When you talk about the most important entries in the manga/anime genres, you cannot have the discussion without bringing up Shirow Masamune’s Ghost in the Shell. Starting as a hit manga, this cyberpunk masterpiece was subsequently turned into a landmark animated film in 1995. Not only was this film one of the key titles that caused anime’s explosion in the western market, but it was a huge influence on modern sci-fi in general, with several films, such as The Matrix, owing a great debt to the film. As well as a 2004 sequel film title Innocense, the series also inspired the 2002 anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex that ran for two series and was followed up with a film sequel Solid State Society, the recent reboot series Ghost in the Shell: Arise, and several video games. As one of the strongest franchises to emerge from the manga industry, it was natural that a live action film adaptation would come to fruition. This March marks the release of Rupert Sander’s film starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi and now is a perfect time to rediscover the original manga.
Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg Superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including “ghost hackers” who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers’ criminal ends.
To celebrate the film’s release, Kodansha are rereleasing the original manga in a deluxe hardcover format in a definitive release. Everything the original fans know and love – the great action, highly detailed art, great characters like Motoko, Batou, and Aramaki, the varied storytelling that ranges from thriller to satire, and explorations of technology that are still relevant today – are still there. But also, this is the first time the series has been released in its original unflipped right-to-left format in English. This remastered edition has been supervised by Masamune himself and also includes new bonus content.
This series is going to get a lot of renewed buzz in the coming month with the exposure from the live action film. And with the entire original series getting the deluxe treatment, there is no excuse not to check out this classic cyberpunk manga which created a whole generation of manga/anime fans as it was originally intended.
The Ghost in the Shell Deluxe Editions will be published by Kodansha Comics on 23rd Feb 2017: :
Ghost in the Shell 1 Deluxe Edition (£23.99, h/b, 9781632364210)
Ghost in the Shell 1.5 Deluxe Edition (£15.99, h/b, 9781632364227)
Ghost in the Shell 2 Deluxe Edition (£23.99, h/b, 9781632364234)