The Ghost In The Shell

The Ghost In The Shell Manmachine Interface Solid Box - Masamune Shirow

The Long Wait : A Shirow Fan's Ghost Solid Box Experience
- In Chronological Order -

A collection of entries throughout the entire wait for the Ghost Solid Box, and how much it means to finally, finally get a new Shirow work. I think having been through all this, my appreciation for Shirow Sensei's works just gets deeper. After all, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" - some proverb from somewhere.

From the MSHP 99 news archives - this was waaaaay back in 1998. It turns out that the "last" two episodes of GITS 2 never happened. Shirow stopped and the story remained there even after the release of the Ghost Solid Box's Manmachine Interface. And it turns out the E-Oppers work (its just a set of two pin-ups) are more notoriously popular than any other Shirow picture now. *sigh*...

Date: 1st August 1998

  • Shirow delayed the two last episodes of GITS2 to work on a series published in Kodansha's Young Magazine called 'E-Oppers'.

From the MSHP 99 news archives - Even back in March 99' the webmaster predicts doom and gloom. Not a very wise statement perhaps? Yeah. Its all my own fault...

1st March 1999
Sorry for the late report!

October 98 Comickers Comickers October 98- Contains a postcard set by Shirow. Features Shirow in the Gallery section, with some pages explaining and promoting Intron Depot Blades. Mainly discusses the use of CG in Blades and production of variant pictures.

Gundress premiers in Japan this month (March 99). Reviews for this anime has not been good, considering its the same production studio that released Landlock previously.

Hopes are high that 1999 will see the release of the much awaited Ghost In The Shell Manmachine Interface manga. However, no dates were mentioned (I have a very uncomfortable feeling about this...).

From the MSHP 99 news archives - October 99'. It was a happy month that one. Who could have foreseen what's in store next? Whoa.. look at the predicted date for the English edition! What a joke! And yet it was so optimistic at the time. (Yeah, even then I was bitching about the price)

31st Oct. 1999

Finally... something solid about the status of Manmachine Interface!

From Studio Proteus October 99 Manga Newswatch. Shirow has submitted the first of the 2-volume GITS2: Manmachine Interface to publisher Kodansha- this one with 14 new full-color pages.

Release schedule: "The Ghost Solid Box" Limited Edition Boxed Set, February 2000 at 13,333 Yen (These people are MAD!!! Oh yeah, I forgot. This is 'Mighty' Kodansha we're talking about. See Studio Proteus website for Box details). Regular softcover manga release on the next month. English edition- first volume scheduled for summer 2000.

*SIGH* Kodansha, Kodansha... WHY are you doing this?

Motoko Kusanagi
GITS2 New Color Page Preview

From the MSHP 99 news archives - Dec. 99... Oh the poor naive innocent Shirow fan. He sounds so excited and keen about the whole thing... (p/s I ammended the GSB release date on the page to reflect the situation at a later date)

17th Dec. 1999

Koukaku Kidoutai (Ghost In The Shell) 2 Update! Kodansha's Weekly Young Magazine issue 2000 1/1 (6th Dec. 1999) contains a Special 12 page full color preview booklet of the highly anticipated Koukaku 2! Click on the link for more details. Also a first peek at the Ghost Solid Box.

From the MSHP 00 news archives - Feb. 00. The point in time when everything starts to melt. I was perfectly happy with the March release but this was the point where I realised its not going to happen either and it would be in May instead. It hurts to be a Shirow fan that day.

21st Feb. 2000 - Oh Hell! Not Again...... (Patience is good. Repeat 1000x)


Ghost Solid Box (and hence, GITS 2) has been delayed again! Date of release have been re-set to May 2000. Apparently Shirow is doing massive re-working on the pages, and could NOT make the February dateline. What can I say? Its typical of Sensei Shirow to be late, but what really irritates is all the hype and promos, even up til' January when the Preview was featured in Young Magazine.
So far, my best guess based on Shirow's recent comments at the Seishinsha page is that the delay is due to cost, as the many extra color pages means a more expensive manga. But I have to ask, what's the deal with this box? Just the final, finished manga - no other nonsense necessary - would make millions of fans worldwide VERY happy. I'm really sad with the way things have turned out after so many months of hype and the way things are handled. Hey, Kodansha. Next time please be more careful about all the advertising ne? This is really disappointing.

From the MSHP owner's messages archives - April 00'. An exhausted, totally stressed out Shirow fan feels the heat. I'll leave it at that.

15th Apr. 2000 - A Helpless Shirow Fan Awaiting Manmachine Interface...

Yes!! Its announced!!
I'm VERY patient!!
WOW! Neat Preview!
Nov 1999...
Dec 1999...
Jan 2000... (Yay!)
#x@*$!! Another DELAY?!?
Patience is GOOD...
Please let everything be OK!!!
Feb 2000...(Sob!)
Mar 2000...
Apr 2000...(SIGH)

Will it FINALLY be out in May? Even long-time fans are stressed! ~Lucas, HD Version.

From the MSHP 00 news archives - HELLO! Its May!! (well, not Minnie May from GSC, but I sure could use her "tender" care at the time.. uhmm..). The 'Motoko picking up her Box' parody was intentional, and I'm sure the Major would be pissed as hell if organization and planning was this bad and chaotic in one of her operations.

18th May 2000 - GITS 2 Status Update: We all LOVE the Ghost Solid Box. Frustratingly...

NO %$@#&*@ BOX!!!
What a Tease! Even Major Kusanagi is Ticked!
Edited by Lucas for Satirical Purpose! Image Copyrights Shirow / Kodansha
Yup, my fellow fans! It has happened again. May 2000? You've got to be kidding. New release date is now mid-June or July, unconfirmed (note that the Kodansha Young Magazine's promo page doesn't have a release date anymore). But frankly, I'm just giving up on these schedules. Wow! A half-year delay on a product that's advertised 'ready' for release. For the un-initiated, welcome to the world of Shirow fandom! Take your time Sensei Shirow! And patience people, because I have no doubts- Manmachine Interface will be more than a dream come true. It's worth waiting for. Sensei Shirow never dissapoints.

From the MSHP 00 news archives - May was the month that Kodansha admitted publicly that the delays are getting ridiculous and they are aware of the problem. And so they wrote an elaborate essay about it at the relevant webpages, even promising some form of compensation! And the Shirow fan fell for it- hook, line and sinker. I must say the 95.5% figure quoted is very misleading, and I was thinking that the 0.5% is what... a week's worth of work? Wrong!!!

24th May 2000 - GITS 2 Status Update #2: Silver linings are showing in the dark clouds! Hope, faith...

At long last! Kodansha has finally stopped taking pre-orders for the Solid Box. The latest update at Young Magazine's homepage states the following (vaguely speaking... problem with Kanji text again):

The delay from the May deadline is very 'short' i.e. it will start shipping very soon (No dates committed. Hmmphh!-Lucas). The 'Box' items are all finalised, the only remaining work is on the Koukaku 2 (GITS 2) manga, so the project is 95.5% complete. And yes, we have news of changes in Box contents apart from the items already announced (2 x manga, poster, Fuchi model, booklet). Addition #1- an 'original Takochu clear file' (I suspect there is an immense fan base for Shirow Sensei's 'self-portrait' in Japan). Addition #2- Phone card order sheet, much like the Cyberdelics one, where you fill and send to Kodansha to get your card(s) and pretty useless outside Japan. There will be a special 'Aluminium Case(?) Solid Box Comemorative Phone Card' for the first 500 responses. Addition #3- The MOST important one. First timers (i.e. those who place their orders waaaay before all this nonsense and delays) will get a special, bonus booklet/pamphlet for which the contents are maintained a 'secret' by Kodansha at the moment. Damn it had better be something real good! Holding people's money for a bloody half-year! I'm pretty curious.

The general tone of the announcement is apologetic, and I guess Kodansha does realise how much grief this is causing for fans. But the damage in confidence was done. It's inexcusable to do such things. The only way to make up for this- make sure that this time its for real. No more 'phantom' dates and all that hype. For the full text of this update in Japanese, check the manga section of Young Magazine's Homepage.
So I guess its safe to say 'the long wait is finally over...' but again, I'd like to be holding the Box and GITS2 in my own hands before I can believe anything. This could probably be the first documented wait for a Shirow product by a fan. And for once, this is pretty good news- just get it here before my summer break starts! I'm happy tonight.^_^

Maza, GITS 2 Evil Boss
We NEED the Box! Now!
Shirow / Kodansha

From the MSHP news archives - June 00'.. well, still no Box at this point but oh the little stars in the sky... I managed to get hold of this Young Mag 20th Anniversary MMI Motoko Aramaki poster and it is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my whole Shirow life. Little can be beat a 1.5m high Motoko in your room.

25th Jun. 2000 - The Cyber Queen is on Kodansha's Young Magazine!

Our beloved Major Kusanagi is back for Kodansha Young Magazine's 20th Anniversary celebrations. Part of the string of special offers is a set of 'free' big super posters including this one with lovely Motoko Kusanagi. It measures at 1000 x 1500 mm and can only be obtained by filling out a form available in Young Magazine issue 28 (page 65) and sending it off to Kodansha with a 1200 Yen 'shipping and handling' fee (They are masters at doing this kind of difficult, agonizing mail order stuff). Problem with availability aside, this looks to be one heck of a cool picture / item! If all else fails, I'm really hoping for it to at least make it as one of Studio Proteus' direct editions GITS 2 covers or inserts, whenever they get published.

Shirow Masamune's Ghost In the Shell . Super Bisigu Poster (1200 Yen Postage). Kodansha Young Magazine no.28, 260 Yen. I'm in love with this pretty one!

Major Cool!!!
M Kusanagi Cyber-Throne Super Poster for YM

From the MSHP news archives - July 00'. Kodansha updated their GSB section, calling it a 'Renewal'. More like a 'hey, we're not dead yet' statement than any form of re-birth. Well, they did put some new stuff up for preview, and you know how I get when I see new Shirow thingies... Argh. I must curb this weakness!! ^_^ At least they had the decency to refrain from more false release dates, but this move prompted heated rumours that the GSB is no more... surely you didn't believe those unfounded rumours ne? I didn't...

5th Jul. 2000 - GITS 2 Status Update #3: Oh My Ghost! Latest Sightings of Paradise...

Young #24 advert
Young Mag #24 advert. Note the Solid Box package near the bottom!

Koukaku 2 sample page
WOW. That's Impressive! WOW again...
CG - Traditional Style Interface? Cool!

This is it people! GITS Solid Box 'Renewal' by Kodansha. The latest updates tell us that Sensei Shirow finally got sick of drawing GITS 2 (kidding! ^_^) and the plates are now off to the printers' (serious!). Everything is set and once finishing touches are done on Koukaku 2, our Solid Box is ready to go! Again is a repeat of apologies for the frustrating delay, reason being Sensei Shirow re-working on the Koukaku 2 manga to 'keep up with high expectations'. Worth the wait? I definitely think so!

Here is a brief run-down on the advertised release dates since February. Young #10 - 7th Feb. 2000, Young #14 - 6th March 2000, Young #24 - 15th May 2000 and finally the latest Young #30 - 3rd July 2000. No firm commitment on Kodansha's part but as of today (5th July) I haven't heard anything. Might be out in Japan already though, but I doubt it. I'm looking at middle or end of this month.

And another quick take on the confirmed contents of the Box (remember there are extra additions as mentioned in previous updates):

  • Koukaku Kidoutai 2 - B5 Hardcover Special Edition Tankubon. Collecting in a thick volume the sequel, Koukaku Kidoutai Manmachine Interface. Serialized irregularly since 1997 in Young Magazine. Shirow Sensei's new work.
  • Koukaku Kidoutai 1 - B5 Hardcover Special Edition Tankubon. Reprinting the Koukaku Kidoutai manga from 1991, using repaired, improved and more detailed original printing plates.
  • CD-sized Mini Book - The making of Koukaku 2. Rough sketches and preparation, plus commentaries by Sensei Shirow.
  • Fuchikoma Figure - Clear, transparent high quality figure of the Fuchikoma. Overall length is about 20cm and may be coloured according to the owner's liking. May vary slightly from box to box.
  • Solid Box Poster - Made exclusively for the Solid Box. A2 sized poster in luxurious 6-colour printing. Dimensions are 42 x 60 cm.
This has got to be the coolest thing in years! I can hardly wait to see Motoko's 'children' etc. While I'm not too happy about the whole Solid Box affair, I guess the CD-sized mini-book and whatever extra in the hardcover GITS 2 manga is worth it. Let's hope that the next status update will be one where paradise is here in hand. We wait yet again for the Box. One last time.

From the MSHP news archives - Sept. 00' In defence of the GSB. By now, the whole GSB issue is in a chaotic state. Retailers unsure if the project is still on, and Kodansha is not budging from the no official date status. Buyers are starting to cancel their Box orders. I'm happy enough just to poke fun at the Fuchikomas. After all, I am a Shirow fan and I trust the Sensei would never give up on this project.

11th Sept. 2000

What Are Those Fuchikomas Doing?!?
Fuchikomas Decided to Keep ALL the Solid Boxes. A Conspiracy!?! Ack!
Bits and Pieces about the Ghost Solid Box......

I have ceased to bother with more 'Status Updates' for this particular merchandise. No doubt its going to be a little piece of Shirow Collector's heaven, but come on Kodansha! What in nine-hells are you doing!! >_< To the point. The Solid Box was mentioned in September's Previews again indicating that Diamond is still accepting orders for the Box, now called the 'Ghost In The Shell Gift Box' (Sheesh!). More importantly, it implies that the Solid Box has NOT been cancelled. The advertisement did do an update on the Box items though- 2 hardcover mangas, poster, CD-size Shirow booklet, Fuchikoma figure, Clear Folder with illustration, plus that secret gift. I can't believe I'm saying this again, but its the sad truth. "We await, with high hopes, for the Solid Box!"...

From the MSHP news archives - Oct. 2000. I double-checked, triple-checked and quadruple-checked this announcement with my head and heart at different places as I do this update. A full year since the official announcement, and although I'm happy with the positive development somehow deep inside I have this little nagging thing that maybe history would repeat itself again?

When can I see you...
Please DON'T be joking this time...!
6th Oct. 2000 - We Have a DATE with Major Kusanagi!
Koukaku 2 Release Status Update #5: 2 more months of peaceful sleep!

Koukaku Solid Box release date is now officially announced by Kodansha after many many months of 'uncertain xx day xx month release' statements. The expected date is 22nd December 2000. Write that down in your diaries and planners, guys and gals, and we'll see if Motoko decides to turn up or not. It can be really easy to get lost in the sea of information networks (^_^) but we'll wait. Motoko's worth it. 11 months after the first announce... Wow. That was almost a year in delays! I didn't realise that...

From the MSHP Special Announcements Section - Dec.2000 Rejoice! What a relief! The Ghost Solid Box is FINALLY out! As news start to trickle in from Japan, the first thing I remember doing was closing my eyes and letting out a huge sigh of relief. Tension was high for me as we approach the final release date, and this time the schedule was met. So its just a matter of time now...

The Second Coming of Our Beloved Motoko!
== The Ghost Solid Box Countdown! ==
Release Date: 19th December 2000
There are lots of happy Shirow fans in Japan now! ^_^

Publisher: Kodansha Japan ~ Price: 13 333 Yen ~ Contents: Ghost In The Shell 2 + Ghost In The Shell Special B5 Hardcover Edition, Shirow Masamune CD-size Commentary Sketchbook, GITS 2 Poster, Clear Fuchikoma Figure, Takochu Clear File, Telecard Offer, 'Mystery Gift'.

From the MSHP Entrance - Finally. The Long Long Wait is Over! And a Shirow fan is happy again! Yay!!


Manmachine Interface!
Oh My GHOST! Lucas is NOT sleeping tonight...

The Postman dropped by today and just one look at the brown box, I knew IT was here. Words can't describe how unbelievably incredible Manmachine Interface is, and the MMI Inactive Module booklet is a little piece of heaven. The clear Fuchikoma figure is very cool too, but above all, Koukaku 2: Manmachine Interface is undisputedly the BEST manga I've ever seen from Shirow or anyone so far in my life. Don't get too excited yet, updates will only come later. Please be understanding. I need to take time off to soak all this in and convince myself this is for real. This feeling deep inside the heart, that which only Shirow Sensei's works can trigger is on maximum. Its been some very long years since I last felt this way, and it is great. With that, its time for me to try and get to know the new Motoko better... Ja~ ^_^

~ Lucas. 03/01/2001 ~

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