“Ghost in the shell” or: Legends of cyberpunk

This film is based on Masamune Shirow’s sci-fi manga and cyberpunk. The live-action film stars Scarlet Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagui, and is based on the animated film “Ghost in the Shell” (1995). This film is one of the icons of the genre cyberpunk along with other works like the sticker of tuned carsAkira” (1998).


It is set after the year 2029 (as in “Logan“), a post-Third World War era in which technology has advanced so much that it allows the inclusion of organs or a whole robotic body (shell) but maintaining its essence or soul (ghost). The limits of humanity and individuality are being erased to give rise to philosophical questions such as “Can a robot be considered human?”, “What does it mean to be human?” and “Who am I?”.


Major Kusanagui works in Section 9, specializing in cyber-terrorism and cyber-attacks. In the 1995 film, they face a terrorist who specializes in ghost hacking (the control of the mind and body of the individual) called The Puppet Master. Impersonation and the difficulty of finding an ethereal enemy make Kusanagui question his reality by being able to exist in different ways in a world where a physical body can be alterable by a set of data but which, by the way, has individuality, personality, emotions and these same existential doubts.

This same question has Rick Deckard in the movie “Blade Runner” (1982) (soon after its sequel) when he meets with Roy, the replicant. This movie is based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.

Roy’s speech about fragility of memories before an announced death in “Blade Runner” (1982)

Ghost in the shell” has its origins in the books of the “Sprawl Trilogy” by William Gibson. The most popular book (Gosh! I bought two) is “Neuromancer“. From this author are released films such as:

  • “Johnny Mnemonic” (1995), short story
  • “New Rose Hotel” (1998), short story
  • “The Matrix” (1999), based on the novels

For you, what does it mean to be human?

Note: There is much material from this work. The manga, two seasons of anime, an OVA and two films (the present analysis and “Ghost in the shell: Innocence”)

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