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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12 recap – the ending explained
This recap of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary”, contains spoilers, including a discussion of the Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Season 2 ending. You can read our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words .
You’ll recall that in the penultimate episode of the season, things went badly wrong. At least one major character was seemingly killed by another. Nukes were launched. The world was potentially ending, decimated by extremism operating under the guise of freedom and peace. Only, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary” doesn’t acknowledge any of this, at least not initially. It’s the very antithesis of a finale.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12 recap
So, what’s going on? Why is Patrick Huge’s death being considered a suicide? What are Section 9 being given medals for? How has Takashi Shimamura apparently made it home safe and sound?
Nobody seems to have noticed that things are all amiss. But once the scene winds back to the start and the same things begin to happen again, the Major gets suspicious. She theorizes that she may be trapped in a cognitive maze. She flicks through files that report Purin has been killed in action and John Smith is being held in a cryogenic suspension unit. When she defrosts him, he cycles through a range of moods and personalities, from utter confusion to complete terror to smug assurance, and the Major theorizes that she’s not in a cognitive maze after all. Instead, she’s plugged into the Net, which means her body is somewhere else.
When the Major deactivates autistic mode, she’s able to wake up in her actual body. She quickly encounters Purin, who claims that everyone safely evacuated after the threat of the smart gas had passed and have been happily living their lives ever since. As for the nukes, that depends. In some people’s memories, the launch was averted. In others, it wasn’t. This giant auditorium full of sleeping chambers supposedly houses all those who had become N, which Purin explains as people who found a way to live in a reality free of conflict while going about their daily lives in the real world. She likens it to being in a video game tailored just for them; or, alternatively, a state of enlightenment. This is what everyone is experiencing now. This is the reality Shimamura created.
Obviously this is a difficult pill to swallow, to Purin offers to show the Major instead. The episode title, “DOUBLE THINK”, is a term Shimamura coined to describe the experience these people are having, living out the lives they were living pre-incident but with an optimum sense of calm and tranquility, devoid of conflict. Purin can trace back the origins of doublethink to when Togusa disappeared, to the nostalgia virus. Shimamura, meanwhile, is hooked up to a giant double helix of fizzing wires, trying to convert the rest of the world, some of whom, because of circumstance or lack of connection to the network, haven’t been assimilated yet. The Major makes Purin take her to Shimamura, who can still hear and communicate, and they have a conversation about his ideology and plan.
The idea was to buy time for those who were on the cusp of elevated consciousness but hadn’t quite become N. The American response was more severe that anticipated, since as Shimamura has observed, the discovery of something different or “other” tends to come coupled with the desire to extinguish it. Before the smart gas was due to be dispersed, all major American intelligence and government agencies had already become N. It just so happened that the Major’s team’s top-level comms allowed Shimamura to broadcast all around the world. This is a technological singularity, a complete post-human victory. Shimamura thanks the Major for her act of kindness that facilitated the survival of his mother.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2 ending
However, there’s a catch. Shimamura never created a contingency plan to erase the Major from this place, so the second she woke up there, she threw a spanner in the works. Shimamura is vulnerable, and the Major removes the wires from his neck, she can restore the world to its original state. The Major asks Shimamura a final question — why weren’t she and Purin able to engage in doublethink? He explains that they’re a rare breed of romantic for whom reality and dreams are barely different. Purin never had a ghost. But even without one she could have rejoined Section 9, though she never did because she felt she had betrayed Batou. She sided with a fellow AI.
As the Major grabs a fistful of the wiring plugged into Shimamura’s neck and begins to pull, the scene cuts away.
When we pick back up, the Major introduces Standard and a tearful Purin to Section 9. Chief Aramaki, who’s watching on, is earnestly thanked by Prime Minister Tate.
In the final scene, the Major speculates with Batou about what may happen the next time humanity reaches a critical point in its evolution; will it extend out beyond the stars? She’s leaving again, and warns Batou that they might not recognize each other the next time they meet. So, they agree on a code word: 1A84.
You can stream Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2, episode 12, “DOUBLE THINK / Event Boundary” exclusively on Netflix .
Article by Jonathon Wilson
Jonathon is one of the co-founders of Ready Steady Cut and has been an instrumental part of the team since its inception in 2017. Jonathon has remained involved in all aspects of the site’s operation, mainly dedicated to its content output, remaining one of its primary Entertainment writers while also functioning as our dedicated Commissioning Editor, publishing over 6,500 articles.
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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is a dead end of an adaptation
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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is a continuation of the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex , but it is also, itself, an adaptation. Picking up a decade or so after the events of the series and its 2006 film Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society , it offers familiar motifs, the same essential status quo, largely the same tone, and all the same vital characters. SAC_2045 claims a new title that reduces “Stand Alone Complex” to initialism. In this separation is the invitation to view SAC_2045 as an adaptation of an adaptation. It isn’t just “season 3” of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex ; it’s a new life-form. This creates its essential problems: it is a lesser life-form, and it is starving to death for lack of inspiration and enough resources for its own production. SAC_2045 is too focused on its reproduction of Ghost in the Shell . It is critical only of Ghost in the Shell .
In making 2002’s Stand Alone Complex , director Kenji Kamiyama looked not only to Masamune Shirow’s original manga and Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime film, but to the inspirations and wider work of Shirow’s career. Watching Stand Alone Complex , one can feel the influence of The Professionals (known elsewhere as CI5 ), the 1977 British procedural referenced as a specific visual influence in the end notes of the manga. In the second season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex , titled S.A.C. 2nd GIG , the antagonist Kuze is a deeper, softer, more textured version of Jean-Luc (called Ian Ruck in some versions), an antagonist of the 1999 anime Gundress , for which Shirow provided character and production designs. This approach gave Stand Alone Complex two things, seemingly contradictory: focus and breadth. But it’s not contradictory at all. Defining your range of resources is a vital part of the organized creative process.
The disappointment of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is the choice on the part of its creators, by all appearances, to primarily respond to Stand Alone Complex and nothing else. In that choice is another: the choice not to continue Stand Alone Complex . The stories we left behind in that series stay left behind. Instead of continuing to complicate or prioritize this nicely prepared ground, SAC_2045 chooses to address Stand Alone Complex by retreading the familiar ground of a sad-boy ultra-hacker with a specific book fixation and an orphan cybergirl looking for the boy who saved her even though their politics don’t match, to diminishing effect. As a result of these choices, SAC_2045 is less compelling and complicated than the original Stand Alone Complex anime. SAC_2045 may be a separate work from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex , but it doesn’t “stand alone.” On top of this, SAC_2045 adds a misogynistic element that’s uncomfortably unexamined. It’s a strange series.
One interesting theme posed in the first season of SAC_2045 is the radicalization of men through ideas of “manhood” and masculine aesthetics. It’s a genuine crisis in our world and a fascinating subject of consideration. This is especially true in the case of Togusa, the character around which this theme is centered.
In every iteration of Ghost in the Shell, Togusa is “the normie,” and he is “the dad.” In the continuity of Stand Alone Complex , he is a member of cybercrime team Section 9, where the freaks and protagonists and specialists hang out, because his normativity by comparison functions as diversity within that context. Unlike Togusa, none of his team members are ever implied to be married or in committed relationships; none are ever implied to have offspring. Several definitively cannot produce offspring from their own bodies, because their bodies are prosthetics. He is the youngest (the nearest to the age of the series’ core demographic), and he is the most socially successful in a way that is recognizable and familiar to the viewing audience. He is also kind, has no problem being bossed by a woman, treats his wife and daughters nicely, and is shown to be innocent when accused of heavy-handed policing. Togusa exists almost exclusively to be a non-problematic man, succeeding at the gendered acts of marriage and reproduction. He represents the idea that “organic nature,” aka heteronormative traditionalism, can be as viable in individual cases as technological modification or, approximately, progressivism. He is “the man of the house” in his house … but in an OK way! This is philosophical, can be nice to watch, and provides plot fodder. It also primes him for the kind of story that SAC_2045 implied it would explore in its second season.
In SAC_2045 , Togusa is divorced. Changing such a critical part of a character’s identity is a bold choice, and one that invites questions from the audience. If Togusa is divorced, we want to know that it’s for some purpose. Why change an element without purpose, even in adaptation? In practice the answer could be that it removed the necessity for any scenes in which Section 9 has to contact Togusa’s wife while he is missing for several months. But what narrative potential could exist in this creative choice? Could this be an opportunity to examine Togusa’s performance of masculinity, both in his personal and professional lives, and the role of masculinity in the Ghost in the Shell universe more broadly?
In practice however, the second season of SAC_2045 removes every drop of the masculine idealism from its altered-reality radicals. Togusa’s story goes nowhere; girls are foregrounded as agents or puppets of the mysterious collective force “N” amongst a mixed-gender background. In execution, it doesn’t offer much to think about, despite the critical potential of its premise. And in the absence of an examination of masculine toxicity, there’s nothing to balance out the eerie, low-calorie misogyny the show’s creators chose to include instead.
Major Kusanagi is the most iconic character from the Ghost in the Shell franchise. But SAC_2045 ’s interest in her is as minimal as the series’ interest in any of the other members of Section 9, giving her no personal arc, minimal interiority, and barely any episodic relevance. Her presence is felt the most at the end of every episode, where you can look at her being cute instead of the credits, and at the end of the season, where responsibility for the developmental direction of the human race (the entire human race) and its future falls to her. Every time an ethical ultimatum falls on her, Ghost in the Shell gets a little more domestic.
The Major is replaced, figuratively and literally, by a 22-year-old “moe” girl named Purin with an almost identical and highly condensed boring character arc, whose compromised nudity is introduced in service of tired brand motifs and nothing else. There’s a “funny” thread about her adoring Batou to the point of sexually harassing him that develops into an empty revelation that he rescued her as a child after her family was murdered, and a moment where he touches her arm and comments how her body, now fully prosthetic, is “just like” the Major’s. Stand Alone Complex already established that Batou desires the Major. So, what, now he’s got a “new” Major he can sleep with? Why have him touch her? Why have a conflict over her earlier comments being workplace sexual harassment, if this is where they wanted this to go? These creative choices might sound innocuous to you. They do not sound innocuous to me.
Purin’s — named for a bouncy, cutesy, commercial food — people-pleasing excess is framed as a consequence remover, a trait common to the moe anime trope and to certain styles of comic relief in anime, both of which she inhabits. But this does not excuse the repulsiveness of its result. Likewise, is it less racist that the new Black member of Section 9 is called names and left behind in danger just because he’s the designated comic relief? Is it “comic” when the humor is dependent on these things being presented as inconsequential? Ghost in the Shell is supposed to reassure us that dehumanization is not inevitable. The result of SAC_2045 instead is a cold feeling of removal that reinforces dehumanization. Again, it’s a strange series.
In the final episode of SAC_2045 the Major, the series’ erstwhile heroine, is asked to decide whether or not the human race is worth any faith at all, or if the Matrix would be better for us. That choice is then made off screen. What do you want to have happened? It’s as if Kamiyama is tired — not only of Ghost in the Shell, but of its audience. In its last moments, SAC_2045 is not a failure, but its truest self: a pop-up telling us to log off. It is a criticism not only of the audience, but of a content system that demands replication at the cost of ever-diminishing returns.
Adaptation, as argued so well by Charlie (and Donald) Kaufman in their movie Adaptation , is a process both procreational and critical: It consists of taking what one values or “can work with” in an existing story and filling out the spaces left by that extraction with what oneself can offer. Commentary on the original is created by the transformation process; difference and similarity are both magnified, and the audience can consider what that “says” or “means” about the original work, the new work, and the creators of each. An adaptation is not only a production but a reproduction — of the original and of the self. Aspects are lost, gained, and created. The new being is an adaptation that sheds light, in retrospect, on both prior halves. In the case of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 , it would have perhaps been best if that light was kept off.
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Anime / Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045
In the year 2045, after an economic disaster known as the Simultaneous Global Default which destroyed the value of all forms of paper and electronic currency, the "Big 4" nations of the world are engaged in a state of never-ending "Sustainable War" to keep the economy going .
Full-body cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi and her second-in-command Batou are former members of Public Security Section 9, who are now hired mercenaries traveling the hot devastated American west coast. This land is full of opportunity for the major and her team, they utilize their enhanced cyberbrains and combat skills from their time working in Section 9. However, things get complicated with the emergence of “post humans,” who have extreme intelligence and physical powers. The members of Section 9 come back together again in order to face this new threat.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is the 4th proper installment in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex franchise, following the first two anime seasons and the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society movie. The series is a joint directorial collaboration between Kenji Kamiyama (who has headed the Stand Alone Complex project since its conception) and Shinji Aramaki (director of the modern Appleseed anime adaptations) and uses Shinji's signature 3D animation art style, courtesy of Production I.G and SOLA Digital Works. Ilya Kuvshinov provides the character designs. The soundtrack is provided by Nobuko Toda ( Metal Gear Solid from Snake Eater on) and Kazuma Jinnouchi ( Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians ).
The series launched on April 23rd, 2020, exclusively on Netflix . The show has two seasons with the second season being released on May 23, 2022.
A Compilation Movie of the first season was also released on November 26, 2021.
Tropes shown in the preview trailers include:
- Ambiguous Ending : Did the Major pull Takashi's plug and undo all his work or did she allow him to succeed in creating the "perfect world" he envisioned?
- Art-Shifted Sequel : While a part of the Stand Alone Complex continuity, this sequel series sees it go from hand-drawn animation, with some minor CGI work for vehicles, to all CGI.
- Augmented Reality : Most forms of visual prosthetic enhancements in 2045 allow people to see additional information on what they're looking at. In the first episode, Motoko looks at an apple to see the advertised price of $25 on it. Brenda Rucker, a local trying to sell rations to Batou and trying to save up enough money for a proper cyberbrain, is constantly being flooded with spamware in her own visual feed, making her have to physically swipe them away in front of her face.
- Awesomeness by Analysis : The post-humans are able to dodge bullets by calculating in real-time exactly where the bullets will go before the shooters can even pull the trigger. By the time they do, the post-humans have already dodged.
- Ironically, this has been inverted by the United States, which was already balkanized into three factions prior to the default. Now, it appears that the American Empire has actually reunited the United States under its aegis, as shown by a world map seen in the third episode, and hinted at in all others.
- Bank Robbery : A standalone episode has Batou accidentally walk into a bank being robbed by some of its own employees, who have had their savings wiped out by the Simultaneous Global Default and then had what was left embezzled by the local branch manager. He ultimately decides to help them, and engineers a cryptocurrency short sale scam to get them their money back and expose the manager, then tells the police the robbers escaped.
- Batman Gambit : The Major fights Sanji Yaguchi, a former boxer, using boxing moves she's downloaded, even though there's no way she could win against him one-on-one. She's counting on some part of him recognizing her moves and reciprocating, which allows Batou to catch him off-guard.
- Bland-Name Product : In her first scene, the Major is seen drinking a bottle of "Dudweiser" beer.
- Blood Knight : Batou's thoughts on the subject of the Sustainable War is that if people want to die, then he volunteers to help them along with that. He later comments that he's not doing mercenary work for the money, but to put his skills to use doing what he enjoys.
- When Batou and Togusa head to a remote location out in the woods, they're own net connections weaken from the lack of infrastructure. Batou mentions that the Geofront in Etorofu has better connection these days.
- Season 2 reveals that Purin's family was murdered by Marco Amoretti, the soldier turned serial killer who Section 9 dealt with in the original Stand Alone Complex . The flashback even shows Batou in his old character design comforting the young Purin.
- Cliffhanger : Season 1 ends with Batou calling out on Togusa who suddenly disappears after investigating Takashi's past and being invited onto a truck by Takashi, which only he can see . The compilation movie shows Batou receiving a phone call from Togusa, who turns out to be alive but gives him a vague question, "Do we need to be alive for a world to be this beautiful?", which confuses him.
- Combat Precognition : Posthumans can calculate the trajectories of incoming bullets before they're even fired.
- Cool Car : Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Togusa ends up getting a suped-up Chevrolet Camaro for a rental car. He thinks it's a bit too much, especially when it's not what he asked for.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu : The guard dog robots, when Section 9 faces just one of them it's nearly impossible to hit and single-handedly spoils their stealth approach. But just a couple episodes later when they face dozens of them at once they get gunned down by the handful.
- Conspicuous Consumption : While overlooking a geofront being constructed in Shin-Tokyo, Ishikawa and Batou can't help but question on when the Japanese government will start showing off their money by spending it on something other than massive construction projects.
- The Major and Saito briefly went to work in North America as mercenaries after Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society . This time, Batou and Ishikawa join them.
- Crossover : Mobile Zombie Apocalypse game Life After teamed up with Kodansha to feature the 2045 cast as playable characters in the game.
- Could Say It, But... : In "NET PEOPLE", Purin wants to help out with the investigation only for the Major to point out she's not in Section 9, so they can't give her any orders. Purin is disappointed until the rest of the team point out the Major is actually saying she's free to do whatever she wants, including carry out her own investigation.
- Darkest Hour : Episode 23. Chief Aramaki survived the car bombing thanks to a tachikoma, but Purin pulls a Face–Heel Turn and sides with Takeshi. Borma, Pazu, Ishikawa, Saito, and Batou are killed. Takeshi Shimamura is shown being shot by the Major, which prompts the N citizens to launch a nuke. All the while, American Empire bombers are dispersing a "Smart Gas" biological weapon that will wipe out millions of people in the Tokyo region. All seems lost .
- Divergent Character Evolution : The Tachikomas that the team took with them when they left Section 9 are given different colors, differentiated by the paint schemes they had when they were sent away at the end of the first season. Two of them are the default blue color, but one is construction yellow with black markings. They also seem to have different performance abilities, such as features for added mobility or a heavier arsenal, and their pods are smaller since they're expected to be carrying cyborgs rather than humans. Once Section 9 is reformed, they join up with four of the original model blue Tachikomas.
- Dirty Cop : Togusa sees Takeshi's old memories in Kyoto in "NOSTALGIA" where local police officers help government operatives execute a man in a ditch.
- Do Wrong, Right : In his standalone episode, Batou ends up helping some bank employees rob their own bank because he sympathizes with their motives while also bemoaning their lack of competence.
- Driving Question : Who or what is responsible for the emergence of posthumans? This is answered in season 2. An AI known as 1A84 was created by the American Empire for the purpose of using the Sustainable War that they started to financially benefit them, but it Grew Beyond Their Programming , initiated the Simultaneous Global Default to help balance out the distribution of wealth, and created the posthuman meme to transplant into individuals with the well intention of advancing human society.
- Dwindling Party : Episode 23 starts picking off the members of Section 9 one by one until they're all dead. Motoko is the last to die, as a result of the Smart Gas the American Empire unleashed .
- The first version of the opening sequence shows the Major's prosthetic body getting printed.
- In the penultimate episode, one of the Posthumans hacks a food printer on an American submarine to make herself a Remote Body for hijacking the sub and its' nukes.
- Evil States of America : The American Empire started the Sustainable War. They created an AI named 1A84 and programmed it to find ways to ensure that war would financially benefit only them. When the AI created the Simultaneous Global Default and the posthumans to disrupt their plans, they sent Agent Smith to Japan to interfere with Section 9's investigations.
- The Major leaves their American recruit with false memories of their time together as she wants to cut ties with him, but leaves a password-protected copy of his real memories in his payment file just in case she feels the need to bring him back.
- Togusa uses a pair of bugging devices to make some goons think they killed him and dumped his body in the harbor. Batou congratulates him for a move worthy of the Major herself.
- Full-Frontal Assault : Patrick Huge fights the team in nothing but his bathrobe, which he then throws at Batou to distract him, then somersaults upstairs and into a clothes closet where he's hiding a Mini-Mecha . Batou : Is he done freeballing it?!
- Gainax Ending : Episode 23 ends with Section 9 all dying, episode 24 opens with the Major waking from a simulation in Section 9 headquarters with her teammates all still alive and nothing since the fight with Huge having happened, except she figures out it's a simulation and starts to go through it again before escaping to an amphitheater filled with stasis pods. There she meets Purin who tries to explain the Doublethink simulations Shimamura put them in and that the rest are alive. Then she meets Shimamura as he's finishing up putting the whole world in Doublethink and he gives her the opportunity to stop him. She has her hand on his network cables, and then it cuts to Section 9 welcoming Standard and Purin to the team, apparently not remembering them.
- Gang of Hats : The first two episodes features a group of Nomads who used to be college athletes. They had wracked up a lot of student loan debt, but while the Global Default wiped it out, it also destroyed any prospective futures they could have pursued. To drive the point home that they're athletes, they still wear their football and baseball uniforms, wear college jock jackets, and wear anti-reflective grease under their eyes.
- Grand Theft Me : The Tachikomas comment on what it feels like to lose direct control of themselves when Purin coordinates an attack on a Post-human in "CLOSE CALL / I've Awoken". Tachikoma: Is this what being hacked feels like? This feels weird!
- This is John Smith's intent the moment he hires GHOST for the NSA mission. Only a call to the U.S. President by Aramaki saves them from being scrubbed from existence along with the rest of the mission.
- Takashi Shimamura witnessed police murder a suspected informant. Being an outsider to the area, they weren't willing to just coerce him into silence. His life is saved by a Crazy Survivalist , but unfortunately his cousin is killed by a stray bullet.
- Purin Esaki had to enter into the Witness Protection Program. Marco Amoretti murdered her entire family during the events of "JUNGLE CRUISE" .
- Hipster : When Togusa ends up calling Batou's mobile phone from a pay phone , the Tachikomas' immediate reaction is to scoff and call him a retro-hipster for using such antiquated technology.
- I Want Them Alive! : The NSA wants the post-humans captured alive because they need an undamaged subject to research how the process works and how they might counter their abilities. The first one they caught was shot in the head and couldn't provide any useful data.
- Improbable Aiming Skills : Another benefit of the post-humans' incredible calculation abilities is that they have virtually perfect aim, since they not only know the exact trajectory of the bullet, but can also predict the movement of the target they're firing at.
- Inside Job : In "PIE IN THE SKY", Batou gets caught up in a bank robbery by some desperate old folks who are just trying to get by. The robbers were working with the security guard to set up the operation.
- Internet Counterattack : Takashi developed a program called Think Pol (he named it after the Thought Police in Nineteen Eighty-Four ) that targets people said to have evaded justice in some respect and asks users to vote on their guilt. All those that vote guilty have their votes converted into a DDoS attack that overwhelms the cyberbrain firewall of the target and causes them to see vision of eyeless copies of the voters assaulting them. Enough guilty votes can outright kill a person. He wrote it to punish a pedophile teacher who raped a student Takeshi had a crush on, but after his brain was fried many of the voters commented that they would probably would have fried his victim too if she hadn't committed suicide before the program was available.
- Jurisdiction Friction : Public Security Section 3 tries to get in the way of Section 9 potentially being raised again. This was after the Major informed Togusa to keep an eye out on who's trying to put bugs on the PM's residence.
- Justified Criminal : The bank robbers in episode 7 are a group of elderly men (and one woman who took sympathy who act out of desperation because the Sustainable War has made their lives miserable. Thanks to Batou's intervention, all of them are able to convert their accounts into a more favorable currency and successfully rob the bank when Batou learned that the bank itself wasn't valuing them as customers.
- Just Plane Wrong : As part of the effort to convince John Smith to not kill the Major and her team, Aramaki borrows the US President's personal fighter jet, which has the callsign of Marine One. The naming convention of a presidential vehicle being named X One only applies when the President is personally on board - since Aramaki is the only person in the plane, that convention would not apply.
- They have superhuman reflexes that allow them to dodge bullets with ease, but this only works so long as they have an idea as to where the bullets are coming from. Gary caught a (non-fatal) bullet in the head when the soldiers started blind-firing into the room to catch him with a ricochet, since he kept gunning them down every time they left cover. Similarly, when Patrick Huge gets into a Mini-Mecha to fight GHOST, Saito is able to shoot the mech several times, eventually disabling it, because it's simply too cumbersome for Huge to dodge attacks the way he could outside of it.
- They still have to breathe, and they do require some sleep, where-in they're unable to function at all. That means they're susceptible to sedatives and knockout gas .
- Lotus-Eater Machine : In the final episode, Major finds herself inside a Cognitive Maze. There's too many inconsistencies and she's able to break free .
- Marionette Motion : The post-humans dodge bullets in this fashion when there's not too many of them, barely even breaking stride or bothering to look as they use the minimum of movement necessary to not get hit.
- Married to the Job : Togusa's dedication to this work has resulted in a divorce from his wife.
- Ms. Fanservice : Subverted. The non-canon opening recreates the famous "Making of a Cyborg" scene from the original film in its own way, showing Motoko being created from skeletal frame to muscles, then skin and hair. In the series proper, she isn't presented in any obviously intentional fanservice scenes and stays conservatively dressed.
- murder.com : In "NET PEOPLE: Reasons Leading to Flameout", a computer program called Think Pol locks onto people who have generated the most hate response on the internet, then pols a random number of people as to whether they should be forgiven for their crimes. If the answer is "no", the response of those who voted no is converted into a simultaneous hack that can overwhelm any cyberbrain. A businessman who direct-hacked a female employee against her will gets three million negative responses , while the Prime Minister being accused of taking bribes gets a mere two thousand (which Section 9 is easily able to fight off). A student who discovers the program (not the person who developed it) develops an app enabling others to watch these attacks in real time.
- The opening credits show Motoko's body being constructed from scratch, just like the opening of the original 1996 anime .
- In the first episode, the Major initiates a Brain Dive with Batou, Ishikawa, Saito, and Standard in order to brief them on the mission. The brain dive is depicted as an enclosed space just like the brain dives from the original manga and from Ghost in the Shell: Arise .
- Chief Aramaki has a brief meeting with a woman named Ada on a rooftop, before she flies away in a Russian Hind helicopter. This was inspired by a similar scene in the original manga in which Aramaki speaks with a female Russian agent before she flies away in a helicopter.
- The first season has the concern raised by Section 9 that they'll be treated as government-type contractors to the American Empire. A similar story is found in the Ghost in the Shell (2017) live action film, where Section 9 is still a government agency, but the Hanka Electronics corporation has enough influence to hire them out as private contractors.
- Season 2's opening credits replicates the iconic scene of Motoko diving off the roof of a building, as has been replicated in every iteration of the franchise from the first animated movie to the live action film.
- Season 2 features the first official introduction of the Megatech Body Construction corporation to the Stand Alone Complex continuity. They're a major supplier of prosthetic bodies in the original manga.
- 2045 chooses to portray characters currently using thermoptic camouflage as seen through the visual sensors of the members of Section 9 as a white outline of the character with an arrow overhead along with their name. This is actually how players could see their teammates behind barriers and while using thermoptic camo in Ghost in the Shell: First Assault Online .
- When Aramaki and Tate discuss the situation of the Posthumans with the area known as N, the former wonders why they (N) didn't publicly declare independence from Japan. This is partially the same plot idea from the 2004 PS2 Ghost in the Shell game.
- At the same time, the Major uses the black trenchcoat she's seen in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex .
- Never Trust a Trailer : The Season 2 trailer reveals that Purin is a posthuman. In the series, she's suspected as one until she's killed off by the Prime Minister's bodyguards after saving his life which shows she's indeed human. Then, the Major resurrects her as cybernetic clone who has Purin's memories making, as Takashi puts it, an A.I who has no ghost. Though this Purin did side with Takashi and the posthumans in the end .
- Nothing Is Scarier : The Posthumans. No one knows what their motives are, but they caused the current Global Default, and one tried to launch a nuclear missile from American to Russia. No one knows how they are created, only that they all fell ill to a fever at the same time, and woke up altered, very rarely with any indication that they the people they were before. Motoko took a look inside the cyberbrain of one, and was immediately repulsed and disgusted by what was inside . They have displayed skills and abilities far beyond that of a normal human, with the cybernetically augmented Section 9 barely able to go toe-to-toe with them. And they seem either incapable or unwilling to communicate, with the first speech uttered by a Posthuman character taking place at the climax of Episode 9.
- Noodle Incident : What happened after Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society that led to Section 9 being disbanded before 2045?
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business : In Episode 5, Motoko tries to dive into the cyberbrain of Patrick Huge , only to encounter something utterly alien to previous depictions of cyberbrains due to him being a Posthuman, and felt it infecting her Ghost to do something unknown to it . She immediately ordered Saito to destroy Huge's brain before it could continue what it was doing, and was shaken afterwards. It takes a lot to make THE MAJOR feel genuine fear.
- Private Military Contractors : Motoko, Batou, Saito & Ishikawa had all left Public Security Section 9 by the time the series begins, and are now mercenaries for hire. They also have an arsenal of Tachikomas at their disposal. However, circumstances lead to them rejoining the newly reorganized Section 9.
- Psychic Nosebleed : In "CLOSE CALL / I've Awoken", the prolonged stand-off between Purin and the post-human Suzuka Mizukane results in both of them getting a nosebleed from trying to counter-hack the other. Purin is even woozy after she narrowly manages to avert a plane from crashing into her location .
- Putting the Band Back Together : After Aramaki received orders from the Prime Minister to re-establish Section 9, he requests Togusa to find the rest of the members.
- Retcon : In regards to certain aspects of the worldbuilding. Stand Alone Complex head writer Dai Sato thoroughly researched the original source manga and it's shared connection to Appleseed to firmly establish a Divided States of America where the Cold War came to a peaceful resolution with 1/3rd of the United States splitting off to become the Russo-American Alliance (including California where 2045 takes place), and then the US itself would lose the Second American Civil War, where another 1/3rd would split off into the American Empire that served as the Greater-Scope Villain of SAC . This largely left the United States themselves as a nation that no longer played a major aspect on the world stage, but Prime Minister Kayabuki's declaration in the last episode of 2nd Gig confirmed that both were independent nations from the American Empire. Because Dai Sato was not brought back to pen the encompassing script for 2045 (he was brought in for episode 9), these details have been mostly thrown out, and it's all but implied that the American Empire has always been the United States with all 50 of its states. The dialogue is written so that "AE" and "US" are used interchangeably.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation : By the year 2042, the Sustainable War being carried out by the four major global powers has destabilized almost all forms of paper and virtual currency across the planet. The first episode shows Major buying an organic apple for $25, and Batou calls out a shopkeeper for selling him 3 rations for a combined $1000, but can't disagree with her efforts to hustle to make a living. When Togusa shows up later, she tries to sell him one for $1500, then adds $300 on top of that when he change his mind after investigating her. Turns out that some of the posthumans were responsible for it. Japan, meanwhile, has replaced the yen with the yen-dollar, and the exchange rate for people trying to withdraw from old bank accounts is not favorable.
- Robot Maid : The team battles Patrick Huge's robot maids in episode 5.
- Rock Beats Laser : A Post-Human named Sanji Yaguchi goes around committing murders in public, and is able to get away with it because he can digitally remove all evidence from surveillance devices and peoples cyberbrains, not unlike the Laughing Man incident. Section 9 is able to catch onto his trail because a freelance photographer used a shutter camera and physical film to catch him in the act.
- Second American Civil War : Imperial Americana is engaged in AI-driven "sustainable war" along with the other world powers for the purpose of propping up the military-industrial complex that is now the only functional sector of the economy. However there are fears that the existing conflicts could spiral into a full-blown civil war, with the NSA suspecting the emergent "posthumans" as behind it.
- Sex Bot : In the pilot the Major sees some gynoid street hookers who only activate when she looks in their direction. In a later episode, Togusa is bemused to find the Tachikomas using those same sexbots to raise money for repairs.
- When a drone fires two missiles at its intended target in episode 2, Motoko shoots them out of the air with her handgun. (It is done more realistically than usual, because she is right on the drone and shoots them from behind before they accelerate fully.)
- In season 2's "CLOSE CALL / I've Awoken", Paz is able to shoot a rocket-propelled grenade off course from a firing point of about 20 feet away.
- The title "SAC_2045" is a reference to Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology , where-in the prediction is made that The Singularity will occur in 2045.
- The opening sequence is very similar to that of Westworld , making it a recursive shout-out (see Mythology Gag ).
- Takashi quotes Nineteen Eighty-Four multiple times and is even referenced as "Big Brother", and "sustainable war" bears a certain resemblance to Oceania's foreign policy. The references only increase in season 2 when we see his plans for "N", which has a MinLove with Thought Police that take people to Room 101, and himself as Big Brother.
- During the second half of season 2, a naked Purin has little other option but to wear a plugsuit , which the driver of the van that she's commandeered states was a cosplay that he had hoped a future girlfriend might end up wearing.
- Shown Their Work : The election of Tate as prime minister is correct. The Japanese Constitution does not have specific provision as of 2020 that does not allow a Japanese national who is naturalized to be elected into office as the PM.
- The Singularity : Takeshi Shimamura's plan was to ultimately link all of humanity into what he calls a "Double Think" state— Their physical bodies will live in peace and advance society without conflict, while inside their own cyberbrains they are experiencing the world the way that they want to perceive it. Major has to admit that the Posthumans essentially won, but is curious why she wasn't affected by the Double Think. Takeshi explains that the Major doesn't differentiate dreams from reality so what she lives is how she perceives reality anyway. He ultimately gives her the option of choosing whether humanity should evolve to this next level and continue in this state, or return to normal .
- In traditional Ghost in the Shell fashion, the Tachikomas still walk on four legs, but have a retractable 5th wheel attached to their back pod for added mobility and speed.
- Episode 2 features an APC with spider legs built into it that can unfold them to walk through obstacles.
- The blue Tachikoma is absolutely overjoyed when he finds Togusa.
- Purin often gets overexcited about working with the legendary Section 9, particularly Batou.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maid : Taken to truly absurd extent in Season 2, where a 3D printer designed to print food on board a nuclear submarine can somehow be hacked to print out a fully functional combat android capable of taking out the entire crew by itself.
- Taking You with Me : In order to ensure that the Posthuman's plan is carried through, a failsafe is put in place. Suzuka Mizukane took over an American Empire nuclear submarine. Both her and Takeshi Shimamura will launch an SLBM at Japan if either of them is killed. If both of them die, the sub will launch anyway. Their goal is for the refugee state of N to declare independence from Japan, and will only ensure peace if nobody interferes .
- Thoughtcrime : Literal "Thought Police" are in charge of taking in refugees who they suspect might be "anti-N", and take them to Room 101 for reprogramming.
- Transhuman : In the context of this world full of cyborgs, at least. The "post-humans", as the NSA has dubbed them, have through unknown means been given cyberbrains with computing capacity far beyond the human mind or artificial systems. This makes them unbeatable hackers and allows them to process every facet of their surroundings at lightning speed.
- Transhuman Treachery : The process which transforms people into post-humans also seems to radically alter their personality, making them colder , more violent , and single-mindedly devoted to a goal . Gary, for example, murdered his wife not long after changing then set off to start a nuclear war.
- We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future : Ep 7. "PIE IN THE SKY" features an elderly woman who's hoping to take out her life savings to afford to go to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal. She wanted to end her life after her husband passed away, making her feel like she didn't have much left to live for. Thanks to Batou's influence, she has a change of mind and decides to travel to Honolulu instead .
- Episode 22 ends with Chief Aramaki getting inside a car to meet with the Prime Minister, only for the car to explode a moment later .
- Episode 23: Chief Aramaki turned out to be alive thanks to an invisible Tachikoma, but Purin has pulled a Face–Heel Turn that results in Borma, Paz, Ishikawa, Saito, and Batou being killed. Takeshi Shimamura is shown being gunned down, which allows all 3 million citizens of N to unanimously press the launch button embedded on their palms. The submarine launches a nuke while American Empire bombers release a "Smart" gas specifically designed to instantly kill everyone in the greater Tokyo region .
- What's Up, King Dude? : With the exception of Da Chief , Section 9 don't show much deference to the young leader of Japan, both speaking to him in an overly-casual manner and infiltrating his office in thermoptic camouflage, causing the PM to wirily comment that he'd better upgrade his security.
- The Major has Saito shoot Patrick Huge in the head when she tries to dive into his brain and finds herself vastly outmatched. Since he's using an anti-material rifle, Huge's head is reduced to salsa.
- Sanji Yaguchi uses a cybernetic arm to go around punching the heads off people, which literally explode from the force of the blows. He was able to do that even with his organic arm, but only once .
- The Think Pol app that Takashi Shimamura developed works by allowing its users to focus on a single hated target and punish them, if not outright kill them through mob justice by a Direct Denial of Service attack on the target's cyberbrain. The victims show signs of physical assault. Anyone who is watching a particular target can interact with the digital avatars causing the attack, which allows Section 9 to use seemingly supernatural powers and acquired kung fu martial art skills against an attack on Prime Minister Chris Tate Otomo.
- On his custom "N" network, Takashi is able to make it appear as if he has telekinetic powers, flinging objects at foes also connected to the network. Though the projectiles aren't real, people still register pain if they connect, though certainly not to the extent they would if they were actually being hit by steel I beams or giant sheets of metal.
Guess who's back
Batou and Saito are surprised to see Standard in New Tokyo, likely months after they last saw each other in war-torn California when GHOST was still active. Togusa did not meet him, so Batou had to fill him in on who Standard was.
Example of: The Bus Came Back
Saito and Boma,...
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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War Ending, Explained
‘Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War’ or ‘Koukaku Kidoutai: SAC_2045 – Jizoku Kanou Sensou’ is a compilation film developed from the first season of ‘ Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 .’ As the title suggests, the film (and the TV anime) is part of the Stand Alone Complex universe, which also includes TV anime ‘Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex’ and ‘Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG’ and anime film ‘Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society.’
Set about 11 years after ‘Solid State Society,’ ‘Sustainable War’ revolves around Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team’s attempt to contain an unprecedented, mysterious, and global threat known as the posthumans. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War Plot Synopsis
Over a decade after the events of ‘Solid State Society,’ the Major and her team are in the American Empire, working as a mercenary group known as GHOST. They are currently affiliated with the Obsidian security firm. In 2042, the four most powerful political entities in the world — the American Empire, China, the Russian Federation, and the European Union — decided to start a war among themselves in order to breathe life into the global economy.
They called the conflict the “Sustainable War” — it was fought among AIs, and human casualties were kept at a minimum. However, in 2044, the war caused the Global Simultaneous Default, an economic crisis that erased all forms of financial data. The Sustainable War subsequently became the only way for the four instigators to keep their economies well-oiled and running. While the ordinary people’s lives were ruined, the one percenter continued to thrive due to war profits.
At the start of the film, GHOST launches a mission in Palm Springs, California, which has become one of the many battlefields of the Sustainable War. The Major and her team’s initially simple mission of stopping some raiders from attacking a gated community becomes complicated when it is revealed that a one-percenter has supplied the raiders with weapons. After the mission ends unsuccessfully, GHOST is approached by NSA agent John Smith, who forces the group to execute a retrieval mission for the one-percenter Patrick Huge. During the mission, GHOST quickly realizes that Huge is not human and is forced to kill him.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Daisuke Aramaki tasks Togusa with finding his former Public Security Section 9 colleagues in America. Togusa speaks to the head of Obsidian and reports back to Aramaki. Just as Smith is about to neutralize the Major and the others to maintain secrecy about Huge, Aramaki intervenes. Smith then reluctantly reveals that Huge was part of a dangerous group of entities the American government refers to as “posthumans” and takes them to a secret facility that houses one such entity. While GHOST is there, the posthuman tries to kill everyone and is killed by Batou. GHOST subsequently returns to Japan to deal with the three posthumans residing in the country.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War Ending: Who Are the Posthumans?
After linking her cyberbrain to that of Huge, the Major realizes that he is not human. The government of the American Empire is actively investigating the entities, but even they don’t know much about them. The posthumans’ cyberbrains have been completely changed by the transformation, which is always accompanied by a fever. They gain the level of intelligence and cognitive speed boost that is unheard of even among complete cyborgs. They seem to detest certain human groups. It is revealed that the posthumans are the ones that caused the Global Simultaneous Default. Huge was the one-percenter that was supplying weapons to the raiders. Gary Harts, the post-human in the secret NSA facility, tried to launch a nuclear missile at the Russian federation.
In Japan, posthuman and boxer Sanji Yaguchi targets corrupted government officials and apparently comes after the Japanese Prime Minister Chris Otomo Tate to know his plans with the country. Meanwhile, high school student Takashi Shimamura seems to have more control over himself than the others and chooses to venture into his forgotten memories. As for the third one, Suzuka Mizukane, she is yet to make an appearance in the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ universe.
Where Does Togusa Go? What Is Think Pol?
Togusa becomes exposed to Shimamura’s posthuman codes while trying to analyze the files they found at the boy’s home. It creates a connection between the two. The files later turn out to be a program developed to retrieve long-forgotten memories. Togusa and the others realize that Shimamura created Think Pol, a program that he used to take control of his classmates’ cyberbrains and kill the teacher who sexually assaulted Shimamura’s friend Kanami , and she later committed suicide. He named the program after the phrase “Thought Police,” which he found in his favorite book, George Orwell’s ‘1984.’
Tracing the memories that Shimamura retrieved, Togusa learns that the boy got the book from an airborne trooper. His cousin, Yuzu, later encountered three government officials trying to bury a body. The airborne trooper arrived and killed all three men, but Yuzu was killed in the crossfire. Shimamura subsequently joined the airborne trooper’s group. As Togusa witnesses this, his cyberbrain and that of Shimamura’s seem to break the barrier of time. Shimamura communicates with Togusa and asks him to join him as he explores his past. Toward the end of the film, Togusa likely speaks to Batou from within the memories of Shimamura.
Why Doesn’t Sanji Yaguchi Attack Prime Minister Tate?
As mentioned above, Sanji Yaguchi targets corrupt government officials. He also kills Tate’s father-in-law because he was involved in bribing and refugee exploitation as the manager of a company that received a wide range of contracts in the ambitious project of rebuilding Tokyo. However, despite having the chance to do so, Yaguchi doesn’t attack the prime minister. He is later captured by the Major and handed over to the NSA.
There has been much speculation about Tate’s intention since he has taken office. As he was born in America, a significant portion of the Japanese population has been afraid that Tate is an American puppet. Although Smith tries to force Tate to be just that, the latter asserts his commitment to restoring Japan to its former glory. This is likely why Yaguchi spares Tate. It appears that there is a greater ploy at play on behalf of the posthumans against the four major political powers. The posthumans apparently don’t look at entire humanity with disdain, but only certain corrupt and power-hungry groups.
Read More: Do Motoko Kusanagi and Batou Die in Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War?
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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2 follows the Section 9, led by Major Kusanagi, as they try to take down Takashi and his plans for an independent nation called “N”.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Section 9 is still on the lookout for Togusa who had disappeared. But meanwhile, they come to know about a cyber-brain engineer named Philip Kukushin who claims to know the code that led to the emergence of the post-humans.
Section 9 heads to find out more about the matter before John Smith could find him. Purin Esaki, using her deduction, traces down an assistant robot used by Philip to hide his identity but they also come across another post-human Suzuka Mizukane, who’s trying to eliminate Philip.
Purin and Batou had been tapped and Suzuka followed them to find Philip. Suzuka attacks the convoy containing Philip. Purin calls the Tachikomas for assistance, but Suzuka Mizukane manages to escape.
Batou comes to know from Philip that the American government created the AI to control the sustainable war. Purin discovers from the AI called 1A84 that the Americans created the AI to give birth to a system that would profit America resulting in the Global Simultaneous Default.
However, ultimately the NSA tried putting the AI in stasis when the AI escaped and started creating replications to enter other cyber-brains resulting in the post-humans.
Major Kusanagi decides to confront John Smith regarding the NSA’s role in the emergence of post-humans. The PM orders Smith’s arrest for espionage.
Meanwhile, Major Kusanagi keeps Esaki in quarantine as she suspects her to be a post-human as well. As the Major and Batou accompany John Smith to detain him, Esaki manages to escape the quarantine and lands up at PM Tate’s residence where she shoots one of his bodyguards before being taken down in retaliation.
The government decides to conduct a third-party enquiry but Chief Aramaki is confident that Esaki was not an American agent even if she was a post-human. It’s later revealed that the bodyguard shot by Esaki was the real assassin sent by John Smith, proving Esaki’s innocence.
Elsewhere, Togusa finds out that he is trapped in his own memories. He witnesses some memories before being suddenly transported to a devastated Tokyo in the year 2045. He calls Batou from a payphone.
Batou and the others head to Tokyo to find Togusa as reports start coming in that 3 million people have gathered in Tokyo to carry on a raid. In the meantime, an android robot attacks an American nuclear submarine.
On the other side, Togusa gets attacked by a group of people who identify themselves as “N” before being rescued by Batou and his team. Later, they notice that American special forces are being deployed in Tokyo.
They also find out Takashi and Suzuka are planning something big in the city as they have declared themselves to be “N”, a group of people aiming to create a free and equal society under the leadership of Big Brother, Takashi.
Meanwhile, Purin Esaki awakes as a fully prosthetic robot with the help of the Tachikomas. She decides to go to Tokyo to help the others.
An American soldier found by Batou and Togusa tells them that the post-humans promised not to attack America with the nuclear missile if the “N” are left alone, along with Suzuka and Takashi. He also reveals that the post-humans sleep only for 15 minutes in the day when they could be subdued.
Batou and his team decide to head to Suzuka’s base. They meet Major Kusanagi there following Suzuka. Having no way out, Major Kusanagi decides to capture Suzuka before the Americans do to avoid turning Tokyo into a warzone.
Meanwhile, Major Kusanagi chases Suzuka while Batou and Esaki close in on Takashi, along with others. Major Kusanagi attempts to get the switch to the network created by Takashi from Suzuka but the interference by American SEALs results in her death.
Togusa gets his hands on Takashi, who’s been sleeping, but before he could make his next move, Takashi wakes up from his sleep and realises that Suzuka is dead.
In a standoff, Major Kusanagi warns Takashi against launching the nuclear attack.
Takashi takes control of the Tachikoma carrying Togusa and reveals that he has transferred the power to launch the submarine to the 3 million “N” residing in Tokyo. He leaves with the Tachikoma with Togusa trapped inside.
The PM and Aramaki try to decode the next move by the Americans while Section 9 decides to track down Takashi before any of the “N” could use the nuclear button. Takashi releases Togusa and leaves with the Tachikoma while Togusa swears to stop him from achieving his goals.
Esaki hacks into the Pentagon and finds out that the Americans plan to use a smart gas to kill people in Tokyo.
If you have any doubts about the ending, here’s a complete breakdown.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 season 2 ending explained in detail:
The PM contacts Section 9 to inform them that Chief Aramaki’s car has been bombed. He promises to talk to the American President to convince him to give up the plan of bombing Tokyo while Section 9 tries to capture the post-humans.
Takashi appears before Esaki and converts her to his cause. It’s also found out that Chief Aramaki is not dead.
Batou and Major Kusanagi find out about Esaki who confronts them. Togusa, meanwhile, finds his way to the nuclear submarine and takes down the android robot, which had taken control of the submarine.
Multiple members of Section 9 die in the fight with Esaki. Batou tries to convince Esaki while Major Kusanagi heads toward Takashi.
Major Kusanagi shoots Takashi and tries to remove the ghost hack used by him on the “N” while the Americans had started dispersing the smart gas on Tokyo. But upon Takashi’s death, the “N” click the button and the android robot wakes up in the submarine and launches the missile.
As the nuclear missiles are launched into the air, Major Kusanagi is seen falling to the ground next to Takashi.
A while later, Section 9 is seen returning to their normal lives with the PM giving them a raise and a medal. Major Kusanagi realises that something is wrong as she seems to be stuck in a brain maze.
She visits John Smith to find the truth when she realises that she is connected to the network created by Takashi.
She’s able to wake herself up and comes across Esaki who tells her that Takashi has created a world devoid of any conflict using the concept of “Double Think” through which people are continuing their lives, before everything that happened, in a more peaceful world. Purin indicates that it could have begun when Togusa disappeared.
Afterwards, Esaki takes Kusanagi to Takashi who’s still engaged in spreading Double Think across the world through a network of wires.
The critical point
Takashi had converted the Americans to “N” an hour before the gas was dispersed. He had everything planned by playing out both sides according to his plans and has been successful in creating an equal world. Now, majority of the humans live in the Double Think without even realising it.
Takashi tells Kusanagi that he has failed by not making a contingency plan to stop Major from discovering everything. He tells her that she can restore the world by taking the cord out from his neck. Kusanagi asks Purin why she did not return to Section 9 and Purin reveals that it’s because she felt she betrayed Batou.
As Major gets ready to pull the wires out of Takashi, the screen blacks out and moves to the Section 9 headquarters where Kusanagi introduces Purin to the other members. PM Tate thanks Chief Aramaki.
In the end, Major Kusanagi bids farewell to Batou and decides on the code word “1A84” in case they do not recognise each other the next time they meet.
Also Read: Only Murders in the Building season 2: Release date, cast, synopsis, teaser & more
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The Ending Of Ghost In The Shell Explained
Nothing says iconic '90s anime quite like 1995's "Ghost in the Shell." It's one of the best anime movies of all time and a quintessential part of the cyberpunk genre that has had a far-reaching influence past just animation.
In an adaptation of the original manga, "Ghost in the Shell" imagines a future in which humans are enhancing their bodies with technology, but can be hacked and manipulated with altered memories. Among them is Major Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka), a cyborg working for a black ops government organization called Section 9 that's intent on taking down the mysterious master hacker known as the Puppet Master (Iemasa Kayumi).
The action is spectacular and inventive, but the movie is more known for its deep dive into complex philosophies of what it means to be human. The characters talk about their "ghost" like it's their soul or consciousness, while the titular "shell" is their body, which can be modified or completely artificial. In the end, Kusanagi's questioning of herself leads her to take a different approach while confronting the Puppet Master ...
The Puppet Master is an AI made by the government
In "Ghost in the Shell," we first hear of the Puppet Master as having hacked into an interpreter, potentially to use her to assassinate people meeting with the Foreign Minister. He's been meddling in various foreign affairs, utilizing his unparalleled hacking abilities to manipulate people, often by altering their memories. At first, the team at Section 9 assumes the Puppet Master is a human, but in actuality, the Puppet Master originated as a program created by Section 6 under the name Project 2501.
Section 6 created it to interfere with foreign affairs, but he developed his own consciousness and rebelled. They then trap him in a cyborg body, but he escapes and makes a spectacle of himself in order to get closer to Section 9 and, more specifically, Major Motoko Kusanagi. However, Section 6 wants to cover their tracks and keep people from learning about Project 2501, so they send helicopters to shoot and destroy him. Unfortunately for them, they are just a little too late.
Kusanagi finds herself and merges with the Puppet Master
While the Puppet Master and Section 6 are the primary antagonists of "Ghost in the Shell," much of the film is about Major Motoko Kusanagi reckoning with her own humanity and individuality (or lack thereof). Many people in this future world have had technological alterations done to their body, but Kusanagi has a fully artificial cyborg body — save for a few human brain cells tucked somewhere in her robot brain.
She's wracked with uncertainty over who she is, and whether or not she counts as a person, often thinking about being someone else. Her colleagues all want to capture or kill the Puppet Master, but she wants to learn about herself from him. They finally meet in an abandoned natural history museum, where Kusanagi rips herself apart in an attempt at disabling the tank protecting him. It's an intense moment that shows she still has her limits, despite her cyborg body, but also hints that she's come to value her ghost more than her shell.
When Kusanagi "dives" into the Puppet Master, he proposes that the two of them merge into one being. Curiously, Kusanagi says she wants a guarantee she will still be herself, suggesting she's found some meaning in who she is. However, the Puppet Master argues that all things change and trying to stay the same limits her. He feels incomplete because he can't reproduce, but he and Kusanagi merging is akin to them reproducing because it results in a new being.
Section 6 breaks the party up, guns ablazing, but Kusanagi makes her choice before it's too late. Batou puts her ghost in a new shell when he attaches her head to a new cyborg body. When she speaks to him, she reveals that she did merge with the Puppet Master and is now neither Kusanagi nor Project 2501, but something new.
The merge is evolution past humanity
"Ghost in the Shell" is packed to the gills with complex themes and philosophies, from humanity's relationship with technology to the question of "what is life, anyway?" to the necessity of change for growth. Kusanagi's merge with the Puppet Master is akin to evolution, emphasized by the imagery of the Tree of Life on the museum's wall being destroyed by bullets.
In an interview with The AV Club , Director Mamoru Oshii said, "[B]efore, people tended to think that ideology or religion were the things that actually changed people, but it's been proven that that's not the case. I think nowadays, technology has been proven to be the thing that's actually changing people." Oshii certainly was all in on the philosophy, as he added, "The producers often say, "Instead of using all these philosophical phrases, why don't you change this into an action scene?" But I don't do that."
Kusanagi's words to Batou in the final scene emphasize this theme of progress. Her journey through the movie is full of imagery of reflections, as she contemplates her own identity and thinks about being someone else. She dives into the ocean for a little hope, and her dive into the Puppet Master is for a similar reason. In the last scene, we view Kusanagi's reflection in a mirror through her own eyes, before she references the words she thought on the boat and completes the saying: It's a Bible verse about being limited in understanding and seeing only a reflection of the truth, but having the knowledge that a day will come when that understanding is expanded. Kusanagi, who felt so confined before as someone who's not quite human and not quite computer, finds freedom in her new form. Now, she can traverse the sea of information.
Ghost in the Shell inspired Hollywood
Despite a lackluster box office record , "Ghost in the Shell" has been hugely influential on Hollywood. Most obviously, the Wachowskis were inspired by it when making "The Matrix" — the iconic green digital rain comes from the "Ghost in the Shell" opening credits, and the plug at the back of the neck calls back to Kusanagi's similar attachment. Beyond them, filmmakers James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are known to be fans, according to The Guardian .
When talking about "The Matrix" and "Ghost in the Shell" with IGN , director Mamoru Oshii said, "I don't really think it's about who stole what from whom, but there was a time when Japanese animation borrowed a lot from American filmmaking, so it's a mutual relationship ... There was a time in Japan when every anime movie borrowed from '2001: A Space Odyssey' or 'Blade Runner' or 'The Terminator.'"
Since 1995's "Ghost in the Shell," the franchise has expanded to include a sequel and several series in the same setting, though with a new continuity. It even got its own live-action remake in 2017, with Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi (aka Mira Killian), which featured callbacks to the original with its many Easter eggs . Despite its stunning visuals, critics and fans believe the 2017 movie doesn't capture the esoteric, yet enrapturing soul of the original.
Ultimately, "Ghost in the Shell" leaves a lot up for interpretation, so do with it what you will.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045's Mind-Bending Ending, Explained
Netflix's Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 has a mind-bending ending that blows the lid wide open regarding the Sustainable War and its post-human threat.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 , now streaming on Netflix.
Picking up from the Stand Alone Complex continuity, Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 weaves a mysterious storyline. Here, there's been a collapse in the global economic system, which is some 15 years later known as the Synchronized Global Default, that sees paper and digital currency being rendered null. This has created the Sustainable War between countries, and the shocking emergence of the near invincible post-humans has reunited Sector 9 in Japan.
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As the Major's crew begins investigating, they're placed in a tricky spot as the country's Prime Minister, Tate, is an American puppet, although he's fighting back against the regime that installed him. Leaving the politics to Tate, Sector 9 discover a post-human named Takashi, who is the focal point of final few episodes and may hold the key to winning this new world war. However, the cost seems to be more than they bargained for.
TAKASHI'S TRUE PURPOSE
Togusa, Major's right-hand man, has become infected studying data they took from Takashi's home and school. The 14 year-old student created the deadly social justice warrior app, Think Pol, which allows society to hunt down corrupt politicians and public figures. It seems, though, the kid had been infected with a virus in the wake of its launch that turned him into post-human. This appears to be due to unique viruses and malware that affect people's cyberbrains and evolve them into warriors more advanced than Major and Togusa.
Togusa, driven by clues in his infection, takes his comrade, Batou, to visit an old countryside home Takashi spent time in. There, Togusa starts to learn more about Takashi's disappearance. He discovers the ghost haunting Takashi is actually his young cousin, Yuzu, who was tragically killed when they witnessed a hit by corrupt government officials.
Takashi was up in the mountain reading George Orwell's 1984 , as he wanted to rebel against society, having been given the book by the Airborne Fighter hiding out in the hills. The lead fighter arrived and tried to save the kids but stray fire caught Yuzu while Takashi hid, and as he grew older, he began creating the Think Pol app, until this apparent post-human infection caused him to go missing. Takashi begins to empathize with the boy, but Batou has no clue what's going on, as he can't see his colleague re-living Yuzu's death.
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TOGUSA'S NEW JOURNEY
At the end of Takashi's memories, he begs the Airborne Fighters to take him and Yuzu's body. The rest of the battalion are in the back of the truck, and the leader sees potential in him. This appears to be the training the kid undertook secretly before returning to school, and shockingly as the past and present merge, the older schoolboy version beckons Togusa to join him in the truck. Togusa accepts, and when Batou turns around, his friend is missing. Tachikoma and the other rollers (mobile tanks) somehow see Togusa departing with Takashi's legion but Batou can't, and the season ends with him screaming his friend's name.
This is a very intriguing finale because we don't know why Tachikoma and the rollers can see Togusa's exit, but Batou isn't able to. It could mean Takashi has chosen the A.I. he believes is worth fighting on the post-human side of the war, and apparently, he sees Togusa and the rollers as pure souls. It's evident from when Togusa tried to save Yuzu in the memory bank from being killed. It also suggests Takashi, who appears to be the Chosen One by whoever created post-humans, is taking Togusa to the main hub to meet others like him and possibly, the creator of the virus himself.
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There's still a lot to learn about post-humans and the shady overlord, as it seems that person created this species of technologically evolved humans as a response to the Sustainable War. Batou and Major suspected as much, but they're between a rock and a hard place, as America is using Japan to have them capture these post-human prisoners for their own research. Hopefully they can connect with Togusa soon for answers, because from this ending and Takashi's words, Sector 9 has been fighting on the wrong side of this war and is helping create an oppressive new world order.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is directed by Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki. Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.
KEEP READING: Ghost In The Shell: Full Netflix Trailer Shows Off Series' New Visual Style
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Koukaku Kidoutai: SAC_2045 Season 2
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'Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Season 2' Receives Compilation Movie in Fall 2023
The official website of the Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 anime series announced a second compilation movie titled Koukaku Kidoutai: SAC_2045 - Saigo no Ningen on Thu... read more
Aug 24, 2023 10:59 AM by Hyperion_PS | Discuss (9 comments)
PV Collection for Mar 21 - 27
Here is a collection of promotional videos (PV), television ads (CM), and trailers for the last week. This thread excludes videos that have already been featured in ... read more
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- A Comprehensive Guide to the <i>Ghost in the Shell</i> Controversy
A Comprehensive Guide to the Ghost in the Shell Controversy
T he first live-action, English-language adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series Ghost in the Shell hits theaters this week. But even before the previews roll, feelings are mixed. Some fans’ anxiety stems from Hollywood’s splotchy track record with manga adaptations (see: Speed Racer , Dragonball Evolution ). But more notably, the movie has ignited the discussion about Hollywood’s continued whitewashing of Asian roles. In this case, fans have protested Scarlett Johansson’s casting as the character known in Masamune Shirow’s original manga series as Motoko Kusanagi.
Here’s a primer on the the franchise, the controversy surrounding its release and how it fits into larger conversations about cultural representation in Hollywood.
What is Ghost in the Shell and why are they remaking it?
Ghost in the Shell originated as a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow beginning in 1989. It takes place in a fictional city in mid-21st century Japan and tells the story of a group of special operatives, Public Security Section 9, who fight terrorism, corruption and cybercrime. In this futuristic world, some people have cyberbrains, others have prosthetic bodies, and still others—like Motoko Kusanagi—have both. Having a cyberbrain has advantages (like connecting to various networks) and disadvantages (like the ability to be hacked). The “ghost” in the title refers to human consciousness, and the “shell” is the cybernetic body.
As for a modern retelling, the themes of the story—questions about what defines humanity as artificial intelligence grows increasingly prominent—continue to fascinate moviegoers (see: Ex Machina , Westworld , Black Mirror , Blade Runner 2049 ). The original movie adaptation, a Japanese animated film released in 1995, has a big following, including directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski, who the New York Times reports brought a copy along when they pitched The Matrix . And while the manga has spawned a second animated film, TV series and a handful of video games, it’s never been rendered as a live-action film.
When did the controversy begin?
Soon after Johansson’s casting was confirmed in January 2015, fans launched a petition for the role to be recast: “The original film is set in Japan, and the major cast members are Japanese. So why would the American remake star a white actress?” In April 2016, the first photo of Johansson in the movie (in which she is called simply “Major”) reignited anger about her casting.
The day after the photo was released, Screencrush published a report that Paramount and Dreamworks had tested out post-production visual effects that would have made Johansson appear more Asian in the film. Critics, led by celebrities like Constance Wu , pointed out not only did not correct, but arguably exacerbated, the central problem. Paramount responded to the report, saying that “A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.”
How does the uproar fit into the broader conversation about whitewashing in Hollywood?
Though the issue has had increasing visibility in recent years thanks in part to outspoken celebrities and viral Twitter campaigns, the whitewashing of Asian roles has a very long history. In the 1930s, the Swedish-American actor Warner Oland played a Chinese detective named Charlie Chan in 16 films. In 1944, the shape of Katharine Hepburn’s eyes was altered with makeup when she played a Chinese character named Jade in Dragon Seed . In the 1950s, John Wayne played Genghis Khan and Marlon Brando played a Japanese interpreter. These are just a handful of entries on a long list.
The practice has continued, which brings us to more recent examples: Emma Stone as a half-Asian character in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha in 2015. Tilda Swinton’s role last year in Doctor Strange as the Ancient One, a character generally depicted in the comics as an Asian man. In some instances, it is not a case of an Asian role going to a white actor, but a bankable white movie star headlining a story that originates or takes place in Asia, like Matt Damon’s The Great Wall or Finn Jones in Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix. Though the representation of characters of Asian descent onscreen is minimized in different ways, each instance contributes, unwittingly or not, to a landscape in which the proportion of Asian characters in top-grossing films hovers at around 5%.
Has Ghost in the Shell made headlines since the initial backlash?
In May 2016, the website Nerds of Color launched a campaign called #WhiteWashedOut on social media. Many weighed in on the stereotypes perpetuated by Hollywood’s limited portrayals of characters of Asian descent and the importance of seeing people who look like yourself onscreen. This month, critics of the movie commandeered a meme generator released as part of its marketing campaign to make memes with statements like “I am part of the whitewashing pantheon” over photos of white actors who have played non-white characters.
How have people involved with the movie responded?
Last June, Ghost in the Shell producer Steven Paul defended the movie in an interview with Buzzfeed . “I think everybody is going to end up being really happy with it,” he said. “There [are] all sorts of people and nationalities in the world in Ghost in the Shell,” he said of the movie’s otherwise diverse cast. “I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. Ghost in the Shell was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world.”
Director Rupert Sanders recently told CNET that he stands by his casting of Johansson, who he calls “the best actress of my generation and her generation, and the person I felt most embodied the physicality and the ability to inhabit that role.” The director of the first Ghost in the Shell movie, Mamoru Oshii, agreed but for different reasons, telling IGN : “The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her.”
Johansson has also responded to questions about the controversy in recent interviews. In February, she told Marie Claire , “I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.” This week, she appeared on Good Morning America and explained, “I think this character is living a very unique experience in that she has a human brain in an entirely machinate body. I would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously.”
How has Johansson’s casting been received in Japan?
The movie’s casting seems to have been less controversial there than it has in the U.S. Last April, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed members of the Japanese movie industry and Japanese fans of the original manga and animated adaptation. Many applauded Johansson as the right choice for the role based on her suitability for the movie’s cyberpunk vibe. Others expressed resignation that a white movie star seems to be a prerequisite for getting a Japanese property successfully distributed to an international audience. Some were disappointed, but not as much as with past instances of substituting one ethnic identity for another, as with the casting of Zhang Ziyi, a Chinese actress, as a Japanese character in the 2005 drama Memoirs of a Geisha .
What does all of this ultimately mean for both the movie and the future of whitewashing in Hollywood?
The controversy over Ghost in the Shell has dominated the conversation around the film for two years now and may figure into its critical reception. Negative reviews (as of two days before release, they are just on the positive side of mixed), have more potential to damage the film’s box office haul than protests. The whitewashing conversation hasn’t penetrated the mainstream enough to keep otherwise interested moviegoers at home, and in part because the studio can count on a strong international audience even if they do stay at home. (The last time Johansson fronted a major non-superhero action movie, in 2014’s Lucy , the film took in $126 million in the U.S. and $336 million abroad.)
As for its potential impact on the erasure of Asian roles in major Hollywood films, it’s unlikely that anything will change overnight. But the pressure to course-correct will continue—in fact, it already has. Netflix’s forthcoming manga adaptation Death Note has come under fire for casting a white actor, Nat Wolff, instead of sticking to the original story’s Japanese lead character. An online petition has more than 13,000 signatures. We haven’t seen the last of whitewashing in the movies, but—if nothing else—at least there’s a conversation.
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- View history
GHOST. From right to left: Motoko Kusanagi, Standard, Ishikawa, Batou, and Saito
GHOST is a mercenary unit in Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 . It was formed by Motoko Kusanagi following the dissolution of Public Security Section 9 . Its members included Batou , Ishikawa , Saito , and two Tachikomas , as well as American recruit Standard .
GHOST served as soldiers-for-hire in the Sustainable War engineered by the G4 nations (the Russian Federation , China , the European Union , and the American Empire ) to keep their economies afloat. In 2045, GHOST was hired by the wealthy elites of a city in war-torn California to guard it against raider attacks. They capture a group of raiders, bankrupted college football players supplied with high-end weaponry by "the Good One-percenter", but fail to prevent a missile from impacting a mansion within the city and lose their contract. GHOST is then hired by John Smith of the National Security Agency to capture Patrick Huge , a robotics entrepreneur who had been transformed into a post-human . Smith intended to kill GHOST after they had completed their task, but was stopped at the last minute by an order from the American president; the president had himself been contacted by the Japanese prime minister Chris Otomo Tate , who needed GHOST's members alive to reestablish Section 9 under Daisuke Aramaki .
With Section 9 reborn to investigate the post-human phenomenon, GHOST was disbanded.
- 1 Motoko Kusanagi
- 2 Laughing Man
- 3 Motoko Kusanagi/SAC
- DVD & Streaming
Ghost in the Shell
- Action/Adventure , Sci-Fi/Fantasy
- March 31, 2017
- Scarlett Johansson as Major; Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet; Pilou Asbæk as Batou; Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki; Michael Pitt as Kuze; Chin Han as Han
Home Release Date
- July 25, 2017
- Rupert Sanders
- Paramount Pictures
Major is the first of her kind: a true blending of a human brain with a completely mechanical body. Not that she really knows anything other than that existence. She simply woke up and there she was, a new construct: a replaceable-parts robotic super soldier with no physical feelings or memories. A unit assigned to help the government’s counterterrorism agency, Section 9.
They told her that she was once a young woman nearly killed by terrorists. Fortunately, the Hanka Corporation was in the midst of cyborg trials and they were able to insert her undamaged brain into its new robotic home. With her augmented human partner, Batou, and others on their Section 9 team, she’s been busting the world’s worst criminals ever since.
Lately, though, there’s been a change. Major’s home city and Hanka itself has been under attack from a cyber-terrorist with incredible skill. And if that wasn’t enough, her own cyborg self has begun experiencing problems.
Ever since she’s been working on finding this hacker they call Kuze, she’s been experiencing flashes of what she can only categorize as “memory glitches.” She’s seeing objects and activities that aren’t really there, but that she definitely recognizes. They appear to be pieces of a puzzle that her brain wants to try to assemble. They make her want to ask more probing questions … about herself.
It’s incredibly troubling.
Worst still is the fact that no one seems to be willing to give her any help or answers about what might be happening. In fact, the only words of advice she’s received have come from the very man who she’s been pursuing. “Collaborate with Hanka robotics and be destroyed!” he tells her through several cryptic sources.
Could there be some kind of connection between her and this elusive character? Should she be trying to communicate with Kuze rather than hunting him down? Is it possible that the truth of her past might be more complicated and, perhaps, diabolical than she was told?
She has to find a source and rip out some answers, if necessary.
Fortunately, she’s been built to do just that.
The movie repeats several times that, “We cling to memories as if they define us, but they really don’t. What we do defines us.” And while that ethos is a bit squishy, it definitely helps Major. She has some big questions about the value of her humanity. And it’s when applying that human side of herself that she makes the best choices. For instance, she purposely puts herself in the way of an explosion to shield her partner. And she comforts a woman who she thinks might be the mother of the girl she used to be.
In turn, her partner Batou puts himself in the line of fire to help Major. An employee of the Hanka Corp. gives up her life to help an endangered love one.
Human brains in robotic bodies are the “ghosts” in the shell that the movie’s title references. Kuze talks of the possibility of cyborgs connecting their minds (ghosts) to a collective network and thereby evolving beyond humans. An African diplomat comments about the dangers of bionic tech “messing with the human soul.”
We see Major’s body built from scratch, including robotic frame, feminine musculature and outer “skin.” That robotic shell may be some kind of synthetic composite that’s perfect for the cyborg class, but in reality it appears to be a very, very skintight covering over a shapely actress: There are some camera angles that leave very little to the imagination.
In a Yakusa nightclub, we see a number of women dressed in skimpy outfits and holographic dancers who reveal quite a bit of virtual skin. Major feels no physical sensation because of her robotic body, though she longs to feel once again. She hires a street walker at one point and caresses the woman’s face and mouth, asking her to tell her what that touch feels like. A very feminine-looking individual uses a men’s room urinal.
All the robotic and enhanced human abilities we see in this pic open the door to superhero levels of destruction. And while we’re never splashed with truly gory visuals, the explosions, high-caliber projectiles and large vehicles involved can fill scenes with quite a bit of intense, duck-worthy action.
A heavily armored “spider tank” rips an old concrete-and-steel factory to shreds. It cripples a cyborg that’s later shot in the forehead. A large garbage truck smashes into a car, sending it tumbling and crashing into a wall. Then several of its trapped passengers are shot, point blank.
A gunfight breaks out in a thug-filled nightclub, killing and wounding scores of patrons. An explosion sends a wounded man writhing to the floor. When we see him next there are scars around his forehead and his eyes have been replaced with small metal lenses. A woman has her enhanced eye plate ripped out of her face. There are a number of small gun battles in the city streets. People are shot and killed in a restaurant. A man has wires jammed into small receptacles on the back of his neck: We watch as his brain is wiped and his eyes turn white.
We see someone’s exposed brain injected with a fluid. Someone is chained up and repeatedly tortured with an electric cattle prod. A man is lifted by his head by a large machine. A woman is suspended by the small receptacles on the back of her neck. A prisoner purposely hangs himself in his cell, the camera cutting away just before he snaps his own neck.
As for Major, we see her fight savagely and she’s wounded a number of times. She has her forearm slashed open. We see her after a huge explosion has blown off parts of several automated limbs and left her stomach and chest ripped open. (A machine slowly puts her tech innards back together and coats her in synthetic skin.) We also see her exert so much effort that her internal mechanics literally tear out through her skin at one point. In this effort her arm is torn off.
Crude or Profane Language
One use of the s-word and “a–.” A an exclamation of “my god!” Someone flips a middle finger.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Batou drinks beer at a club and, later, while relaxing on a boat. Major takes a liquid drug that she’s been given to facilitate her brain’s connection to its cybernetic shell. A Section 9 lab tech smokes.
Ghost in a Shell started out as a very popular Japanese manga which was turned into a much-revered animated film in 1995. And that classic has since been called a cinematic inspiration by many an American director—including the Wachowski siblings of Matrix movies fame who adapted several of the movie’s concepts. So translating that kind of anime sci-fi heft into something live-action surely wasn’t taken lightly. And it shows.
Director Rupert Sanders’ painstakingly rendered take on the tale is nothing if not aesthetically appealing. His vision of a futuristic Japan filled with flashing lights, dazzling colors and enormous holograms leaning out from every rooftop and building front is wow-worthy stuff. And the robotic CGI on screen is almost equally impressive.
Visual flash, however, isn’t all you need for a good movie. And it’s the character-driven storyline of things here that causes this particular cyborg cinematic to end up feeling a bit too mechanical at times. There are some light good-versus-evil, humanity-versus-tech statements, and even a nod or two to family, but all-in-all the film doesn’t feel quite … human enough. At least to make one actually care about any of it.
Add in the obligatory destroy-the-world action movie pummeling and a whoooooole lot of movie shots of star Scarlett Johansson running around in, well, next to nothing, and you’ve got a film that could well overload a few parenting circuits.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.
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