Ghost In The Shell has been one of the biggest influencing manga/anime franchises on cyberpunk and pop culture in our modern era. The franchise has been portrayed in several different ways from a proper manga series to several anime and digitally animated TV shows, to that one 2017 movie we don't talk about. But ultimately, when most people think about GITS, their thoughts go to the original 1995 anime film that essentially launched a thousand ships of creativity when it came to the genre of sci-fi. This year, Lionsgate has released a 25th Anniversary Edition of the film, completely remastered in 4k resolution. We got sent a copy for review and here's our take on the release.
First and foremost, let's discuss the film. This is the complete original film, uncensored and in beautiful HD glory. There's no removed content like you may have seen in syndication elsewhere, all of the language and tropes and social discussions are here. All of the nudity, even though it's robotic, is here. Which is nice to have since over the years, if you happened to catch this on TV and it wasn't on a paid service like Starz or HBO, there was some stuff removed. So it's nice to have it all back. What's more, you have the option of choosing between the original Japanese voice cast with subtitles, or for those of us in the west, you can listen to the English voice cast. You also have the option of listening to the original 2.0 Japenese audio rather than the cleaned-up version, as well as an English Descriptive option for all the text written in Kanji.
For the anniversary, this version got packed with a few extras not found on previous releases. First off, you got full-length audio commentary with English scriptwriter Mary Claypool, producer and writer Eric Calderon, animation historian Charles Solomon, and the voice of Batou, Richard Epcar. You also get a special featurette that looks 25 years into the future, and one that looks at the art and architecture of the film. There's also a production report and digital work featurettes, and the theatrical trailer for those of you who want to be blown away again when you saw that masterpiece in a theater.
Overall, this is an awesome release. The film was remastered with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, but not so much to the point where it looks like it was radically changed. There have been anime movies over the past decade that have been given the treatment and fix all the "problems" left behind, to the point where it almost doesn't look like the original. Ghost In The Shell: 25th Anniversary Edition took great care to enhance what was there but preserve what it is. It's a most-own for anime fans as this still stands as one of the best anime films of the '90s, a hallmark of the franchise, and near gospel for any cyberpunk fan.