Ghost In The Shell Vol-1 by Masamune Shirow is incredible for its art and its prescient story.
In the 1990s, The Ghost In The Shell Volume 1 must have left readers in a state of utter incredulity.
It does so today as well, but the 21st Century depicted in the epic manga series has hit on many eerie notes that are developed or in development in the modern age, the digital age.
The following review of The Ghost In The Shell Volume 1 is *Spoiler Free*
If cybernetic limbs can lead to cyborgs with implants, why cannot a brain, a soul, a ghost, eventually be uploaded into a full-on cyborg model.
That concept in and of itself may not be very original.
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick was one of the first to combine this AI and/or soul-brain into machine concept along the rough and jaded lines that were foundational for cyberpunk: gritty, grim futures with deadly and often seemingly unnatural additions in the forms of robotics to humans and to the bots themselves.
Make no mistake: the first volume in The Ghost In The Shell series is not to be missed!
It is the myriad facets of the storyline, the characters, and, yes, the tech and the way it is used that is well established as innovative, even today.
Having humans fully rely on and take advantage of semi-autonomous robots that seem completely human – West World, anyone? – is also well established, but Shirow pits the humans that are fully integrated into robots against ghost hackers that begin to override human-cyborgs that have a brain and presumably a soul and completely control them.
The protagonist of The Ghost In The Shell Volume One is Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg federal agent with the utmost skill in taking down the big threats.
But what if the people being controlled, the ghosts being hacked, and the political atmosphere is not what it seems?
Kusanagi is at the greatest risk . . .
It is rare that a talented artist gets the opportunity to write their own comic book, or manga, series, and like Katsuhiro Otomo came out of Japan blasting apart the 80s with a 21st Century magnum opus in Akira that would forever stretch innovation and art, so too has Masamune Shirow impacted the cyberpunk and science-fiction genres.
That is not to say that Shirow’s work is equal to Otomo’s, or vice versa, but both are absolutely amazing works of art.
The art in The Ghost In The Shell is stellar, full of detail, brazen and fantastically depicted action that greatly reflects the deep story being told.
I highly recommend for English readers a Kodansha publication of the manga; I read reviews that some of the English written books were censored in the US, and so I got the dual language, written in both Japanese and English version of the manga published by Kodansha and it reads right to left and is 346 pages of awesomeness.
This is the cover of the bilingual edition that is uncensored: