'ghost' Just Got A Bigger 'shell'

'Ghost' just got a bigger 'Shell'Animation studio Production I.G Inc. has unveiled its new 360-degree 3-D virtual reality video app of its signature anime series, "Ghost in the Shell."
A special trailer for the "Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie Virtual Reality Diver" app was exhibited at the Tokyo Game Show 2015 from Sept. 17 to 20 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture.

The nation's leading anime house will release the full-scale app for users worldwide this winter, venturing into the VR market to expand its operations.

Best known for the "Ghost in the Shell" series and the "Blood" franchise, the anime company is based in Mitaka, western Tokyo.

Due to the rapid development of VR technologies in recent years, an increasing number of devices with which users can enjoy highly-immersible experiences have been introduced.

To develop the "Virtual Reality Diver" app, Production I.G set up a new interactive project called SIGN, which is aimed to unite future technology with art. SIGN is a collaborative effort led by Nobumichi Asai, creative director of visual design studio Wow Inc., Toshiyuki Takahei, president of Orihalcon Technologies Inc. who is an authority in developing a "dome imaging system," and Satoru Itoya, who is involved in high definition "all-sky" photography and the development of projection devices for dome theaters.

The "Virtual Reality Diver" app is their first project, which offers an original short story in 360-degree 3-D video.

With the help of a head-mount image processing unit, a user can be immersed in a virtual world of "Ghost in the Shell."

The team is now making a three-minute teaser version which uses the Oculus Rift headset. A full 10-minute version will be streamed worldwide in the winter of 2015.

The app will be available at Google Play and App Store for 480 yen ($4). Production I.G said it aims to achieve 200,000 downloads each year.

Production I.G presented a demo of the "Virtual Reality Diver" app at the Tokyo Game Show in its booth equipped with a six-meter hemispherical screen to enable a good number of people to attend a viewing at the same time.