Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Identity in Space

"Ghost in the Shell is not in any sense an animated film for children," wrote Roger Ebert twenty years ago. "Filled with sex, violence and nudity (although all rather stylized), it's another example of anime, animation from Japan aimed at adults." Now, when no critic any longer needs to explain the term anime to Western readers, we look back on Ghost in the Shell (1995) as one of the true masterpieces among Japanese animated feature films, mature not just in its content but in its form. Evan Puschak, better known as the Nerdwriter, takes a look at how it expresses its philosophical themes through its still-striking cyberpunk setting in his video essay "Identity in Space."

Just as all of Ghost in the Shell's characters exist in space, the main ones also exist in cybernetic bodies, regarding their identities as stored in their effectively transplantable brains all connected over a vast information network. The half-hour-long analysis from AnimeEveryday just above gets into the philosophical dilemma this presents to the film's protagonist, the cyborg police officer Motoko Kusanagi, examining in depth several of the scenes that — through dialogue, imagery, symbolism, or subtle combinations of the three that viewers might not catch the first time around — illuminate the story's central questions about the nature of man, the nature of machine, and the nature of what emerges when the two intersect.

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