Philosophical Anime: Ghost in the Shell

For my final post, I thought I’d go back and experience a classic anime film which I had never seen before. I finally decided on the 1995 film, Ghost in the Shell, a film which would serve to influence the future of both Japanese and ultimately, global science fiction. Additionally, the reason I wanted to watch the film was that I was aware it had significant overarching philosophical themes messages and wanted to see how they were communicated. Once again, I filmed a vlog which allowed me to give a proper overview of the film, communicating how I felt about the film, and sharing some of the trivia and interesting facts from behind the scenes.

Ghost in the Shell follows the government agency Section 9’s hunt for a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master, following lead android characters, Motoko Kusanagi and Batou. The overarching philosophical themes prevalent in the text include the themes of sex/gender identity and self-identity in a technologically advanced world. Personally, I found that these themes and messages were extremely relevant in our society where we are still struggling to achieve and define privacy laws in our digital age, and also as we attempt to save our planet from the destruction it’s suffered from human hands.

I admit that the film wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t expect it to be so mature, and in fact I learned that the film itself takes on a significantly more mature design than the manga it was based on which shows comedic facial expressions and situations. The mature design certainly assists in allowing the audience to take the plot and ideas presented more seriously. In addition, although I didn’t mind, there wasn’t as much action as I would have expected. Instead the plot was driven by human conversation, and a lot of the world was described through lengthy scenes illustrating the environment. In an interview with the Onion, director Mamoru Oshii describes the reasoning for this in a statement which awarded me a lot of respect for the man,

“…a lot of audiences and producers and companies are expecting me to make films with a lot of action. They all know that I’m very good at action scenes, but I tend to not use many, so they’re all frustrated with me every time I make a movie. But I do that intentionally. Yes, if I do a movie with a bunch of action, it’s going to be a lot more successful than the types of movies I’m making right now. The producers often say, “Instead of using all these philosophical phrases, why don’t you change this into an action scene?” But I don’t do that. I intend to continue to make these movies.”

My experience on Reddit this week served to cement my findings, allowing me to demonstrate how to properly make use of Reddit. Firstly, in a similar fashion to last week,  when sharing my vlog with r/anime, the community downvoted the video. When examining twhat content I’ve posted which has succeeded, the original content which succeed were the cosplay photos I took, the Totoro photo achieving over 200 upvotes. In addition, the other posts which have proven to be successful were my discussion posts, something which I served to prove again this week when I asked r/anime, in relation to Ghost in the Shell, to share and suggest the anime they believe had the most poignant messages. The post received 35 upvotes and garnered over 80 comments.

Thus, once again, I believe an effective idea to reflect on in conclusion is Sheridan‘s question where he prompts that autoethnography asks, “will this research help others cope with or better understand their situations?” My experience on Reddit, and in addition my experience as a new YouTuber allowed me to examine both situations. Ultimately, I learned that Reddit is a fabulous place to spark conversations, find new ideas, and discover new content, given that there are so many communities filled with people able for discussion. However, when it comes to posting original content, I found that images which are easy to consume succeeded, where my vlogs did not attract much traffic. Additionally, when posting content, I found that you have to pick which sub-reddit to post your content wisely. I also learned that the best way to garner attention to my vlogs was through my pre-established social media sites which allowed me to share my content with a network who was already aware of me. I personally found that my weakness was that I could have posted content more regularly, something I will attempt to rectify in the time before the Digital Artifact is due. I personally didn’t anticipate how much time it would take to make the videos, editing usually serving to take up a whole day. Only as I continue to use Reddit, and continue to make more content for my YouTube channel will I learn more about these online platforms, bringing forth Julius Caesar’s famous quote,

Experience is the teacher of all things.

– Anthony.

References

Robinson, T, “Mamoru Oshii”, A.V. Club, Pub. Sep 15, 2004, http://www.avclub.com/article/mamoru-oshii-13890

Sheridan, R , “Autoethnography: Research as Participant”, http://ricksheridan.netmar.com/auto/

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