Ghost in the Shell
(Also known as GITS)
Ghost in the Shell was written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, who is also known for works such as Appleseed. The manga first debuted in 1990 and had a sequeue called to as "Man-Machine Interferace" (originally being serailized by Young Magazine and then by, ironically, Kondansha). The story(ies) takes placed in a futuristic Japan and centers around a counter-terriosit organization known as Public Secruity Section 9 (often referred to as Section 9), led by Major Motoko Kusanagi.
For those who are unfamiliar with the manga and Shirow's style, the manga, while has a great story, the artwork, situations, and comedy are completely adult oriented. If you are not 18 years old, legally, you shouldn't be reading this manga. Since this manga is adult oriented, I will not go into further details.
The anime adaption of Ghost in the Shell, began in 1995 with the release of the very first film titled "Ghost in the Shell" which was produced by Production I.G, LONG before the Laughing Man era. While the movie was very intriguing and got to see a deeper side to Motoko Kusanagi, this movie left fans and new people to this series at a half mark due to the very very very confusing ending. Most people waited in anticipation for a sequel but would have to wait until 2004 when Innocence was released. Innocence really follows the years of Batou, who is known as Kusanagi's closest and most trusted friend. What was really iconic about the sequel though, not only was Ghost in the Shell appeared to be having a revival, the sequel had a budget of $2 Billion Yen ($20 Million USD), and while still produced by Production I.G., Toshio Suzuki, the CEO of Studio Ghibli, co-produced Ghost in the Shell: Innocence.
This gave life to the Ghost in the Shell franchise as Production I.G. released the animated television series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The animated series revolves around the members of Public Security Section 9, investigating a case on the corporate terrorist and elite hacker known as "The Laughing Man".
After Stand Alone Complex, fans were given a second season to GITS known as Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG and the Tachikomatic Days, a series of comedic shorts. To follow in or around the same timeline was an OVA simply titled after the first season which is basically a retelling of first season, and a film sequel to the second season known as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society.This franchise also spawned two games - one for the Playstation, and one for Playstation 2.
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Before I was introduced to Sailor Moon, I was introduced into a world that I am still very loyal to today to - Ghost in the Shell! As this was my first anime, I originally came across the movie one time when I stayed with my sister and thought it was a Disney movie. Boy, was I ever so wrong?! But honestly, that started my love for the Japanese animation style and how unique it was towards American cartoons. I will probably always love this series for being the fact that it was my first anime. I remembered I bugged my sister so much about watching GITS constantly, that she pretty much gave me the VHS (which I had to hide from my mother XD)
Ghost in the Shell to me, is one of those techy/crime stories that deals a lot more with problem solving, morals, and psychology in some strange sorts. It also gave my a sense of mystery in the story that always led up to something bigger in sense of thinking. In a way, Ghost in the Shell, is the "technology" CSI before CSI was around. The manga, the movies, the series, they all really run on their own storyline as they really don't relate to each other with the exception that they stay timeline era...futuristic Japan.
I will instantly say that I fell inlove the character, Major Motoko Kusanagi and in fact has influenced one of the Otaku senshi when I first reworked her ^o^. And then there were the Puchikomas and Tachikomas which are just AWESOME!! If you have not watch any of the Tachikomatic Days, I invite you to watch that and just enjoy a laugh as the characters are in a way children with enlighten logic.
I have had people ask me in the past, what they should watch first since I have been watching GITS for such a long time. Oddly enough, I highly recommend people to watch GITS: Stand Alone Complex and 2nd GIG. Why? Because the movies will confuse you. While the movies are really awesome and completely amazing for that time period with the graphics, if you do not have any idea about Ghost in the Shell or a slight understanding to it, the movies may turn you off from a really great series. Also, the manga is not for everyone - people are amaze that I own and like it because of my taste when it comes to manga. As I often tell people though, I enjoy the stories but the artwork and adult tone is definitely not for everyone. So unless I really really know your tastes, 9 times out of 10 I will recommend the anime series before the movies and definitely before the manga.
So how about it? Any GITS fans here?