Last year, Netflix announced that they’d be streaming a new Ghost in the Shell series in 2020 titled Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. Aside from being co-directed by Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki, the most interesting aspect of the new series was that it featured character designs by Ilya Kuvshinov, a Tokyo-based Russian illustrator well-known for his vivid and highly-stylized figures.
And then Netflix released the series’ first teaser and… um… listen, I know I shouldn’t judge an entire series on just 30 seconds of footage, but what I see doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. For starters, Major Kusanagi — one of animé’s most famous characters and biggest bad-asses — has been moe-ized, especially when compared to some of Kuvshinov’s promotional artwork. While certainly more glamorous than earlier iterations of the Major, Kuvshinov’s designs are still so much better and more detailed than the teaser’s cutesy, doll-like figure.
Second, the quality and style of the artwork and animation looks surprisingly cheap and even dated, like something you’d expect to see in a video game circa the early ‘00s. CBR has collected more reactions, which are uniformly negative. (Sample: “God, why does a trailer for new Ghost In The Shell looks like it’s a cutscene from a mobile game?”)
Like most, if not all, of Netflix’s original animé titles, Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is a 3DCG production, presumably because those are cheaper and easier to produce — but that often comes at the expense of animation quality. (For an example of 3DCG animé done right, watch the recent Lupin the Third: The First trailer.) Compare the above trailer to the style and animation of Kamiyama’s original Stand Alone Complex series, and the former is head-and-shoulders better, despite being nearly two decades old.
Want to ensure Opus’ continued existence and get some special perks? Become a supporter today. Contributions help offset the site’s hosting costs.
I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.