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'Ghost in the Shell 2' Highly Anticipated

8 Nov, 2004 By: Edwin De La Cruz

Just off of a successful limited theatrical release, DreamWorks announced the Dec. 28 (prebook Nov. 23) release of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, the follow-up to the 1995 groundbreaking hit Ghost in the Shell.

Mamoru Oshii's original Ghost film went on to become the first anime to top the VideoScan charts back in 1995. Not only did it revolutionize the genre by being one of the first features to successfully blend traditional cell animation with high-tech computer imagery, but it also catapulted anime on to the mainstream with its intelligent storytelling that placed Ghost high among sci-fi classics such as Blade Runner and George Lucas' THX 1138.

Subtitled simply Innocence, this second Ghost film is set in the year 2032. Returning from the first film is Det. Bateau, an agent for covert anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9 who is assigned the case of ‘gynoids' — hyper-realistic female robots created specifically for sexual pleasure that have apparently malfunctioned and slaughtered their owners. The dolls in Innocence have soulless expressions that make them chillingly beautiful.

“I have always had interest and love for the dolls ever since I was a child, although it was more about the concept and purpose of the dolls to the humans and not as an object itself,” Oshii said through a translator during an interview. “In fact, I am very scared of dolls because I think they have souls, and I don't even have a single doll at my house.”

Through the film's lush visuals, Innocence forces the audience to examine the world and the choices individuals and society make. Oshii addresses a moral and spiritual crisis that he sees as stemming from the advent of ever more powerful computing and telecommunication technology —things that are omnipresent in the world depicted in Ghost in the Shell.

“The main theme and overall concept had been on my mind for some time, and I had been waiting for the opportunity to write about it and make into a movie. Just then, the Innocence project came along, and I was able to develop my ideas further,” Oshii said about the film's initial concept.

By the time it streets, retailers will have found plenty of merchandise available on the “Ghost” franchise, including several volumes of the “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” TV series from Manga/Bandai Entertainment and two weeks later on Jan. 11, Manga's remastered two-disc edition of the first Ghost film with DTS-ES remixed soundtracks and a new digital transfer and plenty of extras.

Nov. 6 at 12:30 a.m. EST and repeating the following Thursdays at 1 a.m. (EST), the first season of “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” will begin airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line-up. In addition, toy giant Bandai America has also prepped Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Playstation 2 video game that will be released this month.

In order to generate consumer interest, Manga has set up a giveaway promotion with Clear Channel on more than 1100 radio stations across the country that will encompass all “Ghost” franchises including Innocence.

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