RogerBW's Blog

Ghost in the Shell Arise 04 January 2016

2013-2015 science fiction, manga adaptation, 4 or 10 episodes: AniDB and here.

In a world of cyborgs and poor data security, Major Motoko Kusanagi tries to catch the bad guys. A prequel of sorts to Ghost in the Shell.

But it's not a prequel written by Masamune Shirow, or even any of the people who worked on Stand Alone Complex, and nor does it really care about consistency with that series: this is officially a "re-imagining". The character designs are new too, all of them looking a few years younger, and all the voice actors have been replaced.

This is also an origin story of sorts, with familiar elements taking form as things go on: Section 9 doesn't exist as things start, and Kusanagi and the others are leading separate lives with more or less success until events bring them together as a team. The Tachikomas are back; they're called Logicomas and look different, but they behave basically the same way.

This ends up feeling like a slightly faded copy. It's not bad in itself, but we've seen Stand Alone Complex which actually tried to probe deep questions as well as giving us lots of shooty action. I don't think it always did a great job, but this doesn't even try; it's just action, using the same old plot elements that worked in previous series when they were new and unexpected. Kusanagi has generally been "arrogant because I really am that good"; here she comes over more as "spoiled brat". If this had been the first series and we hadn't seen all the others, it would be regarded as pretty good; as it is it's just more of the same. The Microsoft Surface product placement doesn't help my suspension of disbelief.

There are four films (later released as pairs of television episodes), and two more television-only episodes ("Alternative Architecture"). But I have to rate this as strictly for the completist.

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