Some of you might remember my concern back in June when I first reported on Production IG’s planned visual update to Oshii’s 1995 classic Ghost in the Shell. Well, the Blu-ray of GiTS 2.0 (not to be confused with GiTS 2: Innocence, which will also be referred to a lot in this piece) hit Japanese stores a few weeks ago, and via sources that I’m not at liberty to identify I have managed to get my hands on a preview copy – months before the (still yet to be confirmed) UK release. So it was that I found myself, on the first morning of 2009, sitting down to watch one of my favourite movies of all time again, but instead of being filled with the usual satisfying feeling of anticipation, I was gripped with something nearer to dread.
The last 9 months or so has been an exciting time for fans of Production IG and Masamune Shirow – previous collaborations between the anime powerhouse and the manga legend gave the world the unstoppable, stylish and cerebral Ghost in the Shell franchise, and last year they announced that the two giants would be joining forces for not one but two new TV series, Ghost Hound and Real Drive.
NOTE: full review now posted here.
This one slipped past me apparently. Ether that or Production IG have been keeping it very, very tightly under wraps.
Either way, apparently July 12 will see a Japanese theatrical release of Ghost in the Shell 2.0; a new special edition of the 1995 classic featuring some re-done CGI visual effects and a whole new, remastered 6.1 soundtrack. Anime News Network has all the precise details, and the one thing that worried me most is in that list of names there is no mention of the film’s original director Mamoru Oshii. Presumably he’s been far too busy with Sky Crawlers – which this release seems to be aimed at promoting – to have got involved himself.
According to Variety today, Steven Speilberg’s Dreamworks studio has acquired the rights to produce a live action version of Ghost in the Shell. It’s not clear at this point whether the plan is to make an adaptation of Oshii’s 1995 movie, or Shirow’s 1989 manga, and the cynical among us (i.e. me) might jump to the conclusion that this is just a bandwagon jump after the announcement of the Akira live action flick. But apparently Spielberg ‘loves’ the original, and believes it is a ‘genre that has arrived’. Erm, OK Stevie. What genre, exactly? Cyberpunk? If so, then ‘fraid you’re jackin’ in about 20 years too late, chombatta.
It was with some slight trepidation that I sat down to watch Appleseed Ex Machina this weekend; the completely CGI anime is a sequel to the 2004 Appleseed, with both being based on Masamune Shirow‘s classic 1985 manga. Being a fan of the original printed version (and Shirow’s work in general), I found little in the first film beyond it’s impressive visuals to get me excited, sadly.