Synonyms: Koukaku Kidoutai Arise: Ghost in the Shell - Border:1 Ghost Pain
Japanese: 攻殻機動隊ARISE -GHOST IN THE SHELL- border:1 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 6825 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,
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
I would summarize this movie as a blend of Stand Alone Complex and and an 80's detective movie. It's essentially a stand alone episode you might find in the series with alot more color and the new style that comes with the reboot. In this review I am going to talk of what I think about the first episode of this new GiTS film series, and the direction the reboot is taking.
Ghost in the Shell is not a series that is new to reboots. Almost every other installment in the franchise is in someway a retcon of the original work, or a work based on the original work. Because of this, saying "I like Ghost in the Shell" is no longer a very specific statement, the series is very wide reaching in its themes as well as general content. Although both very well done in my opinion, the stand alone complex series and the original film are almost black and white, not even going into the much different manga. When I heard that GiTS was being rebooted into another installment, and I saw the Major's redesign, right away my hipster sense had activated and I passed it off as another modernized money grab and a waste of time. Luckily for me, my quick judgment was quite off from reality.
You can think of this reboot as somewhat of a prequel to Stand Alone Complex. It has been confirmed both internally and externally that is not the same canon, but they are both very similar in presentation and general state of affairs. Due to this, Arise has much more in common with the cop mystery in episodes of SAC then the film series. That is to say, you will not find existential science fiction philosophy and the deep boots nature of the original film. Arise is done under the pretense of a look at the characters of SAC and what they did before they became the elite unit of Section 9. Arise stars the younger, redesigned Motoko revolves around her solving a mystery around the same time that she first meets Section 9. Significant changes to the Major's character became apparent directly and indirectly. Upon starting this film, the first thing viewers will notice is that the Motoko that stars this movie not only looks younger, she also sounds much younger than her previous iterations. The younger voice and stuff is an obvious hint that Motoko is not as strong or as in control as she was in the other mediums, that she is not quite as mature or dominant as an investigator either. This is the first spin on things that makes Arise stand out from what would basically just be a stand alone episode of SAC. At first I didn't particularly enjoy the more girly Major, but 15 minutes in you accept it as the character dynamic the film under its new direction is going for.
The first episode of Arise's plot is something like this. A Lt. Col who was the leader of a special unit has been blown up by a bot, and oddly enough Motoko is part of this "Unit 501." She goes off trying to solve the case, running into Section 9's Daisuke Amaragi for the first time in the process. In lieu of a typical SAC subplot, things are definitely not as simple as they look on the surface. The Major starts to uncover a huge military conspiracy related to herself in the process of the investigation, and the film visits the recurring theme of Motoko's cyborg issues with that. Not going to go into too much more detail with the plot. The story of Ghost Pain left a good impression on me. It was interesting, short enough, and rife with unexpected plot twists, but not deus ex machinas like in Solid State Society. Although interesting, and interesting from the get go to long term GiTS fans, it really isnt much more than a typical mystery. There are mysteries that go beyond what is typical, we've seen this in other entries of GiTS such as GiTS 2: Innocence. It's not a bad plot by any means, its not even really average considering what the average plot is. I just think that, taken at face value, there are some SAC episodes that are more creative. This is just one part of what Arise is though, its not just about what the story was, but how its executed with this rebuilt style, and that was the best part about Ghost Pain. Ghost Pain felt like a super high budget SAC episode. Everything was colorful, action packed, and generally really cool. I want people to know that Ghost in the Shell has not been dumped down from anything Solid State Society was, so if you think there will be vast infodumps, you will not find them. The action in particular was very good in this installment. Cyborg combat has always been fast and heavy in GiTS series, and the animators took it to town.
Its unfortunate that we saw almost nothing of the rest of Section 9. Ghost Pain basically stars Motoko and only Motoko. Other members of Section 9, even the major ones like Batou and Togusa, their appearances can hardly be called anything but cameos. They offer almost nothing to the overall story, and see no character development at all. There is so little screentime to Batou and Togusa I could not even confirm if there were any changes in their personalities over their original incarnations. You would think that a reboot with an emphasis on redesigned and differently presented characters would have an emphasis on said characters, but that does no occur. All attention is on The Major, and unfortunately this doesn't really work out in the character department. We see some bits of subplot over the Major's tragic past that leads into a complex about her cyborg body, but no this is nothing new to the Ghost in the Shell series. Compared to the character dynamics of the Major you see in the latter parts of 2nd Gig, SSS, and of course the original film, Ghost Pain achieves so little it can hardly hold a candle to them in this category. I however, do keep in mind that theres only so much a 1 hour introduction film can do, so there is some degree of holding out you should have before you start to see these things.
Yoko Kano and Kenji Kawai are out, and the film suffers because of it. No memorable music in this film.
GiTS Arise: Ghost Pain is 7/10 introduction to this new GiTS series. Great action, a good story, and alright characters await new and old Ghost in the Shell fans who watch this rather shiny but not superficial entry. I am looking forward to the next film in the series and have high expectations. read more
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
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 ClubsSection 9, The OVA/ONA/Anime Movie club, For god sake stop scoring shows when no episodes are out!, Motoko Kusanagi fan club, Maaya Sakamoto fanclub
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