When you think of a cyberpunk aesthetic, whether in film, video games or TV, you are instantly transported into a gritty night scene of Neo-Tokyo with an array of holograms adorning streets and buildings. This is not however, how the directors of Ghost in the Shell’s newest offering: SAC_2045 have laid this gem of a series out.

It begins with the main character Major Motoko Kusanagi ripping through a Palm Springs desert in a dune buggy proceeding to stylishly, if possible, take a swig from a bottle of Budweiser. We are then introduced to the old crew of her loyal team Section 9, with the introduction of a new character who is trying to fit in, which is easier said than done when it comes to being friends with Batou. This sets in motion a story of a dystopian California that is trying to combat and understand the existence of ‘Post Humans’ who are hell bent on destruction.  

The directors of the series Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki, have introduced 3D animation to Ghost in the Shell and it has paid dividends. We are at the point now where this style of animation looks slick with no robotic movements to the characters. Something that Kamiyama was trying to showcase way back in 2002 with the opening sequence for his series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The 3D animation in SAC_2045 holds its own beautiful charm but isn’t for all anime fans.  

When the Wachowskis created the masterpiece that is the Matrix, they both drew heavily on themes, aesthetics and action from the original 1995 film Ghost in the Shell. It made for a visually stunning spectacle that most people wouldn’t attribute to an anime. It seems however that we have come full circle. The main antagonist and NSA agent in SAC_2045 who is investigating the aforementioned ‘Post Humans’ is the spiting image of ‘The Agents’ in the Matrix franchise, he even calls himself John Smith. Whether this is a coincidence or not it seems like a thoughtful homage from the writers.

The Japanese-American production team of SAC_2045 have really stuck a chord with Netflix audiences. Now a huge array of viewers will be shown what California and Japan might look and feel like in 2045. Seeing the Section 9 team come to life in this setting and witnessing state of the art animation makes for a much more mainstream take on what cyberpunk dystopian futures could be like compared to what we have seen before.

We’re just patiently waiting for Netflix to announce season 2, so we can indulge some more in this stylish cyberpunk tale!