Many feature films adapted from anime and manga series are slated for release in the coming years: Akira, Bleach, and Death Note just to name a few. First is Ghost of the Shell, a science fiction film adapted from the manga of the same name which helped pioneer the cyberpunk style and become one of the most popular anime properties of all time. The film was released in Japan in 1995 and many directors and films, including The Matrix, A.I., Avatar, Surrogates, and countless others, have been inspired by its iconic visual style and themes.
A couple of days ago, we got to see our first look at the coming Ghost in the Shell feature film. The trailer we saw makes it seem like the film will be able to capture the visual elements that made Ghost in the Shell stand out: a city filled with holographic projections, technology that blurs the line between human and machine, and some amazing cinematography. Truthfully, I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. It’s basically going to be a mashup of Blade Runner and The Matrix, two of the greatest, and best looking, science fiction films of all time.
The focus of the Ghost in the Shell’s film adaption is going to be the same as the anime and the manga, a character named The Major, played by Scarlett Johansson, who is a counter-cyberterrorist field commander tasked with defeating a hacker who desires to sabotage the AI and cybernetic technology that powers The Major and most of the world. The manga and anime film use the story and setting to dive into the concepts of what makes us human and what separates us from machines and software, and I expect to see the same themes explored in the feature film.
The trailer opens with a fantastic action scene and includes many shots that appear to be taken directly from the anime, including the iconic shots of The Major falling off the skyscraper and a fight she has with a cybercriminal in the water. We are also quickly introduced to the other characters that will play a part in her story, including The Major’s partner Batou and the leader of Section 9. The trailer gives me faith that the director, Rupert Sanders, is faithfully translating the beloved anime and manga to the big screen.
Many were initially sceptical of the choice of Scarlett Johansson for The Major, but after seeing the first trailer, my fears have been assuaged, and she appears to have been a great choice. My only fear for the film is that it will be a fantastic action film, but it will lose the themes of humanity, which is what makes Ghost in the Shell so special and beloved by many. Even if the film is unable to sufficiently tackle those themes, I have no doubt it will still be exceptionally beautiful on the big screen.
Ghost in the Shell releases in theaters on March 31st, 2017.