While global streaming platform Netflix is doing a fine job establishing itself as a new home for anime binge-watching, it is also taking some flak from “purist” fans regarding some of the exclusive original anime productions on its library. Its 3D-animated remake of classic 1980s anime “Saint Seiya” had at best a lukewarm reception last year. Also in 2019, their announcement of a 3D-animated follow-up for 2002 anime series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” was similarly bashed by fans of said series and the classic 1995 anime film. The release of a first full trailer may have alleviated some concerns, but the voices of dissent are still there.
Comic Book Resources has it that the first lengthy preview of “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045” was put up by Netflix Japan just this past Monday, January 27. It is a sequel of sorts to the “Stand Alone Complex” anime series by Production IG based on the manga by Masamune Shirow. But looking at the 3D animation for the new series, “SAC” fans would not see much of a commonality. True, the characters are still there, but to see them rendered in 3D with live-action-like range of motions feel very off-putting according to longtime followers.
“Ghost in the Shell” has had many differences in all the media it has been portrayed. Shirow’s own manga combined sci-fi tech spec-ops action with humor and sexy fan-service. The Mamoru Oshii film shifted tone to a more philosophical discourse on the definition of life. “Stand Alone Complex” and other spinoff “Arise” gave increased focus to action, while the 2017 live-action film from Paramount Pictures and starring Scarlett Johansson tried to balance all previous elements but was badly hobbled by harsh popular opinion on casting.
But at its core, all “Ghost in the Shell” remains the same, chronicling the life and missions of cyborg counter-terrorist operative Maj. Motoko Kusanagi and her associates in Public Security Section 9 in a future cyber-punk Japan rife with cyber-hackers, virtual life-forms and advanced AI. The “SAC_2045” series co-produced by Production IG and Sola Digital Arts already has a stamp down on sci-fi hardware and covert operations actions. It remains to see however if the other elements are also present.
Netflix is on a roll with its original anime and connected productions for global streaming. Also in development is a live-action version of the anime series “Cowboy Bebop.” “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045” premieres on Netflix Japan streaming this coming April 2020, and will run for two seasons with 12 episodes each. No detail has been given regarding English dubbing.
Image from Flickering Myth