There are two anime/manga auteurs whose work often revolves around the meaning of humanity, about how human society does or should work.
These are valid themes for any artist but ones that risk alienating the audience. To explore, to define, humanity you must sometimes create a contradiction, an alien, that will serve as the mirror in which the audience will see humanity clearly.
Sympathising with the alien can be... hard.
In two of Mamoru Oshii’s earlier movies Patlabor 1 and Patlabor 2 the mirror was a human who had become alienated from society. In both films the attempt of the mirror to reconnect with humanity in odd ways was the driver for the conflict and showed the SV2 to best advantage as group of people that the audience sympathised with.
Yet at the end of both movies we are left wondering if the antagonist (I don’t think I can say villain in these cases) had a point worth considering.
The same themes show up in much of Masumune Shirow’s work, particularly in Appleseed and some of the Dominion Tank Police manga (the anime OAVs...less so). The “mirror” in Appleseed are bioroids, artificial lifeforms, who seek to embrace humanity at every opportunity and who help to bring the main character back into connection with society.
Most, if not all, of the items described above are anime/manga that I’m at least fond of, and generally enjoy greatly.
So, you’d expect that a Mamoru Oshii film of a Masumune Shirow manga would be both a classic and one of my favourites.
Well, I’ll admit that the original Ghost in the Shell movie is generally regarded as a classic.
Well plotted, with an interesting story, and it is visually stunning. A breathtakingly realistic animated view of a world that doesn’t yet exist, in places so well done that you forget that it is animation and not live action.
Ghost in the Shell also leaves me cold.
Even as you push the boundaries of humanity in an attempt to define it you must still present characters that are human enough to sympathise with. Patlabor 2 was right on the borderline of this, and I felt that Ghost in the Shell was a step too far.
The last time I watched Ghost in the Shell I couldn’t really sympathise and started thinking the Eight Deadly Words: I don’t care what happens to these people.
Day 1 - Very first anime: Robotech, Gall Force, Vampire Princess Miyu
Day 2 - Favourite TV series: Card Captor Sakura
Day 3 - Your anime crush: Oh grow UP already.
Day 4 - Favourite Film: My Neighbour Totoro
Day 5 - Anime character you feel you are most like (or wish you were): Kinoshita (Rocket Girls)
Day 6 - Most annoying anime character: Lynn Minmei
Day 7 - Character you’d most like to slap: Hiyama Hikaru
Day 8 - Most epic scene ever: Launch day - Wings of Honneamise
Day 9 - Saddest anime scene: The passing of the Fortune Twins - Nariya and Eriya
Day 10 - Favourite slice of life anime: ARIA
Day 11 - Favourite mecha series: Patlabor: The Mobile Police
Day 12 - Best instalment of a franchise you don’t like: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: The War In The Pocket
Day 13 - Worst instalment of a franchise you do like: WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3
Day 14 - Current (or most recent) anime wallpaper: I think I had a Silent Mobius wallpaper once.
Day 15 - A reality check for a genre you like: Romantic/Heroic Space Pirates
Day 16 - An anime classic that simply doesn’t work for you: Ghost in the Shell (film)
Day 17 - Best Background Music
Day 18 - Best Five-team (?)
Day 19 - Change you’d like to make to any one anime
Day 20 - Most ambiguous anime character
Day 21 – Favourite OAV Series
Day 22 - Animation studio you'd most like to slap.
Day 23 - Anime you think had the best, or most intriguing art
Day 24 - Favorite anime hero or heroine
Day 25 - Best anime villain
Day 26 - Your favorite harem anime
Day 27 - Favorite anime opening theme song
Day 28 - Favorite anime companion/summoned creature
Day 29 - Best Anime Music Video
Day 30 - Favorite anime ending theme