Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Alt title: Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Ghost in the Shell

Other (4 eps)
2013 - 2014
3.928 out of 5 from 3,049 votes
Rank #1,373

In this highly anticipated prequel set in the year after the fourth World War, cyborg and hacker Motoko Kusanagi finds herself wrapped up in the investigation of a devastating bombing. But she’s not the only one looking for answers—as she delves deeper into the mystery of who is behind the attack, a specialized team unlike any before begins to take shape.

Source: Funimation

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 "Ghost in the Shell: Arise" is serving as a reimagining of the "Ghost in the Shell" universe. This prequel explores the backstory of Major Motoko Kusanagi before she becomes the formidable leader of Public Security Section 9, delving into her origins, the formation of her team, and the early challenges they face. While "Arise" offers a fresh take on the cybernetic and philosophical themes that define the franchise, it has received mixed reviews for its pacing, narrative complexity, and reinterpretation of iconic characters. A New Ghost Manifests Exploration of Origins: "Arise" provides valuable insights into the backstory of Major Kusanagi and her colleagues, fleshing out their characters and motivations. This deeper dive into their origins adds layers to their personalities and relationships, enriching the "Ghost in the Shell" mythos. Updated Aesthetic and Animation: With a modernized animation style, "Arise" brings a new visual dynamism to the franchise. The OVAs feature fluid action sequences, detailed cybernetic enhancements, and a vibrant portrayal of the futuristic setting, aligning with contemporary animation standards. System Errors Detected Narrative and Pacing Challenges: One of the primary criticisms of "Arise" revolves around its narrative execution. The OVAs attempt to pack complex plots and philosophical themes into a limited runtime, resulting in pacing issues that can leave viewers feeling either overwhelmed by the density of the story or underwhelmed by insufficient development. Character Redesign and Dynamics: Longtime fans of the franchise have expressed mixed feelings about the reinterpretation of Major Kusanagi and other characters in "Arise." Changes in character design and personality traits have sparked debates about the series' fidelity to the original characterizations and the impact on the overall dynamic of Section 9. Diving into the Network Cybernetic Themes and Philosophical Inquiry: True to the franchise's roots, "Arise" delves into themes of identity, consciousness, and the intersection of humanity with technology. The OVAs pose thought-provoking questions about artificial intelligence, memory, and the essence of the self, inviting viewers to engage with complex ethical and philosophical dilemmas. Introduction to New Audiences: "Arise" serves as an accessible entry point for new fans, offering an introduction to the "Ghost in the Shell" universe without requiring prior knowledge of the franchise. This fresh perspective can attract a new generation of viewers, expanding the series' audience. Conclusion "Ghost in the Shell: Arise" represents a bold attempt to revisit and expand upon the rich narrative and thematic landscape of the "Ghost in the Shell" franchise. Despite facing challenges in pacing, narrative complexity, and character reinterpretation, the series succeeds in offering a new perspective on the origins of Major Kusanagi and Public Security Section 9. While "Arise" may not resonate equally with all fans, it contributes to the ongoing dialogue about the relationship between technology and humanity, reinforcing the franchise's enduring relevance in the science fiction genre.


This review has very, very minor spoilers in regard to one minor subplot. Overall: 5.75/10 - Ghost in the Shell Arise is less of a canonical prequel and more of a different take on the series altogether. While the old team remains similar, significant changes were made to Motoko's character (the main character) that I didn't think were good. The story is a bit disjointed and inconclusive. Animation is stellar in the action scenes, but issues with animating Motoko's face can be very apparent at times. Music is mediocre at best. That being said, plenty of action makes for an entertaining watch and those who have not viewed Stand Alone Complex/2nd GIG or who thought that those series were too slow will likely enjoy Arise. Recommended for: People who are new to Ghost in the Shell would do well to watch this after the original movie in order to understand the mechanics a bit more. Arise has entertainment value, but whether you'll enjoy it as somebody who has seen Stand Alone Complex/2nd GIG will depend on what you thought of the SAC series. If you found SAC too slow, found Motoko too cold, or thought the philosophical/political issues were excessive you'll likely enjoy Arise. If, like me, you enjoyed these aspects, Arise might be a disappointment. Breakdown: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Story: 5/10-Mediocre Creativity/uniqueness bonus points: None Humour bonus points: There were moments, but not enough to give points. General Plot and Structure 2/4 - The general plot of Arise was alright, but a little disjointed. Some of the subplots, such as a romance subplot, seemed unnecessary and forced. While the Ghost in the Shell franchise was never 100% aligned canonically, a few too many liberties were taken. This will be discussed more in the character section, as it mostly applies there. Pacing 1.75/2 - Pacing was a little bit too fast, likely because they were trying to fit too much into a small timeframe as well as make room for extra action. Emotional impact: 1/3 - There was very little emotional impact really, though this has never been Ghost in the Shell's forte. Conclusion: .25/1 - The conclusion of the main investigation basically doesn't occur and this is probably the biggest annoyance with the story. Annoying/mindset-breaking negative points - None  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Animation: 7.75/10-Very good Artwork 2.75/3 - Overall the artwork was very good. Backgrounds were well done, the predecessor Tachikoma (AI spider tanks) were interestingly designed. Some of the city scenes looked quite spectacular. Character Designs 1.25/3 - Most of the old team looks similar or the same as the old series (really good), although the colours are generally more vibrant. Motoko (the main character) has a very different cybernetic body than in the other titles.     Given the universe, this wouldn't be a big deal, perhaps even welcomed by some, if it weren't for the way they actually animated this new character design. There were far too many "what the hell happened to her face" moments where she looked really weird. In one scene she literally looked like a teletubby. I noticed a lot of scenes where they were focusing on other characters or covering her mouth while she talked, which makes me think they may have been having legitimate issues with animating her. Action Animation 2/2 - Fight scenes are probably the best part of Arise. There are plenty of them and all of them look decent. The scenes in episode 4 were particularly awesome and reminiscent of the breathtaking animation of the original movie. Other animation 1.75/2 - Other animation (aside from the issues detailed above) is usually good, but there are some jittery parts and parts where there's no movement for an awkward length of time. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------- Characters: 5.25/10-Mediocre Personality 1.25/3 - Now comes the part that bugged me the most. To get it out of the way now, the main team are all great and similar to the rest of the franchise. The arguably bad part is Motoko's personality. While it isn't drastically different than in the other titles it simply doesn't line up or make a lot of sense. In Arise, Motoko is somewhat hot-headed and almost juvenile at times. It draws some parallels to Korra from The Legend of Korra (I know, not an anime), though not to the same degree.      While this personality wouldn't be bad if it was used in another anime and while she wasn't transformed into a weakling, it simply doesn't make sense in the context of the story. At the point where Arise starts Motoko is a highly trained black ops soldier who has likely killed quite a few people and has otherwise gone through a lot crap. It's hard to believe she became a slightly cold and highly professional individual within the few years she served in a police capacity. Development 1.5/3 - There isn't really any development in Arise, but nobody really falls apart. Uniqueness 2.5/4 - All of the side characters are similar to the other titles, but Motoko's new personality is significantly less unique. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sound: 5.5/10-Mediocre Voice Acting (Dub) 2.5/3 - Every voice actor is great, including the new voice actor for Motoko. While the voice for Motoko is quite different, so is the character so they can't be faulted for it. The one thing that left me scratching my head was that Motoko's commanding officer is voiced by the same voice actor as the original Motoko. This seems like a very odd decision and was somewhat jarring. Music 2/6 - The opening music, in my opinion, is pretty dumb. The lyrics are just "ghost ghost ghost" over and over with little musical quality. The ending is forgettable. During the show, there were large sections with no soundtrack and when it was there it was mostly chip tune-ish. It suits the theme I guess, but conveys very little emotion. Sound Effects 1/1 - Excellent. 

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