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Cartoons for Grownups

February 21st, 2005 · No Comments · Culture, Reviews, TV

I don’t consider myself an anime fan, but I’ve been known to enjoy them from time to time.

One of my favorites, probably because I knew nothing about it when I rented it many years ago, is Ghost in the Shell. Ghost in the Shell has no supernatural elements and no giant humanoid robots. Instead is an attempt for some real science fiction and some beautiful animation. It does suffer from a common anime problem of some overlong stretches of tedious dialog and a slightly scattered plot. These faults are redeemed by the rich and cleverly presented science fiction world that the story is set in.

I dragged Conny View definition in a new window to the sequel, Ghost In The Shell: Innocence, and she managed to stay awake for a good part of it. The animation was very well done, and the story was decent science fiction. Sadly, the anime syndrome isn’t kept in check nearly as well, and there’s way too much dialog that tries to sound clever, but is really just stupid and pointless. The action, when it happens, is great, but this is one movie that needed to have its characters doing more doing and talking less talk. Even still, the fictional world of Ghost in the Shell is fun to visit and pretty to look at.

Which probably explains why I am enjoy the television series Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex. Set before either movie, this thirty minute show which is now airing on the Cartoon Network, basically combines science fiction with a police procedural drama. It even has ensemble cast, and many of the episodes actually comprise a long, detailed story arc. One or two episodes have been a wee bit chatty, and they tarted up the lead female character’s appearance compared to the first film, but nothing is perfect. What really makes the series unusual for an animated show is how character driven it actually is.

Since Standalone Complex isn’t on nearly often enough for me, I’ve been easing the pain by watching the oddly named Cowboy Bebop, which is a much more whimsical offering. Again, no giant robots or battling demons in this one. Much lighter fare, but with a charm all its own, and more clever than it appears to the casual eye.

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