Ghost in the Shell

Illustration of a Scene in Ghost in The Shell by Ivette Schmidt

This article displays my personal feelings regarding the animated movie Ghost in the Shell (1995).

Ghost in the Shell aired before I was born, but many people still talk about it, that’s why I decided to watch it. Media which is not forgotten in this immense amount of information surrounding us must possess some value. 

For me personally the most unexpected aspect of this movie was the pacing of the animation. It was so relaxing! It felt like it was establishing its atmosphere very intentionally. It felt quite lo-fi, while displaying a sci-fi world. Very surprising looking at this from the future where everything is much more fast paced – stressfully fast paced. In a lot of modern movies I saw in the cinema (before it was forbidden) scenes were cut together in a fast and confusing manner. This is probably what makes Ghost in the Shell feel so relaxing for me, even though it was packed with action scenes. Beautiful action scenes. Clear action scenes. No overly dramatic CGI effects flickering all over the screen disturbing the action. Don’t get me wrong, I love CGI effects, I love the possibilities, I love creating them, but I can’t stand the screen-filling rapidly flickering eye-dazzling super-bright chaotically overwhelming effects often used in action films. It’s just inelegant and ugly. Let the viewer some time to breath, absorb and feel.

Overall I was astonished by the animation quality. Such a beautiful movie. I especially enjoyed the scenes that slowed down the pacing – which my boyfriend (who watched the movie with me) experienced as “advertising breaks” (he absolutely hated them as they continuously interrupted the main story progression) – showing off the environment. Just take a break and listen to lo-fi. Feel the world. Experience it, like you’re visiting it. It’s the view of an observing eye. You rarely see something like this for such a big portion of screen time in modern popular movies – it’s more often encountered in books. A passive way of observing. You can also encounter this in slow-paced (open-world) games – you can explore – you can be exposed to the exploration. Movies seldom feel like they want the viewer to explore the city that the action takes place. They rather focus on the action – and obscure even that with way too many effects restricting the exploration of the action. 

The future displayed in the movie felt more like an utopia to me than the dystopian sci-fi world it was designed to be. Our current state of the world is so bad, brain hackers feel like a very small threat. The unstoppable global warming, the rising of nationalist ideologies, the pandemic – all of this is so much scarier that robots gaining consciousness and people replacing memories. It’s bad yes, but damn, look at our world right now – fuuuuck. Also the questions asked seem already to be answered by now: What does it mean to be a living being? Biology has a very nice set of answers to that, but most basically it can be summarized with: A living being is capable of reproduction, growth and development, maintenance, and some degree of response to stimuli. Only if all of these are met a group of cells and its population can be seen as living beings. Obviously ethic discussions will forever take place as majorities that feel threatened will also in the future try to deny repressed minorities their rights in hope of keeping their status quo. I wish we could just all find consensus in the thought that everyone who wants to live should be able to live the way they want to as long as they harm no other life.

Feel free to contact me via e-mail or any social media platform of your choice if this text has provoked thoughts which you want to share.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Here’s the sped-up drawing process of the featured image:

Ghost in the Shell, Ivette Schmidt, February 2021

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