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).
Every time a new season of anime rolls around, I take some time to look through the season’s offerings and decide what shows I’m hyped about, what I might give a look, and what I will more than likely pass altogether. Generally speaking, I check out most shows’ available PVs and do some digging into the creative teams that have been working on the show. These factors are most often what inform my choices of what I decide to check out, and what to perhaps get excited about. What acts as a preliminary informant to me before I even get to that stage of digging, however, is the simple survey of show genres–in contrast to the great deal of digging I do for shows that I follow, I often don’t pay much mind to shows that don’t seem even remotely interesting to me as far as their purported genres indicate.
Usually, I tend to breeze past shows that are tagged as ecchi, for example. If a show is branded as “action, comedy, ecchi, romance,” more often than not, you can bet that I am not going to be following that show in the slightest. That being said, I don’t have anything against the ecchi genre–I know many people that are fans of shows within the genre as a whole, and I know that, in some senses, it can be fairly diverse in how it appeals to different audiences within the genre fanbase through various modes of sexual fanservice. There’s all sorts of arguments that people can make about the genre with regards to, for example, how it might appeal to a male gaze, which, if you really want to get into that, seems to ignore the existence of any alternative gazes (lesbian gaze, bisexual gaze, etc.). But that’s not a discussion I’m going to get into here. Everyone has their own opinions as far as genre goes, and they’re entitled to those opinions. Some people don’t like mecha anime; some people don’t like slice of life; I myself generally don’t like ecchi.