(Theatrical Release)

OK, admittedly, I wasn't too impressed by the first GitS movie, but I think that was because I first saw it many years after it was originally released.

Well, that was then, and this is now, with now being probably the highest point of anime's popularity in the US yet (it still seems to be on the rise), which means GitS2 in theaters in NON-DUBBED form!

The fact that whoever released this in the US thought it was good enough and would be popular enough "as-is," and they wouldn't need some famous US actors to come in and dub it for lazy viewers and make it legitimate for people who still think anime is for kids, really says something.

And such confidence in this movie would be well warranted. Like Spirited Away before it, the animation in this latest theatrical anime release is literally jaw-droppingly amazing. There were seriously so many times in the movie where I was just sitting there gaffawing at what I was witnessing on the screen it was hilarious.

I am a fan of all things detailed and "technical" or complex, and boy is the artwork in GitS2 detailed, and watching it animated is the equivalent of listening to Meshuggah covering Paganini or something - lots of beautiful classical imagery adapted to a dark futuristic setting.

It's aesthetically akin to looking at a PC board (in this case, surrounded by smog) - it's easy to appreciate on any number of levels - for the sheer complexity of it and how much work must've gone into building it, for the utilitarian aspects of the board and what it can do thanks to its complexity, or just for the sheer intricate beauty of it - all the colors and shiny parts intertwined in distinct patterns and all.

But visually isn't the only way the movie is easily appreciated. I'm sure there's lots of symbolism and metaphors and "deep" stuff going on that my feeble mind simply can't comprehend, but there's also certain elements of the plot that even I was able to appreciate that gave an indication of the strength of the writing behind the story. Thus, just like any other piece of great anime, the film wasn't just flashy animation and wild action (and believe me, the action and animation in this movie would've been more than enough to sustain its entertainment value!).

And beyond the mind-boggling animation, incredible artwork, action, story, and other intellectual/"makes you think" elements of the film, there are still other layers! For example, the soundtrack, subtle comedic bits, AND the main character's adorable blood hound. In short, this movie absolutely has something for everyone...no really!

Without spoiling it for anyone, I'll also say I liked the way it ended, bringing just enough "feel good" to temper the bleak themes involved. The Japanese do it again.

So what are you waiting for? There were criminally few people in attendance when I went and saw the movie, and I think the big screen definitely enhances the experience, so get out there and see it in the theaters before its too late. Then, when all the Adult Swim nerds rent it from Blockbuster later, you can brag that you saw it in the theater like a true fan.

Go to the Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Website. It rocks almost as much as the movie.