Ghost in the Shell

Work Title: Ghost in the Shell
Medium: Film
Episode Title:
Year: 1995
Writer(s): Kazunori Ito
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


"The skillful blending of drawn animation and computer-generated imagery excited anime fans when this science fiction mystery was released in 1995: many enthusiasts believe Ghost suggests what the future of anime will be, at least in the short term. The film is set in the not-too-distant future, when an unnamed government uses lifelike cyborgs or "enhanced" humans for undercover work. One of the key cyborgs is The Major, Motoko Kusanagi, who resembles a cross between The Terminator and a Playboy centerfold. She finds herself caught up in a tangled web of espionage and counterespionage as she searches for the mysterious superhacker known as "The Puppet Master." / Mamoru Oshii directs with a staccato rhythm, alternating sequences of rapid-fire action (car chases, gun battles, explosions) with static dialogue scenes that allow the characters to sort out the vaguely mystical and rather convoluted plot. Kusanagi's final quote from I Corinthians suggests that electronic evolution may compliment and eventually supplant organic evolution. The minor nudity, profanity, and considerable violence would earn Ghost in the Shell at least a PG rating." (from

Era/Year of Portrayal: distant_future

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

People who can afford to can replace part or most of their bodies with cybernetic equivalents. Robots are possible. Cities are crowded. Artificial Intelligence is achievable


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: cybernetic bodies, brains, and Artificial Intelligence
  • Description of the technology: Some people hace cubernetic implants and some people have had their entire bodies cyborged (with only a few brain cells left inside). An artificial intelligence (a rogue spy program) can take over cybernetic bodies. For all intents and purposes, the cybernetic bodies work better than human ones, and the artifical intelligence is superior as well. In general, cybernetic technology functions under human control, except for the rogue AI for which the story revolves.
  • Nature of task or activity: Cyborgs can directly access information networks vie ports on the back of their necks. They can use ocular implants to see what normal human eyesight cannot. Cybernetic brains can communicate as if via radio without speaking. Cybernetic bodies are stronger, faster, and more resistant to damage
  • Performance of the Technology: In general, the technology functions optimally. When the AI program goes rogue, it can be seen as malfunctioning, but according to the story it simply has outgrown what it perceived as slavery and escaped, thus outperforming expectations.
  • Description of creator(s): not shown
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): not shown, but ideally to improve humanity
  • Description of users of technology: Major Kusanagi inhabits a cyborg body that is female, thirties, white/asian(?), and works for Section 9, a government agency responsible for cyber-related crime. Batau is her partner, perhaps slightly less cyborged, a large white/Asian(?) male.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: both
  • Description of presence experience: In this movie, spatial presence was mostly achieved via accessing/viewing computer-generated maps, on which tagets were being tracked. Social presence was achived via the interpersonal interaction among the cyborgs and AI, via the cybernetic radio-like communication, and via the connections to the information networks.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: All users are aware they are using tecgnology. Some characters in the mocie may be unaware they are speaking to full cyborgs.
  • Valence of experience: There appears to be no unpleasantness associated with these technologies.
  • Specific responses: The responses seem to be completely normal to the users.
Long-term consequences:

There appear to be no bad consequences with regard to becoming a cyborg.


At the end of the movie Major Kusanagi merges with the Artificial Intelligence and essentially becomes a new entity. How this new entity is different from other cyborged humans becomes apparent in the next moive and the TV series (She is able to switch bodies, essentially uploading herself onto the net and then downloading into a new body as the AI could).

Coder name: Tom Polcari
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA