I have limited experience with anime as a genre so when I heard that we would be watching Ghost in a Shell in my Digital Asia class, I was hesitant. Ghost in a Shell is an intricate anime that I often lost interest in and found my mind wondering. I often found myself thinking about cyborg’s and what it would be like if our body parts were replaced by machine technology, this was clear a thought stemmed from the film.
When I saw the main character naked for the first time I was surprised as I instantly forgot that I was watching Anime and not a children’s cartoon. I was also shocked at the blatant nudity and the unrealistic female form. I often found myself staring at her breasts simply due to the size and roundness of them, which made me uncomfortable as I feared the boy next to me would notice my gaze. Though it was hard not to stare as too often they seemed to be centred within the shot.
Ghost in a Shell is a futuristic film, though I felt it had a very 1990’s feeling to the film through the characters clothing, hair and general aesthetics. The film has a very melancholy feeling with the main character facing her inner-turmoil, it raised the question for me whether she is really human? And thus is the extensive nudity justified? Though this also had me considering the fact that the continued nudity was only showing the female form, whilst the male cyborg characters were never naked. I must admit I was also constantly wondering why she did not have any pubic hair, especially since the male characters often had facial hair. Leading me back to the question is she really human?
Though with the nudity aside, I was pleased to see that she was a badass female character. Perhaps still had the damsel in distress appeal when she had to be saved from that machine that was about to crush her head. But she was strong and didn’t let a man push her around, the feminist in me enjoyed seeing a strong female character but it was also my feminist ideals that perhaps lead to me feeling iffy to the nudity.
I struggled with anime culture, which resulted in me becoming restless and annoyed. I feel due to my lack of familiarity with this genre and limited context provided by the film lead to my misunderstandings and lack of interest. I remember finding some scenes, even though I thought it was beautiful art, I found them irrelevant and the images to be random.
Ghost in a Shell has resulted with me having a greater understanding of the anime genre, though this film resulted in severe confusion and lack of interest. Perhaps when I have a greater grasp of anime culture and re-watch the film I may have a different emotive response.