Friday, 6 October 2017


Image result for ghost in the shell the official movie novelization titan books
Ghost in the Shell The Official Movie Novelization
Authors: James Swallow/Abbie Bernstein
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781785657528
Reviewed by: Sandra Scholes

Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow and the animated movie directed by Mamoru Oshii, in the future people live longer and have artificial bodies with computer enhanced brains. The unfortunate outcome of this evolution is hackers can manipulate these cyberbrains to their advantage.

The only challenge to their threat id the newly founded Section 9 where the Major is always asking herself what her purpose in life is. Then the Major would ask that as she is one such neo-human, a body known as a shell with a cyber brain. Her right hand man, Batou backs her up whenever they get sent on missions.

In this Westernised version of the movie script at Hanka Robotics the Major has a new shell body constructed with a cyber brain soon to be the weapon who will go and deal with the hackers. Hanka send her to be taken in by Section 9 and her first assignment. Here the Major is called Mira by her maker, but in the anime she is Major Kusanagi.

Set in Neo Tokyo, Major and Batou are on site waiting for signs of disruption from the same hackers. They are ready to intercept them at a hotel where the prime minister and business executives are in a function room being waited on by geisha-bots. When one of the bots gets hacked it us Major's job to apprehend it. What Section 9 discover is the hackers are more sophisticated and smarter than they gave them credit. Her boss, Aramaki wants answers as does the prime minister.

One part of the story that stood out for me is that the Major has very little in the way of memories from when she was younger; I believed it was an effect of the cyber enhancements her brain and body have undergone over the years.

In all I liked this version of the story and how the Major evolves with her experiences of being fully human to nearly all cyber. She has the strength and the speed, but also loses who she is as a person. Even some of her comrades are unsure about going full cyber. I never thought about it before but when I spotted the cover photo of Scarlett Johanson she looks suspiciously like Japanese visual kei artiste Kamui Gackt.A nice touch in this version is this is set before Batou has his new cyber eyes fitted after an accident near blinds him.