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.
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Synonyms: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border:1 Ghost Pain
Japanese: 攻殻機動隊ARISE -GHOST IN THE SHELL- border:1 Ghost Pain
English: Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border 1: Ghost Pain
German: Ghost in the Shell - Arise Border 1 der Film: Ghost Pain
Spanish: Ghost in the Shell - Arise Border 1 la Película: Ghost Pain
French: Ghost in the Shell - Arise Border 1 le Film: Ghost Pain
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jun 22, 2013
Studios: Production I.G
Duration: 58 min.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
Score: 7.441 (scored by 2899228,992 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.