Ghost in the Shell: Arise marks Production IG’s attempt to reboot the classic franchise. With multiple successful superhero and anime reboots out in the wild, it’s only a matter of time before others (certainly Dragonball) get remade. Movie and television producers reboot well loved shows to appeal to modern audiences. The story, the characters, and the special effects all get updated to how the show would have looked if it was made for the first time today. With Ghost in the Shell, a show already set in the future and one that has aged well visually, this standard formula wasn’t really necessary.
When I first saw Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence I left the screening unimpressed. At the time, it felt like a confusing trip through a philosophical morass. I disliked the Major’s lack of screen time as I loved her central role in the associated TV series. Still, when I heard that Bandai planned to stop releasing material, I knew I should pick up the Ghost in the Shell movies I did not have, including Innocence. Shortly thereafter I had a long trip to take and decided to give Innocence another look.
The thing is like a wolf.
The thing is a wolf.
Thus, it is a thing to be banished.
I’ve been an anime fan for a long time. At 22, the portion of my life in which I’ve been a fan is already half of that; and the period of time in which I’d been exposed to anime is closer to three-quarters that timespan. As such, good titles often fall by the wayside.Such was the case with Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. Produced in 1998, it was relatively new when I was first getting regular access to anime. Needless to say, at 11, dubs of Sailor Moon and Pokemon were infinitely more interesting. And so, without ever making it onto so much as a To-watch list, Jin-Roh left my consciousness for the next nine years. And like all good things, it was not only worth the wait, but indeed, a wait I needed. I don’t think I could have appreciated the movie to the extent that I did even five years ago, let alone ten.
Though he had little to do besides write the screenplay, Mamoru Oshii‘s touch is evident throughout Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. The movie continually threatens to pull the rug out from under your feet, all while providing a structure as organized as latticework. Directed by Oshii’s right-hand man and key animator, Hiroyuki Okiura (after he apparently kicked up a fuss about Oishii‘s handling of some scenes during Ghost in the Shell!) the film begins with a death: a “little red riding hood” delivering bombs to a resistance faction. What follows is a multifaceted account of a country, a man, and an organization. Jin-Roh is a dark film, but one continually punctuated by the light from molotov cocktails. Something’s better than nothing, I suppose.
In the four weeks since this blog was last updated, I’ve seen at least 80 episodes of anime! Not bad, eh? But to write anything of decent length, more than ever, I need to feel like what I’m writing about is really worth your time.
That isn’t to say everything airing right now is poor, but how much of it is good enough to be remembered in years to come, particularly outside of their respective genres?
For example, I love every minute of Cross Game, while the recently finished Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen was fun and exciting, but what else is there that’s left to say about them? The former is sports anime, the latter is super-robot/mecha; there is literally nothing left to add that hasn’t already been written a million times over. If you’ve seen Touch, you’ve basically seen Cross Game.
Anime sticks so rigidly to its genre tropes that after a few years of watching, it feels ever so slightly repetitive; not that these series aren’t fun to watch, because they are, but to think about? To write about? Not so much. Not after 3 years of blogging.