Mania Grade: A+
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Manga Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 82
- 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
By Justin Emerson
February 16, 2002
Release Date: March 21, 1998
Ghost in the Shell has been called "the Akira of the 90's" by many people, and while I think that may be a little much, it certainly isn't very far off from the truth.
The Audio on the disc is very good. >From a technical standpoint, the English 5.1 track is excellent, and the Japanese track is well done in Dolby Surround (not Pro-Logic, at least as far as I could tell, since the center speaker never did anything besides play what was coming out of both front speakers). The sound effects are well done, and the directionality of the sound is superb. The dub for GitS is above average, but it does have it's problems. While the dub is certainly better than a large percentage of dubbed Anime, it still doesn't quite live up to an Akira or Tenchi Muyo. The only reason this disc gets an A instead of an A+ was because of the lack of a Japanese 5.1 track - that's the only flaw when it comes to audio.
The Video is very demonstrative of how superior the DVD format is to any other consumer video format available today. The video is some of the best I've seen on any DVD. It's presented in 16:9 format, which is a huge plus for me since I prefer watching in widescreen than in Pan & Scan, and for something like animation (in which case the entire frame is drawn, it's not like you have a movie camera that can shoot both formats at once) seeing it in it's original aspect ratio is important.
The Package has almost the same cover as the VHS releases, which is a shame since it doesn't do much to differentiate itself from it's analog brethren. It's a standard keepcase, with an insert that has chapter selections and info on the menu and special features. It's a nice case and all, but nothing to scream about. The only thing that irks me is that the insert tells you to check out other DVDs including Wings of Honeamise, grrrrr....
The Menu and the content within is of the highest quality that you'll find on almost any DVD, with a "Making of" documentary and production notes and character files and bios. Very useful stuff, and it also has commercials for Manga and Polygram Video. While there's no snazzy animation or music, it does get the job done and you get great bonus materials, too.
As for the Movie itself, this is one of my all time favorite Anime films, and watching the DVD over again only reaffirms it position as one of the most thought provoking and meaningful films in recent memory, animated or otherwise. The film deals with one of the oldest philosophical dilemmas that mankind has faced: What's makes us Human? The story tackles other deep questions like what defines life and how far will humanity go in our quest for technology. The animation of the film is fluid and detailed, and it sets its own particular style which has yet to be duplicated on any other medium. The animation is very high-tech, as well, since the team used new computer techniques to allow a level of realism never before seen in animation. The action in the film can be intense at some times, but the action is well paced between scenes in which the main character faces her own moral crisis.
The world that Ghost in the Shell takes place in is not far off, considering the technology we have today, and director Mamoru Oshii should be praised for this excellent theatrical work which lays out on the table problems that we as a species will have to face in the very near future.