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Ghost in the Shell   |   
Considered by many to be one of the greatest anime of all time, Ghost in the Shell certainly has many impressive qualities. First of all, the quality of animation is simpy stunning. The characters are extremely detailed, and the weapons effects are amazing. The soundtrack is good, except for that one, particular track with the screeching voice. God in heaven, I swear I thought that track was going to drive me mad before it ended. Its creepy atmosphere suited the scene, but it just sounded so annoying that I could barely tolerate it. Maybe some of you other fans liked it, but I can't see how. Actually, this anime is very much story driven. The action is relatively sparse (though very intense), and the underlying themes take priority. It is inevitable that I compare this anime to Armitage III, because the theme is nearly identical. Once again, we have a female cop who is actually an advanced android. The difference is that Ghost in the Shell's heroine, Motoko Kusanagi, has a human brain, apparently implanted into her new body. Furthermore, in Kusanagi's world, it is common knowledge that certain humans have these state-of-the-art, artificial bodies, so there is no need for her to fear discovery by robot-haters. Nope, Kusanagi's problems lie elsewhere.
Our story takes place in a futuristic city, where various law enforcement agencies deal out their ideas of justice by employing extremely powerful and advanced android such as Major Kusanagi. Lately, a hacker, known only as the Puppetmaster, has been wreaking some hell over the net. Of course, Kusanagi's section is assigned the task of finding him and bringing him down. The story starts to get interesting when we find out that the Puppetmaster is really not a human at all; it is a sentient consciousness that was spontaneously born among the sea of data in the net. Of course this makes us wonder, what makes one a human? Is Kusanagi human? Except for her flesh brain, she is entirely man-made. What about the Puppetmaster? It thinks and feels, but does not have so much as a single cell in its makeup. This thought-provoking anime asks some very deep questions that we may have a hard time answering. But it makes us think, and that is always a good thing. This anime moves slowly at times, but in the end, the excellent story makes up for it. I give this anime an 8 out of 10!