OP Sequence


「Border:1 – Ghost Pain」

After waiting for what’s seemed like an eternity, Ghost in the Shell is back. Created by a new staff (at least, in terms of position for some) led by Director Kazuchika Kise, ARISE comes as the newest iteration in a franchise that needs no introduction. And now that we’re here, I can safely say this: ARISE is an different experience might take some getting used to, but it’s definitely Ghost in the Shell, and what we get here is a promising start. The verdict’s still out as to whether or not it’ll be a worthy addition once it’s all said and done, but the first impressions are definitely of a positive variety—a key notion when considering the various staff changes between ARISE, the movies (see my post here on the original GITS), and Stand Alone Complex.

Looking back, one of the biggest topics was how neither Kanno Yoko or Kawai Kenji would be retained for ARISE. Instead, the relatively unknown (at least, in terms of work on anime OST’s) Oyamada Keigo (a.k.a. Cornelius) was tabbed to the chagrin of many fans—which was not surprising in the least. After all, the previous composers did a spectacular job with their respective soundtracks, and in many ways, they were part of what made the series what it was. With that said however, I’m happy to say that although there is a noticeable difference in the musical style used here in ARISE , it’s not something that takes away from the experience to any large degree. Like many other differences in this series, it’ll likely take some getting used to, but once you do—and you will—you won’t mind it nearly as much as you thought you would.

In many ways though, part of that reason is the notable shift in how things are done in ARISE, which reflects well upon the staff in terms of both having a solid vision for what they wanted to do and the ability to execute it. Because what we get this time around is something that’s sensual in a different way—relying on things such as realistic (and heightened) sound effects and various visual techniques (different camera angles etc.) to create the atmosphere and mood. What music there is—which only finds its way in occasionally—is made in such a way that it’s not intrusive and it’s done in a way that makes it literally a support for the established environment. To this end, this is where ARISE arguably succeeds well beyond expectation, as it does a great job weaving together a mood that makes you feel like something’s not quite right, which complements the equally mysterious (and fairly well done) plot line.

And on that note, ARISE’s plot line is one that is stand alone to both the movies and Stand Alone Complex. There was originally speculation that the new series could fit in before the events of Stand Alone Complex, but while it does take place in a time period before the formation of Section 9 as we know it, it’s definitely not part of the same timeline—although some details do remain the same, as Kusanagi is still a part of the military (a secret unit known as the 501), and the other characters are still all in the occupations we expected them to be (Batou as a Ranger, Togusa as a police detective, etc.).

As for the plot itself, the story ends up revolving around an investigation into the recently deceased Lieutenant Colonel Mamuro—suspected of taking bribes and engaging in arms dealing. The investigation by Aramaki leads him to Kusanagi, and with it—Batou, Togusa, and Paz as well. Outwardly, the general plot looks quite straightforward, but the ultimate result is anything but. Various twists and turns dot the landscape throughout this first episode, and really, there was a lot more here than I expected there to be. As it turns out, Kusanagi herself had been infected with a virus that produces false memories, and we end up really getting tossed around as we try to sort out what’s real and what’s not.

To top things off, there’s quite a bit in terms of philosophical concepts inserted in as well, and it’s something that combines with the aforementioned to create an experience that both surprised, but clearly demonstrated why ARISE is clearly a Ghost in the Shell iteration—albeit a different one. After all, there’s nothing like a universe where you can be turned into a cyborg even when you’re a growing fetus (a notable change to Kusanagi’s back story), where phantom limb syndrome is a thing, and where if your cyberbrain is compromised, you can’t even trust your own memories… and it all comes together to formulate a great start for this new iteration. I for one was admittedly surprised at some of the revelations at the end (how about Mamuro’s coffin being literally buried underneath another coffin?), and it just looks like a promising new beginning here with ARISE—one that was filled with boatloads of ass-kicking (literally, lots of kicking) from Kusanagi as well.

Ultimately though, I must also note how ARISE ends up being an interesting mixture of both old and new—mixing elements and scenes from both the original movies and Stand Alone Complex with the director’s new take on the franchise. Batou’s eyes being hacked mid-way through the episode (and his subsequent ass-kicking by Motoko), the starting scene with the helicopters flying overhead, and Motoko losing her arm (and getting lifted like this) were all things that were done previously, and they were admittedly a nice touch that also helped hammer in how this really is just another GITSseries. Again, many of the changes—especially to the character designs—will take some getting used to, but it’s arguably something that serves as a necessary thing that separates ARISE from its other counterparts. It’s like a kind of statement that says “Yes, this is Ghost in the Shell, but this isn’t SAC and this ain’t the movies either,” and that’s fine with me. Admittedly, my positive impressions of the series might be a tad bit biased due to the fact that the franchise is my all-time favorite series and Kusanagi’s my all-time favorite character as well, but I do genuinely feel like they did a good job here, and the future episodes will likely make this a worthy addition to the franchise. The only problem now is the wait between now and the next episode, which supposedly won’t come until the end of November at the earliest.

Additional Notes:

  • The “Logikoma” was pretty interesting—at least, that first meeting with Motoko was. They aren’t quite Tachikomas, but even they didn’t have Sawashiro Miyuki voicing them!
  • How ’bout them mobile mines? I wouldn’t mind being hugged by one of thes—okay, I would, but still, mines have never looked cooler than in the form of robotic, murderous, and explosive lolis.
  • See here for my previous post regarding the original GITS movie.
  • Epilogue:


    ED Sequence

    ED: 「じぶんがいない」 (Jibun ga Inai) by サリュバイサリュ (salyu×salyu)



      1. Indeed. It’s different in a fair share of ways, but it gives off that feeling that it’s a Ghost in the Shell series, and that’s really what matters in the end. It’s gonna be a long wait for the next ep (and the remainder) sadly… though I guess it could be a lot worse.

        1. When I first saw the character design for this one I started pulling my hair out. Now that I’ve watched it, I learned to look past it and just enjoy the plot. Well, Motoko doesn’t really look great, but hey she IS a full-body-cyborg, who’s to say she can’t just transfer to a new body right before S.A.C?

    1. My first anime ever was Ghost in the Shell movie and so I too hold a special spot for Motoko Kusanagi.

      The director who happen to direct for the first time. I have to say he did well. Writing and such does have that bit of GITS feeling that we all are familiar with, but for me the writing isn’t as great compared the rest of them that came before it. I’d say it’s slightly weaker but it shouldn’t discourage anybody from watching it. It was actually pleasant to watch Motoko and the rest of section 9. I hope we get to see the ones who haven’t been shown just yet in the next installment.

      Character design and Animation:
      The character designs were alright except Motoko just looked a tad ugly. Animation wise it looked alright which SAC had issues with from time to time.


      Wow I have to say it wasn’t all that great. I don’t think I’d be buying any soundtrack any time soon. OP and ED could have been done better.

      I still can’t wait for Ghost Whispers and her start forming the team. Maybe get to see Borma and what he did back in the day. See what’s up with Ishikawa and Saito and that weird looking headpiece he has.

      Interesting enough to see Pazu worked for the military on this one. I can only picture him as a man “who sleeps with a woman once” and I thought he was part of the mafia in SAC?

      1. I agree on the character design for Motoko. I like SAC’s design the best especially since it was the closest to the original, then the first movie which was unique and realistic, and this would be my least favorite in my book… who gave her that haircut?! T-T

    2. oh no..what have they done to gits!!
      Just like SilentCid, gits is my fav anime of all time, having watched it nearly 10 years ago during my high school years..Only anime I have watched multiple times (like once every two years lol) please bring back Yoko Kanno and Kenji Kayamiya..those two were the masterminds behind what made gits so amazing back in the days..

    3. Was I confused? Yes.
      Was I sucked into the atmosphere? Yes.
      Did I shout BATOOOOUU when Batou showed up? Yes
      Naked Motoko? Yes and artfully done.
      Some philosophy? YESSS.

      Maaan I’m totally relieved Arise didn’t turn into something totally different from the rest of the franchise.

    4. At first when I saw the first images of ARISE I thought;oh boy…this is not going to be good.
      Then when I watched the trailers and previews…i thought;This…might not be bad after all
      and thus, here I am with my final impression of ARISE:
      It was….different, not bad, actually pretty good,for a prequel it’s off to a pretty good start.
      Now if I had any complaints about it was that the feel for it was…again,different BUT WAIT!
      how different!? I mean…IT WAS GHOST IN THE SHELL! the looks, the style,hell even the music reminded me of Ghost in the Shell,still presented in a different way…sort of (mindf*#k).
      From this point I have mixed feelings, hopefully by the end ARISE will be another memorable entry (yet sometimes confusing) entry to the series.
      Anyway I’ll be looking foward to next OVA

    5. So her hair was bright blue here, and pale-ish purple later on (time-line wise) in SAC. I suppose she’s in the process of going gray from all the stress? 😛

      I’ve always liked seeing various characters during time-lines that aren’t usually portrayed during the main or original story (so to speak). Really interesting to see how they were before becoming who they are now, and what sort of events transpired to make them the way we know them.

        1. It is because she never had a real body in this one since it was dying in her mother’s womb. In SAC it was a plane crash when she was a small girl that her body was moved into a full prosthetic.

    6. GITS: SAC was the first sort of “adult”, or “Grown up”, anime-nay animation, that I ever watched. It played right after Gundam Seed on YTV, and I loved it from the first episode. It was the second anime I bought DVD sets of. The first was the original “Last Exile”.

    7. Its great so far, but I have one huge quip. Kusanagi’s design, when taken alone there is nothing wrong. But the animation style in realism is so far in contrast to her relatively normal anime face (complete with big eyes, barely a nose and very strong hued blue hair), that it just comes off as something not to take seriously in a series that takes itself fairly seriously. Though in Stand-Alone Complex, she did have that still to a degree, it was not as pronounced as this. That said, I look forward to more child-talking ball tanks discussing philosophy.

      1. Mmm, the general thing for me is that while I get why people would dislike the new design, I didn’t mind it because for me, one of the big things about Ghost in the Shell was never about what a person looks like on the outside.

        Sure, there are some defining traits we look at to recognize the individual characters, but it’s important to note that in this franchise, anyone can be anyone, anyone can look like anything. The outer exterior is something that’s superficial, and you can freely swap genders, swap looks, swap body types etc. So yeah, she looks a tad different, but the important thing is she acts and talks like the Motoko we knew and loved, and in that context, that’s all I really wanted. (That and the obvious Akira reference isn’t too bad either! XD).

    8. Felt like one of those sci-fi anime from 2000~2002 that were NOT made by Production I.G.,
      which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s GITS so I’m sorta worried after seeing this.

      Only redeeming factors were:

      1. impeccable animation of contact fighting, best in the industry.

      2. new take on Motoko’s origin. Show Spoiler ▼

      3. telling the story of how the members of section 9 were brought together.

      Neck Neck Neck
    9. First a couple of comments.
      1. All secondary characters remind me of the bad guys from all those bad Naruto movies/filler episodes.
      2. Isn’t Mokoto suppose to be Japanese, why does she look Chinese/mixed? Seems production ig recycled the character design of O-ren Ishii from kill bill one.
      The story line and origin concept does seem interesting, so I might give the show another chance.

    10. I was trying to find a subtitled one two days ago, finally found one yesterday but the audio was out of sync, then around midnight a fixed version came out and I just finished watching an hour ago.

      All the memories just started flooding back when I started to watch this.I like the OP song, even though it’s not Origa or Yoko.

      I’ve seen all the comments about people complaining about how Saito looks like a thug even though he’s always had a shady look. They complained about Batou’s look and obviously Motoko’s. I think the character designs are great. Motoko looks like what a younger Motoko would look like.

      We even got a Loli Motoko HNNNG, Production I.G. is still God Tier!

      I loved the throwbacks/references like Batou’s eyes getting hacked lol. The “Logikoma” was cool too. I know the voices aren’t they same as the Tachikomas, but it sounds similar.

      The fight scenes were epic, the Batou vs Motoko fight was my favorite. That being said, when do the gifs start coming out XD.

      Man, waiting to November is going to be rough, but if I can wait who knows how long for the next Gundam Unicorn, I can wait for Ghost Whispers ;p.

    11. => “How ’bout them mobile mines? I wouldn’t mind being hugged by one of thes—okay, I would, but still, mines have never looked cooler than in the form of robotic, murderous, and explosive lolis.”

      Well, I have seen it only once when I was young, but I think Screamers had some interesting models of mobile mines as well. Pretty much that same idea actually.

      As for this first episode, as a huge fan of the precedent work on GITS I would say it was okay, fine for an introduction I guess. The only major void I felt was the fence problem, as if Motoko nor batou nor the Logikoma could do anything about it. And the idea of Batou and his probably more than 300Kg weight trying to climb off the fence is just ridiculous.

      By the way, did you know he has his own brand ? Batou-Fitness !

      1. After looking at some of the screen caps, I’m kinda glad this version of Motoko wears more clothes. But the hairstyle makes me feel like she’s the short haired version of Eureka if Stand Alone Complex Motoko is normal Eureka.

    12. The good GitS love all over. The plot was good and the ambiance was great.
      The bad Motoko proportions, I’ll forget the “original” design I’m talking about her current design. Having your waist line right under the breast line doesn’t fit my ningen design by a mile. Also when wearing the suit she looks like a DFC; however wearing her sport bra and on the examination table she “grows”. Not sure if it was done for fan service but did confuse me.
      But really worth the time to watch… If we could only get the “young” laughing man side story it will be bliss.

    13. Watched it and loved it…
      -Combat hacking!
      -Logikoma speaking voice of Sawashiro Miyuki! Can I have one to guard my bike????
      -self-propelled mines… death by moe? 😛

    14. I really hate the character designs. A lot.

      I understand the thinking that went into it, but I don’t agree with it. Can’t a director leave his mark by storyline instead? Was it really necessary?

      I like the experience so far from the first episode, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get past the design issue. It really, really bothers me. The music was also woefully subpar compared to its counterpart. They had so much potential in a new series that I don’t understand how this came out of it.

    15. interesting facts

      sakamoto maaya voiced adult motoko in this movie
      sakamoto maaya voiced young motoko in the TV series
      she also voiced couple lines for “minimised” version of motoko that looks like a child in the 1995 movie

    16. I’m confused. I was under the impression that the virus created false memories, which in turn means that the story she told Batou was fake. Isn’t it that why she dived into her memories again at the end and saw her mother? Which means that this movie may very well take place in a time period before the formation of Section 9.
      Just my take on it.

      1. It does take place before the formation of Section 9 (at least, one with Motoko, Batou and the others)… but it’s a different timeline separate from SAC and the movies, as the story about her past is different from the other two eh.

        Generally this is right after non-nuclear World War IV, which is said to have been around like 2024ish.

    17. I really don’t get why so many people aren’t really pleased with the Major’s new design… I love her new hair, the overall style and look is much better drawn compared to before. I think she got a lot prettier. Probably most guys are just unhappy with how she lacks ‘sex appeal’ compared to the SAC version… Anyways her new motorbike looks freaking awesome… I want one of those bikes

    18. Hello. I am from Japan and am not good at Englist, at first.

      I read your reviews for “Ghost In The Shell Movie of 1995” and “Arise”. The plot of “Arise:border 1” is much more complicated than the puppetmaster. I would like you to see my character relation drawings of “arise” and “puppetmaster”. I am sorry for names written in Japanese. I hope they make sense.



      So, arise:border1 has more organizations, characters, and complex relations than puppetmaster. Green line shows that it is a relation with no “animation”, I mean, they are explained by what character says. Black line shows the relation explained by animated drama. Arise:border1 has many green lines. Puppetmaster have no green lines.

      This makes “arise:border 1” almost impossible to understand by one glance. If I ask a question, say, “Who killed Mamuro? What do you think?”, people will point different characters as a criminal, with different reasons.

      I am hesitating to say “arise:border 1” is good or bad. But I am sure this is exciting in a different way than other ghost in the shell series.


    19. I would say everyone should read the Ghost in the Shell: Arise manga before making up your mind about the new character design harshly. After watching that and thirst first episode, it’s not distracting from the experience as I thought it would.

      Kevin L.

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