Having watched Ghost in the Shell since it first arrived on western shores I, like so many other fans, have had a few questions about Major Kusanagi. Who is she? How did she get a fully cyborg body, where did she come from, what her family was like…these all seem pretty reasonable questions, when you think about it.
Ghost in the Shell: Arise 01: Ghost Pain answers these questions – without actually removing much of the mystery behind Kusanagi. Although we now know how she meets Aramaki, Batou, Paz and Togusa, there’s still way more questions than answers we have about her life. With luck, none of them will be addressed in future episodes. ^_^
The main strength in Arise, is that someone with little to no knowledge of the Ghost in the Shell franchise – and the ability to flow with a cyberpunk-y, slightly non-linear narrative – will have no trouble following this story. (Completely unlike Innocence, for instance, which makes little sense if you have not seen at least some of the other GitS franchise.) You do not need to know Kusanagi Motoko – Arise will introduce more about her than we have had in all the previous series.
Of interest to me was Motoko’s superior, Kurutsu, who was a character design that could only exist in anime. Long yanki-style skirt over black leather pants, no bra, shirt open to the navel…what military is this again? I had very much hoped that she and Motoko would end up fighting, because Kurutsu so wore the look of “mentor gone bad.”
The Japan Collector’s Edition contained Episode 01 on Blu-Ray, a few frames of “film” of Batou and a booklet with commentary and character designs. The episode comes in just shy of an hour so whether you feel its expensive, will depend on how you feel about paying for your anime.
The plot is convoluted, and has obligatory government corruption, brain hacking and a fair amount of fanservice, so if looking at Kusanagi in underwear or naked is high on your list, bonus points for you. It is a solid OVA (OBDA, maybe, since it’s a Blu-ray?) for GitS. I’m definitely looking forward to Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Border 2.
Art – 9 Top notch, except in a few scenes. Faces in 3/4 profile still seem to be the most challenging for animators.
Story – 8
Characters – 7 Comfy, rather than good
Yuri – 0 (I was really hoping for something between Kusani and Kurutsu, sad face)
Service – 6
Overall – 8
My very very since thanks to an anonymous Okazu hero for sponsoring today’s review! It was so much appreciated – and enjoyed! It would be even better if you tell me who you are, so I can thank you.