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ONLY ONE SHOT LEFT? Gotta make it count!

While on vacation, for reasons beyond my comprehension, I subjected myself to the live action Ghost in the Shell movie. It was freely available, so I figured why not see how badly they butchered my favorite anime? The answer is ‘excruciatingly badly’. I could probably write several pages on how antithetical the Paramount Pictures film is to the manga/movies/anime it’s supposedly basing itself on, but I don’t got time for that right now, so I’ll just make a list (my favorite!). SPOILERS AHEAD BUT WHO CARES THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE:

Section 9 is apparently under the financial control of a for-profit robotics company that is run by an evil man. At no point in the movie (that I recall) are we told that Section 9 is Public Security, although Aramaki does state he answers only to the Prime Minister. In the GitS animated film, Motoko is basically stuck working for Section 9 because her military grade cyborg body is owned and maintained by the government. She does not directly rely on a for-profit corporation to maintain her body. Nor is Section 9 funded by a third party entity, they simply received funding allotted in a government budget, which allows them to pursue legal cases impartially (or at least that’s the ideal).

Chief Aramaki is played by Beat Takeshi, who, although being a well known Japanese actor, doesn’t seem to be able to speak English (that is not meant as a criticism towards him). All his dialog is in Japanese, while everyone around him clearly understands him but answers all his questions in English. I just think this is an odd film making decision. They could have easily included some automated translation technology. I would normally just assume everyone’s cyberbrains where auto translating, but no one has cyberbrains in this version of GitS, it seems.

Batou has human eyes at the start of the movie, and then loses them and gets his characteristic cyborg eyes. They look awful. Also Batou is mostly human in the live action film, as The Major is explicitly stated to be the first person to be successfully fully cyborgized with only a human brain remaining. In every other version of Ghost in the Shell, Batou and Motoko are mostly cyborg. Making The Major ‘the first fully cyborg body’ removes much of what makes the GitS world fascinating and unique, as this is now new technology and not tech that has been fully integrated into our society.

The world of live action GitS is cartoonishly garish and ugly. There are silly hologram ads everywhere, many of which are building sized. It’s clearly more interested in looking like Bladerunner than like GitS, but Blade Runner’s world feels far more believable in its holographic advertising. Most of the ads in live action GitS don’t even seem to have any text or explanation of what they’re advertising. Also there are brightly colored neon lights in every corner of every building and it’s just weird and ugly.

The plot is a generic ‘amnesiac super soldier goes against orders from her morally dubious handlers to discover her mysterious past’. It’s pretty obvious where it’s going, and none of the twists are very shocking. She just finds out she was some Japanese girl that the evil robotics company kidnapped so they could have more human guinea pigs to experiment on, and suppressed her memory.

Oh yeah, she’s a Japanese girl who was put into Scarlett Johansson’s body. Like, it’s the most controversial thing about the movie, and for good reason. There are plenty of struggling Asian American actors who can’t find high profile, non-stereotyping roles, and along comes an American studio film about a highly competent, professional Japanese woman who’s respected by her peers, and they cast Johansson. Pretty shitty thing to do, but who’s gonna see this garbage if it doesn’t star a known quantity, right?? Oh yeah, there’s even a second prominent character who is also a Japanese person put into a white person’s body. Stay classy, Paramount Pictures.

Every member of Section 9 in live action GitS is happy to murder/execute suspects who have already been incapacitated. Every member seems to think of themselves as Judge Dredd, with no interest in due process. Compared to the great lengths the animated Section 9 members go to to keep suspects alive and build up evidence for legal cases, live action Section 9 is a hilariously incompetent team. Essentially every problem in live action GitS is solved with a gun, while there are plenty of episode in Stand Alone Complex where no one even fires a shot BUT HOW CAN YOU KEEP AN AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION IF NO ONE’S GETTING SHOT BY THE GOOD GUYS??

There are several scenes from the original GitS film that have been sort of hacked up and pasted into live action GitS. These are the most infuriating parts of the movie because they make less sense than the rest. The garbage truck man from the original manga and film still gets his memory hacked to make him think he has a kid and ex-wife. In the original story the false memories gave him motivation to commit a crime setting up communication relays through public phones. In the live action movie version, there is literally no reason for his memory to have been hacked, as the man antagonist (up to this point) hacks him into some sort of gun toting berserker who tries to shoot up the good guys with ZERO provocation (why is this garbage man so heavily armed and where did he get these guns??). He’s probably the only suspect Section 9 bothers to take into custody instead of just executing with a shot to the head, all so they can have the classic interrogation scene where he realizes his memories of his family aren’t real. What’s REALLY bizarre about this scene is that they have him in some sort of retraining contraption that allows him to strangle himself TO DEATH instantly after he becomes distraught that he has no real daughter.

On top of that, none of this serves any purpose in the context of the live action film, as Motoko only questions her own memories after the super-hacker Section 9 is chasing explicitly tells her that the evil robotics corporation is lying to her. Why have the interrogation scene with the garbage man if it does not lead Motoko to question her own memories, or even philosophize about how much of us as individuals are tied to our past experiences, as she does in the original film? It’s like some executive watched the animated film, and said “we need to put this scene, this scene, and this scene in the movie, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it!” And so they did it, even though it added nothing to the film’s own story or these versions of the characters.

Also, live action Major is literally only a full cyborg for ONE YEAR, apparently spending nearly all of that time working for Section 9, implying she immediately went from being just some random kidnapped girl to being an impossibly amazing super soldier who can leap into a gunfight against a dozen armed people and come out almost completely unharmed. In the GitS anime, Motoko Kusanagi has been a full cyborg body user since her preteens, and we’re specifically told that it took her a long time to become as competent as she has, through good, old fashioned, hard work. Also, she never leaps into a massive gun fight of her own free will without a clear strategy as that would be insanely stupid.

In the original GitS film, there’s some pervy Japanese kink to Motoko’s optical camo as she basically gets naked when she uses it. The anime series discarded that concept for much more practical tactical armor with built in optic camo, which is totally fine. But the live action movie makers felt they wanted to preserve the ‘strip naked’ aspect of the camo, while also being a PG13 film. So what we get is The Major’s cyborg body being not anatomically correct, and looking more like a snug fitting body suit. I’m definitely not saying we needed a naked lady jumping off rooftops, but what we get in this movie is hardly titillating, so why not go the route of the anime series and just give her the full body armor? She wears it through most of the movie’s action scenes anyway.

And now I’ve written way more than I intended even though I said I didn’t have time! Oh well, I guess it was inevitable that I wouldn’t be able to hold back my frustration (And truth is there’s still quite a bit more I want to rant on about this dumb movie).

I also re-watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier (a much better movie co-starring Scarlett Johansson), and MAN, I forgot how much I like it! It’s probably still my second fav Marvel movie after The Avengers.

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  • KungFuKlobber

    The explosive barrels are supposed to be bright red, or at least marked with a universal symbol signifying an explosion, for player convenience. The Wataro clan needs to work on its game design.

    • Kid Chaos

      One good hit, and the barrels blow up? Where does Ricky think he is, a webcomic with cooperative writers, artists, etc.? Oh, wait… 😜

  • Ocean Burning.

    Lol Ricardo, God’s not automatically on your side just because you managed to accidentally get yourself involved… 😆

    • multilis

      God is on his side because he sees a barrel of what he thinks is gunpowder when he only has one shot left in perfect spot

  • Crestlinger

    Wrong barrels, those are the sake barrels for their victory party.

    …Which may be More explosive depending on the brew.

    • charles81

      If they’re full of sake then they’re a magnet for death by KADOOSH

  • Arkone Axon

    I like the fact that Ricardo is proving he’s more than just the comic relief. Yes, this comic is much better at creating fully fleshed out characters than a lot of professional television shows and films.

    Also, I can’t help but love the irony here. They stole his guns and didn’t even give him a single yen for it. They took them so they could murder their neighbors and steal their land. And now Ricardo is going to give them a pointed reminder that they might have puzzled out the basics of how to use them, but he’s got REAL training and familiarity; he knows what you can and cannot do with those things.

    (Kinda reminds me of a Larry Niven story where the protagonist is forced to hand over an ancient weapon he’d discovered to a Kzin, and also to tell the Kzin how to use it – because the Kzinti are not-overly-intelligent alien werecats who had a space empire for a while because another race was even stupider and tried to turn stone age anthro feline into pet soldiers. So the human protagonist figures out how the weapon works… and also that it was clearly made by a rebel taking part in a slave uprising. And therefore must have a self destruct mechanism… and he even managed to ensure that he, his girlfriend, and their alien business partner were all safely out of range when the Kzinti followed instructions…)

    • clogboy

      Eventually, they might run out of gunpowder or shots, or neglect to clean their guns so they’ll stop working or explode in their respective faces. Whichever comes first. I bet on an explosion of unusual size by default.

  • AGV

    Man, feels bad
    I’m pending on watching GitS and I thought that the Hollywoodization could be a nice start, but looks like a bunch of nope, I’m better off looking for the original movie

    • Dorje

      Yes, the original movie and animes are far better. If you haven’t seen any of them, see them over the Hollywood garbage fire.

      The trailers anti-sold me on the movie. Mainly because they featured Scarlett ALONE like. While the Major comes across as an angsty loner at times, it is her interactions with the rest of the team that make GitS work. The lack of Togusa moments really hurts. It is easy overlook him in the animated movie and get caught up in the Motoko/Batou relationship, but he provides a key anchor point as being one of the near totally human members, with only a cyberbrain enhancement.

  • Bomb Bloke

    Cyberbrains have always consisted of organic tissue placed within a cybernetic shell. This is why Cyberbrain Sclerosis, a major plot device in the Laughing Man saga, was a thing.

    The Major did sometimes like to angst over the idea that her cyberbrain might not actually have a real brain in it, though. She didn’t exactly have any easy means of checking.

    • Stephen Haluska

      I have to back up Bomb Bloke here. Cyberbrains are just augmented organic brains to allow for interfacing with advanced or extensive cybernetics.

      If the Major didn’t have a organic element at all then it wouldn’t have been as huge a deal as it was to merge with the Puppet Master. In the Climax of the scene she’s casting away her last remnant of organic humanity and becoming fully digital and untethered to a specific body.

      So the movie, while bad, didn’t get that part wrong.

      • suburban_samurai

        Yeah, you’re both totally correct. I should’ve gone back and made sure of this stuff before I went on a long ranting rant. I have no defense, I called myself a fan! I’ll edit the rant tonight.

        • Countzero

          To join in in the nitpicking, the Major isn’t naked in the anime when she uses the camo. The suit is a slightly different color than her skin. Also you don’t see any nipples. So the live action version gets that right as well.

          • KingOfAllExplosions

            She wasn’t naked, but you could see her nipples pretty clearly still. I believe the body suit was the same color/transparency as the veil that covered her face, being the same material. The color difference from her skin was just to indicate that it was there.

            I don’t care about the movie changing it to more armor plated, just mentioning for accuracy.

        • Kid Chaos

          The visual part of GITS (2017) wasn’t the problem; it was ScarJo sleepwalking her way through all her dialogue. And I still think they should have gotten Ron Perlman to play Batou; ’nuff said. 😎

  • animalia555

    Has anyone else read Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi: Force Storm? If so what did you think of it?

  • Turul

    *browses back* Oh, so that’s general Tanaka they’re dragging back.

  • leavescat

    I’m skeptical that a musket ball can ignite a barrel of gunpowder, but if you want to draw an unrealistically large explosion, who am I to stop you?

    • Nos Rin aka CTCO

      SAME XD

  • Alexis Casto

    Boom baby boom. Blow those asshole sky high.

  • endplanets

    “I bring guns to this primitive land. And now I bring excellent one liners. (takes aim) “Ahem, you may be out of options, but for me violence is always an option.” (fire shot, turns around, puts on sunglasses, boom).

  • KingOfAllExplosions

    I hope he has a better plan than to shoot his musket into a wooden barrel of black powder. Because it’s not going to set it off.

    Black powder isn’t subject to impact, and would need to be ~430 C to ignite. The lead ball also isn’t going to cause a spark, especially against wood.

    • suburban_samurai

      If there’s anyone who’s gonna know their explosives, it’s gonna be the KING OF ALL EXPLOSIONS!

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        Duke Nukem?
        Serious Sam?

        • CaptXpendable

          Michael Bay?

          • 627235

            Robert Oppenheimer?

    • multilis

      same muskets that have little accuracy but in this comic are very accurate?

      This is obviously not based on “real life” but on a more entertaining simulation of real life, sort of like Star Wars where guys fight with light emitting swords and gun shots can be dodged.

      • leavescat

        Pretty sure that muskets are pretty accurate at the ranges they’ve been used in. They’re super inaccurate compared to rifles, but they’ll still reliably hit something 20 feet in front of you.

      • Bepis

        Matchlock arquebuses like those seen here are accurate to around 50 meters for point shots I believe, and 100 or even 150 meters for proper ranked fire. Given that Ricardo is evidently a skilled arquebusier, I think he should have no problem hitting this shot.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I didn’t like winter soldier. I felt the fall of shield was far too soon. but I just don’t like seeing heroes fall so that’s my own silly opinion.

    Hmmm, maybe I should watch the original film. I never really got into the series but I understood why people like it. My friend loved stand alone complex but didn’t care for the movie that inspired it. lol.
    also Gits:SAC is 30 bucks at walmart right now. go buy it guys!

    • suburban_samurai

      I hated the original Ghost in the Shell film the first time I saw it. But now it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I guess my tastes changed, and now I like character conversations, tension building, and heavy atmosphere more than shooty boom action. I know that’s weird to say, considering the comic I draw, but I did start this comic when I was 18…

      Also I still like shooty boom action plenty, mind you.

      • Nos Rin aka CTCO

        oh ya totally, I love a good comedy action like say, Godannar, but I can still appreciate a good drama like Hanbei Renmei.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I’m not sure that actually works…. *shooting barrels* only in video games and silly stories. Oh wait. go right ahead then.

  • Purphoros

    The GitS movie was made by gits. Gits who didn’t bother to git gud, and made GitS bad.

  • Ladon

    No one has said it yet? Well, if this be my destiny…

    all the Wataro musketmen to smithereens

  • clogboy

    I agree the film was a bit of a letdown. The storytelling, style and editing captured a bit of the anime spirit, but the story has been hugely dumbed down (brain in a jar bit), while her character got hyped up (designed flawless). I think more people ‘get it’ this way, while the sentient robot who’s discovering the value and merits of humanity bit is overdone already. They must’ve thought Robocop grossed higher than I, Robot, underestimated the target audience, take existing art over source material integrity, and made this heap of robo dung. I’m going to be honest I enjoyed it and it left me less confused than the original anime (I think it’s the 4th anime I ever purchased, back in the days of dial-up) and I think it lands better with people who just come to see Scarlett Johansson in a skin suit.

    Altered Carbon did everything better in every aspect.

  • animalia555

    Here’s a youtube video you may find relevant

    MMO Junkie’s Racist Director – Should We Hate the Work, or the Jerk?

    • suburban_samurai

      I find the video relevant, but I don’t find it particularly helpful in resolving my conflicted feelings about Kenshin! Having said that, when I was at Ohayocon this year, I bought one of those poseable Hitokiri Battousai figures from a dealer. I just try to tell myself that the series is not entirely of Watsuki’s making, and there are many good people who worked on both the manga and animes that should be proud of creating such a compelling narrative. I just wish the face of it all was someone I could admire.

      • animalia555

        Well when I saw the video I thought of you

        • suburban_samurai

          I appreciate it!

          • animalia555

            I’m relieved then. I’m glad you were able to get something out of it.

      • animalia555

        Out of curiosity would it make a difference if Watsuki had passed on?

        • suburban_samurai

          Hmm, probably? Then he’d certainly no longer be putting the earnings from his fans towards activities that are reprehensible (People seem to love H P Lovecraft now, but the guy with a notorious racist when he was alive). But that’s certainly not intended as me advocating for some sort of physical harm to come to Watsuki. I honestly just want to be be able to love the franchise I love without any moral quandaries. If anyone asks me whether or not I’m a Kenshin fan, the answer is certainly “yes”, I just feel I can’t express my fandom without caveats anymore.

          • animalia555

            I understand. I felt better about buying Michael Jackson music after he passed away. Though in hindsight I wish I hadn’t been so quick to let the court of public opinion judge him, instead of you know, an actual court of law. We are always so quick to judge in these cases.
            As to how I came to this conclusion. Well after surfing TVTropes Some Anvils Need To Be Drooped page I watched the videos linked from the following entry

            In The Mysterious Mr. Enter’s two-part review of The Simpsons episode “Homer Badman”, he presents some important anvils about rape and sexual assault.
            Rape and sexual assault are wrong, regardless of who does it.
            Both the accuser and the accused deserve fair treatment from the law, even if they’re a Jerkass.
            Just because somebody’s a Jerkass doesn’t mean that they will cross the Moral Event Horizon.
            The media needs to watch its distance during allegations or it will take advantage of the situation and actively harm both parties.
            Just because the accused is found “Not guilty” doesn’t necessarily mean that the justice system is flawed, thus deserving to get scrapped. Due process is exactly that, a process.
            People who deliberately lie about rape or sexual assault are no less harmful than real perpetrators, because they make real victims more worried about coming forward for help since they’re already concerned that nobody would believe them. He points out how even though the 2014 University of Virginia rape story from Rolling Stone Magazine was revealed to be a hoax, people were still supporting the person who lied about the whole thing, comparing it with a Phony Veteran still being honored as a war hero even though they’re proven not to be one.

  • seandlax9

    Is it wrong that Ricardo’s theme song in my head is John Cena’s entrance music?

  • clogboy


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