Earlier this year, Ghost in the Shell finally made its debut in the U.S., but the project got some rather mixed reviews. The film was heavily scrutinized before it released thanks to whitewashing concerns, and the adaptation overall failed to impress die-hard anime fans. However, some of Ghost in the Shell’s iconic anime directors do not see a problem with the movie.
Recently, Kodansha Comics released Ghost in the Shell READMEN: 1995-2017. The book contains a roundtable talk with Mamoru Oshii, Kenji Kamiyama, and Kazuchika Kise (via ANN). The three men oversaw some of Ghost in the Shell’s most popular anime projects like the 1995 animated film and the Stand Alone Complex series. The three men were asked to give their impressions of Hollywood’s live-action film, and the trio spoke candidly about the film.
According to Kamiyama, the TV director said he felt like the movie “was pretty much just live-action Ghost in the Shell” with a surprise twist in its latter-half. Kise, who directed the ARISE OVAs felt similarly, but Oshii said he wished the live-action project had not been quite so faithful to the franchise.
“I thought maybe they didn’t have to make it quite so faithful. But as far as the opening scene, when they’re putting the skin on the assembling cyborg - I like the hand-drawn version better,” the film director admitted.
“The CG might be more precise, but it’s kind of emotionless. When I did the anime, I modeled it on the Birth of Venus, but maybe that’s the strength of animation. With live-action, you do get a certain sense of assurance with a real actress doing it. The character has a feeling of presence. Right from the first scene, you can feel a level of personality from her, and that’s good.”
In the past, Oshii has said he didn't get the controversy surrounding Ghost in the Shell prior to its release, but fans have been mixed on the subject. Audiences fawned over the adaptation's electric aesthetics, but the film fell short in characterized The Major as deeply as the anime did before it. Ghost in the Shell may not be Hollywood's worst live-action adaptation, but the project did show the industry still has a way to go before it is ready to tackle the medium head-on.