Wednesday, November 15

A scholarly discussion on Ghost in the Shell anime

Dead Inside: Reviving the Cyborg Soul in Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell

Joseph Babcock
Introduction: Cyborg Life in the Land of the Dead

Japan, 2029: neurons and silicon have been technologically integrated, and the human body is a playground for cybernetic modification. Covert agents, equipped with government-owned cyborg bodies, are immersed in multi-level international conspiracy. Many of these individuals retain only their brain stem, or a few neurons, as a mark of their humanity. Besides these trace tissues, only their “ghosts”, their transplanted human minds, distinguish them from intelligent robots. This is the world of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell: the divide between humanity and its machines has seldom seemed so uncertain.

Shirow’s manga presents a dystopic world, a darker form of the future described by Donna Haraway in her Cyborg Manifesto. Where Haraway sees the possibility for gender and cultural boundaries to be dissolved by cybernetics, Shirow focuses on the dehumanizing aspects of cyborg technology. Similar to the pessimistic vision contemplated by media scholar Steven Shaviro in his book Connected, Shirow foresees the human body being “taken over”2 by cybernetics. In this postmodern future, the line between man and machine has become vague. However, the two are not entirely integrated, and this incomplete synthesis creates an identity crisis for Shirow’s protagonist, Section 9 agent “Major” Motoko Kusanagi. Locked within an artificial body, Kusanagi questions her humanity, feeling alienated from her physical shell. By merging with the artificial intelligence known as the Puppet Master, she achieves total unification with the machine, becoming a “true” cyborg.

The complete HTML is here.

I will comment on this one later. Still digesting what the article trying to say.

yes I am cheap. I like to reuse pictures. hahahahahaha!

No comments: