Mamoru Oshii is well-known throughout the animé world for intellectually engaging and esoteric visions of dystopian technologically-overrun societies. Almost ten years after the international success of his famous Ghost in the Shell, one of the most important titles in the history of Japanese animation, he brings us its sequel, Innocence.
The film continues in 2032, a few years after the original left off, in the same automated setting where humans and cyborgs co-exist side by side and the dividing area between mechanism and organism is a murky one. A wave of homicides is striking at the heart of the city’s political and financial elite, as mechanised ‘gynoid’ service dolls begin turning on their masters before self-destructing. Special agents for Security Police Section 9 are called in by Department Chief Aramaki to investigate. Aramaki suspects terrorists, but is the death of a wholly synthetic automaton any less significant than that of a cyborg with some vestiges of human parts left over?
Melding the latest in 3D CGI with slick traditional 2D cel animation, from the dazzling cyborg birth scene of the opening credits through sequences such as an eerie, doll-burning ritual and the Dali-esque visions of the final quarter, Innocence has to rank as one of the most stunning and sophisticated examples of the medium yet. JS