I added some children's books here on goodreads and then get flooded with recommendations / discussions notifications and had to de-rate most of them. with this in mind, hopefully rating this comic book won't result in dramatically different book recs from the GR algorithm. Shirow's work stands more on pictures than stories, to be sure, and his specialty, lithe females in bodysuits and combat robots, is inspiredly chosen, but in any case, i guess it's fair to call this the best of Japanese cyberpunk, although it's comics and text, so to speak.
aside from the fairly standard trope of 'mysterious government groups battling each other' (section VII vs. section 12, with or without support from agency Z), and some amount of 80s-ish influence in the form of Soviets still being a major global player and many of the haircuts straight out of 80s glam rock, this book might be worth it to the non-genre reader simple for the imagination involved in the visuals, the sensuous vehicle designs (all aerocopters flowing, liquid), the predicted near-future fashions of chicks sporting lingerie beneath biker jackets, all combine to create a cultural vision that resonates with people across the world. much of the problem, the east asian specialist faces--it is said--is resolving the greater chinese economic / social force versus the sheer stylishness of the japanese; who do you favour?
^^since a picture says a thousand words, I guess this is the summary of the work. in bio-neuro Neo Tokyo, after World War IV (!), human-machine interfaces are commonplace, and the titantic struggle being fought is between a shadowy resistance and the internal security troops of Public Safety 9, featuring a cop duo, big, cyborg, firepower Bateaux and the lithe sleek optical camo Motoko ; features: subtle sexual tension between big moosy Bateaux and sleek clever M, lots of firepower, city-scapes, cop-on-terrorist action, interdepartmental scheming where mysterious mainland interests may be in collusion with elements of the J gov't, but who is corrupt and who is clean? the book features elements not found in the movie (available free on youku.com, search 'ghost in the shell'), incl. exploitation of child labour, soviets, 'perverted' scenes (but movie has 'deserted city', eerie soundtrack of folk chanters, some better aesthetic choices (!) actually)
oh no, I can't resist:
anyway, i guess the larger question is the importance of cyberpunk today in 2013 (a date which once upon a time was cyberpunk itself)-- we are all connected to the machine, but not through HMInterfaces, but rather chat boards and i phones. who woulda thunk. in contrast to night cityscapes and neon blue, the modern world is still pretty recognizable in the form of 20th century architecture, but if we have less hacker violence and biomechanical implants (the book is set in 2029), on the other hand, a lot of tokyo seems cleaner and more well run than the chaotic neo city protrayed in GotS
this is considered the best of japanese cyberpunk comic books, so definitely worth a look by any cyberpunk fan, but of course most cyberpunk fans are already familiar with j aesthetics. potsdamer platz