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Manga: Ghost In The Shell
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Age Rating: 18+
Author: Shirow Masamune
Publisher: Dark Horse
Print Format: Western

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Having seen the first movie, and most of the first TV series of Ghost In The Shell, when I picked this up I was expecting a re-telling of the movie or thereabouts. Instead we get a mix-match of stories, with the main movie plot still evident in the back ground but with plenty of plotlines that were slightly different, or completely different to those I had seen in anime form. It came as a refreshing surprise to find things so different, and while I am assuming that I would have found more similarities if I'd seen all the GITS anime's, I haven't so it doesn't matter. The main plot of catching a elite hacker called "The Puppeteer", is surrounded in many short sub plots with the focus far more on characterization than the anime, but still with lots of action.

For those of you not-versed on Shirow Masamune's dark cyberpunk futuristic world, need to be to introduced to Major Motoko Kusanagi (pictured on the manga's cover above). Motoko is a cyborg and a member of Section 9, a government crime fighting agency. Along with the cyborg Batou and the mostly human Togusa (as well as a few other members such as the commander of Section 9, Aramaki), Motoko works as a top super agent. It has to be said that while very cold in the anime, the manga portrayal of Motoko has a lot more life to her. There is a bit more of an undercurrent of humor to the manga than the TV series, which while not something I'm used to was a welcome addition.

Despite the comic input to some scenes, the manga in itself is far more adult than the anime. I was actually surprised at the (frequently full colour) graphic scenes. I always suspected Motoko was at least bi-sexual from various scenes in the TV series and the full blown three way yuri scene involving her in the manga certainly proves my suspicions were correct (she does date a guy later on though, boo-hiss!). Frequent scenes of limb shredding and gore are also frequent, although I'm fairly de-sensetized to such things from other manga/anime. Certainly gorier than the TV version mind.

Overall, highly enjoyable stuff to be found here content wise. As long as you don't object to the fairly adult scenes and can take a slightly lighter tone than the TV series has, the adventures of Section 9 found there in are both thrilling and action packed. Good stuff, I actually liked it more than the TV series so far.

Overall Content Score: 9/10


Well considering how expensive this book retails at, it certainly needs to pull off something impressive. At 350 or so pages it certainly delivers on length and his printed on high quality glossed paper (unlike the usual type found in manga). There are several full colour sections which are superbly detailed when compared to the main black and white sections. The colour sections do tend to fall when the most graphic content is to be shown, but again that's only a problem if it bothers you. The main white print sections are printed clearly although Masamune's artwork in them can be a little sketchy at times and is a far cry from the superb detail of the colour. He can easily be forgiven though, as keeping up the detail from the colour sections all the way through would be an incredibly daunting task, especially when you consider the manga's length.

The cover art is pretty good, showing Motoko curled up with a gun and plugged into various machines. The back is dull, but has a detailed enough blurb with the usual boxes and 18 rating hidden away at the bottom.

Overall Presentation Score 9/10

posted by Mangaminx On Tuesday, September 13, 2005  
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