Tuesday, September 21, 2010


More Classic Cyberpunk...  Ghost In The Shell

The Ghost In The Shell is an anime Cyberpunk action series that was based on an animated film created back in 1995, directed by Mamoru Oshii and it was sourced from a Japanese manga comic created by Masamune Shirow.

Initially based in the year 2029, in the GITS universe, the world is connected by a global electronic network, resulting in information overloads that make multiple cyber crimes a stark reality. The global population is a fusion of androids and humans, who look strikingly alike. And Tokyo has a reliable network security police force called Public Security Section 9. They are a band of stealth operatives, led by an old astute man named Daisuke Aramaki, who is often referred to simply as "Chief". The top field agent of the Section 9 division is Major Motoko Kusanagi, and she is a sexy, purple-haired, cyborg police officer, with a deep sultry voice and immense strength/agility. She is commonly assisted by a group of about 7 other operatives, and the second-in-command is a tough veteran Army Ranger recruit named Batou [who is also a full-body cyborg like Major].

The hit animated series, Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, takes place in Japan during the year 2030. And it follows Major and her crew as they haunt a clandestine cyber-hacker known as the Laughing Man. The sci fi series originally ran for 26 episodes, from 1st of October 2002 to 25th of March 2003.
And an intriguing second season called Ghost In The Shell: SAC 2nd GIG [link: Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG ] ran on the Animax channel from 1st of January 2004 to 8th of January 2005.

There are several OVAs based on this series, and the last anime movie so far for the franchise was titled Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society, and it was released in 2006.

 The first pic above shows Major and Batou, and the second shows Saito, the team sniper. And the last pic showcases the logo of the notorious Laughing Man, a sort of corporate cyberspace entity...

Fast-paced action, high tech gadgets, futuristic vehicles, advanced Internet interfaces, mobile MECHA units of various sizes and cybernetically enhanced interactive ports throughout the inhabited cities created a plethora of fascinating sci fi features within an extremely entertaining future version of Japan.

This anime was well planned by its creators, and it was one of those series that forced its audience to think... in fact, at one point in the second season, fans complained that the presented theories intertwined into the central plot got too complex.

Yet the Cyberpunk concepts of dubious hackers, sentient AIs, thinking machines, human-like cyborgs, duplicitous mega-corporations and high tech weapons created a truly modernized arena of thought, where the futuristic detectives/police officers of Section 9 were forced to use both their brains and their gadgets to not only out-think their foes, but also practically predict their next moves, in order to apprehend them while keeping collateral damage to a minimum.

Stock price manipulation, external brain overrides, illegal electronic infiltrations, kidnappings, terrorist raids, and realistic droid impersonations were amongst the issues that the stealth operatives of Section 9 had to tackle constantly. And per the dynamic nature of the series, the action scenes were always fascinating. The antagonists [and in some instances, their enemies as well] possessed nano-engineered rubber-like bodysuits that granted them invisibility, enabling them to dart about unnoticed by the human eye. And most of the high tech weapons utilized by the cyborg characters could be tuned into the nanotech-created interfaces within their brains, so that they could target precisely with their eyes, while seeing cross-hairs and dynamic live data within their minds.

[Batou, one of the main characters, with a heavy machinegun /Gatling gun]

Neural implants with diverse functional ratings and capacities are very common in this series. In fact, some characters were able to record/watch MPEG files through their eyes, by issuing direct thought-commands to their cybernetic implants. And this sort of human enhancing technology definitely meant that data could be created, stored, accessed and stolen at extremely rapid rates.

There were peculiar robo-vehicles in the series that operated as manned mobile armory and tactical units [although these units also had engrafted AIs that gave them unique personalities], and these MECH units were called the Tachikomas. Having bubbly personalities and youthful personal voices, they were almost like mechanical spiders with roller-blade wheels and large-caliber machine guns [I'm talking about anti-tank weapons here, perhaps even approximately the 0.50 BMG cartridge]. They possessed three-fingered grapplers of various kinds on their forward appendages, and they were also capable of "zooming" or "walking", according to what the terrain demanded.

If you take a close look at it, you'll note that the Tachikomas were the basis of many futuristic tanks, seen in video games and comic books. The rear boxy compartment is where the navigational cockpit is located on each Tachikoma, and the spherical frontal hub houses the power-core, optical radar sensors, and the fuel cells of the mobile unit. Most of the ammo cartridges are probably stored within the rear of the extended shafts that look like frontal limbs.

And the word is, a live-action movie from this series is in the works. Hopefully the franchise licensees in Hollywood will hire a writer, director and cast members that will do it justice...


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Part 1 of this Sci Fi article: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-is-sci-fi-part-1.html