Synonyms: Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Ghost in the Shell - Border:1 Ghost Pain
Japanese: 攻殻機動隊ARISE -GHOST IN THE SHELL- border:2 Ghost Pain
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jun 22, 2013
58 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.741 (scored by 5568 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisThe anime's story is set in 2027, one year after the end of the fourth non-nuclear war. New Port City is still reeling from the war's aftermath when it suffers a bombing caused by a self-propelled mine. Then, a military member implicated in arms-dealing bribes is gunned down.
During the investigation, Public Security Section's Daisuke Aramaki encounters Motoko Kusanagi, the cyborg wizard-level hacker assigned to the military's 501st Secret Unit. Batou, a man with the "eye that does not sleep," suspects that Kusanagi is the one behind the bombing. The Niihama Prefectural Police detective Togusa is pursuing his own dual cases of the shooting death and a prostitute's murder. Motoko herself is being watched by the 501st Secret Unit's head Kurutsu and cyborg agents.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Nemuranai Me no Otoko Sleepless Eye
Other: Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Nyuumon Arise, Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border: Less Project
Side story: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Another Mission
Sequel: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border:2 Ghost Whispers
Character: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Logicoma Specials
Characters & Voice Actors
At the top of the cyberpunk hill stands the Ghost in the Shell franchise. First formulated in concept by Masamune Shirow, it has been Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell (1995) film and Kenji Kamiyama's Standalone Complex series that have amassed wide and overwhelmingly positive reception. Ghost in the Shell: Arise—a four-part OVA series—is the most recent installment into the franchise, serving as a prequel set prior to Section 9's establishment. With high expectations coming from a new Ghost in the Shell title, it may not come as a surprise that Arise's first piece (Border:1 Ghost Pain) wields variable success.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes in Arise is the single point of view focus onto Motoko. Her actions and behavior play off as slightly more human in the OVA, whether it be displaying discernible facial expressions or occasionally acting by emotion. This causes her to seem more like her physical age than her typical, cold and cryptic self. Additionally, she holds more bearing on the story than normal. Aiming to solve a murder and later being implicated as the primary suspect, Motoko becomes pivotal in whether Arise can subtly yet powerfully grasp its story.
As a teaser and opener, Border:1 does a decent job. The mystery remains simple while still wafting that old GITS tension; it nicely paces through the narrative on tried and true grounds. The investigations murk about, action scenes go a-flurry, and exciting plot twists make the sketches of a solid storyline. Motoko also receives hints of development through a partially grasped backstory, and while this may seem incomplete, Border:1 is after all only one of four entries, and the allusions toward more (particularly Motoko's development and thorough introductions to future Section 9 members) work seamlessly into the storytelling.
Yet, this is also one of Arise's pitfalls. The simple plot structure—combined with a singular point of view and occasionally awkward pacing—can cause a few scenes to feel slightly linear and dull. Moreover, the restrictive point of view may narrow the scope of the OVA's aims, and GITS's recurring characters (namely, Araki, Batou, and Togusa) make a nice cameo but that's about it.
This leaves a lurking, uneasy feeling about the work's direction; many of the sci-fi themes prevalent in previous titles are also non-existent here. However, what's fortunate is that Arise manages to keep many of the subtleties and charm within the character dialogues intact. It may not exactly feel like the GITS we've all come to learn and love, but it's still a good sci-fi story nonetheless.
Much of the streamlined narrative can also be attributed to the limited time allocated in Arise. After all, a one-hour treat can only do so much into framing the beginning, middle, and ends of a mystery. However, this limitation is surely not the only factor causing simplifications in the work; the villains come and go, the action scenes are numerous yet not always relevant to the plot, and certain dialogues seem out of place and unrequired. Still, at the heart of Arise's content lie the fundamental pieces which provide for good writing.
While Arise's visuals proudly stands with its own style, its design choices have stirred controversy. The OVA beautifully flourishes a lighter opacity than previous installments. This luminosity offers a fresher appeal, leaving a tonal vibrance that nicely captures the ages of the slightly younger cast. However, paired with the more minimalist detail and brighter shade of skin tones, this can at times apprehend viewers. Motoko's character design, for instance, almost (note: almost) has that moe appeal trending among current shows. This no doubt has spurred contentions among the loins of all otaku and self-appraising viewers. Fortunately, what rare fanservice does exist encapsulates the same seinen bloodshed-and-boobies common in the genre. In other words, you won't be seeing Motoko pull off an Asuka catchphrase any time soon.
The soundtrack remains true to the cyberpunk theme, offering circuits of electronic pop, jazz, and smooth guitar riffs. The choreography and overall animation are generally both fluid and topknotch, oozing out creativity with Arise's integration of cybertechnology in action scenes—realtime hacking wizardry, cybernetic organs, and quick-fire CQC. The 3D CGI works just as well as in Stand Alone Complex, with little to no intrusive vices; it's great to know these elements have (for the most part) marched the classic beat encased within the GITS franchise.
With mixed success in its execution, Arise still serves as an admirable entry point into a new tetralogy. Production IG proves that its animation and visuals are still ever improving, and Arise's plot—while "off"—makes a decent segway for the next three titles to come along. Whether one is a fan of Border:1 or not, high hopes remain for the upcoming installments.
This review is written by members of the club Quiet Discourse. For more details, please see the club frontpage. read more
Bold and cryptic, the original Ghost in the Shell movie (1995) is considered by many fans to be the apex of sci-fi anime within its decade. Over time, Oshii’s adroit directing influenced a multitude of many abstract ideas, both ambitious and creative. However, it was Kamiyama Kenji’s Stand Alone Complex iteration of the series that helped further the franchise's reputation as a result of its superb action scenes, script, and sophistication.
With that said, Ghost in the Shell: Arise is a series that needs no introduction. But perhaps in an ironic way, it is essentially the introduction for the franchise. Although the franchise is largely an elaborate piece comprised of intelligent crime cases that tackle thought-provoking issues, the cast remains enigmatic as a whole. In its entire run, only bits of backstories about the characters are scattered throughout, and Motoko’s relationships with the rest of Section 9 are not specified until the second season of the Stand Alone Complex.
Arise however, gives very little in the way of answers for the amount of questions that it brings to the table. In many respects, the premise of a cybernetic hacker is redolent of the original Ghost in the Shell movie, though the unsettling atmosphere is construed and explained in a very different manner. Arise is very much focused on Motoko herself, rather than the broader social scope. In the event of Border: 1 Ghost Pain there is an alleged conviction that Motoko is the culprit of a murder case, and Motoko must confront herself in the midst of confusions to clear up her name.
Consistently incorporated throughout the movie, Arise's ambiguity is the foothold for its mysterious components. While murky at times, the enigmatic nature of the movie allows for the truth of Motoko's conviction to surface in a tangible fashion. The beginning of the movie arouses a sense of confusion (in a good way) and easily attracts the audience's attention. However, the nature of the Arise series being separated into 50 minute entries very much limits the extent of the storytelling. In the case of Border: 1 Ghost Pain, this is especially true, as the riddle is unraveled in a predictable succession of preface, hinting of a villain, uncertainty, and then a final battle with said villain. The conflict is weakened in the process due to the simple mistake of a rushed pacing, leaving us with a shallow sense of suspense during the latter parts of the movie.
Despite the contestable issues with the pacing, the essence of the character dynamics hasn't lost its touch in this movie. Motoko slowly re-encounters and stumbles upon many future members of the soon-to-be Section 9, and their relationships remain underdeveloped yet still sturdy. For an introductory plot, Arise made a first-rate effort of delivering the story in a simplistic yet appropriately mystical pattern. Unfortunately, the said deliverance is occasionally soiled by the inclusion of one-dimensional villains, whose actions conveniently fit as plot devices where needed.
By and large, the animation is pleasing to look at. On one hand, the action scenes are all fluid and splendidly done. Likewise, the aesthetics generally illustrate appealing appearances. On the other hand, while the character designs are fresh and new, they could be viewed as dubious alterations by older fans. Similarly, the music is not as excellent as hoped. It is perhaps too high a bar for one’s music to live up to Yoko Kanno’s distinctive style. However, as individual background music, the OST is actually fine in setting the gloomy mood during the movie.
As an experimental film to follow up on an imposing legacy, Border: 1 Ghost Pain has done a surprisingly fine job of providing basic background. While some lesser parts drag down the tension of the story as a whole, the core of the franchise is still there. Although it does not pay homage to the long-lived franchise, Arise proves to be a fascinating take on the sci-fi genre. For that, Border: 1 Ghost Pain still deserves a try for its creation of an intriguing thriller. Naturally, there are still three other movies that are subjected to their own merits, so it'll be interesting to see where it goes from here. read more
Opening Theme"GHOST IN THE SHELL ARISE" by Cornelius
Ending Theme"Jibun ga Inai (じぶんがいない)" by salyu× salyu (サリュバイサリュ)
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Related ClubsMaaya Sakamoto fanclub, For god sake stop scoring shows when no episodes are out!, The OVA/ONA/Anime Movie club, Motoko Kusanagi fan club, Section 9
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