Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence hasn’t been easy to get a hold of on Blu-ray since the demise of Bandai. Funimation picked up the license and has finally made it available to anime fans in North America, just in time to coincide with the live-action adaptation of the first film scheduled to debut in theaters in March 2017.
Innocence continues the story where the first Ghost in the Shell left off. Major Motoko Kusanagi is missing in action; and Togusa has stepped in to fill the role of Batou’s partner. The two are assigned to an investigation concerning a spate of murders committed by androids. As they dig deeper into the mystery they will cross paths with organized crime syndicates, a cyber warfare specialist and some corporate subterfuge to top it all off.
The movie ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a science fiction thriller, but where it stands out is that it doesn’t allow the world and the technology to overshadow everything else. It supports the story and helps flesh it out, allowing characters to bring up deep philosophical questions about what it means to be human. Questions that make sense considering the time and place they inhabit.
These conversations are usually bolstered by a plethora of idioms, proverbs and quotations from historical figures. However, sometimes it feels as if they’re throwing the kitchen sink at viewers with the dialogue and it can feel a bit overwhelming. This is definitely the type of material that would be well served by multiple viewings in order to digest everything.
Following up the original, critically acclaimed hit was going to be a tall task. While it doesn’t reach those same heights, Innocence can hold its own weight and justify its existence by building on the foundation laid by its predecessor.
This is a technically solid release by Funimation. The video on the disc is 1080p and it’s really allowed to breathe with a nice bit rate that mostly hovers around 33Mbps. There are no major issues with video artifacts or banding. The only knock is that there is a little bit of noticeable shimmering that is most apparent on skin tones.
Regardless of whether English or Japanese is chosen the audio will be delivered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. They both deliver a similar experience, with the only noticeable difference that can be noted is that the dialogue in the English language track has a little more bass to it. Thumbs up on this part of the presentation.
The disc isn’t packed with as many extras as would be expected from a movie that has a reputation as high as this one does, but it’s still a lot better than the majority of anime releases. There is a Japanese trailer of the movie, trailers for some of Funimation’s offerings, a segment titled The Making of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and a commentary track by director Mamoru Oshii and animation director Toshihiko Nishikubo.
While it took longer than most would have liked, one of the most well regarded movies in the medium can once again be readily purchased at a sane price level. Kudos to Funimation for delivering a solid release that owners can proudly have on their shelves.