"whilst it does deviate somewhat from the source, the spirit of the Manga classic remains intact"
Anime adaptations to live action haven’t had the best track record, however they do have a lot of charm being that when we have had adaptations for example The Gyver in 91 and 94 and Fist of the North Star in 1995, they were largely practical effects, fast forward to 2017 and we are graced with an adaptation of the beloved classic Ghost in the Shell, created by Masamune Shirow, with Scarlett Johansson as the Major and Pilou Asbæk as Batou.
It’s had a long and storied production process, with Steven Spielberg acquiring the rights back in 2008, to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga.
We’ll get the elephant in the room out of the way; Johansson’s casting was met with controversy owing to the fact that she is not of Japanese descent dispite receiving the backing of Sam Yoshiba from the publisher Kodansha and after watching the film, Yoshiba’s backing has not been for nothing, as she has handled the Major faithfully whilst also updating her for the 21st Century, and all I will say without spoiling anything, I thought the revelation was clever.
So the story, Ghost in the Shell is set in the near future, where the line between human and synthetic humans is non existent, some have chosen to stay “pure” whilst others have oped for cybernetic enhancements, so the plot is rather faithful to its source material, whilst also giving it added depth and creativity under the direction of Rupert Sanders.
The reimagined futuristic world is stunning, giving depth to the film, making certain that the spirit of Ghost in the Shell is ever present. Johansson’s Major, Asbæk’s Batou and Takeshi Kitano’s Aramaki look as though they have been plucked straight from the classic Anime, whilst adding plausibility as to the enhancements made to the characters.
I don’t want to spoil anything, all I will say is that Ghost in the Shell is the start of a new breed in Anime adaptations, and Johansson’s interplay with Michael Pitt’s Kuze added heart to proceedings, and whilst it does deviate somewhat from the source, the spirit, as I said remains intact.