Daniella Fishman, Staffwriter |
This past week, Netflix released their official trailer for “Ghost in the Shell” to YouTube, and it was met with a shockingly large amount of criticism. Directed by Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Arakm, the manga-turned-Netflix-Original movie has become a controversial topic among those who argue that trying to attract a western audience can destroy the reputation and the charm of a once critically acclaimed series. Comments on the recently posted trailer show the criticism many fans are voicing, one commenter writing, “Why does appealing to the West means changing to a more plastic artificial look? I understand CGI is the future, but people still appreciate the more 90s style.” Many viewers claim that CGI animation is a direct result of where western ideology believes anime is heading. In turn, they are commenting on their desire to see a version of “Ghost in the Shell” in traditional 90s 2D style. A common criticism among commenters compares the animation of this new adaptation to a classic PS2 videogame. While that may seem appealing to many classic gaming/anime fans, keep in mind that since the 90s, fans of “Ghost in the Shell” have practically been begging for a well-animated, manga-inspired adaptation. In the words of the fans, the animation “looks awful,” has “uneven quality,” and “feels cheap, soulless, which lacks the atmosphere and grittiness of the original anime.”
We all remember the whitewashing debacle that was the live-action movie Ghost in the Shell (2017), starring Scarlette Johanson as the supposed lead Japanese character, Motoko Kusanagi. This controversy has scorned the reputation of the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise. If animosity over Netflix’s reworking remains high, this adaptation might not do much in terms of saving-face for this franchise. One commenter even went as far as to claim, “You know, that Scarlett Johansson ‘Ghost in the Shell’ movie doesn’t look so bad now.”
While the road to fandom satisfaction may be bleak, Netflix’s “Ghost in the Shell” might surprisingly alleviate some fears fans of the original might have. Allegedly, this adaptation will follow the manga more closely than previous ones, and while the animation style might take some getting used to, it could prove enticing to a new audience that is not used to the traditional stylistic choices of the 90s. All in all, the story of “Ghost in the Shell” remains the same, much to the fan’s delight. Netflix’s official synopsis of the plot reads as follows: “In the year 2045, the world has entered a systematic “Sustainable War.” Hired as a mercenary unit, the former members of Japan’s elite Section 9 are faced with the sudden appearance of “Post-Human,” a being with tremendous intelligence and physical capabilities.”
Only time will tell how the fandom will react to this change in art style. Hopefully, it will be enough to lessen the blow that was the 2017 adaptation. Netflix’s “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045” will be available for international stream in April 2020.