Are We a Generation of Cyborgs? Cyborg Identities in Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass

Cyborgs have always been an interest of mine. The idea of machine and human integration in various forms for human advancement fascinates me – as such, I love a good cyberpunk or sci-fi show centered around this idea and the moral and ethical discussions that arise from such human alterations. Heck, I even based some of my graduate studies writing on the exploration of various kinds of human/machine integration, using bits of Production I.G.’s dystopian cyberpunk crime thriller Psycho-Pass (2012). Somehow, with all of those boxes checked off, it occurred to me recently that I had never sat down and watched Ghost in the Shell (1995), which just so happens to be another science-fiction futuristic police drama anime by Production I.G. (and the film progenitor of an insanely popular franchise worldwide), and I figured it was high time I corrected that.

Ghost in the Shell reminded me a great deal of Psycho-Pass. The ways in which each of the two works depict crime prevention and the methods used therein is fascinating; the former’s bodily augmentations from Section 9 and the latter’s lack of such augmentations in favor of the Sibyl System and the Dominators presents an interesting contrast in the ways that these two futuristic societies have opted to dispense justice. However, likely because I had gone into the movie with a mindset thinking about cyborg identities and my previous writings, what was more interesting to me was the way in which both works presented cyborgs in their worlds, despite taking place roughly a century apart from one another (2029 for GitS, undefined year in the 22nd century for Psycho-Pass).

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