If you ask any anime fan about how they prefer to watch their anime you will usually get one of three responses. Those who only watch dubbed because they don't want to read at the same time, those who are fine with watching both, and those who are "anime purists" as some like to call themselves who only watch subbed. Now of course you can get variations in your answers but those are the three main responses. As for me, I prefer to watch dubbed because I find it more enjoyable to just sit back and watch something. However, if a good anime is only available in the subbed format, I have no problem reading subtitles; that's how I have kept up with One Piece. Now onto the actual review and why I believe the dubbing is vastly superior to the subbing in this case.
When I first watched this movie subbed and I personally gave it three stars. While there was nothing wrong with the movie, I found it rather boring. It just seemed to drag on and on with the only good parts being the action sequences. But in between those was a lot of discussion and attempts to be very philosophical, which brings me to the most annoying part of the movie, the quoting. Oh my god, this movie just quotes and quotes and quotes. I don't know if the writers were trying to hammer in the idea that anime can be a serious form of visual entertainment or if they were trying to prove that anime is not just cartoons for adults but my god did they overdue it. And that's not a hyperbole, I truly believe there was too much quoting in this movie. The main characters would be discussing the case and then, out of nowhere, someone would start a quoting rant that could literally last for about five minutes. Now if it was an occasional thing I wouldn't have minded it, but it was that way for the entire movie and it just destroyed its pacing. So even though the animation, action, story, and just about anything else was fine, I found the writing so annoying that the movie was almost unwatchable for me. This was very disheartening because I really wanted to enjoy the movie, which brings me to why I have given this particular version of the movie five stars.
I don't really know what is was about the dubbed writing but the movie was just so much more enjoyable. The most obvious difference was the reduction in philosophical quoting. I would say the writers reduced that amount by at least half if not more which meant that most of the movie had the characters talking to each other more like the original movie; i.e. like standard conversations. Additionally, I just found the overall writing and the voice acting better which simultaneously improved the pacing of the film. Where the subbed version felt like it lasted for hours, this version felt like an hour. I honestly do not have any logical reasoning for that sensation but the improved writing and voice acting just made the film so much more enjoyable to watch. As I was watching the movie and realizing it was better dubbed I gave it a personal four and a half stars. The lack of initial five stars was because there still is a good amount of quoting and sometimes it just comes out of nowhere and felt incredibly forced and awkward as well. However, towards the end of the film Batou, the main character, actually makes a joke about quoting which I almost feel was like a jab at the original over usage of it. Well long story short that one line made me give this film five stars.
When someone says that dubbing is better than subbing they could use a couple of examples with a common one being Cowboy Bebop (another great anime I would recommend). Sometimes the dubbed writing just flows with the tone of the show/film, characters, and overall message better. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, in my personal opinion, is an example of that. Now for anyone thinking about upgrading from an older version of the movie, I upgraded from DVD, there are no other differences. No additional CGI, that I could detect, no additional voices, no changes to the story, and so on. It's the same movie that was released back in 2004. So if you are thinking of buying a Blu ray copy of the film, this is the one to get; you simply can't go wrong with Funimation. Ghost in the Shell, the movies and the show, is a phenomenal anime that hardcore and casual anime fans should watch. And while I adore the original movie, its sequel did not leave a positive lasting impression on me, until now. Yes, I pretty much blame my not liking the movie on the quoting, but if a movie has bad writing it's hard to watch. The English dubbed version removed any issues I had with the film and I recommend anyone to give this version a try.