I’ll continue on the thematic of Ghost in the shell for a little while… I dug out those two reviews of the original GITS manga respectively published in PA #83: 20 (March-April 2005) and PA #84: 20 (June-July 2005) — however I have relativized the original rating. Note that I had already (briefly) reviewed those manga along with the live-action movie and that I have also reviewed The Ghost in the Shell Perfect Edition, tome 1.5 : [ Human Error Processer ] on this blog.
Ghost In The Shell
A totally superb book! This second edition offers the original Japanese size (5.75” x 8.25” which is a smaller, more convenient size than the original English edition, but still easy to read contrary to the 4” x 6” of Lone Wolf & Cub) and some extra pages that were originally cut because they were too racy (hence the 18+ rating and the parental advisory for explicit content). It is a nice thick book, with glossy paper, that has a good feel when held. Shirow’s artwork might be of variable quality, varying from the beautiful colour illustrations to the sketchy SD characters, but his story is solid and profound (although a little too technical by moments). Most of this first volume offers the framework for the first movie (with some variations and more details), but you can also find a few ideas that were used for the Stand Alone Complex TV series, and the sixth chapter is the basis for the story of the second movie. A classic and a must.
Ghost in the shell (攻殻機動隊 / Kōkaku Kidōtai / Mobile Armored Riot Police) by Masamune Shirow (translated by Frederik L Schodt and Toren Smith). Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Manga, October 2004. 368 pg. $24.95 US / $33.99 Can. ISBN 1-59307-228-7. For adult readership (18+). See the back cover.
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Ghost In The Shell #2: Man-Machine Interface
Like the first volume, this one is really a superb book. Even more than the first, since there is three time more colour pages, the designs are much nicer and the art is more detailed (particularly in the colour pages – however, a problem in the reproduction of the screen-tone sometimes creates an annoying shimmering effect in the B&W art). It is a more mature work. The story is more serious and complex, to the point that it becomes difficult to follow and understand. That’s the major drawback of the book. Motoko has merged with the Puppet Master and swims freely in the virtual sea of information. She has moved to the private sector and works as the head of security for Poseidon Industrial. Her new nature allows her to move from one artificial body to another, which is quite convenient in her line of work, but makes the story even more confusing. On top of that you have Shirow’s philosophical reflection on life, intelligence and existence. Besides the main character, the story of this book has not much to do with the first part. The art is sublime and the story challenging. A must.
Ghost In The Shell #2: Man-Machine Interface, by Masamune Shirow (translated by Frederik L Schodt and Toren Smith). Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Manga, January 2005. 312 pages (mostly in colour, with 106 in B&W), flipped, $24.95 US / $32.00 Can, ISBN 978-1-59307-204-9. For adult readership (18+, Lots of nudity & Violence). See the back cover.
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