Directed by Mamoru Oshii, featuring the voices of Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Kôichi Yamadera, Tamio Ôki, Yutaka Nakano and Naoto Takenaka.

Emanating from the anime genre, this sequel became the first ever such movie to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival. 

Set in an unnamed, seemingly Japanese city in 2032, this original story by director Mamoru Oshii looks at the ever-increasing impact technology is having on human behaviour. 

Batou (Ôtsuka) is a cyborg detective who is still coming to terms with the loss of his partner, The Major (Tanaka). 

When a line of female robots, known as Gynoids, begin to kill their owners, Batou must team up with Togusa (Yamadera) to get to the bottom of the case.

The work put into the animation is clearly immense, and the parade scene near the end purportedly took nigh on a year to complete.

However, the storyline is so obtuse that it is likely to turn off those with little more than a passing interest in either Manga or science fiction. 

The technological jargon used is tiresome and is not helped by the slow, methodical pace Oshii uses, which can also grind you down.

The movie is littered with philosophical debates, quoting everyone and everything from Descartes to the Bible. Some of the conversations between Batou and Togusa are actually quite enjoyable, and we do strike up a relationship and rapport with these two characters. 

'Ghost...' is the second anime movie released by Go Fish, which is a division of DreamWorks. With a Hollywood giant behind such movies, they could become far more popular with Western audiences. However, anime needs to adapt to the market if it is to achieve this fate.

Anime movies have long been an acquired taste, and although 'Ghost...' is likely to captivate existing fans, it is probably not going to expand the genre's current niche. 

Séamus Leonard