THE GHOST IN THE SHELL

Posted On November - 19 - 2009
  RELEASED BY:   KODANSHA COMICS
  AUTHOR / ART:  

SHIROW MASAMUNE

  FORMAT:   WESTERN / B&W
  PAGES:   368
  RATING:   M
  RELEASE DATE:   10/13/2009
  REVIEW DATE:   11/19/2009
  REVIEWED BY:   SCOTT CAMPBELL



Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg super agent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including “ghost hackers” who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers’ criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down.

From Shirow Masamune, the award-winning creator of Appleseed and Dominion, comes The Ghost in the Shell, the breakthrough manga that inspired the internationally acclaimed animated film. An epic dystopian tale of politics, technology, and metaphysics, The Ghost in the Shell has been hailed worldwide as an unparalleled visionary work of graphic fiction. And now it’s ready to dazzle the imagination in its second millennium. This edition includes a new Introduction from Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson, and a fascinating Postscript from author Shirow Masamune, with his thoughts on the phenomenon that is The Ghost in the Shell!

Ghost in the Shell is one of those manga series that most everyone who is into manga at all has heard of. It’s just one of those important milestones that was so good when it came out that it blew people away, and even this many years later it is still entertaining and wholly relevant. To say the least, Ghost in the Shell is a classic – it’s a fantastic science fiction masterpiece that is worth reading multiple times to better understand what is being said. The story has a large amount of depth and complexity to it – this is a “smart” book in many ways. But it never skips out on the action and the excitement – it weaves a tense web of a story in a world on the brink of losing control, and you can feel it as you read each page. It should be noted that this one large book contains the whole series, so no need to collect volumes. As mentioned, this manga also spawned a movie (which is excellent), and a number of different off-shoot TV series and other comics/manga. If you like Ghost in the Shell, there’s much more to it for fans to search out and enjoy.

So the series is classic, it’s highly recommended, and the story has incredible depth. Another thing that few people sit on the fence about when it comes to Ghost in the Shell is the art. Shirow Masamune is a truly amazing artist, and always has been – his work is quite special. The amazing attention to detail and depth in the art is what makes it so great, and adds so much replay value to someone who likes to enjoy a book enough that it makes them want to read it again. Every time you read this book you will see something you missed before just because of the sheer volume of detail. Readers will also love the fact that this book is a large format – bigger book means enlarged visuals, and therefore a better ability to see all the wonderful details. Science fiction fans and cyber-punk enthusiasts will eat this art up like it was pumpkin pie (assuming you like pumpkin pie, since it is very tasty). Quite frankly though, it would almost be a strange situation for anyone who is a fan of those genres to not have heard of or read Ghost in the Shell already – it’s like mandatory reading for anyone who “knows their stuff.”

What else can be said about this book? It’s just pure awesome, and a totally involving read. Ghost in the Shell will suck you into its world and not let you go until you have finished reading it. If you haven’t read this one, you’re missing out big time.


IN SUMMARY:
The Ghost in the Shell is a classic manga milestone, and a very important and influential book. Science fiction fans should rush to purchase this new printing, but everyone else should take notice too! Incredible art and story – a Top Ten List kind of book.

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