'Ghost In The Shell' Is Not As Bad As The Internet Says

'Ghost In The Shell' Is Not As Bad As The Internet Says

An honest review.
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Anime to live action? Is that something that can be done, right?

This is the age old question that, to die-hard anime fans, will never be a reality. Then again, there are some fans like myself who believe that anime to live action can be done justice if given the right circumstances, which most of the time hasn’t been the case.

I have known and been a fan of Ghost in the Shell for many years now, and I've become a more passionate fan in the past couple of years since I did research on the director of the 1995 anime film who is Mamoru Oshii. To give a brief history of Ghost in the Shell, you should probably go read what I already posted about it late last year so it saves time re-explaining everything. But to sum up, it’s a future where cybernetics are everywhere and for everyone, and it focuses on an organization combating cybernetic crimes.

Ghost in the Shell follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a fully cybernetic being that must take down a hacker threatening powerful people in the government, and she must stop them. The 1995 film adds in elements of action and philosophical ideology on what defines humanity and looking into the future of where technology has taken us today. To older anime fans, Ghost in the Shell is still a staple of a fantastic film, and to newer fans, it is a must-see if they’re to dive deeper into their roots as anime fans. Now 20 years later, it was finally time for this film to be adapted to live action, regardless if people wanted it to be or not.

With the new Ghost in the Shell movie being released, this issue comes up once again about the fandom and moral conflicts of making a highly praised anime film and turning it into live action box office bomb. There seems to be one major issue that is over-arcing all the other issues in the live action film: Twitter won't shut up about Hollywood Whitewashing.

When I first heard that Scarlet Johansson was cast to play the Major in this film, I certainly didn’t see a problem with it. Heck, I thought she would be good for the role. In my mind, she proved herself as a strong female actress that can play the tough girl in action movies. Based on how I saw her handle her character in the Avengers films as Black Widow, I thought she would be a great fit for Major Motoko Kusanagi.

I NEVER saw Johansson for her skin tone as any issue when she was cast for Ghost in the Shell as the main character. My first thought was whether as an actress would she be able to pull the role off or not. I even thought of how her personality and demeanor as a strong female lead would blend with Major Kusanagi, and I thought Johansson would fit the role rather nicely. The criticisms at the time that I remember hearing about was the usual fare of “Why does there has to be a live action Ghost in the Shell?”

I feel that people need to complain about their thoughts on an anime to live action adaptation were warranted because that is the usual fare from the anime community. However, I don’t particularly remember the term “whitewashing” ever being a main issue, or anything related to skin tone. Thanks to the world of Twitter, who take pride in knowing this film is bombing hard, they seem to be up at arms to end racism, by of course bringing up race firsthand.

I can go and say with my head held high, that this isn’t a good movie. It is far from a good film and far from the best adaptation. However, I think the film did its best in what I was expecting from it, which I was content with. I would give this film strong praise if it exceeded my already low expectations going into it as nothing more than a mediocre popcorn action flick, which I knew it was going to meet those expectations.

But to say this is “The Worst Anime to Live Action Adaptation” (or better yet WORST FILM EVER!) is a complete and utter worthless statement. I have seen bad films, and bad anime to live action adaptations, and this to me is far and away from being the worst out there. If you want to talk about worst, come talk to me about my thoughts on Aeon Flux, or better yet, Dragonball Evolution. Oh, did you forget that pile of putrid shit? Well, I’ll be more than glad to remind you of how that went down.

The one thing I will give this film full praise on will be its visuals. The people who worked on the designs for this film wanted to do their best in recreating iconic scenes from the 1995 film, which I felt was fantastic on the work they put into it. The city landscape was a busy, futuristic environment while still trying to maintain the ally’s and streets from the original film, which showcased a futuristic utopia with gritty Hong Kong back ally’s from the original film. The visuals are what I was looking forward too, and I felt that the recreation of those in this film is the strongest points of the live action movie.

The issues I had with the film was already things I wasn’t going to get upset over, and that was bringing in some of the best philosophical ethos of humanity and how cybernetics would impact mankind. Although that is one of the strongest points in the original film, it is also rather confusing when someone was to first watch the original. It was for me when I first saw it at 16, and it will be the same from the average moviegoer seeing this film.

The original film is impressive since you can gain more about what the underlying message is trying to say the more you watch it, whereas in this live action film, the film's ethos is straight forward, and not a lot of mental diving is involved. As much as I wanted the original film's themes to be transitioned to live action, it wasn’t going to happen or be retold accurately, but it’s able to get some viewpoints out there that work on a simple scale.

Not to avoid the 10,000-pound elephant in the room, let's get into that whole issue of whitewashing. The film doesn’t even try and hide that the Major is a white female, but explains why she is, which is pretty much why there is so much fury over this movie. The Ghost in the Shell humanistic message about what truly defines a person is about a person's mind and spirit inside a body that defines them being a human and not so much on what people see them as on the outside.

In the original film, the body (or shell) is defined as a host for the ghost, but one of the moral elements defined by the antagonist in the film is that with the net being vast and infinite, a person can exist on there without a body, and if need be transplanted themselves into another body. Based on that ideology, we can even look at our own bodies as the hosts of our minds and souls, that just so happen to be in whatever color skin you are born into. So if you’re able to leave your body to go into another one, while maintaining your own self in mind and spirit, what value does your current body really hold?

If people agree with that idea, then why is race such an issue? Isn’t a person's self-value defined by their own individual worldview, beliefs, and ideas rather than the color of skin? Wouldn’t it be more important for a person’s existence to be known by others and not by one's skin pigmentation, but by their worth to the world in what they did to make it a better place? These were the ideas I’ve interpreted from the original film in what Mamoru Oshii was trying to question, which I believe a person's lifestyle and actions are what determines their worth, not the color of skin. And if this is a solid belief to follow, then why go after this film for “whitewashing”? If anything, if people really saw the original film, they would know that the characters weren’t Asian looking at all; they all had some very tan and white skin.

I can’t do a whole lot in changing the already perceived mindset on why this film isn’t doing that well, but all I can say is I have no issue defending the criticisms this film is receiving for all the wrong reasons. There are issues with this film that makes this not a great film, but the media doesn’t really care all that much about that. It’s about how white people are evil. Period. If you wanna know what really went wrong, I was talking with a friend of mine who pointed out a solid point that seems NO ONE is addressing, and that is marketing. My friend felt that this film was poorly marketed to the general audience, because how would the general audience know of the source material from something that came out 20 years ago (that was already adapted from another source) that only anime fans knew of?

Ghost in the Shell was a hit in some ways, but not to the general populous at that time. Even bad movies do well at the box office if they are marketed well, just look at those Transformers films. The difference from Transformers and Ghost in the Shell is that Transformers was well marketed at the time it came out (talking about the 1980’s cartoon), which everyone knew more about than Ghost in the Shell. That to me is one of its major flaws.

This is what I wanted to say about Ghost in the Shell. If you’re going to hate the film, hate it for the right reasons, and not based on color.

Cover Image Credit: Inverse

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37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.

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We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint


18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings


23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

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26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

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28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

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Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

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31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me


This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

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37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

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It Is Pointless To Pity The Homeless

Guilt is the silent killer of political action.

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Two summers ago, when I was an intern at The Father McKenna Center in Washington DC, I met Jason, who was homeless. I had just finished closing the shelter's computer lab for the evening, and the attendees of the AA meeting in the shelter's cafeteria had started to say their goodbyes and disperse until next week. As I was leaving to take the subway home, and as he was leaving to walk back to his encampment, wherever it may have been, Jason and I converged with each other at the front door of the shelter, and we introduced ourselves to each other.

Jason had two children, aged four and six, both of whom were protected from him under custody by his former wife. She had made the decision to divorce him because of his drug use, which posed a danger to the couple's children. (Jason did not hesitate to admit to this.) Shortly after the separation from his family, he became homeless. He had a high school degree and some former experience doing construction work. Aged into his mid 30's with minimal employment, Jason had been struggling to find a job for years.

As we walked, he told me about his kids, and how sometimes he hears about them during occasional phone calls with his wife. For a moment, he turned his head to look at me in my eyes, and he quietly told me about how proud he was of his daughters for completing the first and third grades of elementary school.

If you are homeless, it takes an immense amount of courage to make the commitment to go to a homeless shelter. I believe that the one thing that most people struggle with, homeless or not, is the challenge of confronting one's own demons. Jason had demons, luggage, regrets, and so on - I had those too. Jason had first stepped at The Father McKenna Center shortly before I began my internship. As I performed the duties of my internship, Jason and I, together, experienced a great turbulence in our individual missions to confront our demons; and with that turbulence came sobriety. Not relief or improvement, but sobriety. True self-improvement is a year-long commitment, but self-awareness is a skill which can be utilized at any time.

Jason and I spoke several times throughout my internship. One of the last interactions I had with his before I completed my term happened again at the front entrance of the shelter. He told me that after years of searching, he had found the initiative to apply for a job. "Even though she and I needed to go our own ways," he said, "I still want to show my wife that I care about her. We're not married, but I still want to provide for her and the kids. I don't know how they feel about me, but I want to show my daughters that I am still their father, and that I love them."

When I started my internship at the shelter, I genuinely believed that I would come out of it depressed and disillusioned. But I learned to look beyond the misfortune and suffering, and with that perspective, I started to find more and more inspiration in the facets of life by which I had previously felt discouraged and depressed. I have not seen Jason in two summers, but I think about him every day, for strength.

Say, for instance, that you start to feel as though the daily grind of your summer job is starting to become too monotonous. Us undergrads are tirelessly told by our advisors that the best possible use of our time during the summer, outside of college and other than working for pay, is time spent volunteering and building up our resumes. After some online research and phone calls, you break down your volunteering options to three different nonprofit organizations in your area: Your first option is to spend 3-5 hours once a week helping a local community center care for its flower garden, fresh herb greenhouse, and wildlife sanctuary. Your second option is to spend Tuesday and Thursday evenings bathing, petting, and reading storybooks to all the dogs and cats at a nonprofit rescue shelter. Your third option is to spend 5 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at an inner-city homeless shelter and rehabilitation center for men who have been recently released from prison.

This where the conflict begins. Deep inside, you know that volunteering at the men's shelter is, in your opinion, the most valuable kind of work you can do. Human beings require more attention than plants and pets. Humans beings need to be kind to each other, and so, you may want to volunteer at the shelter.

The problem is certainly not that nobody wants to volunteer at homeless shelters. I consider myself an optimist, and I still think that the majority of people living in the United States wish to care for and support each other. The true problem is that even when a good-minded, empathetic, caring person wants to offer their kindness to the homeless, there are layers upon layers of illusions, false impressions, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and (most importantly), miscommunications which prevent them from doing so. What must truly be addressed is not how much attention is being paid to homelessness, but how attention is paid. There are many kinds of layers of illusion; the majority of them are certainly racial illusion. A vast number are economic. Others, however, are emotional. A lot are just flat-out moral as well.

The growing epidemic of homelessness, as an affliction, is the product of political injustice, racist systems, and greed. But the homeless lifestyle itself, however, is not political in nature. Homeless people are not statistics in a study, neither are they variables in a social equation. Homelessness is a daily struggle for a human life, and those who are homeless suffer. They are as emotional and as sentient as the well-off office workers who pelt them with quarters as though they're fountains.

Understanding homelessness is especially hard for people on the polar opposite side of the social/economic spectrum from the homeless. It is somehow harder for a wealthy and educated person to understand homelessness than it is for someone from lower-class origins to do so. As I said before, I genuinely believe that the vast majority of people on this Earth have the moral initiative to help those less fortunate - but this initiative is excessively overridden by the reflexive tendency most people have to compare and juxtapose themselves. This act of reflexive juxtaposition is what scares most people away from homeless shelters.

Call it what you want - "juxtaposition" is not the only word one can use to describe this feeling. Some people might call themselves "overqualified." From a political perspective, some have referred to it as "white guilt." Regardless of what you call it, it is reflexive. Homeless people, just upon sight, are registered with labels and false truths. The visceral, instinctive reaction to a homeless person is "Look forward, walk firm, and don't make eye contact." This is what needs to change.

In western society, people who grow up privileged - with parents, shelter, an education, and relationships - are subconsciously taught, unintentionally encouraged, and silently conditioned by the people around them to treat the homeless with, above all else, pity. The etiquette of reacting to a homeless person suggests something of a "passive melancholy." Like I mentioned before, under this mannerism of avoidant sorrow, homelessness is not a condition of life. It is a political symbol. The stumbling beggar in the subway and the raggedy busker on the street corner are effectively dehumanized by default; as long as they are evidently homeless, their role in the social dynamic of these public places is automatically different from yours and mine. The status of homelessness completely nullifies - no, prevents - a person's worthiness and rightful entitlement to human attribution, and without mercy, they are turned into something which is not human: a figure which is nothing but a representation of itself.

After years of riding the bus and subway, I have become aware of several different categories in which the people around me fit; I see the day laborers, who are categorized by being older men, clad in paint-stained construction pants, functioning in close-knit groups of six or seven. I see the government employees, who are categorized by the loudness of their gazes of exhaustion, directionless and unfixed, garbed in outdated albeit notably well-fitted suits, bland floral blouses, sky-blue button downs, the incredible pant suits, and khakis, and khakis, and khakis. I see the college-aged summertime interns running coffee for politicians who never remember their names, and they, too, are categorized; specifically by their calculated movements, blatantly artificial exteriors, and the endearing aura of simultaneous youthful naivety and capitalistic millennial-themed ambition (they also act like they know where they're going, when really, they don't, but they never stop to ask for directions). I see the mothers, the trust-fund white kids from Gonzaga, the beatniks from Howard, the Reagan-bound luggage-bearing vagabonds, the punks, the academics, the racists, the anarchists, the activists, the drunks, the wandering, the sleeping, and of course, the emblematic tourists in their MAGA hats, graphic tees, and jorts.

What kind of a response is demanded of those who choose to protect the weak? How are the wounded addressed by the healers? How should I talk to someone who suffers? The photographers, the journalists, and the volunteers cannot hope to rile a revolution alone. Neither can the teachers hope to raise a generation freed from toxicity alone, nor can the young politicians on the Hill hope to deliver their country to safety and stability alone. The problem of homelessness can be addressed, as can it be confronted, observed, studied, and journalized. Don't get me wrong, though - this type of action is deeply important: The awareness of a problem creates an opportunity for its solution. But the raising of awareness is not enough. The confrontation of our reality is not enough. To take the first step beyond awareness is to give attention to those who are in need of it; to attend to the weak and the wounded, and to act for their protection and their healing. In the words of the French revolutionary Simone Weil: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


Song suggestion: LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

Cover Image Credit:

Paul J. RIchards/Getty Images

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