Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune

Ghost in the ShellGhost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ghost in The Shell was originally serialised in 1989 and then released in 1991 as a tankōbon (Standalone/Volume book). It was written and drawn by Shirow Masamune. The English translation was done by Frederik L. Schoot and Toren Smith while the Lettering was done by Tom Orzechowski and Suzie Lee.

Set in a future where information and technology have developed to the point that the line between human and machine is blurred and people can be augmented with cybernetics. Major Motoko Kusanagi (a cyborg) and her team hunt down the most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including the highly talented and elusive hacker known as The Puppeteer. There’s a nice balance between action, humour and intellectual ideas relating to technology, science and philosophy.

The art was all drawn by hand and is primarily black and white with some colour pages. The art style is very clearly 80’s with a great level of detail and looks great. There are some very explicit scenes of both violent and sexual content, though, so this book is definitely for a more mature audience.

Unlike many Japanese Manga, Ghost in The Shell reads from left to right, possibly because it’s published by Dark Horse, but I’m not sure. The panelling and layout of the book is really easy to follow, with little variation between the pages and the lettering is easy to read too.

The translation has been done really well, which one would hope from a Publisher like Dark Horse Manga.

At the end of the book, there are author’s notes that comment on various aspects of the story, such as details or explanations relating to the science and technology depicted, the political, philosophical and religious themes used in the story as well as comments on the characters thoughts or reactions.

This is a definite read for anyone interested in Science Fiction with a focus on the implications and philosophical ideas revolving around technological advancement and don’t mind mature content. Even though Motoko is a strong protagonist it is probably more the aforementioned technology/philosophy ideas that I really enjoyed about the story.

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