Welcome to First Time Classics. I am Krakken_Unleashed, resident newbie Otaku, and blog writer. First Time Classics is a recurring series where I find well respected, liked or important Anime of the past, watch them as a first time viewer, and write about the experience. This is not a review, but an impressions piece on my first viewing. My hope is that through this series, you, my readers, may take a fresh look at shows you first saw ages ago, or find shows you have otherwise missed in your Anime watching careers.
Today in the First time classics lineup is the revered Sci-fi classic from 1995, Ghost in the Shell, a well renowned movie that would later have a number of movie and series spinoffs. This is also the beginning of a miniseries of FTC posts which will cover the movie, and at least the 2 SAC series as well as Solid State Society. So lets kick this off with style with the original film.
- This is the benchmark series for Anime Science Fiction
- The major is some form of robot/cyborg and works as a form of police agent
- There is invisibility technology
- The movie is a little more philosophical than the SAC is
That’s about the extent of my knowledge, so time to get cracking, and watch this thing!
Okay I know I said that I knew the movie was a more philosophical movie, but I actually came away quite surprised on how much of a focus the internal conflict and the philosophical musings took center stage in this movie. It was an incredibly reflective movie, with a good deal of the dialogue being given to philosophical exposition, which sometimes seemed to me slightly forced and comes out of nowhere. It wasn’t terrible but it certainly wasn’t the most engaging thing all the time.
It looked good for a 20 year old film (I watched the original, not the updated 2.0 edition) and the dub was decent as well. The fight scenes were also some great highlights though I did feel a certain somberness, almost like the philosophical nature of the rest of the film shrouded the action in a cloud of slower, moody thoughtfulness.
Pacing wise I found it one of those films that I struggle to find the thematic beats until the movie is more or less finished, though I think that is partially due due to its really short length (seriously it’s only like 82 min) so I was fairly surprised when it seemed to be wrapping up, as I felt there was a lot more that could have been done. I mean world wise, we barely saw anything beyond 2 police special units, an embassy, and some garbage truck drivers. Well I guess that one section of well, I would call them establishing shots, but they don’t establish much, if anything, so I’ll call them scenic thematic cityscapes. But that didn’t give a whole lot about the rest of society, which I am kind of use to in these sorts of Sci-fi worlds, so the entire film came off a bit lacking to me.
Overall I found Ghost in the Shell to be a thematically poignant, if a bit pretentious film, whose singular focus on its themes and fairly simple plot made it so that I felt like the world building suffered for it. Now I could be wrong here, As I am aware that many others have found, seemingly, much greater depth and nuance from this film than I have, I however feel that the overall film somewhat suffered here, and if there wasn’t more material to look forward too, I would probably consider it a somewhat strange if interesting experiment. Its not one I consider worthy of all the praise I could muster for it, though it does feel like a film ripe for deconstruction, and analysis, even if I feel underwhelmed in its entertainment value.
But please, I am eager to hear your thoughts, tell me what you thought of the 1995 original (please no spoilers for the later series as I plan to cover some of them too).