The History Behind Ghost in the Shell

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By Willden Doherty

Ghost in the Shell Manga (1989)

Ghost in the Shell originally came out in the form of a comic book manga. It was a series of 6 issues that later became a graphic novel. The book was about a police force called Section 9 led by the Major in 21st century Japan. It covered topics such as murder, terrorism, politics, and social issues. The manga became very popular in the U.S. and Japan. It led to the creation of another sequel over time and a collection of unreleased stories. The reviews of all the books have received high praise from fans and critics. The books later inspired many media adaptations in film and television.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Based on the manga, Ghost in the Shell was the first onscreen adaptation of the series. It came out in 1985 and changed the landscape for the film industry. It was one of the first films to combine traditional hand animation and new computer graphic technology. It has gone on to influence other films in animation, scifi, and storytelling. It has a more realistic look compared to the other adaptations. In can be seen that the live-action version has borrowed heavily from this film more than the others.

Stand Alone Complex (2002-2003)

In the early 2000s, Ghost in the Shell was brought to television. The series ran for two seasons which each one involving a major arc. It brought familiarity with procedural drama mixed in between episodes that told a larger story over the season. The first season gave us the Laughing Man who has become a memorable villain in the canon. The second season included the Individual Eleven. The animation is more stylized of the other anime put out around that time. The show became a favorite for fans with its mature content. It also led to a sequel film with Solid State Society than told the events after the series. A video game based on the series was released on the PS2.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)

After almost a decade since the original film, a sequel was released. It contained a heavier use of CGI than the previous film. The director from the first film returned to adapt one of the stories from the manga. It had big success with being entered in the Cannes Film Festival. The story focused more on Bato’s perspective as he became a fan favorite character.

Arise (2013-2016)

After many years, Ghost in the Shell was revisited once again this time in the form of a prequel series. It was more of a miniseries that contained 4 parts. It showed the origin story of how Section 9 came to be. The animation was even more stylized with heavy colors and action. When released on home video, the series was separated with parts 1&2 and 3&4. The series led to Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie that further continued the story.


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