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Otakon 2004
Dreamworks / Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

by George Phillips,
Originally labelled as the Dreamworks panel, this was changed to the Ghost in the Shell: Innocence panel in later versions of the schedule and featured representatives from Dreamworks SKG and Production I.G Dreamworks' representative was Olivier Moreaux, and Production I.G's representative was Maki Terashima.

Production for Ghost in the Shell 2 began in 2000. This new film, which was released in March 2004, is filled with high-profile crewmembers. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, the director of the original Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2 occurs one year after the disappearance of Major Kusanagi at the end of the first film.

During the panel, Dreamworks played four clips from various parts of the film, for a total of 13 minutes of footage. Philosophy, ultra-violence, and detective-work, coupled with incredible 3-D and 2-D animation, make Ghost in the Shell 2 a spectacle to behold.

The first scene, “Crime Scene”, features Batou slowly walking through a murder crime scene. After turning a corner, Batou spots two dead bodies: the latest victims of a strange crime trend. The culprit? A pleasure robot that turned on her owners, killing them and then destroying herself.

Next scene, “Yakuza Showdown”, is Batou and a human partner facing off a large squad of armed Yakuza. He demands to see a certain member, and when drawn weapons greet him, opens fire on his adversaries, mowing them down with a powerful automatic weapon.

The third scene, “Lawless Land”, shows a deeper, more intellectual side of things. Batou visits Locus Solaris, a data haven in East Asia, once a powerful center of information but lately reduced to bureaucracy-laden complex. Batou and his partner compare the land to Psalms 139 and a quote from Milton. The focus of the scene suggests that creativity (whether via a computer or via life) is all an expression of DNA, and thus creation is a form of external memory for humanity as memories are internal “memory” for a human.

Finally, “Parade” focused on the technical aspects of the film; a lengthy shot of faces, masks, boats and birds all moving simultaneously.

The theatrical release of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence will be subtitled prints only. The DVD features are not yet set. “We want to do something cool [for this DVD], but we can't say anything at this point.” Although no specific DVD release date was given, Dreamworks expects a release late in 2004, or else early in 2005.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, will be released in limited markets beginning 9/17/2004, and is rated PG-13. Initial rollout is expected to be at least 30 theaters, and perhaps as many as 50, making it the largest initial theatrical rollout for an anime in North America.

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