Tags: ghost in the shell

cass, can you not

Movies! (Violence For Money Edition)

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie: I keep stumbling upon new-to-me Ghost in the Shell material. There are perfectly reasonable explanations for this, but I choose to believe it's due to a side effect of the virus lodged in the e-brain the virus is designed to keep me from knowing I have. I also choose to believe the Ghost in the Shell memeplex is the slowly complexifying digital incarnation of an asymptotic attractor in techno-psychological phase space. Motoko Aramaki doesn't need to be real, in any sense, in order to engineer herself into existing; she is inevitable.

About the movie itself: a competent, enjoyable episode during the Major's time between Unit 501 and Section 9. I very much like how she set her unit on her own — it's *her* private army, and will remain so even after it nominally gets to work for Aramaki. It makes her post-Puppeteer an even smoother continuation of her usual MO.

Line Walker: Hong Kong thriller movie that follows up a TV series of the same name I'm currently wondering if I'm too spoiled for to watch. Like many of its type, it's basically it's own AO3 section. I enjoyed it.

John Wick: A rewatch. I fast-forwarded past the dog thing. The movie's not as spare as I remembered it (you mostly remember the gun kata, of course), but not without some other touches of inspiration. The way the revenge is motivated is sheer genius — revenge for the death of, say, her spouse, would've have been the same. Marcus' character played a larger role than I remembered (his relationship with John is one of the deliberately unexplored but load-bearing aspects of the world), and Viggo's attempts to deal with the whole thing don't lack reasonableness and a certain level of pathos. Part of you can't but sympathize with the guy.

Whatever range might Reeves' acting skills span, this movie lives right in the middle of it.

All in all, I understand why they chose to explore the world of The Continental to a larger degree in the sequel, but it cost the movie some of its forward movement. In anything, the first movie had slightly too much backstory, even if it was much less than usual. A John Wick we don't learn much about because the surviving people who know would rather not remember, much less speak of it, is much more interesting. Plot-wise, John Wick 2 was a step backwards, IMHO, as much as I love the enormous, steampunky, historical AU potential of The Continental's back-office.

I mean, having met and fought the original Assassins, the Templars couldn't avoid being intrigued by the business model... The gold coin thing is probably an historical artifact, and — and this is the part I love the most — how would an order originally dedicated to protecting and hosting travelers base itself in the contemporary world but as a chain of high-end luxury hotels, catering particularly to the profession?

In short: some of the Templars back from the Middle East decided assassination as a service was going to be the second most popular cultural import after putting spices on everything, so they cornered the market of supporting functions.
cass, can you not

On the new Ghost in the Shell movie

Racefail aside, it's felt much more juvenile than the anime. It's a movie about finding and taking ownership of yourself, while the anime *begins* with the Major knowing very well who and what she is.

Also, of course, in that you never get the feeling that movie!Major, physical skills aside, is the consummate hyperprofessional tactician and world-class badass that is anime!Major. We have Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, etc, for physical female badasses (and never forget Ripley), but I don't know if we have in a major movie, or the industry is ready for, a female badass who's not only part of an elite paramilitary unit, but calls the shots. I suspect there's a cultural line there, where female badasses are ok (if sexualized enough), but not, like, running the badassery. E.g., how the DCEU keeps undermining Waller, who's more Aramaki than Major anyway.

IMHO, an slightly-above-average cyborg-with-existential-issues movie, but that's it.
cass, can you not

Well played, Shirow

I didn't knew this the last half-dozen times I read Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface, but Stabat Mater, the name of a religious-entertainment organization whose leader is a female cyborg body operating in a crucifixion-like setup (and, really, a body avatar for another instance, copy, isotope of Motoko), is also the shorthand name of 13th-century hymn to Mary, describing her suffering during the crucifixion.

And then there's the explicit Shintoist religious references at the end, and the implication of Motoko's merge with an ontologically separate being giving birth to an arguably weakly godlike new person... (And it's not the first time she has done this!)

Aside from kickass science-fiction, this offers an awfully interesting (and somewhat Gnostic) rewrite of the traditional Christian story of the Incarnation: it's not that if (a) God merged with/touched Mary in some unspecified way to have her give birth to the (next) Savior, but their merge made Mary part of the new entity, which is ontologically superior to both of them.

From that angle, it's a deeply feminist revision; Mary's not a "holy vessel" defined by who she gives birth to, but rather becomes the human half of a new kind of godlike being. (In Motoko's case, I hasten to remark, *twice*, because that's just how badass the Major is).

The idea of what the Arian/Trinitarian/Monophysite conflict would look like in the GitS context gives me the willies. Even in the historical context it's one of those things about which I understand barely enough to know that it's cognitively impossible for me to even simulate inside my head the kind of thinking that would make me even approximately understand it.
cass, can you not

GIP

I suck at making icons (and it shows), but I really needed a Motoko Aramaki icon.

In case you don't know her: Imagine a full-body cyborg who's a world-class badass, but also a consummate professional, a cutting-edge info-warrior, and a respectable big-picture tactician when it comes to navigating the byzantine and deadly politics involved in her job.

That's Motoko Kusanagi, The Major.

Motoko Aramaki is what you get when you cross her with a self-evolving AI that gives her access to cognitive, technological, and informational resources few other entities in the planet can match.

(In DC/Marvel terms, Motoko Aramaki is what you get when you give the Black Widow a body designed by Tony Stark, and then you make her a super-charged Oracle.)
cass, can you not

The Major >> everybody else. Together.

I just began watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG (and, of course, plan to rewatch the first season), although at the murderously slow pace that is all my job and competing obsessions allow me. I've only seen one ep so far, and yet it has been enough to make me remember why I love Ghost in the Shell. Basically, there are few teams in the multiverse that are as kickass as Section 9 (which, to be topical, would eat Division for breakfast). That's even before you take into account the Major, who's not only the best there is in the field, but also has the big-picture awareness that sets her apart from most leaders of similar teams (she's kind of like Star-Lord in that sense), and Aramaki, who is... well, he's Aramaki. He'll get you dead if that needs to happen, but never for a stupid reason.

Speaking of eating people for breakfast, and if you'll allow me the moment of femslash barely-subtext appreciation, the way in which the (female) Prime Minister looked at the Major during her interview with Aramaki was positively *smoldering*. I kind of melted, and I wasn't even in the same universe.

(By the way, a trillion bonus points for the Tachikoma. The Tachikoma love Batou like Batou loves the Major...)