Ghost in the Shell (New Edition)

Author: Shirow Masamune
Artist: Shirow Masamune
Titan Books
RRP 19.99
ISBN 1 84576 018 2
Available 25 February 2005

Deep into the 21st century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg super-agent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including "ghost hackers," capable of exploiting the human/machine interface by reprogramming human minds to become puppets to carry out their criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond imagination and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside-down and inside-out...

From Shirow Masamune, the award-winning creator of Appleseed and Dominion, comes Ghost in the Shell, the breakthrough manga that inspired the internationally acclaimed animated film, and now restored in this new edition to its original collected format - and more adult treatment - as published in Japan.

Ghost in the Shell is an epic dystopian take on politics, technology, and metaphysics, which, in it's closing pages takes an interesting slant on the teachings of the Buddist faith.

Masamune is not only a fantastic illustrator, but his sense of humour is something that has to be read to be appreciated. He constantly challenges his reasoning (by the way of text between the panels) as well as explaining why things don't really add up. There is even a page where he explains that there was going to be a great sequence, only he couldn't be bothered to draw it.

This collection is reprinted in black and white, with the occasional spattering of colour pages thrown in for good measure. Oh, and the parental advisory label is there for a good reason as there is a very sexual, three way lesbian love scene that will be a little too graphic for some.

This collection is certainly worth getting hold of if you are a manga fan. And if you are not... well, this could be the book that converts you. Beautiful, intelligent and original.

Nick Smithson

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