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Ghost in the Shell

Promotional film poster
Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Produced by Yoshimasa Mizuo
Ken Matsumoto
Ken Iyadomi
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
Written by Screenplay:
Kazunori Itō
Original Story:
Masamune Shirow
Starring Atsuko Tanaka
Akio Ōtsuka
Iemasa Kayumi
Music by Kenji Kawai
Cinematography Hisao Shirai
Editing by Shūichi Kakesu
Shigeyuki Yamamori
Distributed by Shochiku (Japan)
Manga Entertainment (North America, Australia and UK)
Release date(s) Japan:
November 18, 1995
United Kingdom:
December 8, 1995
United States:
March 29, 1996
Running time 82 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget US$ 10 million
Followed by Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Ghost in the Shell (GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 Gōsuto In Za Sheru/Kōkaku Kidōtai?, lit. Ghost in the Shell/Mobile Armoured Riot Police) is a 1995 anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii; an adaptation of the manga Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow, produced by Production I.G, and written by Kazunori Itō. A sequel, Innocence, was released in 2004.



The movie begins with Major Motoko Kusanagi spying on a meeting taking place in New Port City. The meeting is interrupted by a Section 6 enforcement team, at which point Motoko kills a foreign diplomat in the meeting who is attempting to transport an important programmer out of the country.

In the next scene, Section 9 chief Daisuke Aramaki is introduced conversing with an official about programmers who are attempting to gain political asylum. The story then moves into the main plotline when Aramaki describes one of the minister's interpreters having had her brain hacked into by the mysterious "Puppet Master".

The hacker turns out to be a garbageman who is going through a divorce and attempts to ghost-hack his wife using a program provided to him by an individual who met him in a bar. Batou and Ishikawa arrive at the latest access terminal moments after the hacking attempt from it ends, failing to catch any suspect but also realizing that the locations from which the hack is performed correlate to the garbage truck route. When the garbageman finds out that the police are looking for him, he attempts to warn the person who provided him with the ghosthacking software. Batou and Kusanagi catch up to the man, who attempts to flee using therm-optic camouflage. Eventually, the fugitive is incapacitated by Kusanagi.

It turns out that the man is not the actual Puppet Master but only a ghosthacked "puppet" of the criminal. The garbageman whom he aided in ghosthacking has also been ghosthacked - in reality he did not have a wife or daughter, and all memories of them he possesses are false.

One night, a female cybernetic body is suddenly assembled at Megatech without approval, and the cyborg escapes into the city where it is run over. Section 9 gets the body to try and determine why it was built. Batou relates a strange fact: the body has not even one brain cell as it is completely robotic, yet there are indications that there is a ghost within it. Kusanagi expresses a wish to 'dive in' to the body and contact the ghost.

As they are talking to the body, Togusa realizes that someone with therm-optic camouflage entered the building along with the officials. He alerts Kusanagi, and they realise that Section 6 is up to something. The persons who entered with therm-optic camouflage assaults the lab and snatches the ruined cyborg containing the Puppet Master. As they escape in their getaway car, Togusa shoots a tracking device from his revolver into its licence plate. Batou begins to follow them by car while Kusanagi follows by helicopter.

Ishikawa speaks with Aramaki after investigating further into Project 2501 - it turns out that the project was initiated before the Puppet Master showed up, even though it was claimed by some officials that the project was created in order to capture the Puppet Master. He hints that the Puppet Master was a tool of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do its dirty work. The escape of the Puppet Master would be a threat to Section 6 and the ministry would risk having secrets leaked out to the public.

Soon, the getaway car carrying the Puppet Master meets up with another and they split off in different directions. Batou follows the original car and Kusanagi chooses to follow the second one. With the help of a road block and additional police, Batou stops the car and discovers it is a decoy. He then rushes to support Kusanagi.

Kusanagi follows the car to an abandoned building. There, she runs into a spider tank guarding the Puppet Master. With her assault rifle useless, she spends most of the fight running. When the tank runs out of ammo, she tries to break its hatch open. However, she is unsuccessful and severely damages her cyborg body. The tank attempts to deliver the coup de grâce, but Batou shows up in the nick of time with heavy weaponry and puts the tank out of commission.

It turns out that the Puppet Master's body has survived the firefight, and Kusanagi decides to "dive in" and contact its ghost immediately, as she believes that Aramaki would just use it as a bargaining chip. As they connect, the Puppet Master and Kusanagi's ghosts contact each other and the Puppet Master introduces himself once again. It confirms that it is Project 2501, a Section 6 project that has hacked ghosts to serve various interests.

During its time collecting data and installing programs into various ghosts, it had become self-aware. It tells them that it had been looking for Kusanagi for a long time, knowing of her through the many networks that it had hacked into. It is a sentient being because it can recognize its own existence but lacks two experiences that are granted to all living organisms: reproduction and death. As a solution the Puppet Master finally expresses its wish to merge its ghost with Kusanagi's in order to give birth to a new single entity. Batou attempts to disconnect the dive, but The Puppet Master has also hacked him and prevents the disconnection.

Meanwhile, helicopters from Section 6 approach the abandoned building with orders to destroy the Puppet Master and Kusanagi to cover up the project. Batou sees red dots on both bodies, but the snipers are unable to shoot because their targeting systems have also been hacked by the Puppet Master.

Kusanagi and the Puppet Master continue to talk about the merge, with Kusanagi expressing concern over the fact that both of them will change and no longer retain their current identities. She wants a guarantee that she will retain her identity, but the Puppet Master argues that there is no reason to keep with it, because her desire to stay unchanging within a dynamic environment is ultimately what limits her. Kusanagi finally agrees to merge, and the Puppet Master releases Batou and the snipers' targeting systems from its control. The snipers fire and the Puppet Master's braincase is destroyed, but Batou manages to shield Kusanagi's with his arm. Their primary objective eliminated and Section 9 support on its way, Section 6 beats a hasty retreat.

Kusanagi wakes at Batou's safehouse - in a child-sized cyborg body. Batou enters and informs her of what transpired since her original body was destroyed (approximately twenty hours earlier): the Foreign Minister resigned as a result of the conspiracy, and Nakamura (Section 6 leader) is being questioned. Batou put her mind into a new child-sized body as it was the best he could get on short notice on the black market. Motoko decides to leave, and reveals that she is no longer Kusanagi nor is she the Puppet Master, but rather some combination of the two. The film concludes with the new Motoko/2501 entity gazing at the city and musing on what it should do next — "The net is vast and infinite."


The film adaptation presents the story's themes in a more serious, atmospheric and slow-paced manner than the manga. In addition, in order to condense the manga into 82 minutes of screen time, the movie excludes the subplots in order to focus exclusively on the "Puppet Master" plot.

Unlike the manga and the TV series, the producers have stated that the movie is set in Hong Kong, in the making-of Ghost in the Shell featurette. The writing depicted on the scenery is Chinese Hànzì characters, which are also used in written Japanese (kanji), but omits hiragana and katakana which are both exclusively used in written Japanese.



North America

The movie was applauded as one of the first anime films to seamlessly blend computer and cell animation (after Macross Plus Movie Edition). It was one of the first anime features to cross over to non-anime fans in North America.

Ghost in the Shell made an impression on a number of filmmakers. Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of The Matrix and its sequels, showed it to producer Joel Silver, saying "we wanna do that for real."[1] Director James Cameron has called it "the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence."

The film gained a little notoriety after The Tonight Show had host Conan O'Brien and sidekick Andy Richter visited Bang Zoom, a dubbing studio in Burbank, CA. The scene they have dubbed was the pre-shootout sequence, which O'Brien and Richter are ad-libbing nonsense about fishes and breasts, as they were depicted on the scene. However, the nudity and gore have been censored due to being shown to a network audience.


Ghost in the Shell
Soundtrack by Kenji Kawai
Released 1995
Genre New Age, Ambient
Length 45:25
Producer Kenji Kawai

Track listing

  1. "M01 Chant I - Making of Cyborg" – 4:31
  2. "M02 Ghosthack" – 5:16
  3. "EXM Puppetmaster" – 4:23
  4. "M04 Virtual Crime" – 2:44
  5. "M05 Chant II - Ghost City" – 3:37
  6. "M06 Access" – 3:18
  7. "M07 Nightstalker" – 1:47
  8. "M08 Floating Museum" – 5:07
  9. "M09 Ghostdive" – 5:55
  10. "M10 Chant III - Reincarnation" – 5:47
  11. "See You Everyday" (Bonus track) – 3:26

"See You Everyday" is different from the rest of the soundtrack, being a pop song sung in Cantonese by Fang Ka Wing. It can be faintly heard playing in the marketplace scene, when Batou is hunting the ghost-hacked puppet.

The song played at the end credits is "One Minute Warning" off the album Original Soundtracks 1 by Passengers, a collaborative effort between Brian Eno and U2. It is one of only four tracks on the album to come from an actual film, the remainder of the tracks are from non-existant films.

Choral song

According to the soundtrack's liner notes, the haunting choral song that plays throughout the film is a wedding song, sung to get rid of all evil influences that are about to follow. The lyrics of the song itself seems to reflect the union between Kusanagi and Project 2501 which takes place towards the end of the movie. Kenji Kawai originally wanted to use Bulgarian folk singers, but was unable to find any, so he relied on the Japanese folk song choir he used earlier in the Ranma 1/2 anime. The song uses an ancient form of the Japanese language mixed with Bulgarian harmony and traditional Japanese notes.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0

Not to be confused with Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Ghost in the Shell 2.0
Release date(s) Japan July 12, 2008
United Kingdom October 2, 2009
Running time 85 minutes
Country Japan

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊 2.0 Gōsuto In Za Sheru/Kōkaku Kidōtai 2.0?) is a reproduced version of its original 1995 counterpart. It was produced in celebration for the release of The Sky Crawlers in 2008.[2][3] For the films Version 2.0 release, all the original animations were re-produced with latest digital film and animation technologies, such as 3D-CGI. The original soundtrack was also re-organized and re-recorded.

Japanese music composer Kenji Kawai, who orchestrated the score for the original 1995 production, remixed the Version 2.0 soundtrack in 6.1 Channel Surround. Academy Award Winner Randy Thom of Skywalker Sound reprised his role as Sound Designer, after previously working on Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, and whose credits also include work on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.[2]

To complement the new soundtrack, Japanese voice dialogue was also re-recorded, with some variation from the original script to make use of more recent colloquial phrases in modern speech. Notably, the original male voice actor for the character of the "Puppet Master", Iemasa Kayumi, has been replaced by the female voice actor Yoshiko Sakakibara (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence 's Harraway, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 's Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki).[2]

The North American release for the film was scheduled to be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on the DVD and Blu-ray format. The Special Edition release was scheduled to include the original 1995 release alongside the Version 2.0 on a Double Layer Blu-ray, and complimented with the inclusion of a soundtrack CD and booklet with commentary detailing the Version 2.0 production. This has since changed and Manga Entertainment will actually be releasing the film on Blu-ray. Early copies leaked to Best Buy shelves before the November 24th, 2009 street date. The original version of the movie is included on the disc in HD. The original English dub was used for the new 2.0 version with the new sound effects.


  1. ^ Joel Silver, interviewed in "Making The Matrix" featurette on The Matrix DVD.
  2. ^ a b c "「スカイ・クロラ」公開記念VERSION2.0始動!『GHOST IN THE SHELL 攻殻機動隊2.0』" (in Japanese). The Sky Crawlers (2008 film) official website. 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  3. ^ "「GHOST IN THE SHELL/攻殻機動隊2.0」公開初日トークショー開催!「イノセンス」上映決定!" (in Japanese). The Sky Crawlers (2008 film) official website. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 

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