Blu-ray Review “Ghost in the Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition”

ghost-25Starring: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Kouichi Yamadera, Tamio Ohki, Iemasa Kayumi, Yutaka Nakano
Directors: Mamoru Oshii
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Run Time: 82 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

If you are counting on your fingers wondering if you are going nuts, don’t worry the answer is no. “Ghost in the Shell” did come out in 1995 and it has only been 19 years since its release. This Blu-ray celebrates the the 25th anniversary of the publication of Masamune Shirow’s original manga. If you are scratching your head again wondering how this compares to the 2009 “Ghost in the Shell 2.0” Blu-ray release, you are not alone again, but luckily I will explain. The 2.0 cut was a new version of the film with over 250 reworked scenes, remastered by Mamoru Oshii himself including a new voice cast recording and brand new score from Kenji Kawai. The original theatrical cut has never been released before on Blu-ray, so this is the first time. Honestly though unless you are a hardcore fan, who needs the original cut (which is pretty awesome to have don’t get me wrong), I wouldn’t rush out to pick this up.

Official Premise: Set in the year 2029 and following World Wars III and IV, a Japanese-led Asian block dominates world affairs. The alliance maintains its international supremacy through its elite security force whose cybernetically enhanced operatives tackle an array of hi-tech terrorists and other threats to international security. These augmented agents can “ghost hack” (i.e., download their consciousness) via the now omnipresent internet into other machines and human/machine cross breeds. Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cybernetically augmented female agent, has been tracking a virtual entity known as the Puppet Master with her crack squad of security agents. The shape-shifting Puppet Master, a rogue creation of a rival agency of the security apparatus, has concluded that it is a life form in its own right, “born in sea of information,” and requested political asylum and true physical existence in defiance of its creators.

This 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release includes a HD remaster of the original, unaltered theatrical cut of the film. This version has never been released on Blu-ray before, which is a cool thing but I expected so much more from the “25th Anniversary release” The audio tracks includes are a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for the English track and only a LPCM 2.0 for the Japanese track. If you recall the 2009 Blu-ray we got DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 for both Japanese and English tracks along with LPCM 2.0 as well for each. This Blu-ray just doesn’t cut it for me in comparison. Plus there are ZERO special features included on this release besides a booklet with an interview from Mamoru Oshii and an article on the “The World of Ghost in the Shell” and “The Impact of Ghost in the Shell”, which makes for a nice read but hardly enough to warrant a re-buy.

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