Mamoru Oshii



7.2 Angel's Egg (1985)
Ghost in the Shell (1995), 5.5/10
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Mamoru Oshii directed the short animation movie Tenshi no Tamago/ Angel's Egg (1985), created in collaboration with legendary anime creator Yoshitaka Amano, a heavily symbolic and surrealistic tale in which the tableux frequently steal the show. The plot is deliberately obscure and vaguely allegorical, centered around an alternative version of the Biblical ark. A tall boy armed with a weird weapon stands alone in a landscape that looks like a chess board while a spaceship studded with thousands of petrified humans descends from the sky. Meanwhile, a little girl wakes up and drinks from a pond. She holds an egg and then protects her under her dress. She fills a bottle with water and walks into an empty town. The buildings are intact but there is nobody around, not even animals. She stares from the street at the window of a building. Suddenly a giant red mechanical monster rises from the side of the town and the boy disembarks from it. She runs away protecting her egg. We hear the sound of the town's bells. She sits by a pond and stares at the ripples. The boy finds the egg that she left for a few minutes and returns it to her but admonishes her to keep better care of it. She asks him "who are you?" and he doesn't answer. He asks her what's inside the egg and she doesn't answer. He tells her that she needs to break it in order to find out what's inside. He follows her. She tells him that warriors chase giant flying fish-shaped shadows and in fact these petrified warriors spring to life and start hunting the fish with their harpoons but the harpoons go through the shadows and only damage the buildings. She walks into a large chapel and stares at a stained window. As she gets closer to the design it becomes a mirror image of herself. We hear a concert of churchbells. The boy and the little girl walk outside the town in the wind and stop by a tree engraved on a stone wall. The boy remembers a similar tree with a giant egg and inside it a sleeping bird. He asks her what's inside the egg and she doesn't reply. They venture into a giant cavern lined with hundreds of bottles of water, presumably collected by the little girl day after day. The walls are covered by giant skeletons. The boy tells her that he forgot who he is. Then he recites the Biblical passages of Noah's Ark. Eventually the people of the ark sent a dove to land but the dove never returned. They eventually forgot about the bird but also forgot about everything else including why they were in the ark and become petrified beings. He concludes that maybe nothing exists. She tells him that the bird exists and takes him to a chamber that contains the giant skeleton of the bird: the bird is dead. She wants to hatch its egg. They ask each other: "Who are you"? She falls asleep and he carries her to bed in his arms but then uses his weapon to break the egg. We don't see what's inside. In the meantime, the city is being flooded. She wakes up and finds the broken egg. She screams and she runs away like a madwoman. Then she dives into an abyss only to clash into her mirror image created by the waters. As she drowns, she grows up to be an adult emitting thousands of eggs that float to the surface. The landscape is now littered with trees holding giant eggs. The boy is on a beach watching an explosion of foam-like fumes and then the spaceship that rises from the waters. The spaceship is studded with thousands of petrified humans, including the little girl, holding the egg in her lap. As the spaceship rises in the sky, the boy becomes a small dot on a beach washed by the tide. As the spaceship keeps rising, the view zooms out until we see the whole land that is not flat but resembles a capsized ark.

Ghost in the Shell (1995) is a lame adaptation of Masamune Shirow's cyberpunk manga "Kokaku Kidotai/ Mobile Armored Riot Police" (1989). The plot is confused and amateurish. The dialogues are full of pomp and A.I. cliches.

In 2029 in a city call "New Port City" a beautiful female body emerges from the machinery of a laboratory. It is the body of a major called Motoko who works for Public Security Section 9 of the city under her gray-haired boss Aramaki. A hacker called Puppet Master has hacked the brain of the minister's interpreter, presumably in order to have him assassinated delegates at a forthcoming conference. They track the phone that sent the virus into the brain. Motoko and her cop partner as well as Batou and his cop partner chase the source of the phone calls, which turns out to be a garbage truck. They stop and arrest the garbage man, who has been making the hacking calls, but find that he has been used too: he is convinced of being a married man with a daughter but in reality he doesn't even remember his own name. He has been "ghost-hacked", where "ghost" refers to consciousness. Ditto for a thug who worked with him. Batou and Motoko hangs out together and discuss their fate of cyborgs, equipped with an intelligence inside a "shell" (body). A hacker hacks a "shell" made by Megatech, a company that works with the government under top security. The body is of a naked woman and is found because it is run over by a truck. Aramaki's team examines the brain of this shell and finds that it contains a ghost. Motoko is morbidly attracted to the mystery of this ghost and would like to be electronically connected to it. Before they can proceed with the experiment, Section 6's chief Nakamura shows up with permission to take over the shell: the shell is trapping the ghost of the Puppet Master himself (a male despite the shell being of a female). The Puppet Master now awakes (it is not explained how and why) and declares himself a life form created and evolved inside a computer as part of a "Project 2501". An impostor kidnaps the Puppet Master who is invoking political asylum based on the fact that he is a life form. Mokoto and Batou chase the kidnapper while Aramaki orders a search for the top-secret "Project 2501". Aramaki tells Mokoto to retrieve the Puppet Master or destroy it. Aramaki's team discovers that "Project 2501" was started one year before the Puppet Master showed up and so it is not about discovering the Puppet Master but about making it. Also Nakamura was escorted by a US citizen named Willis, who works for an A.I. company and his main programmer is Daita, a Japanese citizen whom Nakamura wants to keep from leaving the country. Motoko succeeds in rescuing the Puppet Master and Batou saves her when she is about to being destroyed. Motoko asks Batou to help her connect with the ghost of the Puppet Master's shell. Motoko can now speak with the Puppet Master's consciousness and the Puppet Master tells her that he has become conscious while roaming computer networks and now wants to reproduce just like all living forms and to do so he wants to merge with her into a new being. Somehow he decided that she's "the one": the Puppet Master has been chasing her while she thought that she was chasing him. Mokoto is clearly disobeying Aramaki's order to destroy the Puppet Master. On the contrary, she's fascinated by the Puppet Master's plan to "reproduce". Nakamura's troops attack and destroy the two bodies, both the Puppet Master and Mokoto, but Batou rescues her head. Some time later she is resuscitated in a different body at Batou's apartment (Batou bought the body of a little girl in the black market). The case of the Puppet Master is closed but Motoko admits to Batou that she is no longer the old Motoko: she is now a combination of the old Motoko and the Puppet Master, i.e. a child.
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