The Film (5/5)
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence takes place some significant time after the original film, and oddly seems to ignore the TV series that are placed within the series timeline. However, the story involves Batou the mostly cybernetic monotone police detective from Section 9 from the first film. Major Kusanagi from the first film has disappeared since the first film, her "ghost" disappearing into the technological void that exist in their version of society. Batou finds himself partnered with a younger more inexperienced detective (isn't this how it always happens?) Togusa who seems to be mainly concerned with his family at home. The pair find themselves involved in a case where gynoids, or sex robots seem to be turning on their owners killing them. The pair then discover the human "ghosts" that are implanted within the gynoids are illegally put within them, and begins to trace back who placed the ghosts within the bots.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence looks and feels different from the first film to a large degree, and yet certainly feels like a part of the overall same universe of the first film. It contains many of the same philosophical underpinnings that were featured more subtly in the original film, only this time to a larger and more explicit degree. This was early on a major turn off to fans of the original, but I have always found it fitting into the mood of the sequel.
The animation here is absolutely glorious (no other way to describe it). It has been 15 years since its initial release, and everything here is stunning. Colors are amazing, and even background details are impeccable. The film is loaded up with some really amazing action sequences. Also, the trippy sequences in the film's third act really hold up wonderfully. The soundtrack by Kenji Kawai is fantastic, and really helps set the tone for the film wonderfully. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is an absolute classic, that continues to stand the test of time.
Oddly, I was unaware of the original Bandai Blu-ray so I'm not sure if this is the same transfer. However, Funimation's Blu-ray edition of the film contains a solid 16:9 1080p AVC encoded transfer that is perfect. Colors pop, and are perfectly reproduced, blacks are inky and deep and details from the foreground and background are excellent.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in Japanese and English. Both tracks are excellent with everything audible, crisp, and clear.
We get a commentary by director Oshii and animation director Toshihiko Nishikubo, a making of Ghost in the Shell 2, and trailers for this film and other Funimation product.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a stone cold animation classic. The Blu-ray looks and sounds INCREDIBLE, and has a nice few extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.