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Kokaku Kidotai

Ghost in the Shell

Japan 1995
produced by
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Ken iyadomi, Ken Matsumoto, Yoshimasa Mizuo, Shigeru Watanabe, Teruo Miyahara (executive), Takashi Mogi (executive), Andy Frain (executive) for Kodansha, Bandai Visual, Manga Entertainment
directed by Mamoru Oshii
screenplay by Kazunori Ito, based on the manga by Masamune Shirow, music by Kenji Kawai, animation director: Toshihiko Nishikubo, key animation supervisors: Kazuchika Kise, Hiroyuki Okiura, character design by Hiroyuki Okiura, special effects by Mutsu Murakami

Ghost in the Shell

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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2029 AD: By now the world is mostly computerized, with cybernetic gadgets having invaded every aspect of human life, and most people are even enhanced by cybernetic organs. In such a world, the cyborg special agent/assassin Motoko hunts down (cyber) criminals with her colleagues, the vastly augmented Bateau, and Togusa, who's still mostly human.

At the present time, their main target is the Puppetmaster, an artuificial intelligence that has surfed through the minds of many humans, using them as his puppets, and has often erased all their memories, and even their ghost, the thing that still makes them human. But since the Puppetmaster isn't a being as such anymore but just intelligence hopping from shell to shell, it's increasingly hard to take him down and takes many a chase. Ultimately though it seems that fate intervenes when he (she ?) gets caught in a cyborg body that is run over and shattered by a truck. Once Motoko's organisation, dubbed Section 6, has gotten hold of the body though, the foreign office (Section 9) claims the body (having created the Puppetmaster in the first place as their weapon), but the Puppetmaster - who claims not to be mere AI anymore but claims to have a ghost of his own - requests political asylum ... but while Section 6 and 9 are still arguing over responsibilities, the Puppetmaster is broken free, and it seems only Motoko and company are able to stay hot on his heels - until Motoko finally manages to corner the Puppetmaster, and after breaking down his defenses she insists on Batou watching over her diving into the Puppetmaster's mind ... and realizes that he is nt really her enemy but a being very much like herself, Artificial Intelligence that has become  independent and human-like and that's fighting for its right to live. Ultimately, she agrees to blending her mind with the Puppetmaster's to become a new being - and Batou can escape with this new mind just before Section 9 bombards the whole site - and transplanting the mind in a childlike cyborg body he got from the black market, he grants the Motoko/Puppetmaster-hybrid a new lease of life.


For serious science fiction fans, Ghost in the Shell is some kind of revelation: The film is full of wonderful (if conventional) futuristic designs, offers (si-fi-)action aplenty, is as fast paced as can be - and at the same time it features a very intelligent (if a tad convoluted) script that gives the film's narrative a philosophical background that goes far beyond your usual sci-fi-actioner.

In a word, this film's a must-see and is definitely recommended.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD