Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence

Writer-director Mamoru Oshii's breathtakingly beautiful follow-up to his groundbreaking GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995) is less a sequel than a variation on a haunting theme — the nature and origins of humanity. Set in the year 2032, the story unfolds in a future in which the line between man and machine is increasingly blurred. Frustrated by the limitations...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Writer-director Mamoru Oshii's breathtakingly beautiful follow-up to his groundbreaking GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995) is less a sequel than a variation on a haunting theme — the nature and origins of humanity. Set in the year 2032, the story unfolds in a future in which the line between man and machine is increasingly blurred. Frustrated by the limitations of vulnerable flesh, people shelter their consciousnesses in cyborg shells, replace failing body parts with top-of-the-line robotic parts and enhance and merge their memories with a vast, accessible external matrix, while humanoid dolls are ever more indistinguishable from the people who made them. The powerful Locus Solus corporation has recently introduced a new humanoid artificial being, the Hadaly 2052 gynoid, a top-of-the-line sexbot. The trouble is that a series of sexbots have gone berserk, killing their masters and anyone else who had the misfortune to get in the way, then self-destructing. Though the incidents seem to be a simple police matter, Public Security Section 9, a covert anti-terrorist unit is called in because several victims were well-connected in political or business circles. Cyborg investigator Batou (voice of Akio Ohtsuka) and his new partner, the almost-entirely human Togusa (Koichi Yamadera) — Batou's last partner, the Major, shucked off the last shreds of her corporeal existence and vanished into the ethernet — are assigned to investigate the murderous rampage. The trail leads to a dismembered Locus Solus employee, gun-crazy yakuza, a hall of illusions constructed by mercenary trickster Kim (Naoto Takenaka) and, finally, Locus Solus' offshore production facility, where the Hadaly line is produced under mysterious and morally suspect circumstances. Loosely based on a manga by Masamune Shirow (who also wrote the original Ghost in the Shell), Oshii's sumptuous philosophical mystery owes a deep debt of the imagination to both BLADE RUNNER (1982) and its source, Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (especially in Batou's relationship with his beloved Bassett Hound), but draws inspiration from sources that include the erotic poupees of surrealist sculptor Hans Bellmer, Cartesian philosophy and the writing of proto-Surrealist Raymond Roussel, whose 1914 novel Locus Solus anticipates many of the film's preoccupations. In this context the distracting contrast between intricately rendered backgrounds and cartoonish human characters that undermines so many anime never becomes an issue; Oshii's animated brave new world of 'bots and monsters represents a perfect union of form and content.

<i style="">Homecoming</i>, <i style="">When They See Us</i>, <i style="">Tidying Up with Marie Kondo</i>, <i style="">Stranger Things 3</i>

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