer?
  • KouTheMad
    let me stop you right there.

    alot of people prefer the english dub, regardless how 'inferior' it is.

    so please keep you opinion about dubs to yourself.
  • Mides
    I feel like it defeats the purpose of discussing this film by censoring the breasts when they appear on-screen. You talk about how difficult it is to see her as an erotic figure, and then undermine that point by throwing up a giant black box to guard us from the mind-corrupting imagery of female breasts.

    My point is, the movie treats its audience as adults, and you should too.
  • Drkstlkr7
    Your point is moot. Blip's policy is no explicit nudity. Otherwise, I'm sure Sage would have no problems not editing it.
  • Vismutti
    It bothers me too but, as said above, Blip is to blame...

    Fucking Blip... Fucking conservative American sensibilities... *crumble crumble*
  • PlayMp1
    It's not even all Americans. The problem is about 51% of us do have these ridiculous sensibilities. Blame our backwards Midwest and South (not all people from there, I know, but you have a greater concentration of dumb).
  • BooRat  - I loved this anime and wow OVERFIEND is NEXT!!!
    Oh, my god you're doing The Overfiend Hentais next! SWEEEEEEET!!!!

    Ghost in the Shell was one of my alltime favorite animes in the 90s. The plot was way way WAY over my head at the time but it was such a beatiful movie to see. I know that sounds stupid I liked a movie because it was pretty, but hey I was 8 when I 1st saw it.
    On the subject of pretenchiusness(sorry, can't spell for shit) that conversation went all to hell on the Snob's site when he reviewed Tree of Life and I agree with most I don't like movies or hate a movie based on wiether it's pretentious or not or if they're beatiful to watch or not. Just because it's a sight to behold doesn't mean it's a great film, but this anime is a good exsample of it working out.
    The story might be overly deep in some areas and hard to figure out but it can still be enjoyed.
    I haven'r seen the sequals or the TV series to this anime, mostly because I was afraid it'd ruin the 1st movie for me, but from what I hear a lot of fans love them. I wonder what's your openion of them?
    And, yes the only reason I origionally rented it on VHS back in the day was for the tits, ut not for the ones on the box but the ones in the Manga Int. trailer that all thier videos came with.

    Again, holy crap you're reviewing freaking Urotsukid?ji! Is it the 1st 3 OVAs(the 1st movie basically) or the whole series!? wiki/Overfiend
    I own the 1st 2 DVDs which is like the 1st 5 OVA episodes and the only reason that was ecause Ice-T the rapper had a late late night series on MTV or VH1 and he talked about watching and liking it as a teen back in the 80s and I just had to see it! Pretty sick shit in it! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS REVIEW!!!
  • SomeRandomGeek
    There were three movies that got me hook into anime when I was 17. First one was Ninja Scroll, the third one was Perfect Blue and the second one was Ghost in the Shell. All three have bloody action and tits. But all three are great films as well. But don't worry Sage, you get no hate from me. I just simply don't love this film as much as I used to. I will still watch again and again and enjoy it each time for all the points you made. In fact, your analysis of the deeper meaning of the film make me love Ghost in the Shell more and makes me want to watch it again.

    But my problems with the films is the pacing and, as you said, the narrative. The visuals, imagery and atmosphere is great and all. But when the film does a minute and a half mood piece just for atmosphere, I'm kinda bored and want to get up and get something to drink. However I will comeback to finish the film. Plus, the movie just makes me want to watch the Stand Alone Complex series more than anything else. The second movie as well. That series, both seasons, was so good. Much better pacing and narrative. And almost just as complex. Also, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn does a much better job as Major Kusanagi in the series. Or just got better direction. Either way, it is much easier listen to and enjoy.

    Plus the series also has the philosophical dialogue but was better handle and didn't feel so clunky, heavy handed or forced.

    Love you review Sage.
  • Sewblon
    3:12 I agree with you. Until I heard your summary, all I remembered about this movie where the pretty pictures and philosophical ramblings. 4:09 I cannot blame the voice actress for that lackluster performance, it is hard to make incomprehensible metaphysics sound passionate. 6:00 We might become cyborgs eventually, but we are already so reliant on computers that it probably will not make as big a difference as we thought it would back in the 20th century. 8:38 I never thought of that before, probably because when I saw G.I.T.S. I was too young and had not seen enough anime to know what the movie was reacting against. 9:35 The marriage is between body and soul, right? 9:43 I was right! 11:14 I am leaning towards the latter. 11:46 You are a good actor.
  • Yora
    I've read an interview with Shirow from 95, six years after he wrote the manga and when the movie came out. He said he thinks that people will adopt new technology without giving it much thought, even when the technology increasingly starts to get integrated into the body.
    And in the last 15 years, there have been massive developments in cybernetics and almost everyone seems to think it's cool and you never hear anyone having doubts that putting wires into your brain could be a bad idea when it allows you to regain sight or control a robotic arm.
  • Keiji
    The blue tanks where my favorite character in the show.

    The movie? Bato. He was my second in the show.
  • jnywest  - That music...
    What is the name of that song that you are playing during the end credits? I am going to watch the movie first chance I get.

  • sombrafox
    i believe "nightstalker."
  • Eleion121
    This is a very P.K. Dick inspired story. Which is interesting since you also mentioned Blade Runner which is based off of a book by P.K. Dick called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. A lot of his stories seem to question what is human and what makes things not human.
  • ElderGodBrandon
    i love the series stand alone complex and second gig, but i hated the ending to this movie so much for various stupid reasons, other than its ending it was a great movie though i own it i wont be ashamed to say along with alot of manga entertainments works of that time like dark master and bio booster armor guyver, the sequel to this sucked to me cuz it seemed to almost ignore the first movie all together, and the series seemed like it did as well but over all its still a great movie and i love your reviews, although the animation of SAC is probably better, the animation of this movie was great for its time.
  • Super_Happy_Guy
    The pretentiousness always bothered me a little, but it's nothing compared to Innocence. At that point I just stopped paying attention to Oshii. The pretentiousness of this direction is unrivalled as far as I'm concerned. That's too bad because I enjoyed most his films until then.
  • Genshifox
    Actually Major Motoko Kusanagi dose indeed have a working vagina and ovaries, by the evidence in the opening scene in the Japanese dub. She was not born a cyborg, her "ghost" was transplanted in a cybernetic "shell".
  • Genshifox
    Batou: Major!

    Kusanagi: I can hear you.

    Batou: There is a lot of noise in your brain.

    Kusanagi: It's that time of the month.
  • ORCACommander
    sadly i have not been able to watch this since i only own it on umd and have never had a psp. however i have managed to watch SAC and SAC 2nd GiG and they are among my favorites with 2nd gig achieving a lower ranking than the original.
  • sombrafox
    I am afraid of the next review, I have heard stories about people running out of theatres puking. I am glad my anime class never watched it we could barely go through end of Evangelion and then felt relief at Urusei Yatsura.

    On the subject of Urusei Yatsura I loved Oshii's "Beautiful Dreamer" I find it funny how he takes humorous or pinup stories and makes it into philosophical works.
  • zeogeox  - FIGHT!
    Street fighter 2 anime plz do youse I mean your gonna do it!
  • sombrafox
    I also wanted to say kudos for not doing the easy thing of comparing it with "the Matrix" and "Blade Runner" even when you said it was another one of your favorite movies. But rather giving it your own interpretation of the movie and why it worked so well.
  • Lotus Prince
    "I also wanted to say kudos for not doing the easy thing of comparing it with "the Matrix" and "Blade Runner" even when you said it was another one of your favorite movies."

    It'd be weird to compare it to The Matrix, as I think The Matrix was inspired by GitS. It had the roof tile cracking bit, the watermelon shooting, the entire concept of jacking into a system, etc.
  • Thatfatguyinalittlecoat  - 2? Or the anime?
    Honestly, I wasn't that big of a fan of the original. I got it as what it was, but I didn't get Motoko's complaints. She should know who and what she is, and that should be enough. To me a person is what they are, and that's that. So the constant talking and the way it went made me not dislike the movie but not love it.

    However, the anime Series was where I fell in love with the characters. You saw a bond, and comrade, and questions without it getting as "Preachy" as the movies. Botou was also always my favorite character.

    I really enjoyed 2, I thought it dealt with a realistic sort of "We are who we are, but what are we if our friend abandon us" type question. Not as heavily handed as the first one.

    Please review both of them, atleast the second movie, I am interested to hear what you think.
  • Sir Vejeiro
    Nice review, i just have one question...

    i agree that's a great OVA, actually one of the best in my personal list, becoming side by side w/ Katsuhiro Otomu's Akira, but why it's under "abandon" tab? i know ghost in the shell is not that popular but it get some parallel "expansion" from time to time like, Innocence and Stand Alone Complex 1 and 2.

    The cover also got me... boobs, wires, guns and of course Masamune Shirou who started making his name w/ hentai works =P

    oh yeah, dubs sux btw and doesn't matter in what decade.
  • brick mooncode
    I don't get why people act like this movie is the greatest thing ever. I liked the idea, really an ingenious marriage of the narrative power of science fiction and the visual power of anime, but it didn't really excel in either area. I view it as little more than an interesting experiment that worked out reasonably well.
  • Nagneto
    I remember when I tried to watch this as a teen and I didn't understand a bit of it. Then I went back and tried to watch it as an adult. I STILL DON'T GET THIS SERIES!
  • Dwane
    What?! An anime with excessive expository, philosophical dialog? Surely you jest!

    I've always meant to see this movie, but no one I know has the original movie, just the series.

    edit: Did I say dialog? I meant to say monologue.
  • ladyphantomofmusic  - Matrix
    This was one of the official inspirations of The Matrix movie.
  • TheIrrehensibleTJ
    Couldn't help but notice that your three favorite sci-fi movies all examine the question of "What is self?"
    And that two of them are based off Philip K. Dick novels. On those two thoughts, I would suggest Total Recall.
    Yeah, I'm sure you've probably already seen it, not like I'm pulling out some obscurity, but it is one of those movies that gets better the more you think about it.
  • slappy911
    In the past, I saw this anime on the shelf of my local video store and I didn't even give it a second glance because I was more into fantasy style anime. thinking on it now, I wish i had gotten that movie.

    I might not have liked it back then, but I didn't like Sci-fi back then as I do now. I really want to find this movie now and watch it.
  • Mr.Griff  - Watching
    Ok I'm getting on Netflix...Hooray its on insta stream. Now I'm going to watch it. Its sorta of surreal seeing you review no crappy anime.
  • CronoT
    Seen the movie, Bennett? I own the Special Edition Two-Disc DVD version with all the swag.

    This movie and Princess Mononoke was what really got me into Anime Hardcore.

    Anime: it's 10 times more expensive than cigarettes, and just as addictive.

  • Guild Navigator
    I remember when I was in college that a friend of mine showed me a French version of the Japanese GITS manga and that it had a very graphic lesbian sex scene that WASN'T in the American version back then. When I finally got around to see this anime, I was all "HEY! Where's the lesbo sex scene?!",
  • hereticklish
    I love Ghost in the Shell. The first film is a classic. At times subtle, other times heavy-handed, still a movie I enjoy watching again and again.
    The T.V. series is, usually, pretty good too. Though, honestly those tachikomas make me think of Bob the Builder and his talking/ autonomous cement mixer! So creepy..
    Ghost in the Shell 2 was not so good, though. But, I'm glad that someone is anticipating hooker-bots (okay: dolls, they called em) being unhappy about that little arrangement. It's still head and shoulders above A.I. and it's 'gigilo-bot'. Oh boy, did that movie suck.
  • blaed  - Wow,
    Excellent video for an excellent movie! really interesting philosophical break-down too. I wonder what Sage's views are on the sequel and the series?

    Link to music: 2aeaTW4WqoY
  • Wookiee
    I guess I'm a latecomer to the party as I was in highschool when I first saw GITS and was already well acquainted with many of the philosophical issues due to my father having urged me to read Douglas Hofstadter.

    Ghost in the Shell was the first manga I ever bought. I got the entire run of Stand Alone Complex (both gigs) and although many fans think it inferior, Innocence is possibly the most visually beautiful film since Advent Children.

    Also, just a heads up. If you have a blueray player DO GET 2.0. It includes the original cut as well as the polished 2.0 version.
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