Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese Manga series from writer and illustrator Shirow Masamune depicting a future where technological growth seems to have reached a new level of advancement by implementing biological integration. Ghost in the Shell aims to tell a cyberpunk narrative involving political, technological and metaphysical themes. This intricate franchise originally saw publication as a work of graphic fiction, which seemed to draw readers in by portraying an environment where the line between man and machine is blurred. Shirow Masamune’s futuristic series may have evolved into an internationally acclaimed franchise for its thought-provoking commentary on its core themes. Set in the twenty-first century, humans desire bio-enhancements and mechanical implants to improve various aspects of the human biology. In this fictional landscape, robots may have joined the trend, as machines seem to upgrade themselves with human tissue.
In a fiction world where the gap between man and machine seems to be converging and in the centre of this story is the cyborg agent Major Motoko Kusanagi. Leading the elite task force, Section 9, Major Motoko Kusanagi is tasked with tracking down those who step outside the boundaries of the law as she targets individuals known as ghost hackers who seem capable of interfacing with human/machine hybrids. This position may allow these ghost hackers to harness the technology within hybrid humans and robots and one such individual soon becomes known as The Puppeteer. As Motoko Kusanagi’s continues to track the elusive puppeteer, her journey seems to lead her deeper into a world of information and technology, each new discovering seeming to raise philosophical topics which may have Motoko Kusanagi contemplating the nature of consciousness and human souls.
Shirow Masamune’s The Ghost in the Shell seems to presents several questions, which aim to explore whether machines are capable of emotions and the nature of the human soul. In 1995, Ghost in the Shell was adapted into an animated film, a release which may have seen several sequels. The subsequent releases, 2.0 & Innocence, continued to explore artificial intelligence, cyborgs, and human augmentation. This acclaimed franchise sees its latest adaptation in the form of a 2017 live action film. Cast in the role of cyborg agent Major Kotoko Kusanagi is Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Avengers Assemble). The production has been picked up by Paramount Pictures and using the latest in special effects, Ghost in the Shell aims to showcase a modern visuals style. Alongside Scarlett Johansson is Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman, Brother) and Michael Pitt (The Dreamers, Funny Games).
In a world wherein artificial intelligence may overlap human intelligence, this modern adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s 1989 Japanese Manga aims to raise discussions around the future of robotics and humanity. It is Director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman, Black Hole) who aims to bring the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell to western audiences. It seems Rupert Sanders objective may be to craft a contemporary version of Ghost in the Shell, fusing this tale with vivid cinematic scenes and eye-catching visuals for present-day audiences. Recreating this iconic tale, Paramount Pictures, and the team directly involved in the film’s production aims to tell Major Kotoko Kusanagi’s cybernetic future tale. With a fresh perspective on Masamune Shirow’s futuristic vision, audiences may find new and contemporary ideas infused to present a compelling live action adaptation.
The 2017 Ghost in the Shell live-action feature film aims to release on the 30th March 2017.
How might Hollywood re-imagine Ghost in the Shell’s science fiction narrative for western audiences?