The Ghost In The Shell Manmachine Interface Solid Box - Masamune Shirow
Review ver1.0 : 7th Jan 2001 - Subject to Changes
Title: The Ghost In The Shell Manmachine Interface Solid Box|
Author / Artist: Shirow Masamune
Publisher: Kodansha Japan
Release Date: 22nd December 2000
Price: 13,333 Yen (Recommended)
Dimensions / Weight: 46.5 x 29 x 12 cm / 4kg
- Book 1: The Ghost In The Shell B5 Size Type
- Book 2: Manmachine Interface B5 Size Type
- Poster: Manmachine Interface A2 Size
- Minibook: Manmachine Interface CD Size in Plastic CD Case
- Clear File: Manmachine Interface A4 Size
- Action Figure Fuchikoma: Clear Plastic Type
- Extra 1: Mini Red Fuchikoma Figure
- Extra 2: MMI Special Pamphlet (Book in Book Remake)
- Extra 3: Feedback card with telecard case offer for first 500
Manmachine Interface Inactive Module CD-size - A petit attractive CD-sized booklet which comes in a CD-case. Contains a collection of pictures and sketches un-used in the Manmachine Interface manga. Most of them are full coloured CG pieces and they are amazing! Despite its 'fragile' size, which is the only bad thing about it, I just love this adorable booklet. Cool concept, very cool design.
Commentary: The success of the Ghost In The Shell series prompted Shirow Sensei to work on a sequel, and it has been the only Shirow manga project for the past 5 years, apart from the odd Exon Depot Arms. Shirow subtitled this new sequel 'Manmachine Interface', and serialization started in Kodansha's Young Magazine very irregularly and by 1998, Shirow has decided its time to collect them into a proper book. Hence the Ghost In The Shell Manmachine Interface Solid Box (hereafter referred to as Ghost Solid Box, the Box or GSB) project was conceived. The idea was to have a limited edition big huge box filled with Shirow goodies made specially for collectors. The Box was meant to be a prelude to the launch of the normal edition of the Manmachine Interface Part 1 manga a month later. The announcement was made public in October 99', for a February 2000 release and there was joy and peace all across the earth. Happy, upbeat and enthusiastic fans hurriedly poured in their hard-earned money, all 13,333 right down to the last Yen to book their copy as the Box was meant to be a reserve-only item. No pre-order, no Box. Its as simple as that. Or so everyone thought. February 00' was just around the corner, and on 31st Jan. a peculiar update was uploaded at Seishinsha's Shirow Official Page, a short message from Sensei Shirow himself. Manmachine Interface has been re-called by Sensei himself for a major re-work (due mainly to publishing cost issues) and hence the GSB has been delayed. There were minor riots and disturbances in many countries as news of the delay spread, but the general population of planet earth remained calm. Surely, another month's wait wouldn't be so bad - this is Shirow we're talking about - and the good people at Kodansha did announce a March 00' release. Fine. March came and March went. No Box. Well, okay, its now officially in May. May came, still NO box! What the hell... Confidence is at all time low and most important of all- huge sums of money has been paid! Despite all that, a July date was promised, and greeted with much bitterness and sarcasm. Sure enough, no Box again. Then suddenly there's no release date. Just as the panic button was about to be pressed- a date came- 22nd December 2000. Thank goodness this is not another blatant blow to the head, and the word was finally honoured. Boxes went out to their rightful owners and peace and order restored worldwide. So the Box is finally here. Almost a year overdue.
Re-live the nightmare! MSHP presents Ghost Solid Box: The Long Wait!
Since the first announcement, much has changed. The Manmachine Interface project is somewhat in a confused state as we were delivered a 'short cut edition' and there is word of a final edition due sometime in 2002. So is it still a two-part series? Or will there just be a few extra episodes to tie the whole thing up? Will the normal editions be out the next month? So far no news, and I guess there will not be a normal edition. What did Shirow Sensei edit that took him almost a year? Lots of questions remain unanswered. There is also a special offer for the first 500 to complete and return the feedback card to Kodansha: a MMI telephone card holder with a Takochu telecard included. To compensate fans for the long wait, Kodansha offered some additions to the box contents: a clear file with the Shirow octopus logo. Woah. Like that is so cool *sarcasm*. Not only that, they offered a 'mystery gift'. That turned out to be a re-make (or an exact replica) of the MMI Book in Book which came together with the January 2000 Vol.1 Young Magazine and some mini red Fuchikomas last seen grovelling at the feet of Alpha's Hard Disk Motoko figures. Worse, fans who paid up in October 99' for the February release gets nothing special. *sigh* The price you have to pay for being a Shirow fan... For the past few days that the Box was here, the bitterness actually disappeared. Not that its any miracle, Kodansha is still on my no-confidence, big money-making opportunist list. Its just Shirow. The magic of seeing, finally, a manga from Sensei Shirow after many many many years. I am a Shirow fan because of the mangas and this is what makes the world go round. More than anything else, Manmachine Interface conquers all, and I am hopelessly impressed to bits! The stuffs:
The Ghost In The Shell, Hardcover B5 - Western manga readers would be familiar with the B5 format as the DH/SP editions are in this particular format. The main difference is that the printing was done on original plates, and the paper quality much much better than the normal editions. So this must be a treat for Ghost fans, even more for the Japanese fans.
Manmachine Interface, Hardcover B5 - Now Sensei Shirow has done a lot of mangas throughout his career but nothing, and I mean nothing could come close to MMI. In this insanely beautiful masterpiece, Shirow Sensei further shows that his talent levels are far from declining and made the most impressive use of CG I've ever seen yet in my whole life. Shirow Sensei is changing with the times, embracing new technology, and exploring new methods of enhancing his artistic genius. MMI is a fast-paced, action packed story and is totally unlike anything I've seen before in a manga. Super!
Manmachine Interface Poster A2 - I believe this piece is meant to be used for one of the episode openings. It makes a nice poster, but believe me its peanuts compared to THE Aramaki Motoko poster for the Young Magazine 20th Anniversary celebrations. Well, no poster in this world can beat a 1.5m long Shirow poster, ne? ^_^
What's In The Box?
The Ghost In The Shell
Manmachine Interface Poster
MMI Inactive Module: CD Size
Clear Type Fuchikoma
Clear File + Special Pamphlet
Spider in the Box...???
Clear Type Fuchikoma Action Figure: This is another Box item worth a mention of praise. About 20cm long, the Fuchikoma's workmanship is very high quality. The joints are articulate and you can have the Fuchi lie down or stand on four legs. Plus, there is a little hatch where you can open to reveal the driver cockpit. Now if only it came with a Motoko figurine! ^_^ The clear Fuchikoma is made such so that the owner can paint it in any colour he/she likes. The transparent material will not affect the colour scheme in any way.
Clear File with Special Pamphlet - The clear file is... well, just a clear file with the Takochu logo. And the Special Pamphlet is just a re-print of the Young Magazine January 2000 Vol.1 Book in Book on better quality paper and in larger (A4) size. Not impressive at all.
Mini Red Fuchikoma - Stuck at the top right corner of the Box, this is just the little Fuchikoma that came with the Alpha Hard Disk Motoko figures. Supposed to be some kind of 'surprise gift' to make up for the Box delays. Its bloody disappointing! And just one miserable Fuchi? Come on! Give me a break...
To sum up, I'd say that the Box is worth it - the wait and the money - for two outstanding reasons: Manmachine Interface and the Inactive Module CD booklet. The clear type Fuchikoma figure is pretty nice too. I'm not sure if there will be any normal editions of Manmachine Interface but if they will be published, then the Box is insignificant. However, if this ends up to be the only way to get your hands on a copy of MMI, sell the world to get one!
~ Lucas ~ 7th Jan 2001. (Since this was written, MMI Standard Edition has been scheduled for June 2001 release at 1500 Yen, with extra pages).
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