I had my first Anime viewing in my Digital Asia class today, and it was nothing I could have prepared for. I don’t exactly know what it was I was expecting, but initially my engagement with this genre was new and difficult. I often found myself trying to skip dialogue to work out what the characters were, and therefore missing points in the storyline. It’s nothing against the genre of anime, I think just my lack of exposure to its conventions made me have to really focus in the first 10-15 minutes. This being said, for a “cartoon” feeling film I found myself deeply engaged in the sound detail, perhaps slightly left field of what I should have been paying attention to, but still something I found a respect for.
As the film progressed I did eventually pick up on a storyline that I stuck with throughout. Within this, i was able to really appreciate the involvement of digital based combat and ideas. The idea of a man vs. machine storyline really captured my interest and the cyborg argument that arose of “is the cyborg human?”. It provoked my understanding of “cyborg” as an extension of the human body, and all the ideas I had when creating a prosthetic limb. The idea that people could enhance themselves to become greater in their own way wasn’t so new or original, in fact this film explored the possibilities of that. I could appreciate the artistic nature of the film, as well as the parts (though I didn’t fully understand context) that had emotive feeling attached to them. Yet somehow as I watched the film my mind wandered into the conventions of machines and how it seems to be a common path of humanity to one day be immersed in a machine world, for better or for worse.
The class discussion at the end of the film was probably the most beneficial part of my experience as i was able to listen in on those that have prior anime experience and perhaps slightly more engagement with the film which were then able to recount and make points about it. This is where I was able to make connections and ultimately understand the film in its entirety. I believe that if I was to re-watch the film after having the class discussion I would be better suited, as my interest would be heightened knowing the overall plot and character positions.
The Ghost in the Shell I believe was a great first anime film to experience as it’s so closely linked to my curiosity into a digital world. Although my understanding of the entire plot and genre as a whole, it was indeed a pleasant experience and one I know will only develop with more content.