The Art of Ghost in the Shell behind the scenes is now shipping. It contains plenty of spoilers for the movie which we’ll go into below. But first:
OK don’t go any further unless you want SPOILERS
- The giant holograms seen circling the city’s skyscrapers are called ‘solograms’ because they appear solid.
- Like the original, the city is ‘based on’ Hong Kong but not necessarily identified as Hong Kong.
- The Major is confirmed to be only a brain in a completely cybernetic body, again like in the original. But apart from the prototype (see below), she is the only one.
- Batou does not start the movie with his cybernetic eyes, but receives them part way through the movie. Also, only his left arm is cyberized. And later his eyes. He is not a full body cyborg.
- Aramaki and Togusa are largely un-cyberized, as with the original.
- Boma, Saito and Ishikawa are pretty much unchanged from the original as well, including Saito’s Hawkeye satellite link, with some good creative and non-whitewashed casting. Did you know Boma was originally white in the anime? New team member Ladriya is an explosives expert. Paz is not formally identified, though is rumoured to be in disguise in the scene with Tricky.
- Hideo Kuze is described as being a composite of the Puppetmaster, the Laughing Man and the Kuze from SAC2. He is also the prototype cyberbrain in a robot body.
- New character Dr. Ouelet (played by Juliette Binoche) is the robotics expert who created the Major’s new body following an accident, but is also apparently responsible for the experiment on Hideo Kuze that made him the prototype, which has left him on the run, repairing himself in a patchwork of spare parts.
- The garbage truck driver, referred to here as the Skinny Man, that fights the Major, has been hacked by Kuze, and is attempting to assassinate Dr Ouelet. Indeed, it seems he is successful in doing so.
- The real antagonists are rival government agency Section 6, the leader of which, known as Cutter, wants the Major killed as in her memories are apparently something that will reveal he was involved in the accident where she was nearly killed.
- Section 6 at some point also tries to kill Aramaki – these are the agents he fights in the car park.
- Kuze is much more ambiguous – thought to be the antagonist in the first half of the movie but revealed as a much more sympathetic character in the second half. He is not involved in refugees in this story.
- Kuze uses pieces of Japanese porcelain – the kind with blue paintings on – to patch up his broken skin.
- Around the mid point of the movie, Batou fights some cyborg gangsters (including one referred to as ‘samurai arms’) in their hideout/bar much like in Innocence, only this time he’s accompanied by the Major rather than by Togusa.
- Actress Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine) plays the robo-geisha (along with the animatronic and CGI versions).
- Tricky plays a priest.
- The Major recharges her body suspended from cables in the ceiling.
- Kuze also seems to keeping several prisoners, hanging in cocoons from the ceiling.
- Near the film’s end, the Major fights a giant spider tank, this time in order to get access to a secret held in a pagoda which will answer her questions about where she came from and about her connection to Kuze. Possibly what she finds, is the grave of her previous self seen in leaked set photos.
- While the story structure is in two halves, the Major wanting to know who she is, and then wanting to know who did it to her, the story ends with the Major accepting that she is neither human, nor robot, but a bit of both.
- There are no Tachikoma, sadly.
- The spider tank is much sleaker than previously designs. As if a stealth fighter was disassembled and put back together as a box with legs.
- The final revelation owes something to the plot of Innocence as well, leaving only Arise as the only instance of the story to not get homaged in some way.
This book confirms our suspicions that the plot borrows at least as much from Robocop (the original) as it does from previous iterations of Ghost in the Shell, which is disappointing when there is so much rich material within the existing canon to crib from without going to other sources, and also that the Director and Writers, in choosing to make the character white and concocting an awkward back story for her Japanese name, have totally missed the point of her Japanese name being a nom-de-guerre.
But it also confirms that however mediocre, dumbed down for Hollywood, and shallow the story will be compared to the depth the Ghost in the Shell series is known for, it will at least look incredible.