Since it appears nobody else has done so, I thought I'd start this off with the capsule review I wrote for the Anime Discussion thread, based on my viewing the film last night at the Inwood theatre in Dallas. CAPSULE REVIEW The show was subtitled and presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 [or possibly DD-EX 6.1, the only sign in the theatre was for "Dolby Digital" so I can't be sure, but am fairly certin it was not dts or dts-es in any case]. Subtitles were plain white, with no borders, and tended to get lost in bright scenes. Interestingly, once something [there are recurring short lines of dialogue and Chinese inscriptions] had been subtitled, it was not subtitled upon repitition. Sound quality was excellent, and the mix made full use of the surround channels, including routing Kawai's music to them. New English credit sequences had been prepared, and there are plenty of credits. The Eirin [Japanese film censorship board] number was not in evidence. Family names were listed last, and this was a little bizarre when it rendered the well-known pseudonym of the creator as "Shirow Masamune". The whole chorus for the vocal BGM sequences [some of which are heavily referential to the original Ghost in the Shell score, but with interesting twists] is credited. The film is largely comprehensible and rewarding without watching the original film first, but I do recommend it. The plot may be described as a straightforward [!] detective/police procedural centering on the characters of Batou and his new partner Togusa as they attempt to solve a string of bizarre homicides, interleaved with extended riffs on the nature of consciousness and humanity. The pacing strikes me as awkward, drawn out almost unbearably in some sequences and excessively rushed in others. There are some sequences which may be puzzling or simply insanely irritating such as the whole business with Kim and his nested illusions. One thing to watch out for is that a huge fraction of the dialogue is quotes, aphorisms, and proverbs. There was a little of this present in the first film, but it feels like a good two thirds of this one's script is repitition or adaptation of carefully-chosen stock phrases, some of which are not obvious as such without a strong familiarity with Japanese, although Western material tends to be placed in quotation marks. Given the heavy reliance of Japanese language and society upon rote phrases, this is an aspect which fails somewhat to resonate with the foreign viewer. There is a great deal of violence, some of it of a plainly psychotic order, and quite disturbing. The visuals are bizarre. Production I.G. has superimposed flat, coulour-unsaturated cel animation [or mock cel animation] of characters over hyperrealistic 3D video-game-style computer animation. Mecha designer Takeuchi [one of several old AIC hands on this production] has a real ball and creates some splendid items which must have been hell to render; watch out for the VTOL landing sequence. Personally I suspect this jarring juxtaposition to be one of director Oshii's pet conceits, meant to make a point about the unreality of the cyborg lives these people lead, or the Kantian ambiguity of sensory data [which shows up several times, in more or less sinister guises]. It did, however, detract somewhat from my enjoyment of the film, mostly by making it physically more difficult to watch. All in all, it was worth the hour each way and $5.50 [student rate] admission to me, but might not be for everyone.