Japanese Animation (Anime): Ghost in the Shell S.A.C.

Japanese animations, after being evaluated overseas, become popular pieces of work.  This year, a new piece is being released as a 3D movie.  The comic was originally written by Masamune Shirow and appeared in 1991 in the Shukan Young Magazine.  It was made into a movie in 1995 and following AKIRA, became a topic overseas. http://www.kokaku-s.com/

The reason that this piece has become popular can be traced to the word “GHOST” in the English title.  On Wikipedia, words used in the works are introduced, however the explanations are very short and the spiritual part of man, ego and consciousness, and parts like emotions are like the snap of a finger. 

It’s set in the 2020s after nuclear war.  The stage is the cyberized society of Japan.  With cyber technology the brain can directly access the internet and information network in a world where whole or parts of bodies can be cyborgs and prosthetic technology is widespread.  Because people, prosthetics and androids are all together, “crimes” are becoming sophisticated.  The characters are part of the Public Security Section 9 under the Japanese Ministry of Home Affairs.  The title, Ghost in the Shell, is their other name.  Spider-like robots with artificial intelligence are active with the characters. 

One interesting point of the story is that even in the world of 2020, not everything can be set right by being cyberized.  There are also areas that feel Japanese.  Two pieces that I like are ”Automated Capitalism” and “Tachikoma Runs Away/The Movie Director’s Dream.”  The former is about a high-profile investor computer that continues to work after his death and seems as if it will appear in the near future.  The latter is about an unnamed movie director who makes his own brain into a computer network, which when accessed (being shown in a movie theatre) is unable to be separated from the world of film. 

It is widely known that Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. was influenced by the movie, Matrix, the 1999 film directed by the Wachowski brothers.  The ideas from the Matrix, such as accessing the internet and networks, as well as taking over prosthetic people’s brains were used.  There are likely other similar scenes from other science fiction films.  Not anime, but the live-action version production rights are said to be held by Steven Spielberg.  As science fiction movie material, it seems that there is little left to use, however I hope that there will be newly produced stories. 

I don’t recommend watching anime works from the middle.  Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. 2nd GIG and the released movie, etc. can be seen on the BANDAI CHANNEL.  *They are generally pay programs.  There are also some parts that are free.

On another note, news almost certainly appears on the internet as seen in topics such as Facebook and Twitter usage being recently affected by the situation in the Middle East, and the problem of prep-school students using cell phones to post examination questions on Yahoo’s Chiebukuro, etc.  Although we can’t directly access the brain, within human consciousness, the boundary between virtual and real worlds has disappeared and the responses to matters by governments and organizations of “being used” seem to be lagging.    

S.A.C. stands for Stand Alone Complex.  Within the information network, there are isolated individuals, but because information is shared or made parallel expression seems to develop into a collective action.  A certain individual sends a signal and unconsciously another person assumes that it is a message addressed to him, which is what these pieces portray.


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