Ghost in the Shell is the cyber-punk sci-fi anime that changed the game. James Cameron has declared it a favourite and the Wachowski's modelled The Matrix after it. Based on the popular manga, it tells of a distant future where everyone is interconnected in an expansive network of cybernetics. It's a complex story about a hacker on the run and the cops chasing him down. The hacker is using a ghost to infiltrate other bodies (shells). A ghost is essentially a human spirit but it's a complicated concept to describe... watch the movie LOL. It sounds confusing but the film is easy to follow. It's so well made. The script is fluent, the dialogue is excellent and the design is phenomenal. This is such a vivid and fantastical vision... with a beautiful score it has a gracefulness that most other anime at the time lacked. The action dances across the screen in a symphonic way and you feel like you are watching an futuristic opera... Eight years after it's release it was given an alternative edit with newly re-created digital animation and a rearranged score. That version is also beautiful and you can take your pic of which one you watch, or watch both. A TV series followed in 2002 and a sequel was released in 2004. The sequel looked as amazing but didn't reach the elegance of this original. I read recently that a 3rd movie is due out later in the year called 'Arise' and Steven Spielberg has purchased the rights to make a live action version. As much as I idolise the guy, I'd advise against it. The Matrix was enough.