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The way in which adaptation of Ghost in the Shell so far has carved out it's own, unique
identity is really fascinating to me.
Although they might all be similar at first glance, each has differing details in elements
like tone or editing style.
This is one of my favourite aspects of the franchise, the fact that you can switch so
seamlessly from Oshii's blunt subtlety to Kamiyama's flashy excessiveness.
All while staying in the world of Ghost in the Shell.
But of course, this is less to do with what it being adapted and more so how it is adapted.
As we've seen recently, it's not really a case of trying replicate an already existing
style or playing it safe.
These practitioners have been very precise on their adaptations, I want to use this opportunity
to look into how Ghost in the Shell has been adapted before and how it might adapted in
the future.
The franchise begins with the Ghost in the Shell manga manga, commonly overlooked in
discussion about the franchise, Shirow created this back in 1989 after writing Appleseed,
a similar Cyberpunk manga series.
The era it was created in is important to note because it comes far before the age of
the internet and doesn't have a huge amount of technology to base it's world on.
Regardless, Shirow goes into immense detail with the intricacies of the world.
In Fact, the technologies and workings of his universe becomes one of the most important
parts of the series.
His characters are also drastically different to most adaptations, Motoko for example is
very tongue and cheek, and very flashy with her appearance.
Tonally, the manga is a lot lighter too, It's common for characters to jokingly bounce off
each other during the series.
One of the most important elements to take from Shirow's manga is the story structure.
This is an element that never leaves the franchise and kind of makes it what it is.
His manga chapters are always very tightly written, short stories that both start and
finish in the same breath but also play into the larger narrative of the world.
This is a really unique aspect to the series and one that I don't think many other writers
can do.
You get the sense of large scale world being developed in the story without having to sit
through hours and hours of development, Shirow's chapters were excellently compact.
The manga was a very unique addition to the wave of Cyberpunk media from the 80s.
Going into the 90s, fans were hungry for more of the franchise, so much so that it was becoming
larger than the manga itself.
Later on in the 90s the first adaptation was Mamuro Oshii's film, created in 1995.
Before directing the adaptation, Oshii approached Shirow and asked for complete creative freedom
to adapt the franchise in any way he wanted.
This is super important.
Oshii wanted to use the manga as a base for his film but wanted full control over where
it went stylistically.
And his approach was completely different to Shirow's original.
Stylistically, Oshii opted to use his photorealistic animation style instead of Shirow's more
playful comic style.
Which helped Oshii retain that sense of absolute detail in the story.
His story-telling was very similar to Shirow's style but swayed more towards the philosophical
Shirow's manga definitely had a larger focus on the workings of the technology.
Oshii didn't push this aside completely but his film focused more so on the implications
of that technology rather than its technical operations.
This was also one of the first digitally animated anime films, Oshii chose to embrace this when
most productions were sticking with more traditional methods.
With this he was able to capture a sense of realism that would become one of the movie's
most important qualities.
If I were to try and imagine the film using traditional animation and sticking to the
Manga's art style, there's a high chance it wouldn't have ages as well.
Character designs aswell, were one of the biggest changed from the manga, they were
originally very bold cyberpunk designs that fit well into the 80s, Oshii employed a unique
level of simplicity to his designs.
Changes in aspects like hair colour or clothing were toned down to fit into Oshii's style.
And this is quite a predictable choice looking at his work leading up to the adaptation.
Ghost in the Shell picks up from where Patlabor left off, and a lot of similar imagery is
employed in both franchises.
Despite the changes this movie makes, it still stays very similar to the manga at it's
That style of a compact, tight narrative is still present.
It's not a hugely long movie and it keeps its core narratives within that runtime.
It starts and finished a number of different storylines very smoothly, that's something
that is very true to the manga.
The level of depth in which it approaches its intricacies is another shared quality.
Both the manga and the movie have impeccable precision in approaching their details.
Whether it be in the manga's technological descriptions or the movie's philosophical
dialogue, they both have a consideration for great detail.
Oshii's movie had a massive reception all around the world, but he kept fans waiting
almost a decade until his next installment with Ghost in the Shell Innocence, or Ghost
in the Shell 2.
This was Oshii's follow-up to the original film, and in my opinion is criminally overlooked.
It rarely gets mentioned alongside the rest of the franchise, i feel like it's been
missed out completely by a lot of fans.
Which is a shame because it's another really unique instalment of the franchise.
It's not very similar to the original movie or the manga, it takes on a life of its own.
Which is what i like so much about it.
Understandably it's not as accessible as the movie or the manga as the dialogue is
extremely heavy and the themes are almost a challenge to decipher.
Oshii definitely turned off his filter for this, it plays out more similar to some of
his earlier works like Angel's Egg more than it does Ghost in the Shell.
The technical level of the movie's animation alone deserves respect.
It blends 2D animation and 3D animation in a way that is still some of the best i've
ever seen, and Oshii's directing here is hand down some of his best and most creative.
The way he composes shots that expose opportunities for animation rather than hide them is fantastic.
And the surreal world design of the movie's second half if so memorable.
The story has a distinct level of surrealism too.
Themes and plot points are hidden under layers of quotes and large chunks of philosophical
musings, every aspect of the movie is a puzzle in itself to interpret.
Innocence is probably the furthest the franchise has wandered from its original roots but i
genuinely think the movie is underappreciated.
I'd advise any fans of the franchise to give it a few watches.
Innocence has gained it's reputation in small groups of fans who adore it, but it
didn't capture the wide-scale audience that the original movie did, the same can't be
said about the next adaptation though that arguably matched Oshii's movie in popularity.
Stand Alone Complex, a TV series around 50 episodes.This project was helmed by Kenji
Kamiyama who had spent his career up until this point shadowing Mamuro Oshii.
Kamiyama notes that the style he used for this was a mixture of Oshii and Shirow.
His years working under Oshii have shaped his style to be very similar but mentions
that the humorous aspect of the manga would have more of a presence in Stand Alone Complex.
It's clear instantly that the series is very different from the movie.
I'd say this adaptation is the closest to the original manga, and more suitable for
any fans that were put off by Oshii's surreal style.
Motoko's character design for example returns to brighter hair and a more extravagant set
of outfits.
Her tone as a character is reflected in this too.
Due to the length of the series, Kamiyama would have to expand his scope into aspects
that Oshii didn't have to.
Long term world politics for instance; the political climate of the world would have
to be a lot more considerate and previous episodes would need to have an effect on future
And he does this fantastically.
More so than most other installations, Kamiyama really adds depth to the world's progression,
bringing the city to life.
Kamiyama mentions that his style of storytelling and story structure have been influenced heavily
by his work with Oshii.
This is apparent in the show's episodic stories that kind of become mini-movies within
Kamiyama's storytelling style has a lot of similarities to Oshii's.
You can really see where he gets his structure from.
I think what's interesting about Stand Alone Complex is how it also takes time to divert
from the main story and have an episode or two focusing on a single character or situation.
Togusa's solo episode for example is brilliant because of this, we get a level of specific
character development that hasn't existed in the franchise before, and we get to explore
new aspects of the Ghost in the Shell world.
This is such a unique element to bring to the franchise, adding so much depth to the
experience, I have to give Kamiyama huge props for it.
I think what made Stand Alone Complex a good adaptation was how diverse it was, regardless
if you liked Ghost in the Shell for Shirow's manga or Oshii's films, there was a bit
of everything in here, all glazed over with Kamiyama's unique touch.
And you can kind of see a formula for adaptations here, both maintaining the core aspects of
a series that made it so unique originally but also adding in your own distinct style.
Arise is a perfect example of this formula isn't the easiest to pull off.
Arise was a weird project, it kind of exists as a bunch of different versions, there's
a manga and an OVA series and recently a short TV series.
Most of these being just average at best.
The best episodes pass as half decent sci-fi stories but pale in comparison to the franchise's
previous instalments.
I think what Arise doesn't do well as an adaptation is create an identity.
All of the aforementioned elements are in Arise but it doesn't embrace them enough,
the stories don't have enough depth, the world lacks in comparison to Stand Alone Complex
and it tackles very few of the philosophical elements of the franchise.
And most importantly, it certainly doesn't inject its own original qualities.
It's almost as if they stripped Ghost in the Shell down to it's basics and didn't
add anything new.
I think Arise just lacked a strong artistic vision, the production varied too much throughout
the series and you never felt like you were watching someone's work.
And that's the same for the upcoming live action adaptation.
This is quite interesting since there's a new adaptation coming up very soon, but
it's the same as Arise, it doesn't have an established figure-head behind it.
Director Rupert Sanders hasn't directed a lot.
He has a background in advertising and personally I don't see much of an artistic identity
in his work.
Obviously it's not out yet but it will be interesting to see if this leads to the movie's
possible downfall.
When I think about Ghost in the Shell I think about bold artistic choices from every department
of production, Shirow, Oshii, Kamiyama and so many other positions I didn't get to talk
about in this video all grabbed this franchise by the horns and steared it in their own direction.
I think that's a really valuable lesson to learn, not just for adapting Ghost in the
Shell but for any sort of Adaptation in general.
Ghost in the Shell is something I really love, it's absolutely one of my favourite franchises,
I've made a lot of videos discussing all of these adaptations in more detail, so be
sure to click one of them on the screen, i'll see you there.


《攻殼機動隊》:如何適應 (Ghost in the Shell: How To Adapt)

107 分類 收藏
二百五 發佈於 2019 年 9 月 11 日
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