I’m a big fan of Ghost in the Shell and the intellectual stimulus it injects into the anime world. The old school manga and first movie were great. Later on GITS:SAC proved to be an evolution as well as a revolution for the franchise (it predicted the creation of the Anonymous movement – a very real laughing man). The fact that in the context of this series evil can come in the form of hacktivism is in itself fascinating. Of course you can’t mention Ghost in the Shell without mentioning the iconic Major Kusanagi Motoko. I always liked the Major, but couldn’t help but notice how super-human she has grown to become. Always one step ahead of the enemy, she is invincible in both hand to hand combat and computer hacking. Rarely does she has any trouble solving a case.
But the Major wasn’t always this good at law enforcement. What if we took a step back to a time when she was still young and inexperienced?
Well, that’s exactly what Ghost in the Shell: Arise is all about. In this prequel to the franchise she is still young, whimsical and fragile. Don’t get me wrong – the Major can certainly still hold her own in a fight, but she is not as composed or competent as her future self. This leaves plenty of room for the other members of Section 9 to shine. Characters like Paz, Saito and Borma suddenly get a backstory and are more relevant than ever. If you are a fan of the franchise you will want to see Arise, if only to learn how they (and Batou, Ishikawa and Togusa of course) met the Major. And since Arise begins before the creation of the famous special unit of Section 9 it is the best possible place for newcomers to enter the world of Ghost in the Shell as well. We already got a glimpse of how refreshing, yet familiar, Arise can be when FUNimation release the first two episodes of the Arise OVA last year. One thing is certain – if you like deep and rewarding action shows this cyber police enforcement franchise should be on your radar. Personally I can’t wait to discover more new facets about this already lush world. And I won’t have to wait for long considering the OVA’s tie-in series Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture starts airing next month.