DVD: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Bandai) [Steelbook]


Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

English DVD Title (Region 1)

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [Steelbook]


Japanese (5.1 Surround), English (5.1 Surround)

Aspect Ratio:

99 minutes
2 (1 CD)
1.85:1 Anamorphic


Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence



  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (20)
  • Trailers: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Sword of the Stranger (US), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (US), Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (US)
  • Audio commentary by director Mamoru Oshii and animation director Toshihiko Nishikubo (Japanese)
  • Making of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (16 minutes)
  • Soundtrack CD



By: Anthony Romero

Back in 2004, waves were made about a sequel to Ghost in the Shell. The first was an anime hit inside the US on home video, and so there was a rush to capitalize on that audience. Dreamworks was first to strike, who at this time was doing releases for Ring (1998) and its sequels on DVD. About half a decade later, Bandai came on the scene and improved things for North American viewers with a release of their own. That offering featured good video and audio quality along with a decent selection of extras. Especially for the limited edition "Steelbook" being reviewed here, which also features a CD soundtrack for the movie.

 Video: Star Rating

For DVD, the quality is respectable here although not perfect. The major fault is the amount of noise present, which seems to be a combination of film grain on the source combined with compression. That compression causes the grain to smear a bit, making the frame look busier than it should. On the plus side, the movie is relatively sharp when the source material allows it to be. The reason for that caveat is that a lot of segments that feature CGI are intentionally blurred, sometimes to make the animation mix better... but often times just to cover up the overall quality of the CGI present. As for the colors, they are distinct and come across well while damage wise the source looks good.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

Three 5.1 surround tracks are found on this DVD. One is the original Japanese while the other two are different English dubs. The first of these dubs was created by Bandai while the other was credited for "Manga UK". In terms of quality, the Japanese and the new Bandai English dub sound very good. There is a nice sense of directionality and space while the dialogue all comes through with great clarity.

As for the other dub track it's another story. In terms of the quality, it's hard to gauge as the performances are so wooden. Bandai did a nice job of breathing a bit more life into their's versus this older dub. Some of the talent Bandai got also sounds very familiar, like I swear Batou's boss is Paul Eiding doing a similar voice to Colonel Campbell from Metal Gear Solid... but apparently just a soundalike. Regardless the other dub is very monotone in the delivery, but even taking that into account it's easy to tell that the clarity isn't there on the audio track. So while it might be a nice inclusion for those who saw the movie with the "Manga UK" dub first, it's hard to imagine people outside of that group choosing it especially with the inferior audio quality here.

The movie can be accompanied by removable English subtitles. A couple of different options are available here, including one that subtitles everything or one that just does on screen text and the songs.


 Extras: Star Rating

This set has quite a few extras. First up there is a 16 minute making of segment. This is introduced with a number of interviews, from both the vocal cast and the production crew. A fair bit of time also goes into discussing the animation techniques used, in particular the approach toward animating robots and how this differs from organic characters. It's a good extra, although feels like it would benefit from being longer. The feature is in Japanese with removable English subtitles and featured in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, or "full screen".

Next is an audio commentary with the director, Mamoru Oshii, and the animation director, Toshihiko Nishikubo. The extra is interesting, especially when talking about scenes that almost made it into the movie before being removed for one reason or another. It also covers what it was like working with Lucasfilm's Skywalker Sound on the production as well. This commentary is in Japanese with removable English subtitles.

The disc also has a couple of trailers, one of which is for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. The others are English trailers, which are more adverts than bonus features.

Finally, since this is the Steelbook, it also features a CD soundtrack. While the label on the CD is new, the contents is exactly the same as the Innocence - Original Soundtrack (VICL-61294) from Victor. So head there for a review of that disc, although in a nutshell it works better in the context of the movie than as a standalone experience.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, if one isn't interested in the Blu-ray, this is probably the best way to watch the movie on DVD. Well at least this or the much cheaper and easier to find non-steelbook version from Bandai. That said, if one really wants the included soundtrack this is the way to get both in one swoop.