Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the shell is a science fiction film that based on Masamune Shirow’s manga. The story sets the stage in the future where people start to have cybernetic improvements to the trait which makes humans become more like robots in a sense. The main character is about a girl named Major Killian (Motoko Kusanagi)  has cybernetic improvements to her whole body other than brain which make her powerful and strong. She is capable of doing more things than normal humans do. Due to her speciality, she works for anti-terrorist bureau Section 9. The movie talks about her story and how she investigates her past and find who she truly is. The original anime has the cyberpunk element. This style is also found in this movie itself. The cyberpunk element gives the film a special flavour. Since the story takes place in the future, the whole movie has a much high technology element, and the visual effects are extremely impressive.

The title shows after Killian coming up from the machines and she is now newborn as a half human and half robot. The title “Ghost in the Shell” also suggests since Killian has the human brain but the robotic body, she is the ghost in the shell. “Ghost” and “Shell” are in the larger font and “in the” is in the small triangle in between “Ghost” and “Shell” which shows more emphasis on the “Ghost” and “Shell”. The “Ghost” is her brain while “Shell” is the robotic body. The background is dark red which adds a formal feeling to the movie while the audience could still see Killian standing there.


The first design element of the opening of the Ghost in the Shell I noticed is the use of the sound. In the whole opening, no one talks. It is just Killian, and how she is “made” with the brain and her robotic body. Then, there is a slow singing coming in when Killian’s body starts to go up to the “real world” which suggests the “newborn” of the Killian. The slow singing sound let the audience follow the emotion of Kilian. Also, the sound makes the movie become more serious and formal compared to the music in the comedy.

Not only the sound, but the movement in the opening also focus on slow motion. Everything moves slowly. Starting with the neurons that extend out slowly from the brain and they slowly connect to the neurons that extend out of the body. Then the neurons are twisted together to connect the brain to the body. Then Killian is slowly being put together by different parts as a robot. After this, she is sinking. This is might also hint that her inner self in sinking into the darkness. Then suddenly, the scene shows the full body is slowly moving up out of the fluid. Then the camera is showing she is coming out of the white painting and now she is covered by white painting instead of just a robot with the metal pieces. When she comes out, the white covering on her body becomes white pieces. Then the pieces fly away from her body, and her skin shows the colour of the normal human colour. This scene also suggests that now she is “newborn”. The change of the angle of the camera makes the audience get ready for the start of the story.

The light is also being utilized in the movie. When the neurons are showing up, the light of the background is extremely dark while the neurons are clear and bright. Then the brain and other body parts being put together and there is a little light to show the whole process, but the overall light is still dark. Then when Killian coming out of the white painting, the light become bright and first time white shows up on the screen. Then, the camera aims at her face; at the same time, there are several colours flashing through. Red, orange and yellow, the warm colours, which adds more emotion and human side to the beginning since so far everything seems cold and mechanical. Then Killian is coming out to the ground. This scene also formally suggests the start of the story.

There is also a usage of the line. When Killian’s skin colour becomes normal, the camera shows her face where shows her face having different lines that segment her face. This reminds the audience that even though she looks like a human, but she is a robot in a sense.  

The overall effects and design are extremely well. The use of the colour and the light make the audience could feel calm and set the tone of the beginning of the movie, which is seeing in a lot of cyberpunk movies. The colour and the light also take audience attention and make them focus on how Killian is “born”. The beginning is great to make the audience follow the story. I enjoyed the movie.


Discussion — 2 Responses

  • James Rigdon 04/24/2019 on 2:40 PM

    Hey Haohao,

    While this isn’t exactly related to the aspects of Ghost in the Shell that your post covered, I thought it was a nice and thought-provoking point of discussion to bring up. In regards to the major motion picture and its cast, do you think it was a questionable decision by Rupert Sanders (the director) to cast Scarlett Johansson as the main lead? This move by the creative directors got a lot of flak at the time of the movie’s announcement, as the story is derived from Masamune Shirow’s manga. Many fans and those excited for the movie believed that the main character should be of Japanese descent, due to the original manga being Japanese as well. Johansson looks somewhat like the drawn Manga character, but many support the idea that it is the thought of casting a Japanese actress that counts more than anything. I was wondering what you thought about this issue, and if it is even an issue at all? Should a Japanese actress have been cast for a famously Japanese manga, or did Johannson’s costume and delivery make up for that fault?
    Overall, this was a great and informative post for a movie that I found entertaining as well!

  • Brandon Lawrence 04/25/2019 on 1:35 PM

    Hey Haohao,
    I have yet to see this movie Ghost in the Shell but from what I can tell is a story unlike any other. Just from listening to your description of the film opening itself I can see several attributes that set the tone of what this movie will be. I do have a question about one of the things that you put within your diagnosis of the beginning of the film. The Ghost in a shell could very well be exactly what you said, Major Kilian being the ghost within her shell of a new advanced cybernetic body, but I have another theory. I do believe that you are on the right track with the shell, it is her new body, but I also think is is like her armor, similar to how a shell is a clams armor. This is supposed to protect her, or at least what is left of her. This is of course coming from someone who has not seen the film, but what I got from the pretenses that you laid out is that Major Kilian either did something extremely bad or was extremely injured, basically not who she once was and is basically looking for a fresh beginning within this new body. She does not remember anything about her and her past, which I believe makes her the ghost. It is not because she is in the body but it is only what is left of her that is in the new shell of a human body. This is just what went through my mind as I began to read through your summary of the film intro. I was also thinking about the ethnicity of the actor who was portraying Major Kilian in Ghost in a Shell. As you were saying I was based off a Japanese Manga, shouldn’t the actress be of Japanese decent instead of American. This probably did not make much of a difference within the main plot of the film but if they were going for the most accurate representation of the manga, that is probably the way that I would have gone. Given that they probably did it for star power alone, it makes a lot of sense. I thought you did a good job of going over the film and covering everything.

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