Thoughts on Cyberpunk Anime: My night watching Blame and GITS 2: Innocence

Somehow this past Friday night aligned perfectly for this to happen. For one, Blame came out on Netflix and this is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to watching for a while. Then, Saturday’s overtime was cancelled which made it so I could stay up as long as I wanted. To make things even better, I decided to add Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and make a small movie event out of the night. This is the only Ghost in the Shell thing that I haven’t watched before. I bought the dvd of this movie in February, but I didn’t have time to watch it until last Friday night. So, I went downstairs to my house’s room with the bigger tv and had a solo movie night by myself. It was quite a refreshing experience. Even if I watch a lot of different types of shows, I have a weakness for cyberpunk that needs to be filled every so often.

I don’t talk about this too much, but Cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres of all time when it comes to anime. Second only to mech anime. What makes this sad is cyberpunk anime barely has a heart beat these days. You know how mech anime is barely hanging around these days? Cyberpunk anime has even less offerings these days. Blame is a small ripple in a flat sea of virtually nothing. No matter what quality the show or movie will be, I make it my part time mission to watch as much of it as I can as it appears. No matter what quality it ended up being, I will watch the anime to make sure it at least maintains some relevance to this time period. This also might be why I decided not to watch Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence until now. I always wanted something to fall back on encase there was a time that a cyberpunk show didn’t make an appearance for a long time. Now I don’t have anything to fall on and I feel sad about that. That just means I need to find something else even older to hold in that slot. That’s a talk for another time. Onto the shows.

Blame

Blame netflix

Blame was a fun ride, even if it far from flawless. It was a beautiful looking movie, despite its cg, that wasn’t lacking anything interesting besides it having any sort of personality to it. The world itself is barely explained as well, but I’m okay with that. This movie is set in an apocalyptic future in a city expands endlessly in all directions and the robots building it are set in an automatic mode to eliminate all humanity. There used to be a gene that allowed people to control the central computer and the robots building it, but that has long since passed. Now humanity lives in little pockets around the city and are constantly in the search for food and on the lookout for robots that are trying to kill them. That is where the story of Blame starts.

This movie starts with a group of six kids wearing cyberpunk armor in search of resources for their village. From the dialogue amongst them, we learn that they aren’t supposed outside of their town’s limits, like normal kids, just with the threat of death from robots added to the mix. Of course, it all goes wrong. The robots find them, the kids start running, and some of them end up dead. On the run they might with the mysterious figure in black robes, Killy who saves their lives. The remaining kids take Killy to their village. From that point on, Killy shakes up the villages normal life style with his search for the gene to control the city.

To get more into what I said about this movie not having any sort of personality, the movie focuses more on a girl from the village instead of Killy and this girl is as basic of one in her position as it comes.  Killy almost never says anything and when he does talk, he’s says his lines very efficiently in a robotic manner. That is kind of a spoiler, but whatever. All Killy does is move the plot forward. He doesn’t have a cool backstory or an awesome personality to bring it all together, which is what the movie was lacking. It was like Blame was waiting for this character to carry the movie along, but it falls on the back of a teenage girl instead, which is nowhere near as cool. I would still recommend this movie though. It has a cool setting with some cool technology that is worth exploring. Not the best cyberpunk movie to come into existence, but it’s definitely not a waste of time. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Watch it on Netflix now.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

gits 2 innocence.jpg

I couldn’t tell you how disappointed I was from this film. At this moment, despite all of the mixed quality Ghost in the Sell media that I’ve seen, including the live action film, this seemed the most pointless and annoying installment of it. I admit that this could be a result of me over hyping the film for myself over years and years, but I doubt it. This movie has the largest amount of annoying and pointless things that I watched in a long time and it came from a Ghost in the Shell film? How the hell does that happen? There are some legitimately awesome moments that almost make this movie worth buying though. Almost.

Before I get into that element of telling you why I was frustrated with this movie, I should at least tell you more about it. Innocence takes place a small time after the 1995 film, where Major Kusanagi left her human style existence working for a special organization section 9 to live in the internet. In the current moment of the film, there has been a large amount of incidents around the city involving sexdroids murdering their owners and then committing suicide to get rid of the evidence. Batou teams up with the most human/least cyberized person in section 9, Togusa, in order to investigate this mystery. Through their cyber punk action mystery adventures, these two unlike partners somehow solve this mystery.

Now that I’m back to this, GITS 2 is the most obnoxious piece of Ghost in the Shell media that I’ve ever watched. I’m not even sure why this movie was produced, because there was no point to it on a story telling level. For one thing, there was an obnoxious amount of bad cg that appeared on the screen in random moments that did nothing but distract from what was going on. These incidents were focused on for at least five seconds in what seemed like a show casing manner.  Second, Batou was the only multi-dimensional character in the film despite the fact that he was one of two main chracters on screen. Whenever something happened or almost happened to Togusa, he would have some comment on his family afterward. I get it. He has a wife and daughter and he wants to get back to them safely. I know that Togusa has more characteristics that can be explored than what was on screen in this movie, so this annoyed the hell out of me. For another, Innocence constantly connected children and dolls in drawn out dialogue scenes throughout the film. Based on this you can probably guess what the final villain was. No need to say anything else. Lastly, the reading of random passages from the bible or some other book to make these characters feel intelligent. To me, this seemed more pretentious than everything else. Maybe I am not smart enough to get the context these lines are given in the scenes they represent, which can happen, but I still find them incredibly pointless either way.  I try not the use the word pretentious ever, but I can only call it as I see it in this instance. Lastly, the ending. Maybe Batou, our protagonist, found some sort of resolution in his mind, but in the end he is back to where he started. It all seems pointless in the end. There was a scene with Batou shooting people with a machine gun that almost made this worth it, but I can’t get past all these bad points that easily.

So yeah I can’t physically recommend GITS 2: Innocence. It almost drove me nuts watching it and in someways, it is the exact opposite of Blame. If Batou replaced Killy in Blame, then it would be the most perfect cyberpunk apocalyptic film. In the end, I still had a great time reminding myself that cyberpunk anime still exists and has a heartbeat from time to time. I need more cyberpunk anime in my life and even if the quality of both of these movies wasn’t the best, it was still a great movie night. I don’t regret it at all. Especially since it was followed by me almost sleeping in until noon. An absolutely perfect time of quietness and relaxation in my mostly hectic life.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. AJ says:

    Blame seems interesting. I’ll check it out at some point…

    Still haven’t gotten round to watching the live-action version I have to agree that GITS 2 seems pretty pointless. It just goes on, and on, and on, and on…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yeah, it was. Blame can be boring at times though.

      And yeah….I wonder what the motivations were to get GITS 2 made. Probably because Stand Alone Complex was a thing?

      Like

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