Are “Ghost in the Shell” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” the perfect anime?

I’m not an expert on manga and anime, but there is something captivating about both of these stories. They are set in the fictional mid-21st Century Japanese city of Niihama, where a law enforcement agency called ‘Public Security Section 9’ are conducting counter-terrorism operations. So far, so normal, in our modern day world. But this future Japan has taken the use of technology to a whole new level, including the fusing of human consciousness into cyborg bodies. The manga/anime title is evocative in itself, drawing attention to what may be the transfer of a soul (‘ghost’) into a fully prosthetic body (the ‘shell’).

Ghost in the ShellThe stories revolve around Major Motoko Kusanagi, whose ghost was transferred into such a shell after a terrible childhood accident. She is not a machine, however, and the parts of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ I enjoy the most are where she is exploring what it means to be human, now that she is a cyborg. Remembering that opening back story about Motoko’s childhood accident throws light on the scene in the opening credits where, in her shell, her hand crushes a doll that she is tenderly trying to hold.

Ghost in the Shell2There is one piece of music in the anime series that has stuck in my head like an earworm since the first time that I heard it. Be warned: once you’ve listened to “Inner Universe” (by Origa and Shanti Snyder) you’ll never be able to forget it… but who would want to?

Here’s a link to that music from the opening credits of “… Stand Alone Complex” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHtR_yaJLsI

And another link, this time with the lyrics shown more clearly – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc9OLGco4hQ

Finally, a link to a more complete version of the song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH7xc76DBHM

 

And, if you wondered what was actually being sung:

Angeli i demoni kruzhili nado mnoj                          Angels and demons circle above my head

Rassekali ternii i mlechnye puti                                 cleaving through thorns and Milky Ways

Ne znaet schast’ya tol’ko tot                                       He who does not perceive his calling,

Kto ego zova ponyat ne smog                                    does not know true happiness…

 

Mana du vortes, Mana du vortes                              Watch in awe! Watch in awe!

Aeria gloris, Aeria gloris                                             Heavenly glory! Heavenly glory!

Mana du vortes, Mana du vortes                              Watch in awe! Watch in awe!

Aeria gloris, Aeria gloris                                             Heavenly glory! Heavenly glory!

 

I am calling, calling now                                            I am calling, calling now

Spirits rise and falling                                                Spirits rise and falling

S toboi ostatsa dol’she                                                 To remain myself longer…

Calling, calling, in the depth of longing                   Calling, calling, in the depth of longing

S toboi ostat’sya dol’she                                              To remain myself longer…

Mana du vortes, Mana du vortes                              Watch in awe! Watch in awe!

Aeria gloris, aeria gloris                                             Heavenly glory! Heavenly glory!

Mana du vortes, Mana du vortes                              Watch in awe! Watch in awe!

Aeria gloris, aeria gloris                                              Heavenly glory! Heavenly glory!

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