Ghost in the Shell is much more than your latest Hollywood blockbuster. The live action film’s story stems from a manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. First published in 1989, Ghost in the Shell: Arise tells the story of how two unlikely cyborgs with prosthetic bodies parts met during the civil war.
Six years after Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell manga publication, an animated adaptation was released. The 1995 movie, issued under the same name, breaks away from the original manga plot and tells the story of the investigation of the Puppet Master, which is also a main focus of the new live action version. An animated sequel to the first animated film was later released in 2004 under the name Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.
Plus, you can’t forget the 2002 television series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It tells yet another alternative version of the story, differing from both the manga and first film. And… there is more… in 2013 there was even an Ghost in the Shell: Arise original video animation (OVA) series, consisting of four parts through mid-2014. According to wiki, “the series was recompiled in early 2015 as a television series titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture, airing with an additional two episodes (one part).”
Lastly, the third featured animated film was released in 2015, titled Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie. All this before the American live-action remake, which was released on March 31, 2017. 😅 Bottom line: people simply love this story, with these characters, and can’t seem to get enough!
The new live action movie adds yet another aspect to the beloved story. Critics main point of criticism is that the new adaptation focuses more on visual graphics and aesthetics than anything else. Don’t expect a one-for-one remake of the anime. That would be boring, although you will be surprised to find that, some scenes are recreated shot for shot.
This new format brings with it lots of new great visuals, but really adds little to the storyline itself. I guess you have to keep in mind that Ghost in the Shell has become short of a cult classic, and any live action movie will be hard to live up to expectations.
In sum, if you like the Ghost in the Shell live action movie you can really take a deep dive here. I recommend first watching the 1995 anime and then checking out the Scarlett Jo version!