Anyone who has watched anime at all, should have seen Ghost in the Shell at some point or another. There’s no need to get too involved in the backstory here. If you have come to this review not knowing anything about Ghost in the Shell, you shouldn’t be reading it. You need to head to the local video store and rent the first film. If you have seen the first one, there are some spoilers in this review… and I apologize in advance.
Soundtrack: Beautiful, in a haunting and creepy way, but not as beautiful as I would have liked. Honestly, the quality of the soundtrack for Stand Alone Complex is better. Yokko Kanno’s talents really shine in that series. This… it was good. It was haunting, it did the job, but was not as outstanding or impressive as I was expecting from a film bearing the name, “Ghost in the Shell”.
Dub: Excellent voice work and voice acting here. Several roles have been reprised, and this makes me very happy. Not much more to be said here other than that.
Subtitles: This… is where I got completely ticked off. I’ve seen third rate fan-sub groups, whose members consist of four guys that haven’t even finished Japanese 101 at a community college, produce better subtitles for incredibly crappy anime. Worse than that, GoFish was lazy and used their closed captioning as a substitute for real subtitle work.
Animation: I was disappointed here. The CG that they used really overpowered the animated characters to the point where they looked washed out, and it totally ruined my ability to believe that Batou was just this guy with some cool gadgets out to do a job.
Background: Heavily steeped in CG work. In fact, this film just reeks of someone with an over-inflated ego out to prove what you can do with a computer. In many cases, the background work was so heavily detailed and so overdone that it reminded me of sitting in front of my xbox playing Fable. Sometimes, less is more. The animators really would have done well to remember that while they were making this film.
Story: Another disappointment. Spoilers ensue. If you don’t want to know, stop reading now. My biggest disappointment with the story, was removing the Major from the mysterious, possible Guardian Angel. They made her an actual character in this film. They did not need to bring her back to save Batou. If they’d left her shrouded in mystery, they wouldn’t have completely screwed up what I loved about the ending of the original film. But no, they had to mess around with it and show you that the Major was, in fact, quite alive and well inside the net, rather than leaving you wondering. That’s another thing that really ticked me off. Nowhere does this story leave you wondering about the morality of what is going on from one moment to the next. It just kind of leads you through its plot devices from one to the next, not giving you room to question what you see. This is something that was a hallmark of the original film and made it truly enjoyable for me. But, I guess the writers here wanted to answer all the questions for you, or assumed the audience was lacking in enough intelligence to grasp what was going on and come up with their own answers.
Overall.. Innocence really sucked compared to the previous work. Even Stand Alone Complex, with less “pretty” in the way of animation quality than either of these films, rises above Innocence with an outstanding soundtrack, visuals that are believable and solid stories that don’t just move you from plot piece to plot piece.
Skip this one. Just skip it, unless you absolutely have to see it for yourself.