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Response Writing 4: How Do Ghost In The Shell, Innocence (Essay Sample)


Response Writing #4
How do Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, and Millennium Actress interrogate human being/being human?
There is so much that could go so many ways in analyzing even just small parts of these films by themselves or collectively, that I think it best not to limit your responses with strict parameters. Plus, this is your last Response Writing, so why not simply cut you loose?
You’ve gotten a taste of some approaches to these films in chapters 2 and 4 of Bolton’s book. I think his bringing in classical Japanese puppet theater to interpret Ghost in the Shell and Innocence and stage(d) performance to interpret Millennium Actress is fruitful and interesting. But by no means has he exhausted interpretations of these films. He’s left plenty for you, even if you draw on his insights.
So, here’s what you’re tasked with for your last Response Writing: choose two of these three films (or all three if you’d like) and fashion an interpretation of them under the general theme of “human being/being human.” Please don’t all of you choose the two Ghost in the Shell films (there are interesting and creative comparisons to be had with one of those films and Millennium Actress too!).
Remember, arguments that build ideas and interpretative claims from concrete examples from the films work best. Cite scenes with time marks and readings with simple in-text parenthetical references, like “in Millennium Actress (1:23:45)” and “(Bolton, 88)”. Most importantly, dazzle me with your brilliance.


ASIA 2512: Explorations of Japanese Animation
How do Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, and Millennium Actress interrogate human being/being human?
Ghost in the Shell (1995), directed by Mamoru Oshii is set in 2029 AD Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team try to capture the Puppet Master suspected to be the hacker who leads Kusanagi on a wild chase after ghost hacking unsuspecting people. Millennium Actress (Sennen joyы) (2001) is about actress Fujiwara Chiyoko and her life from the 1930s to 1960, but quit acting suddenly. The human bodies are also mechanical in Ghost in the Shell, but like Millennium Actress, there is search for deeper meaning and human connection since there is transformation, freewill and memories, which are important to retain humanity.
In Ghost in the Shell, there is dramatic progression; accompanied by a high level technical section, both artistic and sound, where his film manages to demonstrate again how an animated work can give a message that humans are capable of making decisions more often without manipulation than machines. Major Kusanagi tells the cop who is driving her around in the opening scenes that one of the reasons she chose him is that he is almost human (Ghost in the Shell, 13:06). Being human makes it harder to be hacked and manipulated by the elusive and cunning Puppet Master. Humans have control over their impulses, by the more humans become like machines the easier it is to manipulate them. Technology dehumanizes and liberates at the same time, since there is focus on the fixed gender roles, but also transcending these roles in the lead female characters (Bolton, 96).
There is focus on transhumanism in Ghost in the Shell, where humans are integrated with technology they are not completely human and not completely machine. Technology, but lose their humaneness when the human consciousness (Ghost) is hacked. The ghosts are hacked pretty badly that they cannot remember who they are, and have no recollection about the most important people and events in their lives (24:12). Even though, people have the option to replace their bodies with cybernetic limbs and brain, their memories, emotions and even personality are assumed to remain th

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