Our friends at the BFI were being their awesome selves and gave us tickets to attend their screening of anime hit Ghost in the Shell Arise. What made this experience even better was the inviting news that it was to be shown in their main screen, a great experience for any attendee even more so when you add a large pack of Milky Way white chocolate buttons and a can of Coke of course!
For those who are new to the Ghost in the Shell franchise, the series is set in the year 2029 representing a world that is heavily addicted to advance knowledge of information, where humans and the network are one. Crime has seen a spike in numbers and has developed in intelligence due to the possibility of hacking into the interactive network. This leads to the creation of Section 9, formed by incredibly intelligent cyborgs that have the ability to access any network on Earth.
Ghost in the Shell (GITS for short…actually never mind that) started off as a Manga series, later transformed to the big screen. Arise takes place in an alternate setting, set before a time the original takes place. It was released in four different parts, set one year after the Fourth World War, where we find our female protagonist exploiting her hacking talent in order to investigate the aftermath of a bombing.
The constant plot twists and slightly convoluted story can create some confusion at times, but also keeps your concentration knowing that any outcome is pretty much possible when cyborgs are around. You don’t necessarily need to watch the original Ghost in the Shell chapters that came before this, but it will help understanding the basics of this universe.
The storyline is rather politically influenced, so unless you have an interest in that area it can get dull in parts and the soundtrack is more irritating than impressive. Nevertheless the film provides great visuals and offers enough interest to make you want to watch the other chapters. It may be worth checking out previous GITS releases before viewing Arise and don’t forget…white chocolate buttons make every experience in life that much better.
Words by Matthew Rathbone