It wasn’t really my intention to limit my anime reviews to Production I.G’s films, but I wound up watching Psycho-Pass: The Movie (2015) and here we are. The film follows Psycho-Pass (2012) and Psycho-Pass 2 (2014), both television anime series. Like Production I.G’s own, earlier Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and the subsequent Solid State Society film, and not unlike what they’d later repeat with Ghost in the Shell ARISE project, this anime film follows an existing series and doesn’t truly stand alone – something to keep in mind before deciding to watch it.
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (2015) is the feature-length follow-up to Ghost in the Shell ARISE, the third animated iteration of the Ghost in the Shell franchise (after the original films and the Stand Alone Complex era of the early 2000s). In Japanese, it’s called ‘Shin Gekijōban’, which is akin to ‘the new movie based on an anime or television series’. This explains both the clumsy English language title and the reliance on characters and plot elements from ARISE that, enjoyable or not, prevents it from excelling as a standalone experience.
I first saw Ghost in the Shell (1995) in the late ‘90s, on a probably-rented VHS, with the American dub (which, to my recollection, actually held up as one of the better dubs I’ve heard, though I haven’t tested that in years). Since then I’ve revisited it several times, with the original Japanese audio, both before and after I learned to speak the language. I recently had the opportunity to see it in a cinema for the first time, which presents a perfect moment to discuss the film here.