Ghost in the Shell Manga Volume 1, 2nd Ed.

September 27th, 2005

Blah, blah, blah.

No seriously – does anyone on a military mission talk this much!? ^_^;

So, waaaay back in the dawn of time, I had a copy of Ghost in the Shell in Japanese – you know, the version with the gratuitous lesbian sex scene left in. I sold it for a fair amount of $ because, at the time, the version put out by Dark Horse had removed those pages and you know how crucial to the plot they were – people freaked.

Time has moved on and I was killing an afternoon over at Anime Castle, torturing Bill, the owner (who is a seriously decent dude and we at Yuricon and Onna! owe him a great deal of thanks. In fact, I nabbed a fun toy prize for some lucky contest winner while I was there,) I saw the *2nd* editions for volume 1 and 2 and thought, “why not?” So here I was faced with actually reading the thing.

It’s four days later and I’m still not finished. Let me put this into perspective – I can complete a 200-page novel in about an hour and a half of uninterrupted reading. Four days of reading this thing and I’m going slower, and slower, and…..

It’s not even that they talk too much – it’s the typeface. It’s killing me. I *know* that the convention on lettering comics is ALL CAPS. I *know* that the convention is to fill the word balloons as full as one can (and with Masamune Shirow, it’s kind of inevitable anyway,) but seriously – this lettering is KILLING my eyes. I read two pages and have to stop.

I saw the original GiTS movie way back, when everyone else as old as I am did, and I wasn’t impressed. I loved the idea, but the movie was really dull, IMHO. And I feel much the same with the original manga. It’s such a cool idea, I wish someone had *done* something with it.

I wasn’t really interested in GitS until the first TV series, “Stand Alone Complex: 1st Gig”, and even then I found the end kind of a cop-out. The movie “Innocence” was, like the first movie, nothing more than a series of quotes strung together with visually rich, but essentially meaningless, imagery. I liked it, but not as a movie. It read like an attempt at playing Umberto Eco, without his ability at tying the links together to make a coherent whole. It was gorgeous, but left no real impression.

Of all of the GitS franchise, the one I liked the best was “Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig”, entirely because at the end, we’re left with a Major that one can actually *see* taking the route we were shown in the “Innocence” movie. For that, and that alone, I think the 2nd Gig was worth watching.

I’m also quite besotted with the Tachikoma. :-) When they pull that prank (if you’ve seen it, you know which one I mean…) on Batou, it made the entire franchise worth its existence. ^_^

But we don’t care about this! We want to know if the sex was worth the book! you scream.

No, don’t be stupid. It’s pointless fanservice. Mostly it’s the springboard for a goofy gag with Batou. But if you’re the kind of person who thinks that 3 pages of shiny unrealistic women having porn sex is worth shelling out $30 – then get thee over to the Yuricon Shop and buy thee copies of Yuri Monogatari 2 and 3. Two books for the same price…and twice the meaningless sex. ^_^

By the way – in case you’re wondering, I love the Major and I actually do like GitS for what it is. Great art? I don’t know. Groundbreaking? Let’s wait another 40 years and decide. A powerful idea and a popular franchise? Yes, 100 times yes.

Ratings:
Art – The hair! The HAIR!!! 6
Characters – 7
Story – 7
Yuri – 4 It’s all of three pages out of 300.

Overall – I rate it a 7. It’s not going to be my “go back to” book, but I like the whole group enough to keep trying.

One last thing – Dark Horse, with a book this thick, the binding is REALLY crappy. You needed to vent it or make it stronger. I’m not even through with reading it once and it’s starting to crack.

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2 Responses

  1. punistation says:

    I just wish the anime/movies/ANYTHING would show the real Motoko from the books. The oftentimes wacky, snarky, “Hit Batou on the head with gleeful regularity/solid objects” Motoko.

    She’s a real fun gal, not like lil’ mis TV/Movie “I’m on a higher plane than thou” Emo Mensa woman.

    Meh.

    Kisses XXOOXX
    Jen

    (PS. I was half-way through Yahoo’s Word Verification part when I almost said “F*ck this.” Talk about driving people away from feedbacking.)

  2. I was kind of interested to see that SAC:1st Gig was pretty similar to this book – without the happy-go-lucky quality you comment on. (Didn’t you love the scene where Ishikawa sings the song the kids have to sing, “Oh, our Major is so beautiful and kind…”)

    But you can see how she “grows” up” with the whole puppeteer thing and it makes sense that by the end, she wouldn’t be the same. I can see the change being appropriate for the TV show, but the original movie, she had no personality to speak of at all.

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