GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE
GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE. (Japanese title Kōkaku Kidōtai Inosensu [MOBILE ARMORED RIOT POLICE: INNOCENCE]). Mamoru Oshii, director, script, from the "comic "Koukaku-Kidoutai" by Shirow Masamune, writing as Masamune Shirow. English version writers Richard Epcar, and Mary Claypool (English ADR Writer). Japan: Bandai Visual Company et al. (production) / Toho Company (Japan theatrical release) / Bandai Entertainment et al. (US DVD and Blu-ray), 2004. See IMDb for complex production and distribution.. 100 minutes.
Anime/computer-animated sequel to GHOST IN THE SHELL (animation, 1996), using sylistic elements from surrealism or at least Romantic or gothic art, and film noir and cyberpunk; an art film of sorts, highly useful for the theme of this wiki.
From Storyline by Anonymous on IMDb, edited by Erlich: "Batô is a living cyborg. His whole body […is] entirely man-made. What […] remains are traces of his brain and the memories of a woman i.e., the Major from the previous film]. In an era when the boundary between humans and machines has become infinitely vague, humans have forgotten that they are humans. This is the [… story] of the lonesome ghost of a man, who nevertheless seeks to retain humanity."
GHOST 2 participates consciously and explicitly in the debate over human nature and the accusation that Descartes et al. have made the human soul a "ghost in the machine" of the human body. As in the first film, in GHOST 2 human beings do have what a folklorist might call a "separable soul," a motif and/or theological element from the Ka of ancient Egyptian religion through cyber-cowboys zipping through cyberspace in classic cyberpunk in the tradition of Neuromancer.As pointed out in the Wikipedia article cited below, much of this debate is handled through quotation and allusions to works ranging from Julien Offray de La Mettrie's Man a Machine (1747) to Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's [L'Eve future (The Future Eve)]] (1886) to I. Asimov's I, Robot] stories (1950), to Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto (1985).
Most striking and possibly most relevant for the human/machine are the visuals, some of them combined with an reinforcing the dialog and some titles. Approximately in their order in the film:
The two opening titles in the English version, centered white letters on black, read: (1) "In a future time when most human thought has been accelerated by artificial intelligence [AI] and external memory can be shared on a universal matrix, Batou, an agent of the elite Public Security Section 9 and a being so artificially modified as to be essentially a cyborg, is assigned, along with his mostly human partner, Togusa, to investigate a series of gruesome murders." (The murders are by "gynoids": female sex dolls.) (2) "Time has passed since Batou's original partner, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who was cybernetically enhanced to such a degree that only her Ghost remained human, disappeared into the Net. Since then, Batou has wondered where her Ghost might be and if the Major will ever return …".
Batou and his associates drive classic retro cars, often too large and over-powered to be sensible in much of big-city Japan (suggesting continuity with a fashion of the 20th-21st century).
In the Prolog preceding the credits, we get a hint of machine/insect imagery with an Eye in the Sky flier. Later in the film we will see an aircraft that looks like a bird and a submersible that can pass for a whale, reinforcing at stressed moments the blurring of boundaries between mechanical and organic.
The Credits sequence starts with what looks like a fertilized egg moving into its embryological development, leading to a metallic spine and on to high-tech prosthetic or robotic hands, finally full dolls that turn out to be gynoids (see Allison de Fren essay, linked below).
Some 14 minutes in, we see the forensics lab of Haraway — just Haraway — and get exposition by Haraway on the "suicide" of the gynoid (her word). Haraway and Batou and to a lesser extent Togusa engage in philosophical dialog, with mention of Descartes and Haraway assuming the merging of human and machine, with some of the visuals alluding to BLADE RUNNER (1982) or otherwise making little sense. Haraway suggests children may be mentally and emotionally unhuman (Erlich's word) and brings up what Freudians might call the uncanniness of dolls. At the end of scene Haraway reveals herself to viewers as either an extreme android robot, who can readily pass for human, or a cyborg with a head that's mostly "cybernetic" and definitely artificial eyes.
Ca. 30 minutes in there's a VR schematic presentation of various body parts of the murder victim. In this scene, some people at a meeting turn out to have been holograms, while some were attended in the flesh — and the audience could see no difference until the holograms dissolved.
37 minutes in: Kinky killer cyborg (which may or may not be real in the world of the film). Some 45 minutes in: Batou runs amok in convenience store buying his usual (high quality) wet food for his Basset Hound. Proximate cause of serious glitch: hacking of his "cyber brain" (presumably "external memory" and such on the Net).
46 minutes in following, scene of air approach to Locus Solus: The Wonder City of the Future here (to use H. Bruce Franklin's phrase without the capitals) is Heavy Industrial, apparently — and oddly — polluted (it's product is information).
50 minutes in: Birds in flight juxtaposed with Heavy Industrial but still bird-like airplane.
Some 55 minutes in: Ducts and an industrial statue: possible BRAZIL allusion.
Vision of Basset Hound — Batou's animal companion — and the word "AEMAETH" broken to "AE" and "MAETH": allusion to Der Golem, Wie er in die Welt kam (THE GOLEM, 1920). Emet is the Hebrew word for Truth (and related words), met the word for Death. The truth of the golem is that "he" is not a living being. Here, it's a warning that what the two agents are experiencing is not the truth but a hack involving (faked) death.
1 hour in f.: Discussion of dolls, animals, souls, and gods; note images of doll-ified hacker and a tea-serving doll/robot, and see Allison de Fren article, linked below. Dialog gets to question of "Man as Machine" and human fear of mechanical existence.
1:04:50: Machine-like house, ca. 1900.
1:07 f.: External memory storied in computers helped yield fear of "mechanized man." Vision here of Agent Tagusa — a minimally cyborgized man — as a life-size moving doll with power/data/control cables attached, apparently walking but not moving, like a marionette. The phrase "god envy" can be hear in through here.
1:13: Line "She's somewhere out in the boundless Net" while agents on the whale-like sub, approaching while submerged a large ship for the climax of film at production center for gynoids.
1:19 f.: Inside a huge ship, intercut with images inside a computer, with Batou simultaneously a human cyborg running inside the ship and kind of computer virus, who must get through barriers and undergo attack by (presumably cybernetic) antibodies — with the images and voice-over reinforcing the point.
1:22 f. Attack on Batou by dolls/proto-gynoids, including in the manner of Pris in BLADE RUNNER. Major's Ghost — or part of it — enters a gynoid doll and saves Batou.
1:27: Setting up of cybernetic barriers imaged for us and in world of film as slamming shut of a series of doors in the ship's bulkheads.
1:28: The "peek behind the curtains," as Major puts it, reveals "Ghost dubbing," with living children in Matrix-like high-tech coffins the source for Ghosts for the gynoids. Major thinks dolls given souls wouldn't want them.
1:32: 45: Major Motoko Kusanagi disappears back in the Net/matrix; in through here Batou proclaims her at peace "like an elephant in the forest": integrated in nature, we may assume, and relatively self-sufficient.
GHOST 2 is discussed by Allison de Fren in her essay "Technofetishism and the Uncanny Desires of A.S.F.R."; q.v. especially for the discussion of dolls. For a brief summary of GHOST 2's participation in the debate over human nature, see the Wikipedia entry for the film, primarily "Allusions and references" and "Director's ideas."
RDE, Initial Compiler 1, 25-26July17