Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Ghost In The Shell (1995)

by  |  April 1st, 2011  |  Animation  |  1 Comment

Obviously like everybody, when I was a child I was a fan of cartoons. Rather they be your basic Saturday morning fanfare, Animated movies, etc… As a matter of fact, when I was a kid I used to get up around 6AM every Saturday morning explicitly to watch shows like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

With that said, even though I tended to watch a lot of cartoons when I was younger, I was not one of those ones that liked the more traditional cartoons, I mean I really enjoyed the traditionally more violent cartoons like Transformers or like I mentioned above, with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was also more interested in the more closely horror based cartoons that were approved for children. Such cartoons as Gargoyles, and Scooby Doo. I was also more of a fan of the more adult cartoons as well.  Such cartoons as Felix The Cat, and the mostly animated movie Cool World (1992)  with Brad Pitt (Cutting Class), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects)  and Kim Basinger (8 Mile).

It wasn’t till I was in High  School, that a friend of mine got me interested in Anime movies though.  I found that I really liked them, but like all things, when I became an adult, I put away childish things.  I thought Anime movies would be no different…

Boy was I wrong.  First off let me preface what I am about to say though with this, Anime movies tend to also be movies that Adults can really get in to as well!

With that said, I recently decided to try jumping back in to the Anime game, when I recently picked up a movie that I have wanted to see since I was in High School called, Ghost In The Shell.

Boy am I glad that I did! I mean this movie was utterly awesome! But we will get in to that in a bit…

Written by: Kazunori ItÔ (Avalon) and Directed By: Mamoru Oshii (Assault Girls) and starring Atsuko Tanaka (Halo: Legends) Iemasa Kayumi (Ekiro) and Richard Epcar (L.A. Nights)

Ghost In The Shell tells the story of a future human race that is slowly being taken over by Technology, where almost every where you go, there are public computer terminals.  Where almost anyone can have some sort of upgrade to their body done. and where the term ‘The Human Brain is the best computer of them all.’

This is where Major Motoko Kusanagi (Tanaka) and her team comes in.  Major Kusanagi is a cybernetically enhanced officer of a special military institution.  She is a perfect killing machine that wishes that she was more human then mechanical.

Major Motko Kusanagi

Here is were the story begins… The American government sets up an Industrial Espionage And Intelligence Unit code named ‘Project 2501’.  Now this project ends up taking on a mind of its own, when after searching through all sorts and kinds of Networks, it begins to develop its own sentience!

With that said, and during this time, it has been discovered that all over the place, various of the networks around Japan are being hacked by an expert hacker by the name of ‘The Puppet Master.’

No one knows who this person is, or what he is about, until one day, when Major Kusanagi and her crew are called out to arrest some one that is believed to be The Puppet Master.

When they catch up to these people, it turns out that the Puppet Master had hacked a Garbage Man’s mind to make him believe that not only was he married, but that he also has a kid, and that he believes that his wife is cheating on him! Of course none of this is true, and in a bar one night, the garbage man meets a nice man (believed to be ‘The Puppet Master’) in a bar and gives him a card that can hack in to peoples Ghosts (Ghosts being basically the human spirit.) Of course when he finally uses it, it immediately alerts the authorities…

When the Garbage man discovers this, he ends up flooring the garbage truck that he is driving to catch up with the guy that gave him the card (It is never fully explained how this garbage man knows where this guy is.) Anyway, when he gets close to where the guy is standing, he leans his head out the window and shouts about the authorities knowing about the card.

This is where is begins to get really interesting… You see the guy notices that Major Kusanagi’s crew is coming up right behind the Garbage truck, which prompts the guy to shoot up the garbage truck and blow it up in an attempt to escape! After all this goes down, and after a really awesome chase down some back alley streets, in comes Major Kusanagi wearing a cloak that makes her invisible to the naked eye.

The guy thought to be The Puppet Master firing on Garbage truck.

Now with this guy having run out of bullets, he and Major Kusanagi have a kick ass (but obviously very one sided) fight, in which Kusanagi kicks his ass, royally! After this goes down is when Batou (Epcar) shows up, and between the two of them, they discover that this man is another person that The Puppet Master had ultimately ended up changing his memories!

Now not long after this, a naked woman is hit by a car, and when this is reported, it turns out that the naked woman actually was an empty robot that had been dressed up to look like a human female… The body is then taken to Section 9 Headquarters where the body is reconstructed under the supervision of Section 9 Department Chief Aramaki (Played by: Tamio Ôki).

This is where we discover that The Puppet Master is actually Project 2501, and that he has gained sentience and that he actually wants to get asylum in Japan… Of course the body is kidnapped before any sort of asylum talks are undertaken…

Project 2501 'The Puppet Master' in the female android body.

Now Major Kusanagi, who feels a kinship with this electrical intelligence for some reason that she hasn’t figured out yet, decides along with her crew to go after the kidnappers, and find out what this kinship is with the intelligence, and to re-capture it, before the intelligence can be taken away forever!

Now what I like about this movie and what I think does truly make this an Awesome B Movie is the following:

1. I loved the story! I mean any story, that revolves around humanity loosing their humanity to machines, and in that having the main character re-discovering his or her humanity is always a lot of fun.

2. I also really liked the animation in it. I mean I have seen some Anime, where the animation was so bad, that you couldn’t actually see the mouth move when they are talking! That was not the case in this movie!  I mean everything worked quite fluidly!

3. The next thing that I gotta say that I really liked about this movie, is that despite the fact that I really did wanna see this movie when I was a kid.  Having watched this movie for the first time, and having re-watched Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie recently, it has given me a wonderful opportunity to be able to re-aquire my appreciation for Anime movies!

4. The last thing that I thought that I would mention here is the fact that this movie, is actually the big screen adaption of the comic book of the same name, that had been written by Masamune Shirow (Dominion Tank Police).

Lastly I gotta say that if you are looking for a fun animated movie, then I highly recommend checking this out.  You might find that you really like it! But if your a parent of a young kid, then I would recommend having your kid wait till he or she is the right age, as their are some graphic scenes in it. But other then that it is a fun one.

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.


  1. Keith Link Keith Link

    April 1st, 2011at 9:41 PM(#)

    Great recommendation, Nathan! I remember being struck by the depth of the story. I too was largely unaware of the whole world of storytelling Anime had to offer when I first saw this. I went in blind and was pleasantly surprised. It’s certainly a classic.

    Reportedly the Wachowski brothers cite this as inspiration for The Matrix and it’s easy to see why.

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