I saw Ghost in the Shell in theatres, a movie that has a long history with me, going back 15 years when it was an animated film from Japan. The background on what the original movie means to me: Ghost in the Shell was the first animated film I had chosen and watched myself, without any influence from any other person, when I was 10 years old. I had discovered Toonami and Adult Swim and the Japanese anime those programs showed (back then being Dragonball Z, Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing, and Tenchi Muyo!, among so many others), and found them enthralling. When my father began his habit of weekend rentals at Blockbuster, he would wander the aisles of films while I headed straight to the anime. Small, but a treasure trove none-the-less. Thats where I saw it: Ghost in the Shell. The cover then was of the main character, Major Matoko Kusanagi’s naked upper chest and shoulders, wielding a pistol and wearing dark sunglasses, tubes and wires behind her and her skin opened on her arms to reveal her cybernetic insides, all hovering over a huge city. It was future and female and cyborg and the promise of gunfights that had me adding the DVD box onto Dad’s pile of his own movies. He eyeballed the cover, probably interested himself with the Major’s nudity, but he allowed me to bring it home. My mother was pretty sure I was gay, and my father tried his best to ignore it. I watched the whole film, riveted by the action, enthralled by the music, and speechless from the storyline. It ended and I turned it back to the opening scenes at once. And then Dad came in, right at the scene of the Major taking off her coat, revealing her “nudity” to become invisible, and jumping off a building, gun in hand. He protested quietly that she was naked, and I replied that she didn’t have nipples, but that apparently didn’t matter- I wasn’t allowed to watch it again.
Fast forward through the years where I bought the DVD myself as a teenager, watched it constantly, to now, when it comes alive again in live-action through the acting of Scarlett Johansson and all of the cast and team that created it. I lose no dignity by saying that I cried when the end credits began to roll. I sat in my car in the parking lot and held my face in my hands and cried. I had relived the same amazement I had felt the first time I saw it when I was ten years old. The new film was everything and more of the original. I knew this was a common feeling for others- my mother and my girlfriend both had the same reaction after seeing Star Wars episode 7, as they were both raised on the original three, twenty years apart from each other.
So why is this here on Hot Tea and Fiery Talk? Oh…There are so many points I want to make, all the things I want- need to say about this film. Not on general filmaking or the like, though I might later, but of the messages, the imagry. What it means to us here today, and what our obsessions are. Our vices and prejudices, our triumphs and ingenuity! Ghost in the Shell was the final reason- the jumping off point to the making of this blog. So many things that I will talk about down the road will feed right off of this movie and everything about it. Things that I love to think about, talk about, debate and ruminate. I dedicate this blog to Ghost in the Shell as a whole.
Grab a cup of piping hot tea (or coffee if you must haha), and let’s get fiery.