On June 22nd, I watched the preview of Ghost in the Shell anime in Ultra High Definition (4k). In this article, I cover the thoughts of director Oshii Mamoru.
Ghost In The Shell Anime: 4k Remastered For 35mm
“Ghost in the Shell” is an original animated film by Masami Shiro, directed by Mamoru Oshii. It’s considered a masterpiece and recorded the highest video weekly sales in the American Billboard Magazine back in the day.
Ghost in the Shell anime has inspired many creators, like the Wachowski brothers of the “Matrix” fame. I have watched it several times, but since it was released 23 years ago, I’ve forgotten bits and pieces of the movie and I was looking forward to the preview.
The moment the screening of Ghost in the Shell anime began, I immediately thought “This is 4k?”.
Although Ghost in the Shell anime uses 35mm film and has enough information that can withstand 4k. It still isn’t as precise as the sequel, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.
4k generally tends to emphasize the height of the resolution. As I watched for a while I noticed the richness in the expression.
Dark spots and bright spots in the image are distinct and it seems like you’re able to see things you haven’t seen before.
It wasn’t overdone, It was a comfortable watch.
After watching “Ghost in the Shell” anime, I also saw the sequel “Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence” that was released at the same time, but this had the proper 4K experience. The images were detailed and clear.
Comparing that to Ghost in the Shell anime, it can be said that the latter was just a plain 4k remastered.
Having said that, the 4k was completely natural.
I was able to talk to Mr. Makoto Mizuka of Cue Tech, who was responsible for the remastering process. After the pre-screening, we discussed the technical aspects and what had changed because of the 4k remaster.
I also asked about the differences in conventional packaged software and hoped to understand the significance of the 4k remaster.
Director Oshii started by saying “I’ve been waiting for the 4k version of “Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence” for a long time. I wanted everybody to see it in 4k regardless of the fact that the technology for screening in IMAX theater hadn’t caught up back then. But now, the environment is such, that there are 4k TV’s and it’s possible to see images that are close to our ideal perfection”
The main concern for Ghost in the Shell anime to be rendered in 4k was the following:
The entire movie was made in 10 months, without a budget, with 3 months spent in the layout and another 3 months spent in the drawing.
In short, there wasn’t enough time spent on it.
There were quite a lot of retakes as well. People think of Ghost in the Shell anime as a pioneer in digital animation, but in fact, it had just about 40 cuts of computer graphics. The rest were all processed with effects which were manual work.
It was analog work with digital images. So when the 4k version came out, there was a sense of worry that the final product would be rough.
When I saw Ghost in the Shell anime in 4k, it was surprisingly good. Although it’s different from the film at that time, the images scanned with current technology tells you the magnitude of information in the 35mm film.
It was good to know the difference.
Mr. Imazuka spoke a few words and he said “The work of 4k remastering does not change from HD remastering. It’s about scanning with a 16 bit to enrich the gradation expression. In the remaster, I used HDR and I was concerned with the difference between how the HDR and SDR versions looked. I took the help of various engineers and carried our particle reduction and image restoration.”
Director Oshii further said “The colour of the skin is different in every cut because it was designed to match different backgrounds. There wasn’t any standard colour. It was designed so that the colours weren’t destroyed by HDR.
Although it’s possible to see dark sections of the film with HDR, there were parts that could not be seen.
Mr. Imazuka said “Since the battle with the multi-legged tank in the last scene of the movie was easy to express with a lighter color, I made it brighter by raising the brightness. But if I make the entire screen bright, only the part that emits light such as the muzzle will shine very bright. This was one of the highlights of the 4k remastering.”
Director Oshii said “I cannot reproduce the transmitted light or holographs with conventional software. The light mono is the main part of the 4k remaster.”
“Ghost in the Shell” anime has become a cornerstone in animation and has inspired many science fiction movies.
For those who haven’t seen it, and for those who have seen the older version, i.e., Ghost in the shell 1995 full movie, this movie is new and it’s a rebirth of the older version.
There’s a bundled set, including the Ghost in the Shell sequel “Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence” that’s available in the 4k remastered version.
Also keep in mind, to watch this effectively, you need a 4k and HDR-compatible TV and an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible player.
Ghost In The Shell: Anime – FAQs
#1 — How should I watch Ghost in the Shell?
Here’s the order of how to watch the Ghost in the Shell anime movie series.
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG – The Laughing Man
- Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG – Individual Eleven
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex − Solid State Society
- Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie
#2 — Is Ghost in the Shell based on the anime?
Ghost in the Shell anime (1995) was inspired by the Ghost in the Shell manga series by Masamune Shirow.
#3 — How long is Ghost in the Shell anime?
The run time of the movie Ghost in the Shell (1995) is 1h 25m
#4 — What is the best Ghost in the Shell?
The best Ghost in the Shell anime movie in order:
- Ghost in the Shell (Movie – 1995)
- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Movie – 2004)
- Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (2015)
- Ghost in the Shell (Live action movie – 2017)
#5 — Is everyone a cyborg in Ghost in the Shell?
In the anime Ghost in the Shell, a cyborg is someone who has gone through the process of cyberization, where in they have a full or partially prosthetic body. These prosthetic parts of their body can be replaced when damaged. And only their souls or ‘ghosts’ is the proof of their humanity.
#6 — Is Major Kusanagi Japanese?
Yes, Majot Kusanagi was Japanese in the original anime Ghost in the Shell. Major Kasanagi was a Japanese woman and her sense of self or her ‘ghost’ was moved into a cyborg body.
#7 — Is Major Kusanagi human?
Even though, Major Kusanagi is a full-body cyborg, she’s still a human at her core. But she did go through the process of cyberization. So her human brain is basically cased inside a shell, while the rest of her body is prosthetic or mechanical.
#8 — How old is Kusanagi?
Major Kusanagi was born in 2004.
#9 — Is Major Kusanagi a man?
Major Kusanagi is a powerful, dominating woman in the movie Ghost in the Shell. And she demonstrates her superiority by leading a team of male cyborgs.