Ghost in the Shell Mondo Steelbook Blu-ray review

Ghost in the Shell, the classic Japanese animated movie, has been released a couple of times on Blu-ray, but since we’re getting a live-action film coming out later this month, Anchor Bay and Mondo have teamed up to release a limited Ghost in the Shell Mondo Steelbook Blu-ray from Anchor Bay. The steelbook is encased in a clear plastic sleeve. It’s a very nice package, and I recommend getting it only if you’re a hardcore fan of the anime and steelbooks.

Back in 1995 when the film was released, it was considered a masterpiece thanks to its philosophy of what is real and what is fake, especially regarding whether an artificial body can have a soul. That subject has been touched on many times since then, so it may be underwhelming if you haven’t seen it before. The film has inspired other classics including The Matrix.

The film follows a cyborg soldier named Major Kusanagi and her teammates from Section 9 as they deal with cyberwarfare.

The previous Blu-ray releases of Ghost in the Shell have been met with criticism including a subpar 25th Anniversary Edition and a 2.0 version that replaced the hand-drawn animation with CG in certain scenes. With this new version, the movie is intact and does not have the “revised” CG version. However, the quality is similar to the 25th Anniversary Edition.

It features English dub Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. I prefer the Japanese voice acting over the English dub (and I’m usually okay with some Anime dubs), so having the original audio be presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 is very disappointing. I know that there are those who grew up liking the English dub, but even with the 5.1 Dolby DTS-HD track, it’s still lacking, and you definitely don’t want to use this as a surround sound demo.

The video is presented in 1080p with a 1.78:1 ratio. The cool thing is that it doesn’t have the CG versions; however, the quality of the image leaves a lot to be desired.

The subtitles are an issue with misspellings. There’s no option for the Dub subtitles, so those wanting to watch and read will have to settle for the English subtitles meant for the Japanese audio.

The Mondo Steelbook has no bonus features and contains just the movie.

The film was revolutionary when it was released in 1995, helping push the anime craze to Western audiences with its animation and mature themes. Its influence can be seen in recent movies, shows and video games, but I can only recommend this for the truly hardcore fans due to the audio and video presentation and the lack of extras.

Overall Rating: 3/5 Atoms

The Blu-ray was provided by the publisher for review.

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John Nguyen
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