The other week I mentioned that I have been studying up on some of my favorite directors in anime. Currently, Satoshi Kon has been my subject. However, before I started with Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii was my subject matter. It all started with Amazon suggesting the title “The Stray Dog of Anime: Mamoru Oshii” by Brian Ruh.
I haven’t seen all of Oshii’s work yet, but I have seen some of his works; Ghost in the Shell, Avalon and Blood the Last Vampire. The book made me realize I need to push more of his work to the top of my viewing list, such as his work on the Patlabor films and also Jin Roh.
So with reading about Oshii’s work and seeing a couple of his films, what can I say that I learned or was inspired by thus far. Without talking about this, there really was no point in studying or learning about each.
Prior to starting my study on Oshii’s work, I didn’t know much about him or his work outside of Ghost in the Shell. Oshii’s work have many themes in them, but all can be boiled down to technology, politics and war. This point was probably the biggest surprise to me to a certain extent but also an inspiration. For the sole fact that I always felt that most directors continually work on various projects with a wider range of themes. So reading about his work and seeing that he was continually using these themes but telling different stories with different character archetypes was intriguing.
Without seeing some of the films it is hard to distinguish which films (if any) deviate farthest from the generalization of the themes Oshii uses. So I will need to see more to see if I agree with the broad statement above.
I have been a fan of films and series that have a feeling of a social commentary in them. One of such titles is Gantz (the anime). Oshii’s work has elements of social commentaries but at the same time, stories such as Ghost in the Shell, (in my opinion) seem to take the social commentary and push it and ask a question of “is this the direction we want to go?” or showing possibilities of continuing down a certain path whether it is political or technological.
I will be sure to post up more things in the future about Oshii as my study of his work goes further with the viewings of more of his films and more to come soon featuring Satoshi Kon’s work.