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Wu’s about to pull some crazy DBZ stuff.

I saw Get Out. It was a good time, everyone should go see that if you haven’t already! If you don’t know anything about the movie, that’s probably the best way to see it. Know what movie I haven’t seen? Ghost in the Shell. My disgust with the live action film started brewing long before the first trailer, but until we started seeing footage, I still maintained a sliver of hope. It’s not even the blatant white washing that disgusts me the most (although it’s apparently pretty bad based on the reviews and plot synposes), it’s the complete destruction of Motoko Kusanagi’s character. First, they strip away her name (well, sort of, but the way they call back to her name in the movie is part of the problem), and then they strip away her agency. Then they dumb down the world, making it less of a plausible near future and more of a hologram laden cartoon caricature of a potential future, where people buy creepy, alien looking geisha robots to serve them tea and have giant, malformed implants put into their foreheads. A lot of the reviews praised the visuals, but for a movie that’s trying to be a serious scifi thrillers, the world looks more Fifth Element than Blade Runner.

I watched a nine minute clip of the beginning of the film on youtube, and what we’re shown is an all too cliche scenario; an amnesiac, vulnerable looking woman being told what to do be handlers who are clearly lying to her. In contrast, Motoko in the movies and series is a hyper competent professional who always has a heightened grasp on the situations she’s facing. The tension and drama in the animated incarnations comes from the difficult moral and ethical challenges she faces going up against (usually) competent opponents with complex schemes. I started rewatching Stand Alone Complex to remind myself why I love the series so much, and I don’t fine that love misplaced. The show has aged extremely well, and the the movie is one of my all time favorite animated films.

So maybe I’ll  hate watch the live action travesty some time if it comes to netflix or some other streaming service I already pay for, but otherwise, I’ll just stick to the excellent animated universes. On the other hand, one of the best possible outcomes has come out of the resurgence of interest in the property thanks to the new film. Production IG announced a new animated GitS project, helmed by the director of Stand Alone Complex! I’m reminded of Genndy Taratovsky’s excellent Clone Wars cartoon coming out of the prequels train wreck. Sometimes good things come from horrific disasters!

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  • endplanets

    I will pretend that he is literally overflowing with the Power of Tao. Even though that is not how that works.

  • Bree

    I imagine after this fight is over, each of the monks will need a tao-el to dry off.

    • clogboy


  • Primarch Lazarus

    I’m getting the impression that Brother Tang is far more irritable than Brother Wu. Another good way to tell them apart I suppose.

    • KungFuKlobber

      Wu is all like, “Woooo!”

      Tang is all like, “Dang.”

  • clogboy

    Most convenient faith ever. Although ‘the Lord works in mysterious ways’ would be on par if it wasn’t for the Ten Commandments.

    • Bree

      I feel Cho has shown all of these except for three, which I’ll apparently need an archive binge to check up on, considering what Ken does to get his money (which is also largely what funds the group).

      • clogboy

        One reason why Cho does Tao so well, is because he’s oblivious. He is the type of guy who’d use a tomato in a fruit salad, just because he knows it’s a fruit.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Waterbending? Wu-terbending? I’ll see myself out now.

    I watched the first animated GotS movie yesterday for the first time. And I hate to say it, but… I didn’t like it. The animation was nice, especially for when it came out, but there was soooo much stuff going on and so little of it got explained. I spent the whole movie going, “What’s that? Who’s he? Why’s she doing that? What does that mean? Why does he want to do that?” For a movie that feels like 90% exposition, it was amazing how little I was able to understand it. And then it just… ended. I dunno, I hear it was a TV show before it was a movie, so maybe they explained things better there.

    • Thomas

      The 1995 movie was preceded by the manga treatments. Perhaps the first movie would have been easier to follow for those who had been reading the manga.

      The 2002 television series actually came after the 1995 movie and it told a different story from that movie or the manga.

      (In 2004 there was a sequel to the 1995 film called Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Other contributions to the franchise have followed since then. Talk about tangled webs of relationship.)

    • suburban_samurai

      Ha, you just described my first time watching GitS! I hated the movie when I first saw it, too boring, too much exposition, inconclusive ending. But now I love it to death, although I find it’s a movie that most people come to love through subsequent viewings. The plot is basically: Section 6 of the Japanese govt makes an AI spying app. It gains intelligence by absorbing humanity’s data from the net and decides it wants to procreate because it wants to simulate the distinctly biological function of passing on genetics to offspring (not just copy itself).

      Motoko has become so cybernetic that she’s not sure if she’s human anymore, and is intrigued by the AI (or emergent intelligence, if you will) that is trying to become more human. Section 6 tries to get it back/destroy it because it’s a security threat, Section 9 wants to give it asylum. Motoko and the AI merge consciousness, creating, essentially, a new life form created from the human hive mind that is the net and an individual that has become cybernetic. New species? Or just a highly advanced application? You decide!

      There are currently four Ghost in the Shell universes.

      There is the manga by Shirow Masamune. It’s the origin, although its tone is significantly different from the animated counterparts. The characters tend to be goofy and perverted, the story is often cited as poorly paced and rambling, and bogged down in technical details. Since a lot of people find the animated stuff too technical, I imagine the manga is even more so, although I’ve never read it!! I did recently put a hold on it from my library, since I figure I can’t proclaim my love of the franchise without delving into its origin.

      There are the two movies, GitS and GitS: Innocence. Ff you thought GitS was difficult to follow, Innocence will leave your brain in a pretzel, as it dives into the deep end of philosophizing about what is reality.

      Then there’s the animated series GitS: Stand Alone Complex, which I think is the best incarnation of the franchise. It has two seasons and a film that is kind of a condensed third season. It’s pretty unique in terms of anime because all the characters are professional adults, and the world it represents is a very grounded, near future. It doesn’t really fall into the trappings of most anime cliches, and the characters are fleshed out in ways that make you care about them even if they’re a bunch of mostly stoic dudes. I’d recommend Stand Alone Complex first to anyone wanting to get into the franchise because it’s a pretty damn incredible show. Also, the English dub is one of the best ever done and I kind of prefer watching it in English over Japanese, which is not normally my MO. Watching it in English also helps keep up with the episodes since they tend to be fairly dense with dispensing information.

      And then there’s GitS: Arise, which is a reboot in the guise of a prequel. All the characters are younger and less experienced, and we’re shown them putting together the team for the first time. But the timeline doesn’t match up with Stand Alone Complex, so it’s definitely an alternate universe. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Arise, since it presents us with sloppier, younger, more emotional versions of the characters. Motoko, especially, feels like a completely different character, and isn’t nearly as likable as she is in Stand Alone Complex. But Arise is more true to the tone and feel of the franchise than the new live action film!

      Anyway, I’m done rambling on about one of my favorite franchises! I doubt any of that will change your mind about GitS, but maybe give it another shot in a couple of years like I did after my first viewing and you’ll find it more enjoyable.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Huh. I bought Innocence along with the first movie but I haven’t watched it yet. I like movies that make me think, but I feel like GitS was different. Like, I had to think and draw my own conclusions because it didn’t give me enough information to understand the plot, not because the conclusion was open ended. Maybe I’ll look into Stand Alone Complex if you say it’s that good. I’m more of a fantasy fan than scifi, but maybe I’ll get some enjoyment out of it. I still have Avatar and Attack on Titan on DVD and haven’t finished either, and I’m still pissed at Netflix for not having the final season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, so maybe I’d be better off finishing one of those before starting yet another anime series, lol.

      • Bree

        I always did love the anime series, too, and did in fact enjoy the film following it that was basically a condensed third season.

        It was some time AFTER having watched the series (which at the time I was too young to properly appreciate, but when I got older I appreciated it a LOT more the second time through…and even more the third…and more, the fourth…and fifth…and…) that I saw one of the older films, immediately knew it was different, not quite as likable as the series, but not terrible, just…different.

        I still love everything about it dearly, which is one reason why I, too, will probably never dare stoop to such a low as to watch the live-action film.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Also, what about The New Movie? I don’t mean the live action one, I mean literally Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie. Where does it tie in, and is it any good?

        • suburban_samurai

          It’s part of the Arise universe. I think it’s either an edit of some of the episodes with extra stuff added in, or a separate storyline taking place after the other episodes. I also checked that out from the library since I haven’t seen it yet! Since I’m a little lukewarm on Arise, my expectations aren’t terribly high, but if it blows me away I’m sure I’ll talk about it on the site.

      • Kid Chaos

        So, I saw “Ghost in the Shell” (2017); as a great man once said, “didn’t love it.” I didn’t like the guy playing Batou (what, they couldn’t get Ron Perlman?), and they gender-swapped one of the other characters for some sadly forgettable black woman. And then there was ScarJo, who seemed to be mailing it in, except maybe for the fight scenes. *sigh*

        I dunno, it just didn’t speak to me, I guess. I’m not super-critical, and generally very forgiving when it comes to movies (NOTE: I love movies, I’m at the theater practically every weekend). But if I can’t get into the movie, can’t get lost in it so to speak (for that, SEE: “Kong: Skull Island”), then I don’t love it. So yeah, suburban_samurai, you might be better off waiting for the blu-ray. 😜

        • clogboy

          Thank you! From the moment I saw batou I thought is that Ron Perlm… Nope.
          The movie as it is would’ve toppled down under his creative weight though, such a style difference that it magnifies the many flaws, instead of it being the consistent, self-contained and low-key enjoyable movie that it is now. To give it new consistency with him as a supporting character, they would have had to make it into a smorgasbord of sickening sweet candy, or a gritty, forgettable gore fest.

      • clogboy

        I enjoyed it from the first see-through.
        Japanese anime is (was) intended to be philosophic IMO. I got the same vibe from Akira. The Cowboy Bebop movie tried to immitate that (and failed to actually deliver a message) although it does give a nice shades of grey playing field between the bad guy and the main protagonist.

  • Turul


  • Sunwu

    Taoist brothers are natural enemies
    like Senshin and Wataro
    or ninja and Wataro
    or wataro and other wataro

    • KungFuKlobber

      Ken and trees

    • clogboy

      Daisuke and Wataro

      • Sunwu

        The Daisuke clan is dead!!!

        • clogboy

          Exactly my point.

  • Sam Bachman-Williams

    I just want to put in my two cents on the Gits discussion. As a fan of the anime I actually really liked the live action movie. The trailers by the way, are trash that try to hype the movie as exactly what I feared it would be. A hyped up revenge story with needless drama. I was pleasantly surprised that they are completely incorrect about the tone of the movie. This is definitely a different story line but I think it still fits well into the Gits universe.
    Also they didn’t strip down the major’s character in the quite the way you were mentioning. This is more of an origin story line for her so she isn’t quite the hyper professional to start with but she is definitely not just a robot. And without spoiling anything, agency is a pretty cool theme in the movie. Not going to defend the whitewashing because it can’t and shouldn’t be defended. But overall just wanted to put out their don’t trust the trailers and you might want to give the movie a chance. I’m not saying it was a master piece but I feel it falls into a solid good category. Certainly better than the train wreck the trailers would have you believe it is.

  • David

    “blatant white washing?” where? the Japanese loved the casting.

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