This cyberpunk classic that sparked a phenomenon returns with all new story lines combining breathtaking visual effects and exhilarating action sequences! Ghost in the Shell: Arise sheds new light on the mysteries that have haunted fans for decades while rebooting the genre it helped define.
Border: 1. Ghost Pain Set against a backdrop of international arms dealers, exploding cyborgs, and murdered prostitutes, this origins story plays out with a futuristic flair for the destructive. When cyborg hacker Motoko Kusanagi is hired to investigate a devastating bombing, she must fight her way through a maze of phantom memories to unlock her mysterious past and track down the evil mastermind behind the attacks. Border: 2. Ghost Whispers Witness the formation of the legendary Public Security Section 9. When a clandestine organization hacks every car in the city. Kusanagi recruits a lethal team of cyber operatives that includes a badass brawler with Special Forces training, an explosives expert, a technology specialist, and a chain-smoking jack-of-all-trades with a sordid past. Together this ruthless gang of enforcers sets out to clamp down on the chaos and make the city safe again.
Nothing like the other Police Academy films...
- Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders: Parts 1 and 2 review by Schrödinger's Cake
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You rated this film: 3
This film adds nothing to the world model that was already established by the earlier GitS films, and is little more than a half-sibling that recycles some familiar characters and little else. That said, it is still enjoyable enough to watch, and there is a mountain of worse anime that you could pick in its stead. So do you feel lucky punk? Do you?
Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders: Parts 1 and 2 Review
The world of Ghost in the Shell is an anime franchise I always enjoy coming back to. Intricately crafted as a detailed and fully realized vision of the future, there is so much to explore with every interpretation offering up a little something different. The 1995 film presented complex philosophical passages of robotization over stylish action scenes. The 2002 TV series took a more procedural approach to exploring the world’s politics and smallest nooks of a cyberpunk society. Arise seems to take a more even route with these one hour episodes that fit in plenty of action and ideas, but still take far bigger risks with the characters. It may lack a certain amount of tension existing as a prequel series, but makes up for it with some surprising writing.
The lead of Motoko Kusanagi is portrayed as a more vulnerable and younger cyborg operative that we know from the previous Ghost in the Shell projects. She’s treated as a sort of female Six Million Dollar Man in that her artificial body is owned by the Japanese federal 501 organization that specializes in espionage. There’s naturally a bit of a rift between Kusanagi and her employers especially since she’s pretty much had a cybernetic body since birth. She’s placed on cases involving murders that lead to complex conspiracies of tampered memories. With the human race now connected to the internet with their cyberbrains, it’s incredibly easy to tamper with one’s own mind. Kusanagi even becomes a victim herself when her short and long term memory alter her perceptions of who to trust.
Seeking some assistance, various detectives and mercenaries are hired on for the cases. Be it their area of investigation or just an opportunity for cash, all interested parties appear as clever characters who could be playing both sides of these investigations (and often do). Many of these allies will be familiar to fans of Ghost in the Shell as future members of the public safety group Section 9 which deals specifically with cyber-based crimes. They eventually all come together in this series, but not after some heated battles with one another as they struggle to come to terms with the real truths of who they should be working for.
In these first two episodes, Kusanagi finds herself asking this question when caught between two superiors. 501’s female Lieutenant Colonel Kurtz takes a friendly liking towards Kusanagi even after she leaves the organization, now being free of her debts. The not-quite-elderly Aramaki of public security has a more stern approval of Kusanagi, but his no-nonsense exterior makes him hard to read. The ex-soldier Batou also finds himself very weary and defensive of working alongside Kusanagi. Most of their encounters result in trading fists and bullets with quick hacking of each other’s vision to get the upper-hand.
What makes this interpretation of Ghost in the Shell far more interesting than its predecessors would have to be the character development driven by real motivation. Kusanagi previously appears in other incarnations as a tough gal - completely confident in her stoic delivery and muscular figure. She is almost completely different in this version as a younger woman, smaller and filled with more doubt. Witnessing this extra level of expression was quite refreshing and made her all the more interesting as the hero of the show.
The animation direction by studio Production I.G. lives up to the high standards of previous installments. Just looking at the gorgeous backgrounds is a real treat, especially the cityscapes with towering skyscrapers illuminated by bold colors and lighting. The fight scenes are the biggest draw as the characters make smart and calculated moves to dispatch their enemies with just enough slow motion to take it all in. Being cyborgs, you can expect a few limbs to be blown off here and there. The pacing of each episode also works out well, never dwelling too long on moments of inflection (a common complaint of the franchise). The second episode has an incredible and slow reveal of the altered truth to a mercenary group that has been lied to during times of war. The hacked memory appears in bits and pieces before the real crime is displayed in a highly compressed vision.
As both an origin story and original piece of animation, Ghost in the Shell: Arise delivers on everything fans will come to expect and give newcomers a reason to take a dive into its universe. It never becomes too drowned in its own technobabble or indulge itself too long in its own philosophy of technology. It’s engaging enough to follow and gorgeous enough watch. The moments that exist within Kusanagi’s cyber-brain as she digs through data is beautifully imagined as a serene aqua environment of caustics. It may sound a little too outlandish for such an imagining, but it sure beats just watching Kusanagi stare aimlessly as the numbers crunch in her head. Arise not only manages to make the tired concept of a cyber-thriller competently assembled, but visually wondrous as well.