Totoro’s great, it’s one of the only Studio Ghibli’s I enjoy.
I’ve been watching Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig with Jules. It’s been a while since I last watched it but it’s every bit as remarkable as before, but even moreso given current world events for these reasons.
In 2nd gig:
- In response to decreased public trust in government and manipulated public perception of local events (occurring in the first season), a reactionary conservative government is elected in Japan.
- An issue not mentioned in the first season but introduced in 2nd Gig, as a result of a World War between Asia and Europe/The US, Japan has taken an influx of refugees/asylum seekers from Asian countries.
- The then opposition and now incumbent conservative government has been fueling public sentiment and racism against refugees, touting a repeal of funding and previous policy that has supported refugees and infrastructure assisting in their integration and welfare.
- Clandestine government forces recovering nuclear/chemical materials for the use of prohibited weaponry in order to further manipulate global events and influence policy.
- Acts of terrorism are carried out by independent cells in the name of liberation of people perceived to be suppressed by governments and institutions.
What’s amazing about this series is it originally aired in 2004. OK, so war with North Korea may not actually happen and I appreciate we all hope everything is being done to prevent it - I’m particularly appreciative of the fact that China seems to be one of the sole voices of reason calling for calm and stating it’s a war no-one would win (super-paraphrasing the whole issue, but anyway), but it’s still remarkably relevant now.
Also Japan isn’t currently renowned for its generosity towards refugees or foreigners in general, but the European refugee ‘crisis’ and asylum seeker issues and policies around the globe over the last five years certainly come to mind, and 2nd Gig has always hung around in my thoughts the whole time as interesting futurism and commentary on the issues.
Without spoiling too much, sure, the Ghost In The Shell universe sprawls hella forward into robotic prosthetics, brains in metal cases, super advanced 'nets and AIs, and nano-technology, but at the core there are still very real issues to do with politics and policy, public perception, displacement, human rights and identity - all mixed-in of-course with the usual GitS existentialism and subtle relationship intimacy.
I’ll have to see just how many more parallels can be drawn with the meat of the main narrative arc towards the middle and end of the series when we get there, but as far as some of the futurism goes, there’s a healthy dose of William Gibson-esque stuff happening with the Tachnikomas and the ultimate determination of their AIs, which I always found rather awesome.