Nerdwriter makes a compelling point about how the original Ghost in the Shell uses the backdrop of a futuristic Hong Kong to make a point about identity by using the surrounding city to visually explore the relationship between the city and the people in it. As explained in another video essay, the story is about what it means to create a personal identity in the age of cyborgs. Plenty of the shots and sequences in the anime hit home that thematic element, and while the new Ghost in the Shell adaptation mimics some of them as homage, it appears to lose the meaning behind them.
I grab my overstuffed duffel bag from the boot and race toward the fence leading to the beach. The grey rocks are splattered a creamy-yellow with near-sprouting lichen. Under them are the brightly colored, orange-brown weeds, with white sand sprayed across the water and rocks. You could see the water all the way to the bottom, as clear as light viridescent bottle-glass. If you looked closely, you could see starfish and sea-urchins sleeping lazily on the wide pieces of flowery pink coral. I paused for a second to breathe in the sea breeze, the seaweed and the salty sting of the water in the air. I couldn’t wait any longer. I leaped into the ocean. The icy water froze the toes that had been warm just a second ago and the water swallowed my head as I dove down. I could taste the bittersweet, salty, cold water running down my throat and I came up for air, not wanting more water being accidentally swallowed. I could hear the water smashing against the yellow-white sand, the joyful squeals of small children and adults as they watched their kids have fun, and the soft swishes of my feet in the water. Suddenly I started to shiver. It was too cold in the water. I hopped out and raced toward my mum, who was setting up the umbrella and towel. The hot ray of sun slammed onto my freezing body and my drenched hair slapped against my wet back while the hot sand squelched in between my soaked toes. After eating a delicious lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches, I stood up. It was time to go exploring. I ventured into the forest that lay beyond the beach. I stopped suddenly and gasped. Lying on the smooth green grass was a rowboat, streaked with layers of dirt and made of aging wood. The paint swirled off the boat like carrot peelings. It didn’t look like it deserved to be sailed by anyone, but it was too late. I hopped enthusiastically into the boat after pushing it near the water’s edge. I sailed out far on the ocean, bobbing on the sun-dotted water, my eyes locked on the skyline, where blue met blue.