The Ghost in the Shell franchise has had many iterations over the years and the new film to be released marks 28 years since the original manga by Shirow Masamune was published. Whilst every iteration has been different in it’s interpretation of the original graphic novel, such as the 1995 animated film spinning the series into a horror flick or the more suspenseful futuristic cop drama that was Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex the TV series, nothing has been quite as dense as the original 1989 manga, least of all the upcoming film.
Shirow Masamune, who has studied heavily into the fields of philosophy and computer coding has meticulously crafted a semi-light-hearted cyberpunk mystery about the adventures of a top secret government agency aimed at countering cyber-terrorism in a world that is quickly assimilating with the digital world. The story presents a gripping and complex narrative that might take a few reads to grasp both the plot and themes as the work is utterly jam-packed with world building technical jargon and doesn’t follow a tradition beginning, middle and end narrative format. The story instead is told out of chronological order and is at times presented in an arcing nature while other chapters are more episodic and self contained. Due to this, it can be said that this graphic novel is probably not the greatest gateway into the franchise, but it is an absolute must read for any fan of the series and its world. It is advised that you start with the 1995 animated film as an entry point into the series and from there move on to the TV show and, if you’re invested enough, in those then definitely pick this one up.
-Lachlan, Cairns QBD
The latest Ghost in the Shell movie is released in Australia on March 30th.