Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite anime movies of all time. I've owned the DVD for some time and was hesitant to buy the Blu-Ray because I had heard it wasn't great, but when I saw this steelbok, I caved and bought it. Let me tell you, this is an awful Blu-Ray release. Manga Entertainment should be ashamed for releasing such a poor product for the 25th anniversary of the GitS manga. Almost everything is better on my DVD than it is on this Blu-Ray.
First off, I will say that in the area of picture and sound quality, it doesn't disappoint. There's nothing to much complain about there. If you want Ghost in the Shell in HD, this is the best option. The only thing I'd note about it is that the picture is significantly brighter than o the DVD, which isn't a big deal, but I feel the darker lighting fits the tone of the movie better. Brightening it up probably wasn't such a good move, but this is a minor gripe.
Now on the my real complaint: the subtitles. I watch Ghost in the Shell with Japanese audio and English subtitles because, honestly, the English dub isn't good at all (and this is coming from someone who likes English dubs). The subtitles on the DVD were fine, actually, they were more than fine, they were perfect, but the subtitles on the DVD are HORRIBLE. Even as someone who knows next-to-none of the Japanese language, I can tell that these subtitles were horribly translated, and a comparison between the subtitles on the Blu-Ray and the subtitles on the DVD just solidifies this even more. They're so poorly translated that lines lose their emotional impact entirely, and some of them are so improperly translated that they don't even make sense!
It's mind boggling to think that they couldn't just take the old subtitles from the DVD and put them on the Blu-Ray, but no, instead they half-hardheartedly re-do them. If you're one of the very few people who likes the English dub for this movie, then you probably won't have a problem with the subtitles being bad, but as for the rest of us, this Blu-Ray release is next to unwatchable.
What about special features? Since this is a release commemorating the 25th anniversary of the manga, you'd think there would be some exclusive features on here, but nope. There are literally no special features on this Blu-Ray. None. This is even more pathetic when you consider that even the DVD had a few special features, even if it was only one or two things. The fact the they couldn't even put in the effort to transfer those special features form the DVD to the Blu-Ray is astoundingly lazy.
As for the steelbook itself, it's pretty cool. The front shows the puppet master (which is weird since the cover has traditionally always been Motoko), and the back is pretty much blank aside from the cyber design that's also on the front. The inside shows a close up of Motoko from the original GitS poster, so I guess the switching of the cover was made up for there.
Conclusion: This is an awful re-release. There are almost no redeeming qualities to it besides the fact the it is in HD for the first time ever. The subtitles are awful and render the movie almost unwatchable and the are no special features at all. There is literally no reason someone should buy this if they have the DVD. If you have the DVD, keep it and don't bother buying this. If you don't own Ghost in the Shell at all, please, for the love of anime, buy the DVD and not this poor excuse of a Blu-Ray transfer. This is probably the only Blu-Ray I've bought where I can say without a doubt that the DVD is superior in almost every way.