Innocence is the latest addition to the Ghost in the Shell (GitS) universe and appears to be the farthest along in the timeline. The story follows Batou, a character who is clearly more… “Integrated” than the rest of society. But, in my opinion, the storyline is not where Innocence’s charm lies: more interesting than the plot is the unique “man and the machine” perspective GitS 2 boasts, whose philosophy is significantly improved over the previous GitS movie.
Yes, the tried and tired concepts of blurring the line between “what is real and what is artificial” and “what is a man and what is a machine” are still prevalent throughout the movie, but GitS adds quite an interesting spin on the whole notion. What’s even better is Innocence doesn’t reveal this radical philosophy until the very end, and yet it is sprinkled ever so cleverly throughout.
Like the rest of the GitS universe, Innocence is teeming with symbolism and references. The strongest example (and the one you’d have to be blind to miss since it never skips a beat from beginning to end) would be the colors black and white. Everything pertinent to this reference is indeed shaded as such: a phenomenon that the viewer can’t help but pick up on. Since this is a review, I won’t spoil anything, but I felt the woman in the cold robot-development room was the most apparent example.
Reference and symbolisms
However, a lot of the references and symbolism, while relevant, do seem unnatural, to the extent that they are forced. I’m as optimistic as the next guy about human intelligence, but a casual discussion will never amount to citing Psalms from the Bible against Nietzsche. This problem creates a distinct line between the significant chats and the superfluous ones. It would have been a very nice effect if Innocence was able to blur yet another line, but alas, it just was not so.
Innocence will wow you visually. Sometimes you wonder if the settings are real or not, and other times you wonder if the CG was taken right from a video game. The movie easily surpasses .hack in terms of integrating anime art with CG technology, as the characters feel extremely natural within the rendered environments. To have a rendered, moving car alongside hand-drawn characters must have been quite the challenge.
The music is forgettable. Was there even any music? Having watched through Innocence twice, the only song I can recall is the opening one (it starts right after the prologue), and only because the girl’s voice seemed really high-pitched – even for that kind of song.
The character development
development is nonexistent, with the exception of Batou’s quirks (what few
there are). While the characters are boring, that, like the story, isn’t the
strongpoint and reason for Innocence’s creation. It’s all about the “man and
the machine” theme, and so it’s not hard to look past the uninteresting
characters who drift through the movie.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a must-watch
All said and done, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a must-watch. If not for the refreshingly original angle on the “man and the machine” philosophy, then for the astonishing visuals. Don’t watch it for the story, as its only purpose is to drive the theme forward, and so the characters likewise follow suit. Due to the flawed execution of character interaction, though, it is very easy to pick up on what is important to the story and what is not, making Innocence more accessible than the first movie. Whether or not that’s a plus is up to you.
For more reviews and information, visit Go Fish Pictures’ official (and very flashy) website for Innocence at GoFishPictures.com/GITS2