Archive for the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Category

Hey remember 2007 sure why not

February 23, 2008

Hey, just in time for the Oscars.

The best movies of 2007. It was a swell year for genre and artsy flicks alike.

The worst movies. Some of them aren’t all that bad, just dumb fun.

The best video games, or rather, the few games I managed to play out of the million or so that were released last year.



Grump Select – Ghost in the Shell: STAND ALONE COMPLEX

January 30, 2008

After nuclear World War III and non-nuclear World War IV (the so-called Second Vietnam War), the world is a very different place. Japan has since risen as a major superpower once more, despite Article IX of their Constitution, which prevents them from taking part in actual combat. Instead, using nanotechnology, the country turns the tide with microscopic machines that scrub the environment clean of radiation, thus making nuclear weapons less of an advantage. The wars end and the geopolitical climate shifts considerably, most notably, the splitting of America into three separate nations – the American Empire, the Russo-American Alliance and the United States of America.

Meanwhile, Japan has flourished. It’s home to amazing technological achievements including full-body prosthetics and intelligence-enhancing brain implants, making total recall and vast information storage possible. Cyberbrains and cyborgs are commonplace. Androids and artificial intelligence are advancing exponentially. Robotics like mechanized armor and multi-pedal tanks ensure some country or privatized military are heavily armed. The Internet has evolved into a single global ether that any individual with a cyberbrain can tap into in real-time. Cyberspace is as real as you make it.

Japan also flounders. The country has no idea what to do with the three million war refugees it gives ill-equipped shelter to. The shadow of the ultra-nationalist American Empire looms over the mostly-ineffective Japanese government while big companies and manufacturers secretly hold the reins. The proliferation of advanced technology brings a dark side as well – cybercrime, a new brand of terrorism. Boundaries are blurred; man and machine are almost the same and reality itself is in question. Espionage and subterfuge is at an all-time high.

This is the backdrop of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, perhaps the greatest work of cyberpunk science fiction put to screen.

omg YES


Love’s Labors Lost – Patlabor 2

August 9, 2007

Sexy Mecha Freakout

Look at the Patlabor 2 cover. You see a beautiful looking anime babe, hair flowing, in front of a giant robot. Giant robot… equals action! Animation… dazzling effects! Anime babe, sex appeal!

However, Patlabor 2 is not an action movie and with that in mind the cover is pretty accurate. There is indeed a lot of snow and a lot of birds. The animated characters share a similar pale color scheme, and the giant robots remain stationary, in fact, their presence is entirely inconsequential throughout most of the movie’s runtime. The Patlabors are merely an upgrade to the military hardware that exists today and when they do finally see action in the movie’s closing moments it’s like nothing from Gundam or Big O. Their battle performance is procedural, even mundane, though not without its own blue collar appeal, akin to Ripley’s clunky power loader at the end of Aliens, like these things could one day exist.

And that’s Patlabor 2’s greatest strength. Though often set far in the future, science fiction is about what’s happening today. The movie, made in 1993, is set in 2002 (so now it’s actually in the past), but it’s surprising how timely it remains. It is almost all dialogue so some viewers will find the heady philosophizing, dense monologues, urban vistas and political barbs very boring.

Those looking for something other than Studio Ghibli’s output and whatever’s on Adult Swim these days will find a lot to think about in Patlabor 2, and they should. It’s directed by Mamoru Oshii, the guy who gave us the equally intellectual Ghost in the Shell movies.



Grump Alert: Solid State Society to Air Monday Night

June 10, 2007


This is a priority 1 Grump Alert, guys! One of Tim’s and I’s most hotly anticipated movies this year is getting airtime on the Sci-Fi Channel Monday night. Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society is a movie installment in the venerable Stand Alone Complex branch of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Not only was Ghost in the Shell one of the inspirations for The Matrix, which was the inspiration for almost every action movie since 1999, but Stand Alone Complex has been almost consistently the best iteration of the franchise. Not to mention it’s probably one of the best animes I’ve ever seen. It comes as close to perfection as I’ve ever seen in an anime, and judging from Tim’s reaction to seeing a special screening of Solid State Society earlier this year, I have no reason to doubt the same is the case with this one. If you’re worried about not being able to jump into it; don’t be. The basic premise is that Section 9 is a group of anti-cybercrime cops in the near future. Motoko Kusanagi (aka The Major) used to be their leader, but two years ago she disappeared, leaving her teammate Batou inconsolable. Action and talking heads ensue.

It airs this Monday night at 11PM EST. I don’t care what you have to do to see this: tape it, stay up and miss work the next day, whatever. You are seeing this. And posting your reactions in the comments for this post. :3

Remember: that’s 11PM EST on the Sci-Fi Channel. This is an event no Grumpling will be allowed to miss!