Netflix unveils a new, first look image from their forthcoming Ghost In The Shell anime series. The Ghost In The Shell franchise began as a Japanese manga series in 1989 but is perhaps most widely known, particularly outside of Japan, for its 1995 anime movie adaptation. From there spawned a host of related sequels, video games and TV shows but the franchise once again came to worldwide prominence in 2017 with the release of a live-action Hollywood adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson. The film was somewhat of a disappointment, with accusations of whitewashing contributing to muted critical and commercial performance.
In 2017, franchise regular Kenji Kamiyama was announced to be directing a new Ghost In The Shell TV project alongside Shinji Aramaki and in a pleasant surprise for anime fans, it was confirmed late last year that Netflix had acquired the worldwide streaming rights. With the catchy title of Ghost In The Shell: SAC_2045, the new series will be the first entry in the franchise to utilize 3DCG. The new series will consist of two seasons, both clocking in at 12 episodes.
As revealed by Variety, Netflix have now released a first look at one of Ghost In The Shell: SAC-2045's main characters. Fittingly, the unveiling occurred during this week's Netflix Original Anime: A Celebration of Anime and a Look Ahead panel. The image highlights the updated design for lead franchise protagonist, Motoko Kusanagi, otherwise known as the Major. The design comes from anime newbie Ilya Kuvshinov.
While not much can be gleaned from the image in terms of story details, the visual style is immediately striking. The image is noticeably less gritty and more colorful when compared to the style of the much-loved 1995 Ghost In The Shell movie, but is also a marked departure from the franchise's various other anime TV offerings, which utilize a more general manga-style design. This is perhaps partly due to the implementation of 3DCG technology, and although a series can never be judged on a single image, this first look design suggests that Ghost In The Shell: SAC_2045 will be a uniquely beautiful viewing experience.
For anime fans, Netflix's catalog of Japanese animation is one of the streaming service's biggest attractions and the company's increasing involvement in helping to produce original anime TV shows can only be a positive thing, helping to provide far wider worldwide distribution than a regular Japanese-made anime series would usually enjoy. Casual viewers in the West may have lacked enthusiasm for the live-action Ghost In The Shell movie, but hopefully the new series can show those fans exactly what the franchise is capable of.
Ghost In The Shell: SAC-2045 is due to premiere in 2020 on Netflix.