Ideally you want to see Mamuro Oshii’s influential animated sci-fi film in Japanese, on a screen so big you have to move your head to read the subtitles, but if you missed the recent big screen re-release (celebrating the 25th anniversary of the source manga, set in a cyber-connected future circa 2029), this stunning HD transfer is the next best thing.
The oblique title refers to the consciousness of a sinister terrorist known as ‘The Puppet Master’, who ‘hacks’ into the brains of innocent citizens, coercing them into committing crimes and terrorist acts. Among those on The Puppet Master’s trail is Motoko Kusanagi, a beautiful cyborg agent with the government’s secret ‘Section 9’, who uncovers a high-level conspiracy with political, scientific and philosophical implications.
The ‘cyberpunk’ scene was already a decade old by the time Masamune Shirow’s 1989 manga got the film treatment, as a ground-breaking hybrid of cel and CG animation which, dismayingly, remains the only sci-fi anime to hold a candle to Akira. James Cameron called it “a stunning work of speculative fiction,” its influence on The Matrix is obvious, and even after two decades – and cyberpunk’s waning popularity – it continues to astound and amaze. The English dub is still rubbish, though.
EXTRAS 20 page booklet with an Oshii interview.