Parents' Guide to

Ghost in the Shell (1996)

By Tony Nigro, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

An intellectual, violent ancestor of The Matrix.

Movie NR 1996 82 minutes
Ghost in the Shell (1996) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 8+

My favorite anime & one of my favorite movies of all time!

Everyone should see this movie, it’s smart, interesting, symbolic, and great characters like the main lead and leader Motoko, Batou, the puppet master, and my favorite Togusa. I love the story it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever seen, the music is great, and same goes for the visuals and action scenes. (Though I think one anime that has better action and visuals is the movie AKIRA) For a 1 Hour & 25 Minute movie, it sure has allot happening while at the same time the whole movie being at a consistent slow pace from beginning to end, this is the best paced anime I’ve ever seen from the opening assassination building up with more intensity, to Motoko’s creation, to the action scene in the city, to Motoko discovering herself when she’s swimming and going out into the city, and etc... The movie is rated PG-13 which might seem a bit much, the action isn’t too violent except for a head explosion which is a bit much, they don’t curse that much though the say the F word twice, which can be quite common in PG-13 movies like Gravity, Dunkirk, & Knives Out, etc... though the one thing that you can argue that pushes the boundaries for more than a PG-13 is the nudity, though there’s allot in the movie which adds up to around 5 minutes in total in the movie, it ain’t sexualized at all, nor Motoko’s body ain’t sexually exaggerated nor some other people who are naked. (And hey it’s animated so it ain’t as bad) The alcohol isn’t bad at all when Motoko & Batau are talking on the boat. I watched this movie for the first time before the Ghost in the Shell Live Action movie in 2017 came out, when I was a freshmen in High School when everyone was talking about it. This is in my opinion better than Akira and Spirited Away, which I love with a passion.
age 18+

NOT for children or teens. Period.

I have been an anime/manga junky most of my life. I have been to a number of Comic-Cons, and conventions that have been centered around this genre. I am 43 now, and I have been liberal with my own children as far as what they are allowed to play and watch (as long as it is absolutely age appropriate). That being said, since I know what can be contained within anime, I am very wary of what kind they are allowed to watch. This movie, without a doubt is OFF LIMITS. Maybe some parents would allow their children to watch it (be warned, there is A LOT of T&A, cursing, and graphic violence), but this isn't their review, now is it? There are some parents reviews that say this movie is rated as a "13 year-old/green" category, but I suspect that that "parent" is actually the "child" registering their review account AS and adult. IMDb's rating is rated "R". This is movie is not made for anyone under the age of 18 years-old. Period.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (18 ):

In a post-Matrix world, this landmark Japanese animation film may seem dated, but it's one of the most daring anime films to make it Stateside. It's a classic provocative piece of animation that works alongside Blade Runner in the sub-genre of philosophical science fiction. The special effects and shoot-em-ups do not get in the way of the story's question about what it means to be human.

On the other hand, the movie can be turgid; alternating abruptly between fast and furious action and slow and stilted dialogue. Thoughtful as it may be, the film's plot is at times, too complex for its own good. Nonetheless, this is a unique movie, and in the U.S. lent much-needed credibility to anime, consequently paving the way for more adult-themed animation. Ghost in the Shell may have its faults, but no one can deny its status as a trailblazer.

Movie Details

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