Ghost in the Shell -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: NA

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 27.95 AU
  • Running time: 122
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell


Ghost in the Shell
© Madman Entertainment

What They Say

In a world caught in the grip of information overload, where artificial intelligence is more than the real thing and cyborg cops spend their lives surfing on an electronic sea of living data, only the Ghost - the indefinable element of human consciousness - exists to determine who is alive and who is purely a creation of the net. Major Motoko Kusanagi is an elite officer in the Section 9 security force: a cybernetic agent so heavily modified that little more than her Ghost remains. Along with fellow cyborg Bateau and the mostly human Togusa, Kusanagi is set on the trail of a computer-criminal known as the Puppet Master, a data thief skilled enough to hack into the very minds of his victims. His human marionettes live out existences that are nothing more than computer generated fantasy, unwittingly committing their master's crimes while the Ghost-hacker hides in the darkness. But as Kusanagi digs deeper into the walls of secrecy surrounding the case, it appears that the Puppet Master has a special interest in her alone. And when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shadowy Section 6, enter the scene, Kusanagi becomes tangled in a web of plot and counterplot, and realizes the true identity of her invisible assailant lies at the center of a vast and lethal political conspiracy...

The Review!
Ghost in the Shell, one of Manga Video’s premier titles, among Madman Entertainment’s first locally authored discs, and sadly infamous for all the wrong reasons.

Visually, this is reference, show you friends how great is the DVD format quality. Scenes like Motoko scuba dive and the following ferry ride are just beautiful. It is easily equal, if not superior than the Region 1 version, the benefit of a direct film-to-PAL format transfer instead of a middling NTSC-to-PAL conversion.

The audio selections on offer are also top rate. The default English sound track really pulls you into the action, with only minor flaws in the often-lifeless dubbing and the lack of a bass channel. The voice actors in the stereo Japanese track are better suited to the characters, but I can no recommend the Japanese track for one major reason, the subtitles. It’s a well-known fact, the English subtitles on this disc are badly mistimed. They’re only 1.5 seconds out, but it’s something that’s apparent from beginning to end and makes this disc a chore to watch, ruining it for those who bought it just for the Japanese soundtrack option. It’s mildly annoying in slow parts with just one or two people talking, but group scenes are absolutely awful to watch.

The main menu is rather basic, with the options to play the film, scene selection, a page talking about the DVD-ROM content, trailers, the making of video and the language selection. We have audio taking from the opening credits playing in the background, unfortunately it loops after just 30 seconds at a very abrupt halt, which tends to jar the listener. Strangely, the menus for the scene selection and DVD-ROM page feature the same audio, but runs for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds.

The 29-minute Making of Video is identical to that included on in the VHS double pack, and provides a fairly good look at the different and new production methods the movie uses, along with interviews with the staff. 4 trailers are also included on this disc, though only one is anime related and that’s basically an ad for the disc your already watching. The Ghost in the Shell trailer is the English dub preview used on the Manga Video tapes, notable for giving away the Puppet Master’s true origin within five seconds and using different music and dub actors. The remaining three trailers are for other Palm Pictures UK releases, Dancehall Queen, Baaba Mal: Live at the Royal Festival Hall and The Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense.

The remaining extras are DVD-ROM content, something which as a stand-alone DVD player owner I dislike. It’s also even more annoying that it is basically just the Original Movie production report that was accessible normally on the Region 1 DVD.

In my opinion, the story is almost secondary to the visuals, but it is a fairly good version of the superb Manga version. On an island city that serves as a hub on the sea of information, the special anti-terrorist unit known as Section 9 attempt to combat cyber-crimes. The primary character is that of Major Motoko Kusanagi, Section 9’s premier opperative and a full cyborg body, only her brain remains original. But in a world where machines and cyber-brains can easily emulate all it is to be human except the indefinable thing known as the Ghost, Kusanagi questions if even her brain matter is real. While she tries to find an answer, Section 9 crosses paths with the mysterious super-hacker known as the Puppet Master, and Motoko finds what she is seeking, even if the answers aren’t quite what she thought.

Ghost in the Shell is beautiful entertainment. The quality of the visuals on offer is amazing and the English 5.0 track pulls you in. Those considering this disc for the Japanese track should steer well clear of this flawed release however.

Video Rating: A+

Audio Rating: A+

Content Rating: B

Package Rating: B

Menu Rating: C

English Dolby 5.0 channel track,Japanese Dolby 2.0 channel track,English subtitles,Making of Ghost in the Shell featurette,4 trailers,DVD-ROM content

Review Equipment
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor.


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