Ghost in the Shell 4K Blu-ray Review & Comments

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
Kind of surprised you gave the picture a 9. It's an improvement over the old BD, but that was an awful, awful disc. I've seen a lot of re-mastered anime on BD and the results are usually fantastic, this though, along with the recent Akira 4K release looked soft, noisy, and unimpressive to my eyes. HDR use could also be summed up as almost none.

The movie is great, no question of course.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Kind of surprised you gave the picture a 9. It's an improvement over the old BD, but that was an awful, awful disc. I've seen a lot of re-mastered anime on BD and the results are usually fantastic, this though, along with the recent Akira 4K release looked soft, noisy, and unimpressive to my eyes. HDR use could also be summed up as almost none.

The movie is great, no question of course.
I think your preceding comments on the forums set it up well because I was blown away when I actually got around to watching it.

I'm surprised you didn't see any HDR either, as the whole movie was positively glowing in all the right (and sometimes unexpected) places, for me. Hell they even managed to make the dingy shanty town lights pop.

I certainly haven't encountered much 30 year old anime in 4K, so you're right, I have nothing like that to compare to, but this looked glorious to me. And no, I haven't stumped up for the Akira import, it looks like (following the cinema reissue) we might get a release here which I'll take a look at in due course.
 

martian1

Well-known Member
Have to agree i thought the sound a solid 9 but the picture a 5 at best just looks like old dvd quality to me. I will admit its years since i watched it so cannot vouch for what it looked like in past releases.
 

gadget man

Active Member
Yea this is not great for picture and are you aware cas on the music substitution over the film's closing credits not been the original?
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Yea this is not great for picture and are you aware cas on the music substitution over the film's closing credits not been the original?
Yeah, I read that in the forums too, think it's fine on the English dub, but they used the same on the Japanese (in place of Chant III). It's an odd one, I happen to prefer the English dubs for most GITS (got used to the Motoko actress) but of course she didn't do this one and I find the Motoko voice particularly grating in the English version.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
After watching a 4k version, I read some reviews and they were tepid at best. But I like the film and I didn't have a copy. Plus this is probably the best version so I had no issue in purchasing it. Whether this is that much of an upgrade from the 2k versions I don't know. I agree that it seems to have a decent contrast ratio and looks very nice for what it is. But maybe the animation style isn't conducive to it looking much better. This might be one of those director's intent arguments.

I've yet to hear the Atmos track but the old DTS-HD 5.1 certainly up-mixes well enough to add to the enjoyment.
 
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dms

Active Member
Interesting what you say about dubbed tracks for animation. I fall into that exact category of people who would never watched a live action film dubbed but often watch animation dubbed without thinking twice about it. I didn't even realise my bluray had pcm stereo for the Japanese till I just went and checked!

For me the dialogue and context is complex enough I suffer less brain lag hearing it in English compared to reading subtitles which also spoil the visuals. From memory the sequel is even more headache inducing in that regard.

Also from memory its a film with some effort on the dubbed track (ok its not princess monoko but then again nothing else is!)

It is a film I love along with Akira but your excellent review has persuaded me I need to replace my bluray at some point. Admittedly akira which I have in the steel case dvd will be an autobuy if it gets a UK release.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
I think your preceding comments on the forums set it up well because I was blown away when I actually got around to watching it.

I'm surprised you didn't see any HDR either, as the whole movie was positively glowing in all the right (and sometimes unexpected) places, for me. Hell they even managed to make the dingy shanty town lights pop.

I certainly haven't encountered much 30 year old anime in 4K, so you're right, I have nothing like that to compare to, but this looked glorious to me. And no, I haven't stumped up for the Akira import, it looks like (following the cinema reissue) we might get a release here which I'll take a look at in due course.
All three Patlabor movies look wonderful on BD, as does the cheesy but very enjoyable original Vampire Hunter D movie from Toyou Ashida. Macross Do You Remember Love, Space Adventure Cobra, Wicked City, and also quite a few Lupin movies look great too. Heck even Mystery of Mamo cleaned up beautifully and that was released way back 78. Of course all of the Ghibli stuff looks beautiful on BD as well.

Plenty of anime TV is also out on BD now and looks similarly great. A few highlights for me have been Gunbuster, Megazone 23, Bubblegum Crisis, Gunsmith Cats, Riding Bean... there's a ton, especially in Japan.

Which is why it's so puzzling to me that landmark movies such as Akira and GITS look so soft and noisy, not just on BD but on UHD.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Interesting what you say about dubbed tracks for animation. I fall into that exact category of people who would never watched a live action film dubbed but often watch animation dubbed without thinking twice about it. I didn't even realise my bluray had pcm stereo for the Japanese till I just went and checked!

For me the dialogue and context is complex enough I suffer less brain lag hearing it in English compared to reading subtitles which also spoil the visuals. From memory the sequel is even more headache inducing in that regard.

Also from memory its a film with some effort on the dubbed track (ok its not princess monoko but then again nothing else is!)

It is a film I love along with Akira but your excellent review has persuaded me I need to replace my bluray at some point. Admittedly akira which I have in the steel case dvd will be an autobuy if it gets a UK release.
Agree, it would be ridiculous to watch live action dubbed, old Bruce Lee style (the irony being that plenty of the old Lee/Chan films were themselves dubbed because not everybody spoke Chinese), but with anime I find it much more forgivable, in no small part due to the lengths they go to in order to get it spot on.

The Motoko actress (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) did the sequel, the absolutely superb 52-episode SAC series, the spin-off Solid State Society film, and the recent Netflix SAC_2045 (after being thanklessly relegated to a supporting role in Arise).

She is, and will always be, the voice of Motoko for me.

Batou and Aramaki have been the same (US) voices right from the get-go too, and they'll never be bettered either.

And yes, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a headache. It makes the complex themes in the first look like child's play.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
For me the dialogue and context is complex enough I suffer less brain lag hearing it in English compared to reading subtitles which also spoil the visuals. From memory the sequel is even more headache inducing in that regard.

Also from memory its a film with some effort on the dubbed track (ok its not princess monoko but then again nothing else is!)

It is a film I love along with Akira but your excellent review has persuaded me I need to replace my bluray at some point. Admittedly akira which I have in the steel case dvd will be an autobuy if it gets a UK release.
The Ghost in the Shell sequel really is headache inducing. At first I found it poetic, but as it went on it just got more random. There are parts of many cultures that are extremely difficult to translate. The many literary references they use in this anime don't make sense in their translated form. One day I might watch a dubbed version.

I watched a lot of HK cinema growing up. Jackie Chan films were already always dubbed but the rest were subbed which tbh I prefer. I don't watch much Anime but women raising their pitch to play young boys really sounds awful to me . I think I understand why they do it but I just don't like it. I much prefer the English dub for Anime. Goku's English voice is perfect. A growing young man with a sometimes native and childish mind. His original voice just sounds like a woman squeaking *shudder* Maybe you get used to it in time.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
All three Patlabor movies look wonderful on BD, as does the cheesy but very enjoyable original Vampire Hunter D movie from Toyou Ashida. Macross Do You Remember Love, Space Adventure Cobra, Wicked City, and also quite a few Lupin movies look great too. Heck even Mystery of Mamo cleaned up beautifully and that was released way back 78. Of course all of the Ghibli stuff looks beautiful on BD as well.

Plenty of anime TV is also out on BD now and looks similarly great. A few highlights for me have been Gunbuster, Megazone 23, Bubblegum Crisis, Gunsmith Cats, Riding Bean... there's a ton, especially in Japan.

Which is why it's so puzzling to me that landmark movies such as Akira and GITS look so soft and noisy, not just on BD but on UHD.
Well there are a couple of things there; firstly Akira and GITS have never looked great, so perhaps, as @Coulson alluded to above, it's inherent to the source/style. For me, this was leagues ahead of anything I'd seen from GITS before.

Secondly, there's little else (if anything) of same-era anime that's been given the 4K treatment, so it's hard to know how well 80s/90s anime would hold up on the format.

Let's see whether Akira's issues have been magically resolved for its UK 4K bow (I think, for some reason, it's actually even playing at IMAX, which would be a unique experience).
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
Let's see whether Akira's issues have been magically resolved for its UK 4K bow (I think, for some reason, it's actually even playing at IMAX, which would be a unique experience).
It is and I'm tempted to go, but I can get a very similar experience at home in VR and not worry about Covid.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
It is and I'm tempted to go, but I can get a very similar experience at home in VR and not worry about Covid.
I have a feeling it might well be the only chance in your life to have a whole IMAX cinema to yourself though!
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
I have a feeling it might well be the only chance in your life to have a whole IMAX cinema to yourself though!
Already got one mate. That's the point ;)
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
The Ghost in the Shell sequel really is headache inducing. At first I found it poetic, but as it went on it just got more random. There are parts of many cultures that are extremely difficult to translate. The many literary references they use in this anime don't make sense in their translated form. One day I might watch a dubbed version.
I think when it was released it was ONLY released in original language (the only production from that house that didn't get a dub IIRC), so I saw it in original audio first time around, and have since seen it dubbed. Either way though, I have to say I tend to eventually get a little lost in the ether, much like the characters do in that damn house. Story's fine, but they go full-on in the lore and architecture.

Visually, though, it's astounding, and arguably more in line with Shirow's manga than the first film (personally, I found the manga ultimately too dense to remain particularly pleasurable to read) in that it is unforgivably super-complex but visually opulent.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
...so I saw it in original audio first time around, and have since seen it dubbed. Either way though, I have to say I tend to eventually get a little lost in the ether, much like the characters do in that damn house. Story's fine, but they go full-on in the lore and architecture.
That's an interesting point. Maybe that is the point. We get lost in the house just like the characters do. I wonder if that also happens if you are watching it in its native language?
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
Well there are a couple of things there; firstly Akira and GITS have never looked great, so perhaps, as @Coulson alluded to above, it's inherent to the source/style. For me, this was leagues ahead of anything I'd seen from GITS before.

Secondly, there's little else (if anything) of same-era anime that's been given the 4K treatment, so it's hard to know how well 80s/90s anime would hold up on the format.

Let's see whether Akira's issues have been magically resolved for its UK 4K bow (I think, for some reason, it's actually even playing at IMAX, which would be a unique experience).
I have the Japanese 4K Akira disc. It's a stinker. There's even visible print damage in some scenes. I cannot imagine how it was ever cleared for release.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
The Ghost in the Shell sequel really is headache inducing. At first I found it poetic, but as it went on it just got more random. There are parts of many cultures that are extremely difficult to translate. The many literary references they use in this anime don't make sense in their translated form. One day I might watch a dubbed version.
I absolutely love Innocence. It was written by Oshii I believe but it feels like Shiro, he really captured the dense plotting style of the manga. Visually it's absurdly beautiful too.

It's been out on 4K disc in Japan for years now and I've seen it. Sadly it's an obvious upscale but the HDR adds a fair bit.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member
I absolutely love Innocence. It was written by Oshii I believe but it feels like Shiro, he really captured the dense plotting style of the manga. Visually it's absurdly beautiful too.

It's been out on 4K disc in Japan for years now and I've seen it. Sadly it's an obvious upscale but the HDR adds a fair bit.
I'm going to assume that you watch in Japanese. Watching or reading something in the original language is always better. Especially for something as "high minded" as this seems to be. I think that poetry and newspapers are two of the most difficult translation/interpretation tasks the are in language understanding.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
I'm going to assume that you watch in Japanese. Watching or reading something in the original language is always better. Especially for something as "high minded" as this seems to be. I think that poetry and newspapers are two of the most difficult translation/interpretation tasks the are in language understanding.
I do, but I need the subs on for this one. The language is way over my head.
 

Coulson

Distinguished Member

Nova01

Member
Plenty of anime TV is also out on BD now and looks similarly great. A few highlights for me have been Gunbuster, Megazone 23, Bubblegum Crisis, Gunsmith Cats, Riding Bean... there's a ton, especially in Japan.

Which is why it's so puzzling to me that landmark movies such as Akira and GITS look so soft and noisy, not just on BD but on UHD.
Bear in mind that of those particular titles, Bubblegum Crisis, Riding Bean, Gunsmith Cats and Meagzone 23 were or are being remastered for Bluray by Animego, funded by Kickstarter projects, and usually involve one or more of the original creators providing extras and input.

The community is heavily involved in the process, even turning up obscure details that go into the extras, and higher tier backers are involved in checking the masters for the smallest errors before they are released.

They are most definitely a labour of love for all involved and set a high bar for other anime remasters to match.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
It should maybe be mentioned that this is a US release and the included Blu-ray disc will be a region A disc. This isn't really of much importance to most who will simply be purchasong this release for the 4K version and the UHD disc will be region free as is the case with all UHD disc releases, but maybe worth mentioning to those who may have wanted (for whatever reason) to play the 1080p Blu-ray disc via an unmodified trgion 2 player.

It's good to hear that Lionsgate have ported all the extras onto the UHD disc or those purchasing this in the UK wouldn't be able to easilly access them.

Ghost in the Shell comes to US 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate, with no imminent UK 4K release on the horizon.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
I have a feeling it might well be the only chance in your life to have a whole IMAX cinema to yourself though!

You can currently get your very own IMAX cinema free with packets of beef flavoured Monster Much! There's unfortunately a distinct lack of availability due to COVID. Coincidence or did IMAX engineer the entire COVID epidemic/pandemic?

This is something only LG Samsung Dolby IMAX can answer!
 
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