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Ghost in the Shell 2:Innocence - The Creators

MAMORU OSHII (Director/Screenwriter), born in Tokyo, is one of the most remarkable personalities in modern Japanese filmmaking. He succeeded in introducing the complexity of fanta-politics and introspective philosophical speculation into the world of animation. He joined Tatsunoko Production in 1977, and then moved to Studio Pierrot upon its formation. At Studio Pierrot, Oshii became the chief director of the 1981 anime television series “Urusei Yatsura,” based on the popular manga artist Rumiko Takahashi’s bestseller. For three years the show was a ratings success, bringing Oshii into the spotlight.

In 1983, Oshii made his feature film debut with “Urusei Yatsura: Only You,” but his first major success came the following year with “Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer,” a surrealistic re-interpretation of Rumiko Takahashi’s world, that won enthusiastic acclaim from many film critics. However, after directing the enigmatic “Angel’s Egg” in 1985, he turned his back on mass entertainment and started making both animated and live action films that expressed his unique worldview.

In 1988, Oshii became one of the minds behind the name Headgear, the group of talented creators that gave birth to the project entitled “Mobile Police Patlabor.” Other Headgear members included comic artist Masami Yuuki, character designer Akemi Takada (“Urusei Yatsura”), writer Kazunori Ito (“Gamera 2”) and mechanics designer Yutaka Izubuchi (“Gundam 0080,” “Record of Lodoss War”). Starting as a short straight-to-video series and then expanding into a TV series and three movies, “Patlabor” added new realism to the robot genre in animation, introducing serious elements such as coup d’etat and urban terrorism. In 1995, Oshii released the first “Ghost in the Shell,” which gathered a cult following and was better received in the United States and Europe than in his home country. “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” is his first directorial effort in animation in nine years.
Oshii has also directed a number of live-action features, including “The Red Spectacles” (1986), “Stray Dog” (1991) and “Talking Head” (1992). The world of “The Red Spectacles” and “Stray Dog” was further developed in the animated feature “Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade” (1999), produced by Production I.G from Oshii’s script and directed by “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” character designer, Toshiyuki Okiura.

Oshii’s latest live-action film, entitled “Avalon” (2001), filmed entirely in Poland, was presented out of competition in Cannes. With “Avalon,” Oshii experimented for the first time with Domino’s digital editing capabilities, and decided to rely on the same technology for “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” making it the first animated movie to utilize this process.
Presently, Oshii he enjoys his quiet life with his beloved dogs—a Bassett Hound named Gabriel and a mutt called Daniel—in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, developing his next feature film, which he says, “is probably not going to be an anime.”


PRODUCTION I.G (Production Company), the Tokyo-based production house, is perhaps best known to American moviegoers for its work on the animated segment in Quentin Tarantino’s hit “Kill Bill: Vol. 1.”

In 1987, producer Mitsuhisa Ishikawa became partly independent of Tatsunoko Production, where he worked as a production manager for several years. Together with character designer/animator Takayuki Goto, co-founded his own animation production company, IG Tatsunoko – the “I” and “G” being the initials of the two founders’ last names. After becoming fully independent of Tatsunoko, Ishikawa renamed the company Production I.G, which became a major turning point in its history. The company continued to grow rapidly, adding three animation studios under its umbrella, and employing more than 500 people full-time. Ishikawa also won national and international honors from such organizations as the Entrepreneur of the Year, Digital Contents Association of Japan, and Humanities at Lambert University.

Production I.G has produced a number of acclaimed feature films, OVA (original video animation), TV shows, music videos, commercials, and videogames. Their quality of animation and storytelling abilities on such projects as Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell,” Hiroyuki Okiura’s “Jin-Roh” (written by Oshii), and Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s “Blood: The Last Vampire” have not only brought them critical accolades in Japan, but from around the world. The company, which maintains a close relationship with Oshii, produced his two “Patlabor” movies.

Production I.G’s other credits include “Evangelion: Death & Rebirth,” “Sakura Wars: The Movie,” and the television series “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” and its sequel “Ghost in the Shell: 2nd GIG.” Adding another franchise to “Ghost in the Shell,” Production I.G has also co-produced, with Sony Computer Entertainment, a PS-2 game, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.”


SHIROW MASAMUNE (Original Story) is actually a pseudonym for a Hyogo Prefecture resident, who has not yet revealed his true name or identity, nor has he ever allowed himself to be photographed or appeared in public. Nevertheless, his comics have won the adoration of legions of fans all around the globe, thanks to his information-intensive storytelling technique, spiced with high-tech themes and fanta-political issues, all elements blended into a world of rare complexity, with intricate designs of characters and settings.

He studied at the Osaka University of Arts, and it was at this time that he made his debut in manga with Black Magic, which was published in the fanzine Atlas. After graduating, he became a high school art teacher and also created Appleseed (1985-89), which won him a Galaxy Award for Best Science Fiction Comic in 1986. After five years of teaching, Masamune became disillusioned with education, and devoted himself entirely to making manga. Both the first and second volumes of Ghost in the Shell were published by Kodansha in 1990 and 2001 respectively. In addition to Ghost in the Shell, most of his works have been adapted into animation, including Black Magic M-66 (1987), Dominion Tank Police (1988), and Appleseed (twice, in 1988 and in 2004).


TOSHIHIKO NISHIKUBO (Animation Director) served as the animation director on the first “Ghost in the Shell.” He began his career at Tatsunoko Production and later worked for such companies as Mad House and Tokyo Movie, becoming a protégé of Osamu Dezaki, one of the most respected Japanese animation directors. His collaborations with Dezaki include the 1979 classic “Lady Oscar.” Nishikubo made his animation directorial debut in 1983 with Mitsuru Adachi’s romantic comedy “Miyuki.” His other credits include “Red Beam Zillion,” “Heavenly Sphere Shurato,” “Eiji,” “Video Girl Ai” and “Otogizoushi.”


HIROYUKI OKIURA (Character Designer) was the character designer and animation supervisor on the original “Ghost in the Shell.” Okiura began his career at the age of 16 when he joined the production company Anime R and became a protégé of Moriyasu Taniguchi. He was the animation supervisor on the robot TV show “Bismarck” (known in the USA as “Sabre Rider and the Star Sheriffs”).

Okiura made his feature film directorial debut in 2000 with “Jin-Roh.” His other film credits include serving as the animation supervisor on “Black Magic M-66,” based on a Shirow Masamune’s comic book; key animator on “Akira”; character designer and animation supervisor on the anime adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s novel “Run, Melos!”; and opening animation director and key animator on “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.”


ATSUSHI TAKEUCHI (Mechanic Designer, Layout) is one of the creators behind the impressive Festival Segment of “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.” An experienced animator, he specializes in what is commonly known as mechanic design, or the design of machines, vehicles and robots.

After working as key animator on “Patlabor 1: The Movie,” Takeuchi has been a regular presence in Oshii’s works, subsequently credited with the layout on “Patlabor 2: The Movie,” mechanic design and layout on “Ghost in the Shell,” and mechanic design on “Avalon.” Takeuchi’s additional credits include the films “Rhea Gall Force,” “Sol Bianca,” “Ah! My Goddess – The Movie,” “Yukikaze” and “Appleseed.”


YOHEI TANEDA (Production Designer), an experienced production designer for live-action films, is making his feature animation debut with “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence”. At the beginning of his career, Taneda worked on Shuji Terayama’s and Shinji Somai’s films as an assistant in the art department. He was promoted to production designer in 1986 on Sogo Ishii’s “1/2 Man.”
In 1996, he designed the enormous set of a fictitious megalopolis for “Swallowtail Butterfly.” Two years later, he won a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Art Direction for “Sleepless Town.” In 2003, he received praise for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” including the House of Blue Leaves set. Not limited to movies, Taneda has worked on a the television show “Private Detective Mike Hama,” and a videogame, “Kamaitachi no Yoru 2.” This year, his work can be seen in two more films, “Hana & Alice” and “69.”


KAZUCHIKA KISE (Supervising Animator) joined studio Anime R at the start of his career. In 1983 he received his first on-screen credit for “Round Vernian Vifam” and his drawings were first used for the popular soccer saga “Captain Tsubasa.” His debut as animation director came on episode 23 of the TV series “Red Beam Zillion.”

Subsequently, he worked for Studio MW, before joining Production I.G. Kise has served as an animation supervisor on “Video Girl Ai,” “Blue Seed,” “Patlabor” (both the series and movies), “Heroic Legend of Arslan,” “The Weathering Continent,” “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Blood: The Last Vampire,” “Sakura Wars: The Movie” and “WXIII Patlabor The Movie 3,” among others.


TETSUYA NISHIO (Supervising Animator) made his debut on the television comedy series “Osomatsu-kun.” In recent years, he has gained popularity with his super-deformed anime style. His credits include “The Hakkenden: New Chapter” (key animator), “Ninku” (character designer, animation supervisor), “Jin-Roh” (character designer/animation superviser/key animator), “Cowbow Bebop: The Movie” (opening animation artist), “MiniPato” (character designer/animator) and Studio Ghibli’s “The Cat Returns” (key animator).



SHUICHI HIRATA (Art Director) has worked on a number of high quality films, including Mamoru Oshii’s “Patlabor: The Movie,” “Patlabor 2: The Movie,” and “Ghost in the Shell,” the last as a background artist. He served as the art director on Osamu Tezuka’s “Metropolis,” and includes among his other film work Isao Takahata’s “Grave of the Fireflies,” “The Weathering Continent” and “X.”


HISASHI EZURA (Visual Effects Supervisor) has served as key animator and animation supervisor for a number of films. In recent years, he has specialized more in visual effects concepts. His notable credits include “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” (visual effects supervisor), the “Ghost in the Shell” videogame (animation segment SFX supervisor), “Blood: The Last Vampire” (director of visual concept), “Furi Kuri” (key animator), and “Sakura Wars: The Movie” (visual effects).


KIMIKO ITOH (Song), born in Shodoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, decided to pursue a singing career at the age of four upon hearing Hibari Misora sing on the radio. In 1982, Itoh made her debut as a recording artist with the jazz album The Birdland. She honed her craft playing the New York club scene, as well as playing with Japanese jazz musicians such as the Hino Terumasa Group. In 1989, the album Follow Me was released simultaneously in Japan and the United States, and ranked number 16 on Radio & Record magazine’s contemporary jazz album chart, an unprecedented success for a Japanese female vocalist. In 2000, she released a studio album called Kimiko, for producer Makoto Ozone. Kimiko won Swing Journal magazine’s Jazz Disc Award for Best Female Vocalist.

Itoh continues to make records and perform in a variety of venues, including clubs, concert halls, and foreign jazz festivals, as well as on TV and radio.


KENJI KAWAI (Composer) has composed music for most of Mamoru Oshii’s films, including “The Red Spectacles,” “Patlabor: The Movie,” “Patlabor 2: The Movie,” “Ghost in the Shell,” and “Avalon.” In addition, he has created scores for a range of genres, including the horror films “Ringu,” “Ringu 2” and “Dark Water”; the effects actioners “Sakuya The Demon Slayer”and “The Princess Blade”; and other anime projects like “Ghiblies” and “Vampire Princess Miyu.”

Born in Tokyo, Kawai won the grand prize at the 1st annual Mazda College Sound Festival. Afterward, he began working as a freelance guitarist, backing up various artists. Around this time, he became interested in home recording and then slowly began composing music for corporate videos, television commercials, and stage productions before becoming a film composer.
For “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” Kawai expanded the atmosphere of the three-voice ethnic chorus, used for the 1995 movie, to the dramatic grandeur of a 75-member chorus.

courtesy of DreamWorks and Go Fish Pictures

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