With the DVD release of the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie scheduled for July 25th, I thought it was a good time for it to find its rank within the franchise.
Here are the best and worst titles within the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Games and manga not included.
7. Ghost in the Shell (live action)
Saw this coming, did you? It’s true, the live-action version is lacking when compared to the others in the series. Mostly because it does nothing more than try to recreate the original. It’s visually impressive, but lacks the magic that made the anime a classic. Not even Scarlett Johansson could save this attempt.
6. Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture
This re-imagining of the original story had a new look, but retained the soul of the original. That made me happy. Unfortunately, Arise ends too soon, leaving several questions unanswered.
5. Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie
The New Movie is the film follow up to Arise, presumably because there were too many loose ends. It delivers more of the new artowrk while providing some much needed closure after Arise.
4. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
The direct sequel to the original, Innocence does a good job of giving us more eye-candy and more depth, proving that the storytellers had more philosophical musings to dive into. The story was confusing at times, but it was still fulfilling and stands apart from your average sequel.
3. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society
This was the only full length feature from the Stand Alone Complex story line, and it was a solid movie. Not as great as SAC episodes, but damn fine compared to the rest of the series. And it was nice to explore one SAC story in depth.
2. Ghost in the Shell
Who doesn’t love the original Ghost in the Shell? It’s got everything you want from a futuristic action flick. Gorgeous visuals? Check. Heart pounding action? Check. Deep, philosophical story? Check. Sexy cyborgs? Check. This movie has it all, which is probably why the live-action movie didn’t try to add anything new. Can’t fix what ain’t broken!
Originals often appear in the #1 spot in franchise lists like this one, usually because storytellers create something wonderful that publishers milk until dry. Not in this case. Stand Alone Complex proves that some anime are better as shows than movies. The Major needed more screen time, the world needed more exploration, and the story needed more depth. SAC delivers on all points, and with improved animation and an amazing soundtrack to boot.
Watch Stand Alone Complex here on Viewster. It’s simply amazing.
And if you disagree with my list, pick a fight with me in the comments below.
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