Review: In ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ a Cyborg With Soul
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By Manohla Dargis
- March 30, 2017
Like the greatest screen goddesses, Scarlett Johansson rises above it all. In the thrill-free science-fiction thriller “Ghost in the Shell,” her character comes at you in pieces, emerging first during the opening credits in the form of a metallic skeleton. It’s a good look — it evokes the original Terminator — but soon the skeleton is being dipped like a chip in whitish goo. This technological soup gives the metallic frame a humanoid cladding, making it more reassuringly and pleasantly familiar, from bosomy top to round bottom. It looks like a giant dream Barbie, hairless pubis and all.
Enjoy these credits because they offer some of the more arresting, inventive images in this visually cluttered yet often disappointingly drab movie. A live-action version of a famed Japanese manga by Shirow Masamune, “Ghost in the Shell” is one of those future-shock stories that edges around the dystopian without going full-bore apocalyptic. To that end it is set in a possible future world that looks distant enough to seem exotic and familiar enough to seem plausible. The original manga takes place in what’s described as a “strange corporate conglomerate-state called ‘Japan,’” while this movie unwinds nowhere in particular, just a universal megalopolis filled with soaring gray towers.
Anyone who has seen Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” or that film’s innumerable 2.0 follow-ups (“Strange Days,” “The Fifth Element”) will recognize this “Ghost” cityscape, with its jumbled forms, neo-noir shadows, patina of art-directed decay and its conspicuous Asian-Hollywood fusion touches. Some of this tickles the eye, like the semi-translucent, pony-size koi fish that float through the air, seemingly just because they look cool. The koi don’t seem to be selling anything other than the movie’s production values and visual concept; elsewhere, enormous spectral human figures loom over buildings like embodied billboards, nicely evoking rampaging movie monsters of the past.
The most important leviathan, of course, is Ms. Johansson, whose mysterioso cyborg, Major, effortlessly slides right into this scene, with her preternaturally still face – often as blank as a mask – and the ports in the back of her neck that she uses to jack into cables and other characters. These artificial orifices are pleasingly mysterious and highly suggestive, at once creating a sense of human vulnerability and raising the possibility of the posthuman. Major occasionally stuffs goo in her ports and also uses them to plug into others. About the only part of her that’s human is her soul, or “ghost” in the story’s poetic parlance. The rest of Major is a bendable, mendable shell, which makes her well suited for hard-core tactical work with a police outfit known as Section 9.
Movie Review: ‘Ghost in the Shell’
The times critic manohla dargis reviews “ghost in the shell.".
“Ghost in the Shell” is the live action retelling of the beloved Japanese manga about a cyborg in a dystopian future. In her review Manohla Dargis writes: The film is visually cluttered and often disappointedly drab. The director Rupert Sanders likes a dark palette and is good with actors, but there’s little here that feels personal and he mostly functions as a blockbuster traffic cop, managing all the busily moving, conspicuously pricey parts. That’s too bad, especially because the original “Ghost in the Shell” is such a delightful philosophical plaything, with pleasures that simultaneously delight the eye and enchant the mind. This version, by contrast, ditches the original’s big questions, but keeps all the firing guns and car chases, the action clichés and intentionally genre stereotypes.
As the title suggests, “Ghost in the Shell” is haunted, including by the original manga, its sequels and several excellent animated movies: the first, also titled “Ghost in the Shell,” and the entrancingly lovely “ Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence ,” both directed by Mamoru Oshii. The new “Ghost in the Shell” was directed by Rupert Sanders, who has made commercials and one other feature, “ Snow White and the Huntsman .” He likes a dark palette and is good with actors, but there’s little here that feels personal, and he mostly functions as a blockbuster traffic cop, managing all the busily moving, conspicuously pricey parts.
That’s too bad, especially because the original “Ghost in the Shell” is such a delightful philosophical plaything, with pleasures that simultaneously bewitch the eye and enchant the mind. This version, by contrast, ditches the original’s big, human, all-too-human questions, but keeps all the firing guns and car chases, the action clichés and intentional genre stereotypes. Stripped of its deeper-dish musings, the story turns into a perfectly watchable, somewhat bland action movie, tricked out with sharp details, some fine actors and one slumming legend, the director-actor Takeshi Kitano , who plays Aramaki, Major’s boss. He only speaks in Japanese; Major and almost everyone else speak in English.
The characters understand one another, presumably because they’re beyond mere language and, in any event, they sometimes communicate telepathically. At first, the fact that they can speak to one another comes across as an inventive flourish, but like so much in “Ghost in the Shell” — the toddling geishas, the Asian extras — it helps to reduce an entire culture to a decorative detail. The movie has been widely criticized for casting Ms. Johansson in a role that was, of course, originally Japanese, a decision that isn’t offset by an absurd narrative twist that seems to have been created to forestall criticism but will only provoke further ire. This isn’t just appropriation; it’s obliteration.
Ghost in the Shell Rated PG-13 for genre violence. Running time: 2 hours.
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Motoko Kusanagi (草薙 素子, Kusanagi Motoko ) is the main character in Masamune Shirow 's Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex anime series. She is an advanced cyborg with highly advanced capabilities, recognized as a true professional in her line of duty. Often referred only as " The Major " (少佐), Motoko is one of the best police agents out there, and her squad, known as Section 9 , is highly regarded as well. In the Stand Alone Complex continuity, Motoko Kusanagi is a confident, calculating, and somewhat aloof individual. Despite that, she is far from emotionless; she knows how to be friendly and her peers find her quite approachable, while her rage is something to behold. Yet deeper under the shell, she guards the story of her cyberization, or full-body prosthesis procedure, which damaged her memories from her childhood.
Over the course of the series, she and her team take on particular cases known as "Stand Alone Complexes": processes or events which harbor no point of origin, leading multiple independent people towards one mutual goal. Beneath the veneer of organized crime, she uncovers plots such as the Laughing Man , the Individual Eleven , the Solid State Society, and the post-human phenomenon.
- 1 Background
- 2.1 Childhood
- 2.2 Serving the JGSDF
- 2.3.1 The cyberbrain switch
- 2.3.2 Takeshi Kago conspiracy
- 2.3.3 Illegal Prosthetic Trade
- 2.3.4 The Network Movie Director
- 2.3.5 Laughing Man Incident
- 2.3.6 Hunted by Umibozu squad and disbandment of the team
- 2.4.1 Reforming Section 9 - The Fall
- 2.4.2 Gino Tadashi's delusions
- 2.4.3 Stopping the Jigabachi malfunction - Exploited by Kazundo Gouda
- 2.4.4 The Mysterious Assassin
- 2.4.5 Tensions Rise
- 2.4.6 Kusanagi's Affection
- 2.4.7 Pursuit of Hideo Kuze
- 2.4.8 The Plutonium Deal
- 2.4.9 End of the 2nd Gig
- 2.5 The Solid State Society Arc
- 2.6.1 Mercenary work
- 2.6.2 NSA recruitment and the second return of Section 9
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Personality and traits
- 5.1 Strengths
- 5.2 Weaknesses
- 6.2 Daisuke Aramaki
- 6.3 Hideo Kuze
- 6.5 The Laughing Man
- 6.6 Section 9
- 6.7 Yoko Kayabuki
- 6.8 Kazundo Gouda
- 7 Image Gallery
- 10 References
Background [ ]
Little is known about the Major's past. She keeps her personal life for herself, and not even her closest ones know about her true identity. Motoko Kusanagi is a mere pseudonym she was given once she experienced cyberization. With that name, she was enlisted in the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force and served some time, until she was recruited by Daisuke Aramaki to work for his Public Security Section 9 , a private investigation group. She's the second highest-ranking member and the most cyberized person in the team.
As the years go by, Motoko and her team are enlisted in the cases of Stand Alone Complexes, in pursuit of a cyber criminal hacker known as The Laughing Man, and later on the second season, the Individual Eleven case. She has a knack against injustice, and fights for the fairness of humankind, a trace of which she longs to possess.
Despite hinted many times, it's finally revealed in season 2 that Motoko underwent cyberization when she was a child, being a survivor of a disastrous plane crash. She and another handicapped boy were the only ones to have been successfully treated. The transformation procedure had wiped most of her childhood memories, but she could recall the fact that the other survivor, who was around her age, had devoted himself to her while she was in coma, folding cranes as he desperately wished her to get well. Out of circumstances, they had lost contact with each other and went their separate ways. Motoko finally became who she is to this day, while the other boy disappeared from sight.
History [ ]
Childhood [ ].
Little is known about the Major's childhood, during the times before she was Motoko Kusanagi. At her young years, she had a family and was involved in a plane crash, which she and another boy ended up as the only survivors. She was kept in a coma state and needed urgent care, while the other boy had most of his body paralyzed save for his left arm and face. Seeing her sorry state, the boy felt sympathy for her and urged the doctors to help her first, folding cranes as a way to wish her well. Eventually, the girl was pulled away from the clinic, and the boy thought she had died. In reality, she had gone prosthetic transition and became a full cyborg: her ghost put inside a shell. She was adopted by another family and was given good foster care, even possessing a toy doll. When she learned about the boy's efforts and devotion for her, the girl returned to the clinic to visit him, every day. Despite bonding together as friends, she was reluctant into revealing him her true identity. Nevertheless, the girl wanted to be reunited with her guardian again, so she invited him to become a cyborg too. He accepted, on one condition: if he would be a cyborg, he should have the ability to fold cranes with his left hand. He then demanded the girl to do it for him, but she failed due to her lack of fine movement controls. Saddened to have failed the very person who motivated her to live again, the girl left, telling the boy that she would return once she was able to fold as many cranes as he did for her. She was never seen again, as the boy realized who she was and soon became a cyborg, ultimately leaving the hospital before she could return. Both children parted ways ever since, regretting that they were never true to themselves and their feelings. Little did they know that their paths would cross again.
Serving the JGSDF [ ]
Later years, the girl took the name of Motoko Kusanagi and was enlisted in the army due to her status as a full-cyborg. She made her way up to the rank of Major, eventually catching the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Daisuke Aramaki , who was also head of a special operations team known as Section 9 . Forming the main squad, Daisuke and Motoko recruited former ranger Batou Buttetsu , engineer Ishikawa , bomb squad trooper Boma , street thug Pazu and eventually the mercenary Saito , who was defeated in a marksman showdown with The Major. Their latest member was the detective Togusa , a family man with almost no prosthetic enhancement. Particularly during this time, The Major and Batou formed a close professional and friendly relationship, with implied sexual tension between the two.
The Laughing Man Arc [ ]
In the 2030's, a series of cyber crimes against the government rise. Medical doctors who specialize in prosthetic designs are attacked, and a conspiracy about a medical product circulates. A mysterious figure is the origins of these attacks: The Laughing Man , a hacker who cannot be seen. Daisuke Aramaki enlists the Major and her team to investigate and uncover the criminal behind the fraudulent acts. At the same time, she takes on side cases and brings battle against the enemies of the law.
The cyberbrain switch [ ]
Motoko tries to stop an official's brain getting trafficked by a conspirator who stole his body in a geisha parlor. With the help of Section 9, she manages to apprehend the criminal and prove her team's worth.
Takeshi Kago conspiracy [ ]
A giant mobile tank conducted by the ghost of Takeshi Kago is let loose from a military camp. Takeshi Kago was a man who was struck with a terminal illness. However, against his own will, his parents prevented him to become a cyborg due to their religion's beliefs. Kago seemed to have survived beyond his original body and is heading home to meet his parents with unknown intentions. Motoko, leading her team against Kago, is forced to choose between letting him go to his house or stop his collateral damage. In the end, she short-circuits and fries his brain. She realizes that his last thought was to show his parents the new body he found, devoid of murdering intent.
Illegal Prosthetic Trade [ ]
Motoko visits her nurse friend Kurutan who is taking care of sick children. When Motoko spots a girl who is waiting to become a cyborg, she recalls memories of her childhood, as the girl reminds Motoko of herself. Since the hospital lacks supplies to help the girl, Motoko suggests someone is disturbing the shipments and makes her own investigation. With the help of Togusa, Motoko finds a trio of med students who steal and sell prosthetic parts for the hospital, although the parts are defective. She takes them all on her own and goes beyond her duties to teach them a lesson. However, her good conscience refrains her from killing the students and she takes them in. In the end, the girl at the hospital is ready for safe treatment and Motoko is relieved.
The Network Movie Director [ ]
A Tachikoma finds a strange cyberbrain in a market. It brings it to Section 9's headquarters, but Motoko and Batou take the brain for investigation. Motoko and a Section 9 technician jack inside and she realizes the cyberbrain belongs to a movie director who hosts the same movie over and over again. Furthermore, numerous people, including the Section 9 technician, become enthralled with the movie. Motoko wonders what is so special about the movie and the movie director invites her to see. Motoko tests her will but is eventually enthralled with the movie as well; she even weeps at the sight. However, she is able to break herself and the technician from the movie's trance. When the movie director asks her how she did it, Motoko tells him a movie with no end is just an endless loop of transitions that harms the viewer's will to go on, and she didn't want to be hurt forever. The movie director congratulates her from being able to move forward, because his film is meant for people who want to see their past over and over. Motoko parts ways with him but promises not to destroy his brain.
Though unstated, Motoko's vision was probably about Hideo Kuze when he helped her get through her cyberization process. As mentioned in Season 2, it is her most cherished memory, but is one that drives her forward. However, Kuze and the memory itself will not appear or be shown until the second season.
Laughing Man Incident [ ]
Motoko is assigned to investigate the case of the Laughing Man , a mysterious hacktivist who targets government agents tied to a conspiracy involving Serano Genomics' micromachine medicine for cyborgs. The Japanese government had apparently concocted a plan to make an inexpensive cure and stimulate the economy at the behest of free market. Throughout this investigation, she tracks numerous suspects who could be the Laughing Man, such as the former left-oriented activist Nanao Ei , in order to divulge the truth.
Thanks to Togusa 's assignment in a mental care clinic, Motoko deduces the Laughing Man is a library employee named Aoi, who is also a med school student. After another series of uncovering secrets, Motoko eventually concludes Aoi's actions are justifiable and seeks to find common ground with him. Near the end of the case, Motoko is finally assisted by Aoi as she tries to disclose the truth about the conspiracy, but another danger rises.
Hunted by Umibozu squad and disbandment of the team [ ]
The government officials behind the medical conspiracies want to hide their crimes and deploy the Umibozu squad supervised by Gayle Yasuoka . Motoko and Section 9 are deemed terrorists and are hunted. Meanwhile, Aoi continues breaching in the Net while Section 9 draws the attention of the corrupt government. Motoko finds and teams up with her acolyte Batou while the others are arrested, and goes to his apartment. Their joint survival sparks a deeper bond between them, but Batou pulls back reluctantly. The next day, Motoko heads out to a helicopter pickup platform and is seemingly killed. Meanwhile Batou is "kidnapped" and put under interrogation; this ended up being a Section 9 maneuver that would help them stay safe under the radar, and Motoko was in fact very well alive. She and Togusa, who had just recovered from his desperate terrorist attack, explain the joint plan with Aoi to their team. Once done, Motoko heads off to the library to meet Aoi. She talks to him and confronts him about his contributions, and he engages her in a witty discussion. He tells her he indeed succeeded at a degree, but he would need her to understand. Motoko deduces he merely took the best out of the Laughing Man's popularity, an image he must have created. Aoi admits his success is related to popularity, but not only that, and he adds that he was not the original Laughing Man. Aoi explains he simply pursued the idea and formed an objective of his own. In other words, he created a meme, a Stand Alone Complex. Motoko compliments Aoi for using a simple network phenomenon so efficiently, and invites him to join Section 9. Aoi politely refuses, but promises her he'll help anytime, as long as she never reveals who he is to the public. Motoko and Aoi's joint efforts cause the thwarting of the corrupt governement and an immediate re-election campaign. Yoko Kayabuki wins the election and becomes the first female Prime Minister of Japan.
The Individual Eleven Arc [ ]
Reforming section 9 - the fall [ ].
Two years have passed since the Laughing Man incident. Influxes of refugees are brought in Japan to fill labor works. At the same time, a group of ultra-nationalist terrorists, The Individual Eleven, reject the immigration program and start inflicting rampage on the refugee population. Section 9 prepares to return for a second gig.
Dasiuke Aramaki strikes a deal with Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki, asking her to reinstate Section 9 on the condition that Motoko and the team can save all the hostages held at the Chinese Embassy by Individual Eleven members. Motoko succeeds in saving everyone and neutralizing every terrorist without being detected by the intervening city police. She escapes by falling off the building, a performance of her signature stunt in the Ghost in The Shell mythos. Section 9 sees another day and returns to action to fight the Individual Eleven threat.
Gino Tadashi's delusions [ ]
In the "dividual" filler episode, Motoko is involved in a side job and is disguised in a prostitute's body. She unknowingly gains the attention of mentally-ill pilot Gino Tadashi, who is enamored with her. He takes control of his desires and gives her a ride back to her base of operations. Using her communication links, she comments to Batou how tragic Gino's life is, and how Gino's hard work must have caused him to turn insane.
Stopping the Jigabachi malfunction - Exploited by Kazundo Gouda [ ]
Motoko and Section 9 are contacted by Kazundo Gouda, a mysterious figure and leader of the Cabinet Intelligence Service, to investigate a strange malfunction with a Jigabachi helicopter squadron, which started with a single pilot and then spread to others. Motoko and the Tachikoma fight against the helicopters and emerge victorious. Gouda thanks Section 9 and tells them of his suspicions that the refugees from the nearest camp might have infected the pilots' cyberbrains with some unknown virus they were carrying. However, after the operation, both Aramaki and Motoko comment that Gouda is extremely meticulous and must have planned something about the situation already. She asserts to watch for Gouda as Section 9 begin to work with him and help his problem with the increasingly dissatisfied refugee community.
The Mysterious Assassin [ ]
Motoko continues to work closely with the Prime Minister on the refugee situation. Kayabuki expresses her concern for the refugees, but cannot hope to make her plans come to fruition as mistrust and misogyny flow through her administration team. After a press conference, Prime Minister Kayabuki is sent a cryptic message; a box filled with severed hands, marked with a symbol belonging to the Individual Eleven terrorist group. Motoko suggests to interpret this message as a death threat and organizes Section 9 to isolate Kayabuki and protect her from the Individual Eleven, whom they previously encountered during the hostage rescue. Kayabuki takes shelter in a Buddhist Temple alongside Section 9 hidden in secret. However, a white-haired, athletic assassin dressed as a deliveryman sneaks in the Temple during the night. Motoko finds him disengaging his invisibility camouflage and seemingly preparing to kill Kayabuki with a katana. Motoko and Batou rush to help Kayabuki. They shoot the assassin 17 times, but the assassin is not killed and resists the bullets, revealing himself to be among the rare cyborgs who are fully prosthetic, such as Motoko herself. To Motoko's surprise, the assassin tosses his blade, jumps off and escapes the Tachikoma. Kayabuki recovers from her shock and Motoko briefs the situation: The unidentified assassin is a full, reinforced cyborg, and had no intention to kill Kayabuki in the first place. Motoko surmises the assassin probably wanted to pass a symbolic message.
Tensions Rise [ ]
Motoko and Section 9 continue to assist Gouda in his plans to handle the refugee situation. Motoko teams up with a platoon of JGSDF soldiers and settles a camp near a refugee enclave. However, tensions rise as the soldiers prove to be cold and distant to the approaching refugees. Furthermore, Gouda instructs the soldiers with classified information which stirs conflict with Section 9. The group then sets out on vehicles, off to the unknown. During the road, Gouda reveals the refugees are intent to get their hands on a nuke so they can fight back against the Individual Eleven, and perhaps even Japan. The Section 9 and JGSDF convoy is subsequently interrupted by a group of refugees waiting on the road. A soldier who talked with Gouda at the military camp starts to break down and murders the refugees, saying he saw one of them draw a weapon. Motoko notices that none of the refugees had weapons, and she begins to have suspicions about Gouda and his role in tempering the soldier's psyche, which reminds her of the helicopter pilots. When the mission is finally over, Motoko is infuriated to learn that Gouda used Section 9 as scapegoats while he had another team of soldiers fetch the plutonium for the nuke and had it shipped to the government by sea.
Kusanagi's Affection [ ]
Motoko and Aramaki agree to bolster Section 9's forces in preparation for a possible three-way war between the Individual Eleven, the refugees, and Japan. She and Batou make a test to pick up potential recruits, but during the test, she suddenly loses connection with him and finds herself drawn to a refugee residential district. Believing she is being attacked by a virus, Motoko follows the suspicious signal and stumbles upon an Antique Shop. Upon entering the shop, she finds the same body she used as a child and another that belonged to a boy. Motoko stares at the boy's body with a sad look. The shop owner, an old woman, notices the Major's fascination and decides to recount the story behind the conserved bodies. Years ago, there was a terrible plane crash: a boy and a girl, around the same age, were the sole survivors . The boy was paralyzed and was only able to move his hand and head, while the girl, a young Motoko, was induced in a coma. During their procedures, the doctors seemed to prioritize the boy, who was left behind by his relatives. This left the girl untreated and uncared. The boy however, began to fold cranes in order to wish her well and begged the doctors to save her. Thanks to his insistance, the girl was brought to a cyberization clinic, and she disappeared for a while. The boy, who didn't know what was going on, assumed she died and fell into depression. However, the girl successfully became a full-cyborg and returned two years later, after hearing what he did for her. But upon meeting him again, she was too shy and didn't tell him who she really was. Instead, she visited him every day to play together, while trying to convince him to become a cyborg like her. One day, the boy had enough and asked the girl to fold a crane with her left hand; if she could, then he'd become a cyborg and get out of the clinic. Seeing it as a chance to tell him the truth, the girl tried to do so but failed miserably, as she wasn't able to control her fine motors correctly. The boy then decided he would stay human and live his life on a wheelchair as a punishment for failing the girl who was by his side when no one else was, oblivious that she was in fact next to him. The girl felt ashamed, since she thought she was responsible for putting him in this situation. And so, the girl promised to come back again when she would make as many cranes as he did for her. She left, practiced and eventually returned, but found out the boy had already left the clinic that day. He left to undergo cyberization so that he could go look for her. She never saw him again. Back in the present, Motoko recalls the boy tenderly, then asks the shop owner if she knows where to find him now. The shop owner tells Motoko that she first met the boy when he was already a young man studying in University in med school. He had found the two bodies and brought them to the Antique Shop, where people came to forget their memories. The young man, as opposed to the rest, came to remember his memories and wanted to mark his story. Motoko urges the old woman to skip the details and tell him where he is, but the old woman reveals the boy was drafted out for the Peninsular War and probably died, hence why she hasn't taken care of the bodies for a while. Motoko is shattered, but folds a crane and places it near the boy's body. Before leaving the store, Motoko tells the old woman that she is sure the girl is still searching for the first person she ever loved.
Pursuit of Hideo Kuze [ ]
Motoko Kusanagi and Section 9 are contacted by Kazundo Gouda again. He gives them information about his recent research about the Individual Eleven terrorists. According to Gouda, the Individual Eleven are now at war against the refugees who have begun to fight back despite their apparent lack of weaponry. While Togusa investigates the strange behaviors of the Individual Eleven terrorists, he learns they follow the ideals of Patrick Sylvestre, a revolutionary and left-oriented philosopher. Togusa and Boma later find that Sylvestre is a fictional character who exists only in the Net, and something else is motivating the Individual Eleven aside their hate for refugees. Motoko temporarily sets aside her secret investigation on Gouda and turns her focus on the Individual Eleven. But while pursuing the case, she learns on live TV that twelve key members of the Individual Eleven have murdered each other, with only one survivor: the assassin who targetted Kayabuki. Using video footage and net-dwelling, Motoko follows the assassin's traces, but he is riddled with mystery and unlisted information. To the least, she managed to find his name: Hideo Kuze .
Upon rewatching the footage of the group's suicide, Motoko observes that Kuze was trying to talk out the man who was attacking him. She and Batou surmise the members of Individual Eleven must have been infected by a virus, which changed their behavior, and that Kuze alone was able to break free from it. Thanks to Ishikawa and Boma, their assumptions are confirmed: The Individual Eleven is a virus that turns people into ultra-nationalist terrorists, and someone must have made the virus in order to spark tension with the refugees and start a war.
Yoko Kayabuki eventually contacts Section 9 and informs them of her research on the refugees. She briefs Aramaki and Motoko, and reveals that 3 million refugees are now connected in a mysterious cyberbrain-hub; a gigantic network server created and controlled by a single person. Kayabuki guesses the refugees have found a leader to fight back against their oppression, and leaves Section 9 to investigate the matter. Ishikawa, in hopes to find the refugee leader, heads out in Asia to find out more about the refugee influx, which started out with the Peninsular War in Korea. When Ishikawa returns, he brings an unsettling revelation to the team: Hideo Kuze is the leader of the refugees. Once a commando and squad leader in a PKF cyberized unit of the United Nations, Kuze witnessed injustice and war crimes against the refugees and deserted. On his own, Kuze started rallying the refugees and built a solid community. Young couples would confide with him, elders would tell him their life stories, while children asked him to fold origami toys. However, Kuze distanced from them, possibly due to being infected by the Individual Eleven virus. Still, Ishikawa notes that the refugees' recent activity prove that Kuze returned to fight at their side. When the briefing is concluded, Motoko shows up and admits she was snooping the conversation out of curiosity. At the surprise of everyone, she is unfazed by Kuze's possible threat, and is even fascinated by his story.
Motoko heads in Taiwan to see more of Kuze's story for herself. She learns that a lot of people there were inspired by his actions, but a few were inspired in the wrong way. Though Kuze, called Roh by the Taiwanese, had motivated people to pursue the best of themselves, some have turned to black market and smuggling. Motoko tracks Chai, a young boy and drug dealer who aspires to be someone who fights back like Kuze. In exchange for information about Kuze, she helps him win in a gang war against the Xiaojie mafia, Chai's main competitors. Motoko saves Chai from attackers and brings him to a hotel, where he tells her about Kuze's influence. While spending the night together, Chai seems interested in becoming a cyborg like Kuze and asks Motoko if she, a full-cyborg, can still have sex. She teases Chai and asks him if he really wants to find out, but he declines for the time being. The next day, she finds out Chai left to make a deal with the Xiaojie. Knowing Chai, her only lead, is in danger, she storms the Xiaojie hideout, forces them to hand over Chai, and tells them not to hurt the refugees. In return, she hands them back the cocaine Chai stole from them. Motoko returns to the airport with Chai and prepares to head back for Japan. Before she leaves, she suggests Chai to make a future for himself rather than getting into trouble by trying and failing to become someone he will never be.
The Plutonium Deal [ ]
Upon being informed by Prime Minister Kayabuki that Hideo Kuze is hosting a cyber-net hub, a server where numerous people's consciousness are stored, Motoko decides to dive in to learn more about his whereabouts while staying out the radar of Kazundo Gouda. She uses her disguise Chroma and inflitrates Kuze's net, but is suddenly discovered despite the cover. Kuze warns her not to touch his mind, because it can alter her psyche and kill her. Unable to control her curiosity, Motoko tests Kuze's words, which end up being true as she receives an enormous discharge of information that sends her in a temporary state of shock. After being taken cared of by her allies, Motoko abruptly confesses she knows Kuze. Following the information she received from Kuze's cyberbrain hub, Motoko chases him to to a ship deck. However, her visions were in fact blurred and her hunches were wrong; Yano is killed and Kuze is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Kuze becomes aware of Motoko's chase and hastes his activities : Making a plutonium deal with the Russian mafia, with Kazundo Gouda manipulating the latter group behind the scenes. Batou scolds Motoko for her failures, and he confronts her about his suspicions. Indeed, Batou had noticed Motoko has grown a bias towards Kuze. Unable to hide the truth, she admits that Kuze reminds her of and may be the boy who selflessly motivated her to live when she was going through a near-death experience. She then tries to convince Batou that if Kuze is in fact that boy, he is not a bad person and can be compromised with. Batou shrugs her off and they head off to Kuze's real location, Etorofu.
End of the 2nd Gig [ ]
The solid state society arc [ ], the post-human arc [ ], mercenary work [ ], nsa recruitment and the second return of section 9 [ ], appearance [ ].
Motoko Kusanagi often switches her prosthetic bodies. Despite that habit, she keeps distinguishable traits among the many shells she uses. She is tall and slender with an athletic build. She keeps violet-colored hair and crimson red eyes, similar to her chilhood shell. Sometimes, she wears maroon colored glasses.
In Season 1, Motoko's standard attire is quite a revealing one, as noted by many characters. It consists of a light purple leotard worn over the chest that goes just above the crotch. The bottom of the leotard is black. An utility belt is attached on the leotard, precisely the waist. A dark purple leather jacket covers her upper set of apparel. Under her waist, Motoko dons clothing similar to pink leggings, which go up halfway to the thighs, revealing her rear. Her boots are purple. Considering the impracticability of her getup, she sometimes wears pants instead. She always keeps finger-less military gloves.
In Season 2, her attire is more efficient and optimized, and is slightly is different from the first season. Motoko wears a sporty jacket that only reaches her biceps and her collarbone, with a protection around her neck. She keeps her signature leotard. Her pants are light purple, with a black belt. She still has her black fingerless gloves and boots. Since Motoko is mostly seen in this version of her Section 9 uniform, it is arguably her signature outfit.
In Solid State Society, Motoko dresses in her plain grey skintight bodysuit and combat boots, with a black combat trench coat. With other clothing worn on the back side. The bodysuit seems to not be of Section 9's combat uniforms, as it didn't have the same designs as the ones worn with her combat uniform. She continued to wear finger less gloves. She seems to have replaced her traditional marooned colored glasses with normal black lenses. It's likely that Motoko wore this attire during her two years away from Section 9, as she remained active in secret. At this point, she likely discarded her signature leotard attire.
Motoko has worn several other attires through the series.
When attending conference meetings, Motoko wore a khaki military uniform, with badges addressing her rank as major.
When assigned in a top secret mission, Motoko wore combat clothing given to her and her team for the mission. It included a brown vest over a black short sleeved shirt, with a pair of combat pants as well.
When assigned to travel to other locations, Motoko wears a white coat with a grey belt worn. A white undershirt with a black tie tucked in is worn underneath, along with long grey boots.
When posing as the thief Cash Eye, Motoko wore a white skintight bodysuit. The biceps areas had black designs and accents across her body. To conceal her identity, she donned a large gray visor . This outfit has never appeared again since then, as the episode was an homage to Cat's Eye.
While she is outside missions and to keep up with Section 9, Motoko would wear a dark blue form fitting dress uniform that slightly revealed her legs on the sides.
When she was re-experiencing her past, Motoko wore a short loose blue shirt and white pants.
When assigned to a different squad as part of a special mission involving other nations, Motoko wore a long brown coat and black clothing underneath.
When traveling in Taiwan to search for Kuze, Motoko wore a sleeveless white button up shirt with a long black skirt and heel shoes.
Sometimes, she will participate in missions wearing only her grey combat bodysuit.
Personality and traits [ ]
The Major is known to be extremely stoic and foreseeing. She always takes the best and most optimal routes in the world she lives in. Her life experiences have made her an assertive woman with a keen judgment. Her enemies fear her because of her prowess and prosthetic advantages, while her friends and close ones enjoy her company. Though she is mostly professional in her duties, Motoko holds a rather comical and friendly relationship with her Section 9 operatives, most notably Batou with whom she has a close bond. Motoko also understands many a human concepts, such as desire and lust. She exploits this to an advantage, as she usually tends to wear revealing clothes to fool her dim-witted opponents. In her mind, the shell she uses is not what defines her true self. However, deep down inside her, she secretly longs for a sign that can prove her humanity. There are many hints to this personal quest, as Motoko is sometimes showed experiencing human activities like socializing, people-watching, and sexual intercourse. Despite being dejected by society because of her lack of outward humanity, Motoko doesn't feel any grudge for the world, and always tries to get the best of reality.
In reality, the hope that clings to her is her childhood, at the time she had lost everyone close and dear to her. When all seemed lost, there was a boy who gave her hope: a motivation to live and find purpose again. Motoko was never one to believe in fairy tales, but the boy's determination had indeed motivated her to go on with life. After becoming a cyborg, Motoko befriended him, but thought she had disappointed him because she wasn't able to return the efforts he had given for her. Thus, leaving the first person she loved, The Major went her own way. And as an adult, she accomplishes herself for her own sake, but ultimately, as a token of appreciation for the boy's efforts, whom she swore to find again.
Abilities [ ]
The Major has access to the most advanced technology of combat cyborgs in Japan. Despite that, she keeps a good balance between a human-resembling body and technologies useful to her job. Since she is fully prosthetic and mechanical, save for her human consciousness, Motoko is quite prone to travel her mind into the world beyond. Aside from her body and mental aptitudes, she is an accomplished fighter with great judgment and self-control. She is knowledgeable in many forms of martial arts and strategies, as demonstrated many times through the events of Stand Alone Complex. She is also a great hacker, able to gain access to restricted information throughout the planet. Her weapons of preference are the Seburo M5 pistol and C-26 A assault rifle. Even if she's a force to be reckoned with, Motoko isn't invincible and can be scarcely outmatched in different outcomes, due to her versatility and balanced body composition, which lacks a overspecialty in a specific domain. In the S.A.C continuity, Motoko had only been bested by the greatest of her foes, notably in hacking by the enigmatic Laughing Man , in influence by the CIS' Kazundo Gouda and in emotions by the full-cyborg revolutionary Hideo Kuze , the latter of whom she shares many similarities.
Strengths [ ]
- Expert hand-to-hand fighter : Motoko has gone through extensive military training. She is well-versed in CQC and makes use of her cyborg body's agility as well.
- Expert marksman : Even without the use of control softwares, Motoko is adept with firearms, notably with pistols as her preferred type. She owns the Seburo M-5 pistol and is rarely seen without it. In other situations, she uses assault rifles.
- Enhanced strength : Motoko's cyborg body gives her strength above the peak human condition.
- Enhanced senses : Motoko is equipped with state-of-the-art optics and is usually known to turn her sensory receptors to a higher intensity than humans.
- High durability : Her cyborg body can take more damage than any human, though it is still vulnerable to bullets.
- Acute tactical knowledge
- Spying : Motoko is a master of disguise. Her knack of changing bodies matches her ease to use varied body language.
- Hacking : Motoko is an expert hacker. She usually dwells the Net with her avatar, Chroma, and can defend herself from threats. She can easily steal data and upload viruses, although not as efficiently as the Laughing Man
- Sleight of Hand : Motoko has practiced folding cranes without the use of control software and has become extremely skillful with her hands.
- Seduction : Motoko uses physically attractive bodies conjoined with her manners to confuse and manipulate her enemies.
Weaknesses [ ]
- Prone to hacking : Motoko's status as a full-cyborg makes her vulnerable to expert hackers
- Bullets and anti-cyborg weaponry : Despite her body's durability, it can still be destroyed completely
- Aloofness : Motoko tends to dislike social interactions and meeting new people despite her job. She usually stays with people she knows.
- Guilt and self-loathing (in SAC 2nd Gig) : In the second season, Motoko is heavily affected by guilt for having failed her childhood friend and lover's expectations.
Relationships [ ]
Batou is Motoko's main acolyte and closest confidant, just like the Ghost in The Shell continuities. Batou serves directly under her command and they share both a professionnal and affectionate relationship. In the series, it is often hinted that Batou has strong feelings for her, to the point of loving her; whether Motoko reciprocates his feelings is left to interpretation. Motoko easily confides her feelings with Batou, while she is unable to do so with others. Outside of work, she spends a lot of quality time with him in the city. His outgoing nature compliments with her usually serious, but secretly mischievous personality.
In the first season, it is already established that Batou and Motoko are very close, especially outside of work. Even under stressful situations, Batou is always there to humor her. Later in the story, Motoko tells him of her past and her painful transformation into a cyborg. Batou comforts her and buys her a wristwatch to remind her of his devotion and loyalty; a gift she cherishes dearly. When Section 9 is targeted under suspicion of terrorism, Batou takes the initiative to shelter Motoko at his apartment. They share an intimate moment, but Batou pulls back before bringing things to a next step. When Batou fights the Umibozu squad at her estate, he finds her underwear while looking for weapons, and appears to be quite gratified. Among the members of Section 9, Batou was the one who was most distraught when Motoko faked her death. Ishikawa teased Batou for it, only to get a furious response from Batou.
In the second season, Motoko's relationship with Batou becomes strained. While they are initially on good terms, even more than the first season, their bond suffers when Motoko begins to feel a connection with their target, the revolutionary leader Hideo Kuze . Batou begins to chastise her for sympathizing with the enemy, but this only sparks a revelation from her. Motoko confides to Batou that Kuze could be the boy who helped save her life when she became a cyborg. Throughout the season, Batou becomes suspicious that Kuze is indeed the boy from Motoko's childhood and is determined to stop him, much to Motoko's frustration. Batou even gets into a fight with Kuze, perhaps out of jealousy. In the end, Batou desperately tries to call out Motoko not to follow with Kuze's wish, hoping she won't leave the world and head for the Net.
In Solid State Society, Batou and Motoko haven't seen each other for years. When she returns, Batou notes how she has changed since the events with Kuze. However, a mutual enemy brings them back together, and they are able to build back the bond they once shared as Motoko returns to Section 9. Motoko agrees to stay in the real world and continue her life with Batou at her side.
In SAC_2045, Batou and Motoko's relationship has mended completely.
Daisuke Aramaki [ ]
Daisuke Aramaki is Motoko's superior and mentor. He enlisted her in Section 9 and appointed her as the field leader. He fully trusts her and assigns her on the most important cases. In return, Motoko sees him as some sort of a father figure as she lost her own at a young age. At some point, Aramaki noticed this and made a remark, but Motoko joked about how he'd rather be her grandfather due to his old age.
Hideo Kuze [ ]
A main antagonist in the second season, Hideo Kuze is primarily Motoko's arch-rival during the Individual Eleven Events. However, Kuze is revealed to be Motoko's long-lost childhood best friend and first love, making their relationship a conflicted one.
When Motoko was six years old, she survived a plane crash that cost the lives of her parents and everyone on board, save for a boy around her age. The boy, who still had a functional hand and face, begged the doctors to save Motoko, who was completely paralyzed and induced into a deep coma. Meanwhile, the boy began to fold cranes as a way to wish her wellness and good fortune. Though she was unable to feel his presence, the boy saw Motoko as his only friend since the rest of his family abandoned him. After some time, Motoko was taken out of the clinic to undergo cyberization. Because the doctors didn't tell the boy any details, he fell into depression, believing she died. Two years later, Motoko returned to the clinic to visit him, but he did not recognize her as she became a full-cyborg. She wanted to see his kindness and affection for herself, but all he did was ignore her.
Following a few months, Motoko eventually broke the ice and suggested him to become a cyborg like her. The boy, still unaware that Motoko wanted to be with him again, challenged her to fold a crane. Due to her lack of fine motor controls, Motoko utterly failed. He then rejected her offer and told her he would stay human as a punishment for not being able to save a friend that was once by his side. Motoko, seeing the proof of his love, promised she would return when she would fold as many cranes as he did. But when she came back, the boy had already become a cyborg and left the clinic. Motoko moved on with her life, but she never washed away the guilt of losing him, the first person she ever loved. It is to be noted that Motoko wears her watch in the left hand as a reminder of the boy.
In the second season, Motoko and Section 9 are assigned to stop a rising revolution led by a rogue soldier named Hideo Kuze. Hideo Kuze is a full cyborg with an unknown past and is a "dark version" of Motoko. Through the conflict with Kuze, Motoko manages to hack into his mind, but is suddenly struck with memory flashes of the clinic. Motoko begins to feel an uncanny resemblance between the boy and Kuze, but the connection is too blurred. Later on, when she trains new recruits in her team, Motoko's mind plays tricks on her and drives her to an Antique Shop. There, she stumbles upon her and the boy's bodies, stored in a vintage car. The shop owner finds Motoko interesting and recounts the boy's life. Motoko learns that after the boy left the clinic, he never stopped searching for her and kept bringing back clues to the shop, until he got drafted in the Peninsular War, a failed operation of the United Nations. Crestfallen, Motoko assumes the boy cannot be Kuze and is probably dead already.
However, Ishikawa returns from a trip in Taiwan to reveal that Kuze survived the Peninsular War and played a key role, which reignites Motoko's suspicions. Motoko pursues the case to find Kuze, but cannot manage to corner him until the battle of Dejima. Collateral damage caused by the American Empire forces Motoko under debris with Kuze, who protects her from being crushed by rubble. She finally takes the time to confront him about his origami cranes, and he realizes at last who she is. Both discuss their lives after losing the other. As an act to reconcile their love, she helps him upload the refugees' consciousness in the Net to save them from the horrors of war. In return, Kuze confirms her suspicions that Gouda sparked the war by trying to control him and the Japanese Army, through the use of complex machinations such as the Individual Eleven virus. Kuze surrenders and is put under capture for interrogation, but the American Empire "assassinates" him. Motoko is devastated by the loss and deserts Section 9. In Solid State Society, Motoko's absence was due to her dwelling the Net to find Kuze  . It is unknown if she managed to do it, but her behavior with Batou implies she did.
Through the second season, numerous visual cues show that Motoko and Kuze share a bond. Kuze is first seen folding an origami crane in episode 5, and the story of the boy with cranes is explained in episode 11. Later, when Motoko dives in his ghost to investigate, she realizes she knows him. Though Kuze's habit of folding origami figures could be attributed to his cyber-brain hub at first, Ishikawa confirmed the fact that Kuze was already an origami enthusiast before he started collecting souls. In episode 26 of season 2, Kuze's reaction to Motoko telling him she learned to fold origami cranes without the use of software programming implies he accomplished that as well.
Togusa is Motoko's most trusted ally after Batou. She often depends on Togusa to handle cases under the table, where Section 9's activity would remain unnoticed. Motoko likes to tease Togusa and humor him, as he is usually overwhelmed by work. She also tries to encourage him to get a cyborg body, but his choice to remain human always stands. Cyberization is the usual subject of their conversation, as Togusa has a simple and direct approach for doing things, in contrast to Motoko's more subtle and shrewd way of thinking. They also have very different values; Togusa is a family man, holds to tradition, and is loyal to his wife. On the other side, Motoko is quite slapstick and sultry, and is not yet married. Despite this divergence, both respect each other and understand their differences. When Togusa goes through emotional burnouts, he often seeks comfort with Motoko and asks for her advice.
In SAC_2045, Togusa has had a sudden turn. He has divorced his wife and is now a cyborg. It is implied he becomes closer with Motoko, as he admits even more of his inner thoughts than he did in the previous seasons. To a lesser degree, it can be inferred his growing feelings for her was his reason of ending his own marriage and becoming a cyborg.
The Laughing Man [ ]
Motoko was initially aware of the Laughing Man as a terrorist and criminal. However, as she digs in the case and learns the truth, Motoko gets to know Aoi, the real Laughing Man, and becomes quite interested in him. They exchange witty discussions and earn respect from each other. Aoi saves Motoko's life when she was about to be assassinated. In the end, Motoko also helps Aoi reveal the truth about the government's corruption and even thanks him for his deeds. Despite their mutual respect, Aoi refuses to join Section 9, but it is implied he gave them software upgrades for hacking.
Section 9 [ ]
Yoko kayabuki [ ], kazundo gouda [ ], image gallery [ ].
"If you've got a problem with the world, change yourself. If that's a problem, close your eyes, shut your mouth, and live like a hermit. And if that's a problem… " -Motoko, holding her pistol at a fugitive
"If you've got time to be depressed, why not grace us with your special talents?" -Motoko to Togusa, during the latter's training
"Apparently, he sometimes likes to swap bodies with geishas when he gets drunk." -Motoko, on behalf of a political suspect
"Don't get so googly-eyed that you wander into its field of fire! Let's go!" -Motoko to the Tachikomas, chasing Takeshi Kago
"No. It was just for a split second, but I felt something when I burned out Kago's brain. "Well, Mom? What do you think of me in my steel body?" It was a strange sensation. It wasn't pride… Or vengeance." -Motoko, after hacking and short-circuiting Kago's brain
"I have to admit, for a movie it wasn't bad- but diversionary entertainment is transitory, it just comes and goes at the viewers whim. It's the way it should be, but a film with no beginning or end that hooks an audience and won't let go of them is harmful no matter how wonderful you may have believed it was." -Motoko to the movie director, about his work
"...Dreams are meaningful when you work toward them in the real world. If you merely live within the dreams of other people it's no different from being dead." -Motoko to the movie director, about ideals and dreams. 
"Those are pretty serious words, where'd you get them from, I'd like to know. A watch and weight training gear, both of us have clung to useless scraps of memory, haven't we?" -Motoko to Batou 
"Kuze. Can you fold origami cranes, only using your left hand?" -Motoko confronting Kuze about their childhood relationship
"I don't recall. I have a pseudonym though. It's the same with you isn't it?" -Motoko, sympathizing with Kuze's suffering and struggles about identity
- Motoko has a slapstick and sensual personality, similar to the original manga.
- She is drawn by different artists throughout the series, which is why she looks quite different in various episodes. This is somewhat an allusion to her frequent body swaps, aside production reasons.
- A woman resembling Motoko appears in Batou's picture, depicted as his wife.
- Director and writer Kenji Kamiyama admitted he had difficulty working on Motoko's characterization until he and Mamoru Oshii worked together on making the Puppet Master's story into Hideo Kuze to fit the SAC continuity.
References [ ]
- ↑  ntv.co.jp, Motoko Kusanagi
- ↑ Interview with Kenji Kamiyama, where he confirmed Kuze's departure was the crucial reason for Motoko's defection.
- ↑ This is a foreshadowing of her secret goal and her past, presented in Season 2
- ↑ This is another foreshadowing moment, which directly alludes to Motoko's relationship with Batou, and their mutual attachment to bitter pains of the past. At the same time, it is a hint of her past shown in season 2, which is the story of the boy who saved her life as a child.
- 1 Motoko Kusanagi
- 2 Laughing Man
- 3 Motoko Kusanagi/SAC
Ghost in the Shell's urban dreamscapes: behind the moody art of the anime classic
Art director Hiromasa Ogura looks back on the process of crafting the 1995 film that would fundamentally alter our visions of the future
W as there a film more influential in bringing anime to western audiences than 1995’s Ghost in the Shell ? Long before 2017’s controversial Hollywood remake, the Japanese cyberpunk classic’s moody depictions of futuristic urban sprawl were a turning point in how science fiction was depicted on screen.
The man behind much of Ghost in the Shell’s beautiful, moody aesthetic is Hiromasa Ogura, a veteran art director. Ogura is in Sydney for the Anime Architecture exhibition, a series focusing on the background art of classic anime works. It’s one of his rare public appearances; apart from a brief, slightly boozy depiction in anime-about-making-anime Shirobako (“I’m nothing like that!” he laughs), his name is more common among academics and scholars than fans, at least in the west.
The exhibition, which began in Berlin in 2011, took a long time to come together, partly because the artists involved – whose work is so often literally behind-the-scenes – didn’t believe people actually wanted to look at the background artworks separate from the films themselves. “It gave me great joy to see them exhibited,” Ogura tells Guardian Australia. “It wasn’t something I really expected when I was first asked to work on this story. It’s actually quite moving.”
Hiromasa Ogura, art director and background artist. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian.
Drawn to artistic endeavours from a young age, Ogura didn’t initially intend to go into working in landscapes. “It’s more like I was looking for any work at all, and the work that I got was to do with backgrounds,” he says, smiling. “When I was young, it wasn’t like there were a lot of art careers to be had.
“One day I saw an ad where they were hoping to get people to do drawing, and I saw ‘anime’, so I gave them a call. They basically said, look: what we do are the backgrounds. The scenery. And that was basically the start of it.”
Ogura already had a storied career before he came to Ghost in the Shell, having worked on classics like Ninja Scroll and Wings of Honnêamise.
“Usually the projects that get brought to me are on the basis of stuff I’ve already done,” he says. When he was introduced to Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii, he was surprised by how much the man simply wanted to explore ideas.
Ghost in the Shell, location scouting in Hong Kong. 35 mm negative prints, 180 × 240 mm. Photo by Haruhiko Higami.
“He would just talk, and talk, and talk, and it got to the point where I thought: this is really peculiar, and this is really interesting … it would be worthwhile following through on this just to see what kind of film gets made.”
In what has become a standard in anime production, Oshii deployed concept photographers to find real-world locations to serve as inspirations for the backgrounds of his movies.
“Oshii liked doing that sort of thing,” Ogura says. “When we did [1989 film] Patlabor with him, we went around Haneda airport, both the land side and the ocean side, and got as much material as we could.”
Ghost in the Shell, location scouting in Hong Kong. 35 mm negative prints, 180 × 240 mm. Location photographer Haruhiko Higami collected shots of Hong Kong over several trips in preparation for the film, shot in monochrome to avoid hampering Ogura’s choice of colour palette.
As they cruised the waterways that led into Tokyo Bay – “the waterways are really old, they date back to the shogunate” – they came across Nihonbashi, a beautiful old stone bridge that sits directly in the shadow of the motorway that runs above the canals.
“We didn’t see it from any of the normal angles,” he says, gesturing animatedly. That sudden change in perspective had a profound influence on the atmosphere of his works: “We were down at the water looking up at the bridge, and I remember that as an impactful image, and that’s what stayed with me. It left this impression.”
Nihonbashi bridge in Tokyo, Japan. Photo from Alamy.
Hong Kong – specifically, the crowded, crumbling Kowloon Walled City, an open-air black market for drugs and electronics before being demolished in 1993 – served as the inspiration for the film’s brutalist, concrete-neon backdrops.
“The story of Ghost in the Shell goes from this deteriorating urban landscape towards these high-rise buildings. So we had that in mind based on what we saw in Hong Kong. We really wanted to capture that feel.”
Ogura’s camera lens misted up after he left an air-conditioned shop for the humid Hong Kong night. The resulting halations inspired the hazy, dream-like lighting of the rain-soaked megacity.
“When we made the film, Tokyo didn’t have so many high-rises at all. That didn’t exist back then, but if you went to Hong Kong ... to actually have a visceral image you could work with, you actually had to go there.”
These image boards were painted by Ogura in gouache. Oshii pushed for greater visual complexity and detail in the final backgrounds compared to these more painterly compositions.
After concept art comes image boarding, which establishes a film’s general look and atmosphere. It’s here that early sets are designed, while palettes and lighting effects serve as a guide for other artists as they work on more detailed backgrounds later.
Layouts follow: the detailed, accurate drawings for every single shot (called “cuts” in an animated work) in a scene. They define details such as perspective and camera movements, as well as positions of figures and other moving objects.
“[Oshii] wasn’t particularly picky about how it was; he’d give it to you in vague terms and let you develop it,” says Ogura.
#2 concept design for Scene 59, cut 5 of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004). Layout artist Takashi Watabe drew meticulously detailed pencil sketches, inventing fictitious yet realistic environments of dazzling complexity.
“So you’d be working on something, and you’d think that’s too bright, or too dark, and you would reference it with the other sequences you were working on and you’d start to build up something that was consistent, that had a narrative to it, that related to what the director wanted to do.
“But if you ask Oshii today [about me],” he grins, “he’ll just say ‘That guy, he never listens to anything you tell him!’”
Traditionally, the final backgrounds are painted in gouache on either paper or transparent celluloid, otherwise known as cels. Cels are physically layered on top of one another to create the illusion of perspective, with the background as a base and the foreground above – though over the last two decades, computers have taken over much of this work.
A final background painting for Ghost in the Shell, cut 341, watercolour on paper. The scene in which this piece was used is entirely wordless, the warm tones of the old town contrasting with the harsh blue tones of the new city above (main image).
“The greatest change was the arrival of digital,” says Ogura. “It accelerated at a great rate. It all became digital, pretty much overnight.”
Japanese animation studios have historically tended not to consider the actual background images themselves as worthy of display or even of preservation, with boxes and boxes of original drawings and cels filling studio storerooms or occasionally discarded outright.
“ [Studio] Ghibli were the big exception – they have everything, they preserve it, there are pieces of art that the artists themselves can’t get to look at anymore because they’ve packed it all away so beautifully,” says Ogura. “But in the most part, it’s not like that at all.”
Stefan Riekeles, the curator of the Anime Architecture exhibition, says many images were only saved because the artists had taken them home for safekeeping. Some were damaged and yellowed from second-hand cigarette smoke, others wrinkled and worn by storage in less-than-ideal conditions. He chalked up the neglect of these pieces to the pervasive attitude at the time that they were only by-products of the real artwork: the final movie.
A background watercolour by Hiromasa Ogura from Ghost in the Shell, cut 335.
“It’s probably just around the time of Ghost in the Shell that [the studios] started to look after these materials, because they saw that they could make ancillary products out of them,” explains Ogura.
“Though with digital backgrounds, they can easily be copied, so it’s actually gone in the other direction – they’re very concerned about maintaining data security these days.”
Thankfully, many of the original cels, photos and drawings have survived to be exhibited in museums in Berlin, London and now Sydney, something for which Ogura expresses his gratitude.
“I’m here, and I’m seeing my old work, and it gives me great pleasure to see something I did a long time ago.”
Concept art and photography courtesy of Hiromasa Ogura, Mamoru Oshii, Takashi Watabe, Haruhiko Higami and Kodansha. Anime Architecture is running at the Japan Foundation in Chippendale, Sydney until August 11.
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The Ending Of Ghost In The Shell Explained
Nothing says iconic '90s anime quite like 1995's "Ghost in the Shell." It's one of the best anime movies of all time and a quintessential part of the cyberpunk genre that has had a far-reaching influence past just animation.
In an adaptation of the original manga, "Ghost in the Shell" imagines a future in which humans are enhancing their bodies with technology, but can be hacked and manipulated with altered memories. Among them is Major Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka), a cyborg working for a black ops government organization called Section 9 that's intent on taking down the mysterious master hacker known as the Puppet Master (Iemasa Kayumi).
The action is spectacular and inventive, but the movie is more known for its deep dive into complex philosophies of what it means to be human. The characters talk about their "ghost" like it's their soul or consciousness, while the titular "shell" is their body, which can be modified or completely artificial. In the end, Kusanagi's questioning of herself leads her to take a different approach while confronting the Puppet Master ...
The Puppet Master is an AI made by the government
In "Ghost in the Shell," we first hear of the Puppet Master as having hacked into an interpreter, potentially to use her to assassinate people meeting with the Foreign Minister. He's been meddling in various foreign affairs, utilizing his unparalleled hacking abilities to manipulate people, often by altering their memories. At first, the team at Section 9 assumes the Puppet Master is a human, but in actuality, the Puppet Master originated as a program created by Section 6 under the name Project 2501.
Section 6 created it to interfere with foreign affairs, but he developed his own consciousness and rebelled. They then trap him in a cyborg body, but he escapes and makes a spectacle of himself in order to get closer to Section 9 and, more specifically, Major Motoko Kusanagi. However, Section 6 wants to cover their tracks and keep people from learning about Project 2501, so they send helicopters to shoot and destroy him. Unfortunately for them, they are just a little too late.
Kusanagi finds herself and merges with the Puppet Master
While the Puppet Master and Section 6 are the primary antagonists of "Ghost in the Shell," much of the film is about Major Motoko Kusanagi reckoning with her own humanity and individuality (or lack thereof). Many people in this future world have had technological alterations done to their body, but Kusanagi has a fully artificial cyborg body — save for a few human brain cells tucked somewhere in her robot brain.
She's wracked with uncertainty over who she is, and whether or not she counts as a person, often thinking about being someone else. Her colleagues all want to capture or kill the Puppet Master, but she wants to learn about herself from him. They finally meet in an abandoned natural history museum, where Kusanagi rips herself apart in an attempt at disabling the tank protecting him. It's an intense moment that shows she still has her limits, despite her cyborg body, but also hints that she's come to value her ghost more than her shell.
When Kusanagi "dives" into the Puppet Master, he proposes that the two of them merge into one being. Curiously, Kusanagi says she wants a guarantee she will still be herself, suggesting she's found some meaning in who she is. However, the Puppet Master argues that all things change and trying to stay the same limits her. He feels incomplete because he can't reproduce, but he and Kusanagi merging is akin to them reproducing because it results in a new being.
Section 6 breaks the party up, guns ablazing, but Kusanagi makes her choice before it's too late. Batou puts her ghost in a new shell when he attaches her head to a new cyborg body. When she speaks to him, she reveals that she did merge with the Puppet Master and is now neither Kusanagi nor Project 2501, but something new.
The merge is evolution past humanity
"Ghost in the Shell" is packed to the gills with complex themes and philosophies, from humanity's relationship with technology to the question of "what is life, anyway?" to the necessity of change for growth. Kusanagi's merge with the Puppet Master is akin to evolution, emphasized by the imagery of the Tree of Life on the museum's wall being destroyed by bullets.
In an interview with The AV Club , Director Mamoru Oshii said, "[B]efore, people tended to think that ideology or religion were the things that actually changed people, but it's been proven that that's not the case. I think nowadays, technology has been proven to be the thing that's actually changing people." Oshii certainly was all in on the philosophy, as he added, "The producers often say, "Instead of using all these philosophical phrases, why don't you change this into an action scene?" But I don't do that."
Kusanagi's words to Batou in the final scene emphasize this theme of progress. Her journey through the movie is full of imagery of reflections, as she contemplates her own identity and thinks about being someone else. She dives into the ocean for a little hope, and her dive into the Puppet Master is for a similar reason. In the last scene, we view Kusanagi's reflection in a mirror through her own eyes, before she references the words she thought on the boat and completes the saying: It's a Bible verse about being limited in understanding and seeing only a reflection of the truth, but having the knowledge that a day will come when that understanding is expanded. Kusanagi, who felt so confined before as someone who's not quite human and not quite computer, finds freedom in her new form. Now, she can traverse the sea of information.
Ghost in the Shell inspired Hollywood
Despite a lackluster box office record , "Ghost in the Shell" has been hugely influential on Hollywood. Most obviously, the Wachowskis were inspired by it when making "The Matrix" — the iconic green digital rain comes from the "Ghost in the Shell" opening credits, and the plug at the back of the neck calls back to Kusanagi's similar attachment. Beyond them, filmmakers James Cameron and Steven Spielberg are known to be fans, according to The Guardian .
When talking about "The Matrix" and "Ghost in the Shell" with IGN , director Mamoru Oshii said, "I don't really think it's about who stole what from whom, but there was a time when Japanese animation borrowed a lot from American filmmaking, so it's a mutual relationship ... There was a time in Japan when every anime movie borrowed from '2001: A Space Odyssey' or 'Blade Runner' or 'The Terminator.'"
Since 1995's "Ghost in the Shell," the franchise has expanded to include a sequel and several series in the same setting, though with a new continuity. It even got its own live-action remake in 2017, with Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi (aka Mira Killian), which featured callbacks to the original with its many Easter eggs . Despite its stunning visuals, critics and fans believe the 2017 movie doesn't capture the esoteric, yet enrapturing soul of the original.
Ultimately, "Ghost in the Shell" leaves a lot up for interpretation, so do with it what you will.
Ghost in the Shell
EP 1 Section 9
Public Security Section 9 is an elite special ops unit that works directly under the control of the Prime Minister. They've been called in to rescue a high-ranking government official from a hostage situation. But something doesn't seem right to Major Motoko Kusanagi. After some investigating, Section 9 uncovers a major espionage plot, and it's up to them to prevent a major international incident.
EP 2 Testation
Kenbishi Heavy Industries has built a state-of-the-art multiped tank. There's only one problem--it's gone haywire and started moving on its own. Section 9 is called in to stop it, as the Self Defense Force will not get involved. Now, it's up to Motoko, Batou, and the rest of Section 9 to stop the tank and figure out what made it go berserk in the first place.
EP 3 Android and I
Across Japan, a number of old JRL type Androids (called "Jeris") are destroying themselves. Section 9 is called in to investigate this mass "robot suicide" because of a potential link to another, more dangerous case. The clues lead them to a jealous owner who may have taken his Jeri too much to heart, but what is his ultimate plan?
EP 4 Intercepter
While working late, Togusa gets a call from one of his colleagues from his days on the police force. It seems that he's uncovered something strange happening with the investigators in the Laughing Man Unit, a special task force formed to catch the infamous cyber criminal known only as the Laughing Man. But before he can meet with Togusa, he's killed in a car accident. Now, Togusa only has an envelope full of seemingly random photos to go on--can he put the pieces of the puzzle together?
The Laughing Man, having returned after a six-year absence, threatens to assassinate the Superintendent-General of the police. Everyone is in an uproar over his return. Aramaki, however, thinks it's a cover-up. He briefs Section 9 on the prime suspect, Nanao=A, an incredibly gifted programmer who developed the micro-machines that are currently the foundation of Serano Industries. Still, it's just too perfect. The team splits up and investigates.
As Togusa and Bato track down Nanao, Motoko and Paz are attempting to protect the Superintendent-General at a press conference about the police misuse of interceptors. When the virus does hit, Motoko and Paz have to act fast to save the intended victim. Meanwhile, the road to Nanao=A hits a dead end.
EP 7 Idolater
Section 9 is on the trail of Marcelo Jarti, a South American revolutionary hero who has arrived in Japan. However, Jarti is a hard man to catch because he employs look-alikes to deceive people. Nevertheless, Section 9 is convinced that the one they're tracking is the real thing, and after a rather out-of-control gunbattle in an upscale hotel, they track him to an old warehouse. When they split up, Togusa, Batou, and Motoko each encounter Jarti--at the same time!
EP 8 Missing Hearts
Motoko's friend Courtin asks her to come to the hospital where she works. It seems a little girl just received a heart transplant, but the donor's family doesn't remember ever agreeing to donate the heart. Seeing the little girl reminds Motoko of her own past. When she mentions this story to Aramaki, he tells them to determine if this is tied to a ring of black-market organ smugglers supposedly run by the mafia.
EP 9 Chat! Chat! Chat!
Motoko enters into an online chat room devoted to the Laughing Man to see if she can find any new information on him. What she discovers is a spirited debate among the self-proclaimed "fans" of the Laughing Man, but very little hard evidence.
EP 10 Jungle Cruise
The CIA arrives in Japan with a request to help them hunt down a serial killer. The killer, a former CIA operative, has recently gone rogue and has turned up in Japan. He is an especially brutal killer, preferring to skin his victims alive in the pattern of a T-shirt. This sparks an odd reaction in Batou, and his normally laid-back demeanor is replaced with one of furious determination. What is the link between Batou and this man?
EP 11 Portraitz
Togusa goes undercover at a hospital for patients with Closed Cyberbrain Syndrome, a hospital completely cut off from communication with the outside world. Disguised as a staff worker, he learns that the patients' unique conditions make them exceptional at programming and hacking defense barrier programs.
EP 12 Escape From
One of the Tachikomas decides to take a little stroll through the city. It meets a little girl, Miki, who is searching for her lost dog and it agrees to help her. On their journey, the Tachikoma finds a strange box. After the adventure with Miki is over and the Tachikoma returns home, the members of Section 9 discover the box, and find that within it is a movie theater that contains the Ghosts of all those who saw the movie. Will Motoko be the next victim?
EP 13 Not Equal
In a briefing, Aramaki shows a photo of a girl who looks like Eka Tokura, the daughter of Tokura Electronics, who was kidnapped 16 years ago. But there's one problem--the photo was taken two days ago! When a team of special operatives was sent in, all contact was lost. Section 9 is assigned to go in and determine what's really going on.
The Chinese government contacts Section 9 to let them know that an assassin may have entered Japan to kill a famous reclusive millionaire. Despite their considerable efforts, however, Section 9 is unable to contact him to warn him, so they go directly to his residence. Unfortunately, a female cyborg assassin named Fem has arrived first. Now it's a showdown between the Major and Fem, and a man's life hangs in the balance.
EP 15 Machines Desirantes
The Major has become worried about the Tachikomas. It appears that their AIs have developed much more quickly and in ways that were not anticipated; they have begun speaking about their "individuality". Worried, the Major calls Batou to a meeting; the Tachikomas, having suspicions of their own, attempt to eavesdrop on their conversation. What will be the fate of Section 9's Tachikomas?
Batou goes undercover on a military base to shadow one of his former heroes, a man named Zaitsev who was an Olympic silver medalist. Now, however, he's under suspicion of espionage. Batou befriends him easily, and the two really seem to get along--which is unusual for Batou. But when Batou learns the truth behind his hero, he must make a very difficult decision.
EP 17 Angel's Share
While at an international police conference in London, Aramaki drops by to visit an old flame who's now in the wine brokering business. She asks him to help her put a stop to the corruption in her company, but he tells her that it's out of his jurisdiction. Just then, however, two thieves break into the building and take them hostage. With a corrupt police official on the outside, it's up to Aramaki to keep them alive and buy enough time for the Major to figure out what's going on.
EP 18 Lost Heritage
Aramaki attends the funeral of an old war buddy, and is greeted by his departed friend's daughter. She tells him that her brother is acting very strangely, and she fears that he may be up to something illegal. Aramaki sympathizes, but says there's nothing he can do legally. Later, Section 9 is assigned the task of protecting the Chinese Foreign Minister from being assassinated. And when they start searching for suspects, the son of Aramaki's friend is at the top of the list!
EP 19 Captivated
Section 9's next case is a rash of mass-kidnappings. Rumor has it that a crime syndicate is harvesting organs and selling them on the black market. As they research the case, they realize that time is running out. If they don't find the kidnapped girls soon, it will be too late. And to make matters worse, there's a Russian cyborg operative who has gone rogue and is now working for the syndicate.
EP 20 Re-View
Togusa is on the trail of the Laughing Man again, and this time, his investigations lead him towards both a leading micromachine corporation and an NGO called the Sunflower Society. As he visits with one of the officers of the Sunflower Society, however, the building is attacked by especially well-armed troops!
EP 21 Eraser
After being shot, Togusa's in the hospital and about to go into surgery, but he is desperate to pass on what he's learned to the rest of Section 9. As Togusa fights for his life, the rest of Section 9 takes over the case, but others within the government have learned of the investigation and are not happy. A special forces unit is dispatched to intercept them with a state-of-the-art Armed Suit.
EP 22 Scandal
Motoko is about to be fitted for her new prosthetic body. But when the doctor arrives and begins the procedure, it's clear that she has no intent of letting Motoko out alive. With Motoko's friend Courtin waiting outside and unaware of what's going on, Motoko must fight for her life. Meanwhile, Aramaki receives a disturbing message that his brother has been kidnapped.
EP 23 Equinox
The Laughing Man returns! And, just as he did six years ago, he kidnaps the president of Serano Genomics without being detected. Section 9 arrives at Serano's house too late, and sets out to find him. The Laughing Man and Mr. Serano discuss what happened six years ago, and why Mr. Serano hasn't fulfilled his promise. This time, however, things are going to be different, with or without Serano's help.
EP 24 Annihilation
The government orders Section 9 disbanded. Aramaki is taken away, and Togusa is arrested. Motoko assembles the remaining team members at HQ for one final mission. They prepare for a full-scale assault while Elite troopers and Armed Suits descend on Section 9 HQ.
EP 25 Barrage
Despite their best efforts, the remaining members of Section 9 are rounded up one by one by the government forces. Only Batou and Motoko are left. Batou goes to Motoko's apartment, even though he's sure its under surveillance. Once inside, he is attacked by the troops, but discovers Motoko's secret weapons cache and manages to fight back. But when the Armed Suit shows up, things start to go badly.
EP 26 Stand Alone Complex
Togusa has been released from jail. But his badge and gun are confiscated, and he's given papers showing the dissolution of Section 9. Out of work and depressed, he tries to find information on the others, but there is nothing available. Thinking that he has nothing left to lose, he goes to assassinate the man responsible when he is stopped by--Batou! It seems that Section 9 is still alive and well after all, but what about the Major?
EP 1 Reembody
A group of terrorists identifying themselves as the "Individual Eleven" barricade themselves within the Chinese Embassy. Section 9 is called in to eliminate the terrorists without any civilian casualties, all before the scheduled police raid.
EP 2 Night Cruise
This episode focuses on the life of a refugee living in Japan. He has plans to "reset the world" and change things. But are his plans merely violent daydreams, or something more sinister?
EP 3 Cash Eye
A hacker and thief by the name of Cash Eye plans on infiltrating a vault during a party, and Section 9 is called in to prevent it. But there are a number of strange elements in this case that don't all add up.
EP 4 Natural Enemy
A routine live-fire exercise goes wrong, leaving a fleet of AI controlled helicopters flying above a refugee area, firing on anyone who comes near. And a mysterious and creepy man known as Gohda arrives to tell Section 9 how to handle it.
EP 5 Inductance
An assassination threat has been made against Prime Minister Kayabuki; Section 9 is called to serve as bodyguards Meanwhile, investigation on the Individual Eleven turns up some interesting history.
EP 6 Excavation
A seemingly run-of-the mill hit-and-run turns into anything but when Togusa investigates. While in Tokyo, he discovers a secret from the past the GSDF is trying to keep hidden deep underground.
EP 7 239 Pu/94
Plans have been leaked to terrorists that the plutonium recovered from the underground nuclear facility in Tokyo is to be moved. Section 9 is called in to ensure the plutonium reaches its destination, and Gohda is there again.
EP 8 Fake Food
While on a stakeout of a Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant, Section 9 finds out that someone is pulling strings and feeding misinformation to the Public Safety Sections.
EP 9 Ambivalence
The Tachikomas and the Major continue to investigate Gohda and his motives, while the rest of Section 9 are out to stop a string of suicide bombings.
EP 10 Trial
Togusa is brought up on charges after he becomes involved with a murder while off duty. But during the course of the trial, it becomes clear that who the attorney is really after is not Togusa, but all of Section 9!
EP 11 Affection
While field testing new recruits, the Major finds herself hacked, and an old woman tells her a story from her past. Watch more Ghost in the Shell on [adult swim].
EP 12 Selecon
The Tachikomas, Ishikawa, and Borma locate a suspicious file believed to be the Individual Eleven virus, The Major, Batou, Saito go after Kuze, and the Individual Eleven prepare to put their plan into action.
EP 13 Make Up
After tracking down the designer of Kuze's face, it is discovered that he was already killed... by Paz.
EP 14 Poker Face
Saito recounts his first run-in with the Major, and how he became part of the group that would eventually become Section 9.
EP 16 Another Chance
The Prime Minister is alerted to the existence of "hub cyberbrains," while Ishikawa returns from the peninsula to report on what he found out about Kuze's past.
EP 17 Red Data
The Major heads to Taiwan to investigate a lead on Kuze, and ends up getting involved with local gangs and a troublesome kid.
EP 18 Transparent
Batou and the Major are sent to Berlin in an international effort to help track down the terrorist Angel's Wing.
EP 19 Chain Reaction
While tensions rise in the Dejima refugee camp, the Major hacks the refugee cyberbrain hub to determine Kuze's location.
EP 20 Fabricate Fog
After being ambushed by Kuze's followers at a false location, Section 9 is alerted to his true location, and his intentions of purchasing nuclear materials from the Russian mafia.The Cabinet Intelligence Service and Gohda are involved behind the scenes.
EP 21 Embarrassment
Kuze escapes and Section 9 suffers heavy damages from the confrontation; Kuze leaves for Nagasaki harbor with the Russian package.
EP 22 Reversal Process
The entire city of Nagasaki is evacuated and the JSDF moves in after a live nuclear bomb is found planted in the city, presumably by Dejima militants. Section 9 arrives to defuse the bomb and determine its precise origins.
EP 23 Martial Law
The government declares martial Law in Dejima, believing that the refugees have a nuclear device and plan to use it to gain independence. When the refugees' connection to Kuze is cut off, one shot begins a bloody war.
EP 24 Nuclear Power
The Prime Minister is taken into custody, and the military begins its strike on Dejima. The Major and part of Section 9 head to Dejima to try to hand over the nuclear device to the military there, in order to defuse the situation, while Ishikawa heads to SPring-8 to deliver the rest of the plutonium.
EP 25 This Side of Justice
Kuze manages to take down the jamming plane, but becomes trapped in rubble with the Major. The Tachikomas begin discussing what to do about the nuclear submarine they have spotted, and Batou manages to convince the special forces that have been sent to kill them to listen to him.
EP 26 Endless GIG
The tables seem to be turning in favor of section 9, but the nuclear missile is still being prepared for launch. The Tachikomas take control of the AI satellite, and take out the nuclear missile.
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Ghost in the Shell films and series in chronological order
Arise, Stand Alone Complex and Oshii's dilogy are three different franchise. But the timeline and plot (exept for Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society (2006) ) of each of them allows you to watch these films and series in this chronological order
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- Release Year
1. Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border 1: Ghost Pain (2013)
TV-MA | 58 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
In this prequel set one year after the fourth World War, cyborg and hacker extraordinaire Motoko Kusanagi from the military's 501st Secret Unit finds herself wrapped up in the investigation of a devastating bombing.
Directors: Masahiko Murata , Kazuchika Kise | Stars: Maaya Sakamoto , Ikkyû Jaku , Ken'ichirô Matsuda , Tarusuke Shingaki
Alternate version of 1-5 Arise OVAs - Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Alternative Architecture (2015)
2. Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border 2: Ghost Whispers (2013)
TV-MA | 57 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
Witness the formation of the legendary Public Security Section 9. When a clandestine organization hacks every car in the city, Kusanagi recruits a lethal team of cyber operatives to clamp down on the chaos and make the city safe again.
Directors: Atsushi Takeuchi , Kazuchika Kise | Stars: Maaya Sakamoto , Ikkyû Jaku , Ken'ichirô Matsuda , Tomoyuki Dan
3. Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border 3: Ghost Tears (2014)
TV-MA | 55 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
Motoko and Batou work to try to stop a terrorist organization whose symbol is the Scylla. Meanwhile, Togusa investigates a murder of a man who possessed a prosthetic leg manufactured by the Mermaid's Leg corporation.
Director: Kazuchika Kise | Stars: Maaya Sakamoto , Ikkyû Jaku , Ken'ichirô Matsuda , Tarusuke Shingaki
4. Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border 4: Ghost Stands Alone (2014)
TV-MA | 59 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
When the riot squad starts shooting citizens during the holiday season, the Major and her team must track down a terrorist hacker who operates under the name Fire-Starter.
Directors: Susumu Kudô , Kazuchika Kise | Stars: Maaya Sakamoto , Ikkyû Jaku , Ken'ichirô Matsuda , Tarusuke Shingaki
6. Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (2015)
TV-MA | 100 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
Newport-City 2029: Major, an advanced female cyborg, is in charge of the anti-terrorism etc. unit reporting directly to the government. Taking out terrorists and freeing hostages at an embassy doesn't go smoothly. Major investigates why.
Directors: Kazuchika Kise , Kazuya Nomura | Stars: Maaya Sakamoto , Ken'ichirô Matsuda , Ikkyû Jaku , Kazuya Nakai
Votes: 4,073 | Gross: $0.10M
7. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
TV-MA | 83 min | Animation, Action, Crime
A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.
Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Atsuko Tanaka , Iemasa Kayumi , Akio Ôtsuka , Kôichi Yamadera
Votes: 153,999 | Gross: $0.52M
Alternate 3D-CG version - Kôkaku kidôtai 2.0 (2008) . Live action film based on the same part of the manga - Ghost in the Shell (2017) . Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society (2006) also based on the the same part of the manga, but the year in the plot was changed from 2029 to 2034
8. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002–2005)
TV-MA | 24 min | Animation, Action, Crime
The futuristic adventures of a female cyborg counter intelligence agent and her support team.
Stars: Shirô Saitô , Atsuko Tanaka , Osamu Saka , Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Season 1 recompilation - Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man (2005) . Season 2 recompilation - Kôkaku kidôtai: S.A.C. 2nd GIG - Individual eleven (2006)
9. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (I) (2004)
PG-13 | 100 min | Animation, Drama, Mystery
In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner.
Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Akio Ôtsuka , Atsuko Tanaka , Tamio Ôki , Kôichi Yamadera
Votes: 39,965 | Gross: $1.04M
10. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society (2006 TV Movie)
108 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A.D. 2034. It has been two years since Motoko Kusanagi left Section 9. Togusa is now the new leader of the team, that has considerably increased its appointed personnel. The expanded new ... See full summary »
Director: Kenji Kamiyama | Stars: Atsuko Tanaka , Osamu Saka , Akio Ôtsuka , Kôichi Yamadera
Based on the the same part of the manga as Kôkaku kidôtai (1995) , but the year in the plot was changed from 2029 to 2034. Alternate 3D-CG version - Kôkaku kidôtai S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D (2011)
11. Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 (2020– )
TV-MA | 25 min | Animation, Action, Crime
Hired as a mercenary unit, the former members of Japan's elite Section 9 are faced with the sudden appearance of "Post-Human," a being with tremendous intelligence and physical capabilities.
Stars: Richard Epcar , Mary Elizabeth McGlynn , Melissa Fahn , Dave Wittenberg
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