This weekend the live-action Ghost In The Shell film starring Scarlett Johansson hits theatres. Early reviews haven't been kind, and the audacious whitewashing at the heart of it all irritates me so much that I don't plan to see it. Instead, I decided to dive into the West's favorite chapter in the long-running GiTS franchise: Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex!
It doesn't seem possible that consumer-friendly virtual reality is on the verge of breaking through the shackles of science fiction and into the real world, but we're entering into a brave new world of immersive interactivity with the release of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and even Google Cardboard. While each of those VR platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, that there are multiple manufacturers vying for your attention in the same space (with more like PlayStation VR, SteamVR and StarVR still to come) speaks volumes about how viable virtual reality has become in the last few years.
Aside from the potential gaming aspects, virtual reality presents some interesting opportunities for narrative immersion as well. We've already seen Star Wars take advantage of that a bit with its recent Jakku tour, but the landscape is wide open for the likes of movies and animation to give fans and viewers an even closer look at the worlds being created on screen. Such is the case with the upcoming Ghost in the Shell VR short, Ghost in the Shell Virtual Reality Diver. Set in the world of Ghost in the Shell: Arise, the short will be an on-rails experience that lets you tag along with Major Kusanagi through some select scenes curated for VR.
The animated life of Ghost in the Shell is a complicated machine. You've got the original 1995 film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's landmark cyberpunk work, then there's the 2004 sequel, and then the 2008 remastered Ghost in the Shell 2.0. Of course, you've also got Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the 2002 animated series, which also had a few feature-length chapters during its run. And let's not forget the most recent iteration, Ghost in the Shell: Arise, a complete re-imagining of Shirow's story, which took place before the original manga, but also had a movie release this year in Japan. People love their Major Kusanagi, no matter how convoluted her story becomes throughout all the various incarnations.
Though there hasn't been quite as many Ghost in the Shell video games, that hasn't stopped the franchise from being equally confusing. The original PlayStation One title, Ghost in the Shell (based on the first film) managed to survive just fine on its own, but two different games based on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which were both titled simply Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, arrived on two different systems and offered two different styles of play (one a third-person shooter, one a first-person shooter). For this latest attempt at bringing Ghost in the Shell to life as a video game, Nexon has again turned to Stand Alone Complex for inspiration. Unfortunately, it's also going to be a free-to-play, online multiplayer-only, squad-based FPS.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Even back before anime and manga exploded (or E X P L O D Ed, as the case may be) and became as widely available as they are today, Masaume Shirow's Ghost In The Shell and Mamoru Oshii's anime adaptation were considered to be true high points of the cyberpunk genre. It's one of the most well known franchises in the entirety of anime, producing multiple adaptations and influencing films like The Matrix.
Obviously, it's going to have a pretty dedicated fanbase, and now, a group of artists and filmmakers have gotten together to produce a live-action fan-film adaptation of the original Ghost In The Shell anime's title sequence, reproducing it shot-for-shot. Check out a video of the process behind the recreation below!
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.