By Kyle Shea
If you walk around a large bookstore in the USA, chances are you’ll see sections of illustrated books originally from a foreign land, translated into English. These comic books are called manga, and there’s no denying they’re more popular than American comics. The size of the sections alone is amazing, but the sales are the biggest factor. Manga leaves American comics in the dirt. There was even a rumor that a single book of the manga “Demon Slayer” outsold all of American comics by itself.
Many of these manga have been turned into anime, with the same style of artwork, and pretty much the same story. One of the most popular of all these is the anime movie “Ghost in the Shell.” The author hasn’t seen this movie, but he’s seen the 2017 American live-action adaptation of this classic. Starring Scarlett Johansson, the 2017 movie takes place in the future where humans can replace parts of their bodies for advanced robotic parts. Robots are everywhere and holograms 0replace billboards to sell products. In the movie, Scarlett Johansson plays Major, a woman whose body was destroyed with only her brain intact. Her brain is transferred to an advanced robotic body, giving her a new life as an enforcer of the law. (As an aside, our company did the firearms for the 2014 video game Ghost in the Shell).
In the film, Major uses a Glock 19 covered with movie magic. This is meant to blend in with her body, which is made to camouflage with her surroundings. The best scene where she uses this gun is in the beginning when she storms a meeting being attacked by terrorists. She hides on the outside of a window, at first, and takes out a few bad guys before jumping through it and taking out the rest of the bad guy troop. Another scene where the gun is seen is when she catches up with a suspect and beats him up while she’s invisible. The Glock 19 is seen on her left thigh when she becomes visible again.
The Glock 19 was designed as a more compact version of the Glock 17. If you put the two pistols next to each other, it’ll show the obvious difference in size. The Glock 19 was first produced in 1988 and has seen service in many military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world. These include the United States, Austria, Israel, Germany, Taiwan, and France. It’s also a favorite on the civilian market and is widely regarded as one of the best guns for self-defense.
The Glock 19 weighs almost one and a half pounds. It shoots 9mm Parabellum from a 15-round removable magazine. It has the usual safety that most Glock pistols have, which is a small lever on the trigger. When the operator wants to shoot the pistol, he has to pull the lever and the trigger at the same time, which is a natural progression. Some of the differences between this pistol and the Glock 17 are that both the slide and the pistol grip were shortened to allow better concealment.
Other guns in the movie include movie customized Heckler & Koch MP5Ks used by Major’s fellow police officers. Her commander, played by Takeshi Kitano, uses an uncustomized Smith & Wesson Model 29 in his few fights. Major herself uses a movie customized Israel Weapon Industries Tavor X95 against a giant robot and, in an earlier scene, she uses an IWI Jericho 941 PL, which she takes off a random assailant. Her partner Batou uses a Crye Precision SIX12 shotgun and a Glock 17 pistol in a few different scenes. The terrorists in the beginning of the movie are seen using customized UZIs and Thompsons.
2017’s “Ghost in the Shell” is a stunning movie to look at, but the plot is somewhat predictable. The author knew who the real villain was going to be and knew which way the story was going early on. These stories are a dime a dozen and have been done better. Scarlett Johansson is very good in her role, as are most of the actors, and the visuals are amazing. But the villain is not believable and the script is not handled well. There was also a controversy surrounding the casting of Johansson as the main character. The main character in the anime is Japanese and many critics called the casting “white washing.” However, the director of the original anime had no problem with Johansson, as did most people in Japan. The movie is worth a watch for the effects and the imagery, so by all means, rent and enjoy.
SAR would like to thank the weapons department of Independent Studio Services in Sundale, CA for allowing us to photograph and record the history of these movie guns.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V26N4 (April 2022)|