Blog Archives

Sky Crawlers (2008)

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The Sky Crawlers is by far one of the most subtle Mamoru Oshii films to date, and that’s really saying something. Oshii has never been what one would call explicit. He’s far too invested in the humanity of his characters, in the complexity of choice versus fate. If he also happens to have a bit of a thing for more loftily existential issues like artificial consciousness and the self-actualising development of technology, it’s really only an extension of this primary … (read more)

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Avalon (2001)

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According to Mamoru Oshii, the future is sepia. And Polish.

That’s the look of Avalon, Oshii’s first live-action film (you know him best from his anime Ghost in the Shell). Shot in Poland, with Polish actors, Avalon evokes an Eastern Bloc future in which life seems rationed. Technology is archaic; LCD monitors never happened. An underground virtual reality game called Avalon is the only escape, and heroine Ash (Malgorzata Foremniak) is the best player — that is, until a … (read more)

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Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (2004)

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Ghost in the Shell: Innocence is a unlike anything you have seen before. The viewer is lost in a sea of lush visuals that seamlessly blend a Blade Runner noir future with traditional Japanese iconography. The level of texture detail is astounding with even the wood grain of a door frame revealing varnished depths. CG is integrated seamlessly. A set piece in a convenience store simply has to be seen to be believed — then confirmed by a friend. Anime … (read more)

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Ghost in the Shell (1996)

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Having hit the ball out of the park with the superb political-thriller-featuring-giant-robots, Patlabor 2, Mamoru Oshii moved onto Masumune’s Shirow’s manga future populated by cyborgs and humans with cybernetic enhancements — Ghost in the Shell. Ghost, with its blurring of man and machine, presented the perfect vehicle for Oshii to explore the question what it means to be human. (The titular ghost is a ‘soul’ cyborg’s soul equivalent).

Like a Christmas present, Oshii wraps this theme in … (read more)

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