Interview: Asian Dub Foundation | Music | The Guardian
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Rappers with a cause
As much as we like to think that directors have control over their body of work, often it is far more complicated than that, with large companies and producers dictating what gets made. In the case of Ghost in the Shell, it was Bandai who came to Oshii, with money that had in part come from an international coproduction deal with Manga Entertainment. Even if Oshii wasn't thinking about the distribution and marketing of the film beyond a domestic Japanese market, certainly folks higher up in the production food chain had such aspirations in mind.
Perhaps it is for this reason in part that Ghost in the Shell is probably the film that best melds Oshii's art house and action impulses. Shirow's original manga begins with an assassination of a foreign government official by a secretive cyborg operative named Major Motoko Kusanagi. In the story, public security officers storm a clandestine meeting in a high-rise and threaten to arrest the official and his compatriots. However, their operation is cut short when Kusanagi shoots the official from outside the building.
As Kusanagi makes her escape by plunging down the side of the skyscraper, her form begins to merge into the background thanks to her high-tech camouflage. It's a powerfully iconic scene, drawn by Shirow in glorious color which makes it all the better to see the flying guts of the official when he explodes from Kusanagi's bullets. It had such an impact that Oshii took this scene as the opener of his film, and it has continued to be referenced in one way or another throughout the Ghost in the Shell franchise.
From there, the plot of the manga and Oshii's anime begin to diverge. Shirow next follows Kusanagi and her team on a raid of a orphan relief center that may be brainwashing and exploiting people, after which her Section 9 assault force is officially formed. From there, the Major and her crew track down a garbage man who is unwittingly hacking the cyberbrain of the interpreter of the foreign minister, find the culprits behind a series of robots who have been attacking their owners, investigate an old Soviet submarine base on Etorofu being used for possibly nefarious purposes by a Japanese electronics company, fight with terrorists and crime syndicates, and deal with a government-created program called the Puppeteer that has seemingly turned sentient.
In the end, Kusanagi with the help of her Section 9 partner Batou fakes her own death to try to escape both domestic public security and foreign intelligence agencies. Kusanagi in then approached by the Puppeteer and merges her consciousness with it in order to forge a new path into the cyber world. Shirow also includes a couple of shorter chapters that focus on the AI tanks called fuchikomas that Section 9 uses.
These tanks are rather naive and used for comic relief, but also contribute to the ongoing discussion of the nature of life in the new digital age. As you might be able to tell from this description, the Ghost in the Shell manga is very episodic. The closest thing to a narrative thread running through it is the story of the Puppeteer, and even this rogue digital lifeform doesn't appear until more than halfway through the book, initially appearing in chapter 9 and then once more in the final chapter.
Most of the Puppeteer's arc is taken care of in the first chapter in which it appears. It only makes a sudden appearance at the end of the manga to merge functions with Kusanagi in what can very appropriately be called a deus ex machina resolution as a way of finally freeing her from her commitments to Section 9.
Oshii and scriptwriter Kazunori Ito took Shirow's episodic elements and wove them into a whole that would work better as a single coherent film. They used the Puppeteer saga as the backbone of their story, and incorporated the quandary of this new advanced program throughout. The English translation of the manga uses Puppeteer, whereas the subtitles for the film usually use Puppet Master.
Both are equally correct, and I often prefer to go back and forth, depending on which format I'm talking about. Therefore, in the first scene of the assassination, the officials are made to discuss the problem of the Puppet Master before Kusanagi makes her violent entrance. Oshii and Ito then incorporate the episode of the hacking of the minister's translator, only this time the final culprit is the Puppet Master. In the manga, it was entirely unrelated. In order to simplify things, Oshii and Ito cut down on the international politics present in the original, only vaguely gesturing at the relations outside their country's borders.
Many aspects of the chapter that focuses on the Puppet Master play out in the anime much as they do in the manga. Structurally, one of the biggest differences is that instead of a narrative break between when the Puppeteer tries to seek asylum with Section 9 and Kusanagi's final merger with it, the film lets the events play out unimpeded.
Not only did Oshii and Ito take Shirow's original narrative and make it less fragmented, they also significantly changed the overall tone for the film version. Gone are the comic relief fuchikoma sidekicks, as well as the superdeformed art that Shirow would occasionally use for levity, particularly in the closing panels of his chapters.
Hiroyuki Okiura's character designs were far less cute and more realistic, even at the expense of being less "cool. The film's Kusanagi is far more severe, both in appearance and her personality. While the manga is swirling with humor, anger, and sometimes even love among the members of Section 9, the film's characters demonstrate far less emotion. This makes the film more subtly poignant in some aspects - for example, we can tell that Batou has feelings for Kusanagi by some of the little things he does in his interactions with her - but potentially less accessible to an audience expecting emotional involvement.
This austerity is helped along by Kenji Kawai's haunting score that highlights some of the themes of the film. In a world where the organic and the machine is being blurred, Kawai's music amplifies the human voice through a choir and a rhythm that sounds as if it could belong to an ancient ritual.
Who Is The Real Motoko Kusanagi? - Anime News Network
In addition to Oshii, Ito, Okiura who also did key animation, supervision, and layouts, and would go on to direct the film Jin-Roh from a script that Oshii wroteand Kawai, the Ghost in the Shell anime boasted an astounding list of collaborators. I want to learn to DJ properly first," he says.
They were hailed either as leading lights of the New Asian Underground or the Asian Clash, media soubriquets the band have been trying to shake off ever since. The band have resisted opportunities to strike aggressive poses and reduce the world's problems to a few neat slogans on the back of a combat jacket. We're the complete opposite. We've always been quite pragmatic and practical and long-term.
We've stuck with things like Adfed and the Satpal campaign. He is the band's intermediary between the concert hall and the boardroom, and has his hands full, whether lobbying for funding for Rich Mix or considering local causes to champion. Like other members of ADF, he was moved by the poverty in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, stunned by the bombed-out bridges in Serbia and horrified by the emergence of subtly deployed apartheid policies in Switzerland. He has made friends and spied potential enemies in virtually every country of the world.
Now Pandit is focusing on home and sees ADF representing the slow but determined fightback against suchsocial ills as the spiralling cost of housing, the erosion of pensions, the congestion crisis in the capital and the weakness of social services. We're not into empty posturing. We're more into the spreading of ideas and perspectives over a long period of time. Sung by Sinead O'Connor, Broken Mirrors - for which Chandrasonic drew on his "own experience of domestic violence" - was inspired by the fate of Zoora Shah, a Muslim woman from Bradford serving a life sentence for the murder of her husband after years of abuse.
The Dubs Meet the Shells - The Dubs, The Shells | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
Blowback posits the theory that, on September 11, America witnessed the cataclysmic results of a disastrous foreign policy. The latest single, Fortress Europe, deals with asylum seekers. The events of this month, when a group of men purported to be refugees were found in a north London flat with a potentially deadly substance, have not shifted ADF's position that Britain's borders should remain open, even with war looming.
What disturbs ADF are the spurious connections being made between asylum seekers and terrorists. And then they said it could be Iraq because, look, we found a castor oil factory. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I really do think there's an atmosphere of terror designed to condition people for conflict.
It's like, what might happen if these people had done this or they might be this? I'm sorry, but it's a load of tripe. It's like saying all Christians have something to do with extreme Christianity. I'm not a supporter of fundamentalism from any doctrine. It's so tabloid I might stop subscribing to Beano.
The way information is being disseminated is just polarising people. Cross out Asians and it's Kosovans or people from Afghanistan. This is why we're livid and we write songs like Fortress Europe. People should question their own governments' foreign policies and underhand activities around the world. What drives someone to fly a plane into a building?
Let's open it up and have a proper debate.