Previously this week I’ve looked at the 2017 live-action incarnation, then went back and watched the original 1995 animated version of Ghost In The Shell, the older movie being an adaptation of the manga by Shirow Masamune and the other seeming to take the trailer for the anime and creating a new story around it. I was under the impression that Ghost In The Shell 2.0 was a redub of the movie. There’s a lot of that going on thanks to Netflix and redubbing shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, this was a semi-new version of the original anime produced in time for the 2008 release of a movie called The Sky Crawlers. This came from a fan wiki so question the source and all that, but it was the director, Mamoru Oshii, essentially doing a Star Wars Special Edition re-work of the 1995 movie. At least some new dialog was recorded and some clean-up and I’m guessing upscaling was done on the remastered footage. Manga Entertainment seems to have just reused the same dub but with some minor alteration to the audio. I’ll get into that in the review.
This installment will not be in the usual Finally Watched format. Instead it’s just a straight up comparison of the two version of the anime. If you want to know what I thought of the anime the link is right there in the first sentence along with the 2017 Hollywood remake. This should be a bit shorter as I’m just comparing the two versions and recommending which one to check out.
First off there are no changes to the story or the story beats. That overly long symbolism moment where Mokoto is on a boat and sees both a woman who looks exactly like her and then a mannequin that looks exactly like her is still there and still halts the story to be symbolic of her journey and not much else. The dialog changes the purists don’t like in the dub are still there. It’s only visual changes made to the CG, plus the opening scene where she drops in on the targets. That’s a rather obvious and distracting hybrid of CG and 2D, which kind of sums up the problem. They clash so much and it just distracts from the movie. The CG, or at least what we get…mostly that scene, occasional helicopter and city shot, and the computer displays (the only time the CG works with the 2D) is not bad on its own and if they redid the movie in CG I almost wouldn’t have minded. As a hybrid of remastered original footage and new computer animation however they do not mesh well together. I didn’t even realize the original had that much CG in it until looking into this movie.
Tubi only had the dub (granted I didn’t look that hard for a sub) but Manga Entertainment didn’t change much there either. Kenji Kawai remixed his original score for 2.0 but that’s the only reason I paid attention to the soundtrack this time around. Usually I don’t because it not as important to me, though I can tell when it was done wrong…that’s usually when I notice it. I think Manga Entertainment used the new soundtrack though. Meanwhile the dub itself seems to be the exact same one as the original movie, only with some audio tweaking. The mental communication link sounds closer to how it sounds in Stand Alone Complex, which was welcome to my ears, but the only cast members from that show are the same ones in the original movie, like Richard Epcar. Tom Wyner is still the voice of Project 2501 even though in the Japanese 2.0 at least some dialog was re-recorded with the cast and 2501 was now voiced by a woman, possibly because it was inside a female prosthetic body. (I don’t think it cares about gender.) I don’t know if Manga took the easy way out or the cheap way out, but it would have been nice to have a new cast, maybe fix the dialog lines that annoy some people (like the joke on top of the tower that was mentioned in the Cartoon Cypher commentary I posted a while back), and use the SAC voices. Still the original performers aren’t bad.
So which version of the movie should you watch? Well, Tubi, Vudu, and YouTube all have this version free with ads. Oddly it’s the only one YouTube has ad-supported but it doesn’t work on older computers despite appearing to be the same thing as any other YouTube video. Vudu’s version can be rented or purchased to remove the ads However, this review is about 1.0 versus 2.0 and the original 1995 incarnation is just better. They’re both the same movie with the exact same dialog (at least in the dub) but the few times the updated CG benefits are outweighed by how often it detracts, while the remaster of the old footage isn’t picking up the slack. I linked to the original in yesterday’s review and it is better in the long run, so go with that version. At some point I do want to see the other movies as well as the two TV series I have yet to watch, and you’ll see them discussed here in the future.
And hopefully one of them will that the tachikomas! Forget Baby Not-Yoda, cute spider tanks that talk about the nature of their own existence are far more fun.