Ghost in the Shell

Lots of anime have plots which investigate the problems posed to human society by the human creation of artificial persons (Lain, Chobits, Armitage III, . . .).

But what if we make artificial persons--in the first instance at least--from ourselves?

Major Kusanagi, the protagonist of GITS is an operative of Section 9, the Japanese government's anti-electronic crime unit, in a future when, thanks to a large portion of the populace having partial computer backups for their brains, hackers can implant false memories in human beings.

Major Ksuanagi is also a cyborg--a 'full replacement cyborg'--all that is left of her humanity is her brain, and the software essence of her humanity, her 'ghost'. Painfully aware that she is not really human, but is instead a being made in the image of man, she is given to brooding on her own reality or lack thereof, and to quoting from Christian scripture.

She and her companion, Batou, also a cyborg, but with more of his original humanity left, are on the track of a dangerous hacker, known only as 'the Puppet Master', because of his penchant for controlling people by the implantation of false memories.

Their course is not easy, thanks to interference from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lavishly animated, as befits a serious theatrical release movie, with haunting choral music in the opening credits, and again in an interlude of night scenery in the futuristic Tokyo of its setting, GITS is a definite must-see.

One of its technologies, "thermopic camoflague", has since begun to make its way from science fiction to actual development (though the real version needs work).

The only real parent warning on this one is violence. But anyone up to engaging the issues of humanity it raises won't be disturbed.

Ratings (out of 5, 1 being worst, 5 being best)

Plot 4.8
Voice-Acting (original)4.5
Voice-Acting (English dub)N/A

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