Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Ani-Manga)
Directed by: Mamoru Oshii
Produced by: Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Toshio Sukui
Original Creator: Shirow Masamune
Art Director: Suichi Hirata
Character Design: Hiroyuki Okiura
Dialog Based on English Subtitles translated by: Linda Hoaglund with Judith Aley
Miscellaneous Translation: Yuji Oniki
Lettering: Rina Mapa
Design: Isumi Evers
Editor: Carl Gustav Horn
Published by: VIZ
The review might include some spoilers…so you have been warned.
After the events of 3 years prior with the Puppet Master and the Major disappearance into the cyber world, Batou and Togusa (his new partner) find themselves on another case involving rogue Gynoids, that murder their master then self-destruct.
Some of the victims include a politician and a former Public Security officer, on top of that non of the victims relatives have filled a law suit against the Locus Solus Corporation, the company the manufactures the Gynoids robots. These factors combined gives Section 9’s leader, Daisuke Aramaki, reason to believe that these incidents might be linked to terrorist acts, making it the job of Section 9 to investigate. Aramaki assigns Togusa as Batou’s new partner; together the two of them head out to find whatever information they might get on any leads.
They discover that the new line of Gynoids called “Hadaly”, were with one specific purpose, as state of the art sex robots, while not illegal this fact might lead to possible embarrassment, which might be the reasoning behind why any lawsuits weren’t filed on behalf of the victims. However, this is still doesn’t explain why the Gynoids murdered their masters and then self-destruct.
Time is running out, and another murder has taken place; however, this Batou and Togusa have a lead connecting the victim, consignment inspector of Locus Solus, Volkerson, and the Yakuza crime syndicate, the Kojinkai. After nearly wiping out the Kojinkai Batou and Togusa only come away with the evidence that Locus Solos requested that consignment inspector be killed. All the signs are now pointing to Locus Solos as the mastermind behind all of this. Batou and Togusa decide to take a trip to Locus Solos’ HQ in Etorofu. Batou and Togusa encounters, a former military officer now turned professional criminal Hacker, Kim; who decides to play with Batou and Togusa, putting them through an elaborate cyber maze. Luckily they are saved by who else but the Motoko, who appears only in the cyber world under the access code she gave Batou 3 years ago: 2501. Motoko gives batou a series of clues allowing him to escape Kim’s twisted maze. Now that Kim has no where to run Batou gets the information he needs to get into Locus Solos’ transport ship in Etorofu.
The final showdown is about to take place, the Hadaly Gynoids are amassing a front against the guards. Batou is running out of time. Luckily for him he gets a little assistance from the Major who has downloaded a fragment of herself into one of the Gynoids. It seems the old team is back–in one form or another. They’ve got to find a way to stop the Gynoids. After a good hacking on the part of the major the Gyniods are stopped in their tracks, and the entire ship is now under their control, to use against Locus Solos. However, they still have to figure out how Locus Solos were able to fuse “souls” with the Gynoids, causing the Gynoids to malfunction.
Here’s the major spoiler: It turns that Kojinkai would kidnapped girls and duplicated their “souls” and implant them into the Hadalys. However, the girls tried to get help by making the Gynoids malfunction, with their last words being “Help me”, which both Batou and the coroner believed to be at first of robots rebelling against their human masters. The idea was that if the robots made enough of a problem that the police would get involved and eventually find them.
Before the Major leaves she reminds Batou that whenever he logs into the net, she’ll be there by his side. It doesn’t look as if the Major will be making a physical come back now. The case of the Hadaly robots is solved and now both Batou and Togusa can return to the homes. It’s still uncertain if Togusa will continue to be Batou partner, but we can wait to see that in Ghost in the Shell 3. LOL
-Still Batou, shoot first ask questions later. Of all the Section 9 members he’s the only one still “grieving” over the Major’s disappearance. Most of his time now is consumed with taking care of his dog. While he cannot physical see the Major he refers to her as his Guardian Angel in the cyber world.
-Togusa has been assigned has Batou new partner, despite the fact that he is no where compared to Batou in terms of cybernetic ability–I know that’s probably a new phrase right there, but I can’t help it. Assigned to assist Batou mainly because Aramaki thinks he’ll be a useful partner seeing as how Batou and Major were very close and that Batou still lingers on that. Togusa is primarily focused on his daughter and wife.
-Still running Section 9. Still as emotional less as ever, concerned with only with the public safety, he sends Section 9 into investigate the murders when everyone thought it was a case for the police. He assigns Togusa as Botou new partner fearing that Batou might be emotional unstable to take on this mission on his own.
-Still working for Section 9, Ishikawa is dedicated to his job and loyal to his comrades. He keeps a close eye on Batou, only because he knows the Major disappearance still has an effect on him.
Motoko Kusanagi “Major”
-After the incident with the Puppet Master 3 years ago, Motoko Kusanagi was believed to have vanished. However, it seems that the Major is still there. Now she seems to acting as Batou “Guardian Angel” whenever he logs on to the net.
-God! This guy is one creepy little prick. A former military officer and electronic specialist, he and Batou has a past together. However, Kim began working with the Black Market and eventually were disbanded from the military. He’s now a criminal hacker who’s physical location is in Etorofu. Kim’s physical body is no where to be found, instead he’s fused his memories with robot. He happens to be the connection between the rogue Gyniods and Locus Solos that Batou and Tougua have been looking for.
The Basset Hound
-Batou’s cloned dog. While cyborgs have become the norm, Batou still keeps this dog, consuming most of his off time taking care of it.
Ok this is my first Ani-Manga, it cost a lot, I believe more than the DVD of Ghost in the Shell 2, but it’s worth it if you love manga. It isn’t so much manga, as it resembles American comics more in my opinion. Still the format is manga acceptable. The entire movie has been compressed down to four volume, using over more that 2000 stills from the movie–no I didn’t count, it says so on the back of the box. Japanese sound effects added with a bonus glossary for your enjoyment. There are few empty frame where nothing happens, except a head turn. I guess it helps the transition from one frame to the next. Overall I found the transition from frame to frame wasn’t bad, and no you can’t turn it into a flip book and “watch” the movie. It’s all in color, so that’s pretty good. I think they choose pretty good stills to use, and the dialog fit the facial expression well-which is something you’d want to look out for when your reading Ani-Manga. At the beginning of each Tankoubon you get a grief summary of the book before, so if you were confused a little, it might help to clear it up for you. If you’re willing to fork up the dough (I paid $40.00 for mine, I could have bought GiTS and GiTS 2 with that, but I’m content) it’s worth it, if you really love reading ani-manga, or if you’re trying for the first time, or if you lust love manga–which I do.
Let me explain why I gave it a 8.8 in story, while I thought the story was really good. Like all things GiTS, it’s over thinks things, making you start to ponder about all of human existence, and what it means to be human, and overall it really blew me away how everything fit together. In that way I think the story is excellent, 9.0/9.0, but I couldn’t help getting the feeling that the entire point of the movie was to find a way to reunite Batou and the Major. I just had the feeling that the entire was just to show that, “oh wait the Major isn’t really gone forever, she’s just chillin in cyberspace,” and I totally understand that it’s was to clear the loose ends in Ghost in The Shell: when Motoko gave Batou the access code, and it makes sense. I don’t know if I would’ve liked it more if Motoko–although I really love her–didn’t show up in the movie/ani-manga at all. Whatever…
The story was still fuckin amazing, and the part where Kim had Batou and Togusa in the cyber maze was pretty awesome and even got scared when they where about to self-destruct. Especially when it happened to Togusa that took me way by surprise, because I knew he didn’t have any prosthetics. I really didn’t expect the ending the way it turned out, but that’s just how GiTS works, you should expect the unexpected. They weren’t really any low points, and I was pretty interested through all of it. I actually read each book right after another. Besides the reference to the Major it pretty much was separate from the Ghost in The Shell. Fans of Batou might enjoy it more because the story really focuses on him. Overall it was good, and actually reading the ani-manga convinced me to buy the DVD. It’s Ghost in The Shell, it’s going to blow you away, make you think, and leaving wanting more–just get use to it.