Monday, April 2, 2007

Manga review: Ghost in the Shell: volume one, 2nd edition

I am a massive fan of Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell manga series (I am not a huge fan of the current Stand Alone Complex anime sub-series/spin-off, despite the better graphical style). Unfortunately the Volume One (issues one through eight) version that I have always read is the Titan Book/Dark Horse Comics published June 1997 UK first edition. Don't get me wrong, the adaptation is outstanding as it contains an excellent translation by Frederik Schoot and Toren Smith and lettering/retouch (effects) by Tom Orzechowski and Susie Lee, but then I saw this at the local comic book store today.

Recently (well, two years ago), Dark Horse Comics decided to reissue the volume, this time reprinted on much better quality paper and in the original Japanese A5 size. For most part the reissue is 99% exactly the same as the first edition. I won't attempt to explain the story itself, but much like William Gibson's novels, Ghost in the Shell can easily be overlooked as just another cyber punk manga. But like Gibson, beneath all the glitz, Shirow has laced the plot with subtle critique of human nature. It is a good story, but I rather not analysis Shirow's context on humanity, science and technology in this post. You just have to read it yourself, as this isn't your typical shonen manga.

The second edition, which retains the same left to right mirror localisation of the first, includes a couple of pages of previously 'lost' material and restored graphics. Translation has been re-done on a couple of previously censored pages. With this, an ugly 'explicit content' sticker thus don the front, reminding us how prude Americans can accept the extreme violent content on comics (actually everything, from TV series to video games) but unable to even glance at virtual lesbians having sex... Sadly the bonus comic book covers that were included at the back of the first edition were omitted in this version, so really, both editions has trade-offs one way or another. Regardless the second edition is the definitive English version as it does contain the previously censored content.

Paperback: 368 pages A5
Publisher: Dark Horse; 2nd Revision/Edition
ISBN: 1593072287

A review of Man-Machine Interface is forthcoming.

1 comment:

mojojojo said...

This version is the best one that I have read, despite not much changes. Depiste that they ought to release a left-right version cuz that is the proper Japanese way.