Major Makoto Kusanagi comes to the life on the screen again with excellent writing from Shirow Masamune and top notch animation from Production I.G. This latest installment of the Ghost in the Shell stories is another excellent chapter. The Major may look different from earlier episodes but it is the same voice actress who played the Major in the original film although not in the TV series or later films. The story takes takes place in the past which is why the Major and Aramaki look younger. During a nation wide hacking crisis threatening the lives of millions of Japanese people, the Major and her trusty tachikoma (armored mobile AI) battle against military cyborg units in real space over control of the Net. Cyber brains galore and everyone is infected with viruses. In the midst of the battles allies become enemies and enemies become allies as the Major begins the selection process for the team members of Section Nine (elite government anti hacking unit).
I’d like to tell more of the plot but I wouldn’t want to reveal the surprise ending that has a great twist and leaves you wanting more only to drool to the idea that the story is not over yet! The direction was well paced and the voice actors were very good. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves science fiction, art, animation, and also anyone who just loves a simple mystery story that challenges you to more than just a few simple emotions but also has more food for the brain than any animated films being produced in the United States in recent years!
The background of Ghost Whispers deals with Japanese military involvement in a war in some Central Asian Afghanistan substitute and the possible leak of state secrets. To try and piece it together, you could say that the addition of the AI cyborg to the team was her rounding out her numbers, and that her not being real/dying at the end opens up a spot for Togusa. Who, if you were hoping to see in this movie, you won’t. I suppose we didn’t see much of the rest of the team in the first one, so that makes sense, and since ARISE is ‘supposed’ to be leading up to the first GITS movie, Togusa probably shouldn’t be added to the team until the 4th (last) movie of the ARISE set. It fits with everything so far. Action is good. Logikoma is getting a bit more witty and fun.
The real relationship at the heart of Ghost Whispers (and of the franchise as a whole) is that between the Major and Batou, and it is in the few moments the two of them have on screen together that it starts to spark into life a little. So far I really like both GitS Arise borders, each bringing something new, but also something old and very familiar to the table. The animation of Arise is again top notch and the mood of the series just fits perfectly with everything I have come to expect from both the movies and the SaC series. It is going to be a bitter pill to swallow having to wait until June/July 2014 for Bandai to release Ghost Tears, the 3rd border!