I just watched with great pleasure two YouTube videos for a movie I’ve long awaited, one a trailer and the other an event with the director, star, and an important supporting actor answering questions. The movie is GHOST IN THE SHELL, scheduled for release on March 31st of next year.
GITS is a sort of Japanese ROBOCOP, both featuring ideas long common in near-future and cyberpunk sci-fi. In their case their story revolves around a main character whose brain is put into a robotic body after most of their body has suffered catastrophe. As they plunge into an action-adventure story they also slowly build a new sense of who they are, rebel against those who would pigeon-hole and control them, and create a new sense of their place in the world.
GITS first appeared as a Japanese comic, then as a work of Japanese animation. It eventually inspired other books and animations in the series, and comics and animations based on similar stories. In 2008 Dreamworks bought the rights to the series and began the long process which ended in the final creation this year of the movie, starring Scarlett Johansson.
Her casting spawned critics who claimed it was “whitewashing.” Most of them seem to be Westerners. Japanese fans and the GITS creators widely approve of the choice of Johansson, already very popular as an action movie star in the East as well as the West from her roles in the Avengers movies and Luc Besson’s Lucy. Many hope the series becomes a big world-wide success rather than merely a locally Japanese one. Which may lead to a world-wide GITS franchise and business success for similar comics, animes, and movies.