Ghost in the Shell: Special Edition is, in my opinion, the ultimate Ghost in the Shell DVD. Even better than the 2.0 thing they've come up with, since that edition only has certain parts rendered with (I'll admit) beautiful CGI; however, they did take out some stuff that had the potential to look better.
This edition, however, does not take anything out. No censors, no renditions that I can think of, etc. It's just the movie, and a whole disc loaded with special features including TWENTY MINUTES of nostalgic anime trailers (Neon Genesis Evangelion AND The End of Evangelion trailers playing back-to-back!). This edition also has the remastered film, which makes the amazing animation look even better, and the sound even crisper. The English voice actors all played their parts well and matched their characters, though I disagree with some other reviewers when they say Matoko sounds just a LITTLE TOO robotic. She's a cyborg. That's the point.
Now onto the film itself: it's about an omnipresent hacker nicknamed The Puppetmaster who finds a way to hack into a government official, and Major Matoko Kusanagi with her Division 9 to back her up go out to track down this 'ghost hacker'. It's basically the same storyline as the manga it's based on by Masamune Shirow, except with a few divisions of the plot, without most of the subplots. Which is a good thing, because this movie's complicated enough, and while it does get by without being TOTALLY confusing (like the manga), just remember that this time we don't have Masamune Shirow's notes to help us out.
Also, this was one of the key inspirations for The Matrix, another favourite of mine.
This is also one of the 'Big Three' anime films that introduced anime to Western audiences. Ninja Scroll and Akira are the other two, and while it's hard to pick favourites I'd have to say Ghost in the Shell is my favourite out of these three.
****1/2 out of *****