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%% NOTE TO EDITORS: "ShoutOut" and "Headscratcher" examples need to go on the specific subpages ShoutOut/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex and Headscratchers/GhostInTheShell respectively.

->''"What happens when technology subdues humanity? When humanity is no longer defined by being human."''
-->-- Tagline from Stand Alone Complex's Creator/AdultSwim promo in early 2000s.

'''''Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex''''' is a TV anime series and adaptation of Creator/ShirowMasamune's ''Manga/GhostInTheShell'' manga. It tells the story of Public Security Section 9, a covert counter-terrorist task force working for the Japanese government in a PostCyberpunk future. Led by Major Motoko Kusanagi (a no-nonsense female cyborg), Section 9 specializes in the rising threat of cybercrime facilitated by the ubiquity of cybernetic bodies[=/=]implants in the future.

''Stand Alone Complex'' features digital cel animation produced in full widescreen and a soundtrack by YokoKanno. Although the plot leans action-heavy and contains loads of political intrigue, it also features a strong focus on philosophical discussions of dehumanization through technology and synthetic life.

The world of ''Stand Alone Complex'' differs from the worlds of the two ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' feature films and [[Manga/GhostInTheShell the original manga]]: while the feature films and the manga focus on Motoko Kusanagi and her evolution into something beyond human after her encounter with The Puppetmaster, ''Stand-Alone Complex'' doesn't have The Puppetmaster show up in any form and Section 9 (including Kusanagi) exists as a fully functional team.

''Stand Alone Complex'' has two twenty-six episode seasons, ''Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex'' and ''Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C: 2nd GIG''. Fans often abbreviate both seasons (for [[ColonCancer obvious reasons]]) as "''GITS:SAC''" -- pronounced "Git-Sack" by the uncouth -- and "''2nd Gig''". Like ''Series/TheXFiles'' and many other SpeculativeFiction TV series, ''Stand Alone Complex'' has one-shot episodes that follow a single case ("Stand Alone") and episodes that follow the series' ongoing StoryArc ("Complex") involving an eluvise hacker known as "The Laughing Man". ''2nd Gig'' offers three types of episodes -- "Individual", "Dividual", and "Dual" -- and its StoryArc relates to a terrorist group known as "The Individual Eleven" and its "leader", a mysterious individual named Kuze.

As noted above, the ''Ghost in the Shell'' franchise has four [[BroadStrokes separate but equally legitimate continuities]]: that of the manga itself, that of MamoruOshii's films (which themselves recreate and [[CompressedAdaptation compress]] specific parts of the manga into movie form) that of ''Stand Alone Complex'', and ''Anime/GhostInTheShellArise'' (Which takes place as a prequel of sorts to the whole franchise). None of the individual continuities have any direct relation to one another aside from setting and characters, though both movies and ''Stand Alone Complex'' make references to/offer recreations of specific scenes from the manga.

A 2006 MadeForTVMovie, ''Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society'', takes place two years after the end of ''2nd Gig''; the story follows Section 9 as it struggles to deal with both Motoko's departure and a volatile refugee situation triggered by the actions of someone known only as "The Puppeteer".

In 2011, Kodansha Comics released a ''Stand Alone Complex'' [[RecursiveAdaptation manga]] written by Yu Kinutani. Volume One is a shot-for-shot manga interpretation of the first episode, and Volume Two is a retelling of the second episode, ''TESTATION''. Volume Three is a retelling of the 7th episode: ''IDOLATOR.'' Volume Four covers episode 14: ''¥€$''.

Game developer ''Nexon'' (of ''VideoGame/MapleStory'', ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'', and ''VideoGame/DungeonFighterOnline'' fame) [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2012-12-14/nexon-gets-ghost-in-the-shell/s.a.c.s-online-game-rights announced on December 14, 2012]] that it acquired the rights to develop an online game based off the entire series.

You can watch the series on [[http://www.hulu.com/ghost-in-the-shell-stand-alone-complex Hulu]] (only in the U.S.). Due to providing funding for the series, [adult swim] holds permanent broadcasting rights. It currently resides in Creator/{{Toonami}}'s "Regular Rotation" of shows they permanently own the airing rights to.

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!! The entire ''Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex'' series contains examples Of the following tropes:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:A-C]]
* AbandonedWarehouse: A chase scene is set in one in the eighth episode.
* AbnormalAmmo:
** Fem's ArmCannon that fires ''coins''. As in, heavy rolls of them.
** There's also the TrackingDevice that Togusa fires out of his revolver, doubling as a TrickBullet in this case.
*** TruthInTelevision: These exist, but use a shotgun to deploy.
* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer:
** Section 9 hunts down Marco in the sewers beneath Niihama.
** In ''ANNIHILATION'', they use the sewers beneath headquarters to escape from the Umibozu, but their DangerouslyGenreSavvy commander anticipates their move and orders his troops to seal them off.
* ActionDuo: Batou and Togusa to a certain extent.
* ActionGirl / DarkActionGirl: A favorite of the series. Aside from the Major herself, there are multiple [[MonsterOfTheWeek one-shot villains]] like this, including Fem (''¥€$'') and Cruzkowa (''CAPTIVATED'').
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: While visiting the facilities of Meditech, Kusanagi and Togusa are greeted by a human and a clanky robot who introduce themselves as Prof. Iwasaki and his assistant. In fact Iwasaki has downloaded himself in the robot, while the other is his android helper.
* AdaptationExpansion: An inversion occurs in which the manga expands upon the anime episodes. The few volumes of the manga are faithful retellings of the episode each volume represents, but pad out the story a bit more by creating new scenes. For example, in ''"Testation"'', certain scenes are extended to give more backstory to Takeshi Kago and his parents.
** PragmaticAdaptation: On the flip side of this is the third volume of the manga, which covers the 7th episode ''IDOLATOR''. The well recognized scene where Motoko fights off two female android bodyguards is altered [[spoiler: with Marcelo Jarti pulling out a grenade, pulling the pin and leaving the room, forcing Motoko to jump back out of the building and have Batou's Tachikoma catch her with a wire]]. Later on when the team starts searching for Jarti in the warehouse, Batou's encounter with Kanekichi Gondo in the men's bathroom plays out differently. [[spoiler: Togusa also ends up saving Motoko by shooting one of the Jarti clones in the head just as he gets Motoko in a sleeper hold.]]
*** ''¥€$'' plays out differently from the episode as well, [[spoiler:specifically by having Fem get the jump on Motoko, resulting in a drawn out fight between them after Motoko's left arm gets nicked by one of Fem's shotgun coins. The fight doesn't end until Batou finally steps in and grabs Fem, just before she's about to drive a spike through Motoko's eye]]. Fem is also given an extensive backstory to justify her desire to assassinate Kanamoto Yokose.
* AdvantageBall: Section 9 usually holds it with their combined skills and information gathering/manipulation. It's only when they are outnumbered that they lose it.
* AdultFear:
** The project of the Puppeteer in ''Solid State Society'' involves taking children (of parents classified as abusive) and wiping the parents memories so they never knew they existed.
** [[spoiler: And then it happens to Togusa and becomes even more nightmarish when it ''forces'' him to personally deliver his daughter to it.]]
* AfterActionVillainAnalysis: Numerous episodes.
* AIIsACrapshoot: Various androids and programs show their fair share of faults, including the sniper assisting program that tried to compensate Saito's own natural skills, but the Uchikomas count in particular. Enough to become an in-universe [[TheScrappy Scrappy]].
* AirVentPassageway: When Batou is snooping around in Zaitsev's office, he hides in the ducts when Zaitsev returns unexpectedly.
* AlasPoorVillain: The runaway HAW-206 tank from ''TESTATION'' is played for empathy because it has the brain of its recently deceased designer controlling it inside.
* [[AlliterativeName Alliterative Title]]: Solid State Society.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: The Major doesn't seem to reciprocate Batou's fairly obvious feelings for her, At least, not in any fairly obvious ways. If she doesn't want you to see it, you won't... unless you look very carefully at how she treats Batou compared to everyone else. They are definitely closer, [[PlatonicLifePartners but on a pure platonic level]].
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: In ''ANNIHILATION'', the Umibozu [[spoiler: storm Section 9 headquarters]].
* AmbiguousDisorder: In ''PORTRAITZ'', Togusa infiltrates a facility for the care of children with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome. Many of the patients he meets show signs that strongly resemble autism.
* AmbiguouslyHuman: Some of the cyborgs are closer to robots than full-body replacement shells.
** [[spoiler: [[MeaningfulName Proto]]]] is a prototype [[AppleSeed bioroid.]]
* AnArmAndALeg: Cruzkowa loses her cybernetic arm when fighting Togusa. It contains a bomb.
** The Major loses her left arm when fighting Gayle.
* AndIMustScream:
** In the episode ''MAKE UP'', the villain took a woman's brain out of her cybernetic body, and dumped it in the trash. Apparently, she was quite alive at the time, but without a body, it's not like she can call for help.
** This happens to the Major when she's StrappedToAnOperatingTable and finds out too late that the doctor is an assassin. She starts by immobilizing the Major's body, then shuts down the vision of her eyes.
* AnimeAccentAbsence: {{Justified|Trope}}. Given the use of cybernetics, it isn't hard to imagine downloading a language or vocal processors.
** The dub attempts to give a British soldier a proper accent in ''Poker Face'', and in the first season, there's a British secretary woman who doesn't seem to know how to properly pronounce "Aramaki".
** Played straight in "Angel's Share", where almost none of the ostensibly British characters have British accents.
** "Captivated" prominently features a Russian character who has no accent whatsoever.
** Thoroughly averted by the CEO character in the Jameson-type body, who has an extremely strong Texan accent in the dub. Kusanagi even comments on "That lame Texan accent" although they should be technically speaking ''Japanese'', not ''English''. '''[[note]]The Kansai dialect of the Japanese language literally cannot be translated into English. The closest that dubs can mimic it is with Texan or Southern accents, so the series justifies the use of saying "Texan accent" to give viewers some sense of familiarity.[[/note]]'''
* AntiClimax: The first season ends this way. [[spoiler: The Major is dead and the remainder of Section 9 is being held in prison for high treason, except for Togusa, who plans on assassinating Yakushima all by himself...until he's stopped by Batou, who reveals that the Major and Section 9 are just fine, and then they find the original Laughing Man. They ask him to join them, and he turns down their offer. Then the Major [[CallBack stands on top of a tall building before jumping off]]. End season]].
* AntiHero: Section 9 is very dedicated in their mission to protect the population and fight injustice. However, doing their job according to the law seems to be an even lesser priority to them than for most of their enemies.
* AntiVillain: The Laughing Man in the first season, and Kuze in ''2nd Gig''. [[spoiler:Both arguably become Anti-Heroes by the end of the series, with the secret ManBehindTheMan in both seasons being the real bad guys]].
** Several among the [[MonsterOfTheWeek "villains of the week".]]
* ArcWords:
** "I thought what I'd do was I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes", most obviously in the Laughing Man's logo.
** "Reset the world" in ''NIGHT CRUISE''.
* ArmCannon:
** Fem has one that shoots ''[[AbnormalAmmo rolls of coins]]'' in a deadly shotgun-like blast.
** Cruzkowa has a hidden [[GatlingGood gatling gun]] in her arm, as well as [[KnifeNut multiple blades]]. This leads to an IncrediblyLamePun when Section 9 finally arrests her:
-->'''Batou''': Man, this old lady has a lot of tricks up her sleeve.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Ghoda delivers one to Section 9 after they find out that they were used as a decoy to recover stolen plutonium. Motoko has to admit that he had a point: [[spoiler: No matter how good the members of Section 9 are, they would easily be wiped out in a fight against an enemy who has numbers on their side.]]
-->'''Batou:''' Just who do you think we are, pal?
-->'''Ghoda:''' The real question is who do you '''think''' ''YOU'' are? [[DreamTeam An elite squad of the hand-picked chosen few?]]
* ArrestedForHeroism: The first season climaxes with Section 9 trying to avoid this. Played straight when Togusa is arrested for using his gun while technically being off-duty when he tried to save a distressed civilian.
* ArrowCam: Used when Saito is sniping a target, such as when he's shooting at the rogue SpiderTank in the second episode.
* ArtificialLimbs: Everything from a single arm and artificial eye (like Saito) to full-body prostheses (like the Major and Batou). Also, nearly everyone has their brain cyberized.
* AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: While it's never confirmed, there is some implication that [[spoiler: Kuze]] might have done this by successfully uploading his consciousness to the net. At the end of the first season, Motoko seems to have spent a good month or so wandering around the net without a body, if her dialogue with Aoi is any indication.
* AsYouKnow: Frequently when Section 9 are discussing details of a case with Aramaki.
* AugmentedReality: Cyberized people can see windows open up in their electronic field of vision.
* AveMachina: One CEO willingly uploads his consciousness into a robot because he loves technology so much. His wife and child aren't so amused.
* BadassBureaucrat: Despite Section 9's small size, Aramaki is the king of the Japanese intelligence, military and police old boy's club.
* BadassCrew: All of Section 9, to the point that the page quote could have been written about them, but the Major deserves extra points in this regard as their leader.
* BadassLongcoat:
** The Major gets one in the opening credits of ''2nd Gig'' to go along with her more modest dress for the sequel, but oddly, doesn't seem to wear it much in the show itself.
** Togusa gets one in ''Solid State Society''.
** The commander of the Umibozu also wears a trenchcoat which is left open at all times.
* BadassMustache: The Umibozu captain has one to go with his SinisterShades.
* BadCopIncompetentCop: The British police.
* BaitAndSwitchGunshot: Subverted twice. Once at the end of ''Jungle Cruise'', where Marco excitedly begs Batou to shoot him just as Togusa rounds the corner and yells for Batou to stop, and once during ''Night Cruise'', where a pimp holds a gun to Gino's head and yells "BANG!". In both instances, the victim reacted as though they were shot before the reveal.
* BananaRepublic: Marcello Jarti hails from the [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny People's Democracy of Jenoma]] in South America.
* BarrierBustingBlow: Several.
* BavarianFireDrill: Section 9 pretends to be from the sanitation department ''and'' a maintenance crew ... in the same episode.
* BattleDiscretionShot: In ''ANNIHILATION'', a group of Umibozu mooks sneak up on Borma right after he says goodbye to Paz. We only hear see the ensuing fight.
* BatmanGambit: The Chief's plan at the end of Season 1, definitely. He was counting on [[spoiler: his team surviving the purge and still trusting him afterwards.]]
* BattleTrophy: In the second season, [[AntiVillain Kuze]] keeps Batou's knife after beating him in a fight. He reclaims it [[spoiler:in the final episode, when Kuze surrenders.]]
* BeatTheCurseOutOfHim: Or in Borma's case, getting the curse beat out of him just ''before'' it can take over his mind. In ''SELECON'', [[spoiler: Borma is going through some essay files while doing research on the Individual Eleven with Ishikawa and Aramaki. He tries to move all the essays into a folder, but moving the last one on the list in with the others triggered a nasty virus that almost shut down his brain.]] Ishikawa had to step in and knock him out with a solid right hook.
* BeingWatched: The Major and Batou can intuit when they are being spied on.
* {{BFG}}: A number of weapons. Saito usually gets the armor-piercing anti-tank sniper rifles, Batou is fond of heavy machine guns and rocket launchers (when available) and one episode has Ishikawa armed with a Big Frigging ''Glue Gun.''
* BerserkButton:
** Never ever try to directly kill Motoko. '''EVER.''' You might just ''live'' to regret it...
--> "HEY SAITO! FORK OVER THAT WEAPON '''''NOW!!!'''''"
*** [[spoiler: She one-arms an ''anti-matériel sniper rifle that's bigger than she is'', charging the weapon after each shot and all]].
** Related to the above, it's typically a very bad idea to go after Togusa and/or his family. The team is especially protective of him and his kin and will go to great lengths to ensure the welfare of them.
*** Speaking of Togusa, in an episode of 2nd Gig , after witnessing a women being killed in a domestic dispute by her boyfriend, Togusa completely flips out on the man. He doesn't kill him though, but he did threaten to. [[spoiler:At the end of the episode though, Section 9 does it for him behind his back......allegedly.]]
* BilingualBonus:
** One for Japanese viewers. A lot of Japanese people don't speak English, so the foreshadowing about the Laughing Man's identity comes under here.
** For non-Japanese viewers, it would have to be the episode "Chat! Chat! Chat!" There's an individual chat room for each of the people speaking, and the whole time the rooms are being updated (the break is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] with a deletion of the cache on the server). In some posts, it would look unconventional to see a few posts as [[TechnologyPorn Shift-JIS art]] and some {{Squee}}ing in another post. In fact, there are also viewers on those chatrooms who are [[ViewersAreGeniuses quite attentive]].
-->''Out of curiousity, how many times has J.D. mentioned the word "source" while in this room?''
-->'''#68''': ''That would be 38 times.''
** Another case: Each episode has a Japanese title and an English title. They don't often mean the same thing.
* BittersweetEnding: In all three cases.
** In the first season, [[spoiler:Secretary-General Yakushima is arrested and brought to justice for his crimes, and Section 9 was able to reunite and continue their work, but we see that some never-explained event happened to Serano prior to being able to testify in court regarding the scandal, and the Tachikomas are all gone. They do come back though.]]
** In the second season, [[spoiler:the refugee island of Dejima is spared from being nuked, and Ghoda eventually gets his comeuppance, but Kuze is murdered in the process, and the Tachikomas have (again) sacrificed themselves to stop the worst-case scenario from happening.]] Though, in this case, [[spoiler:Section 9 tried using Uchikomas instead, since they were suppose to be a superior model. They were less than pleased with how they performed.]]
** In ''Solid State Society'', [[spoiler:the Puppeteer has been killed, Munei's brainwashing program is revealed and shut down, and the Major reunites with Section 9, but the children who were abducted are returned to their homes, where they must again face their abusive parents, or spend years waiting for their cases to percolate through the judicial system.]]
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Crosses over with GoodIsNotNice. Section Nine may be the good guys, but they regularly hack private databases, engage in blackmail, are familiar with torture, kill people, and generally break the laws that would have applied if they weren't above them. It's referenced repeatedly that the only reason they get away with these actions is though Aramaki's brilliant diplomacy.
* BlackBox: Cyberbrains. It's never shown what they look like on the inside, only the outer casing. The interior is implied to be organic, though.
* BlackHelicopter: The Umibozu use them.
* BladeReflection:
** In Kuze's introductory scene, he slowly draws out his katana in front of him, reflecting his eyes in the blade as he pulls it away from the hilt to the tip.
** In ''SELECON'', Batou's combat knife provides a perfect mirror reflection of his face while he's commenting on taking an alternative option for bringing Kuze into custody: by bringing back his head.
-->'''Motoko:''' ''"How sadistic..."''
* BlandNameProduct: All over the place.
** Batou orders a package from "[=ConEx=]".
** In ''EQUINOX'', the CEO of Serano Genomics and the Laughing Man [[spoiler: or the Major impersonating him]] meet in "Starchild Coffee".
** The ninth episode of "2nd Gig" features an advertisement for "Tucky Strike".
* BlondesAreEvil: Cruzkowa.
* BloodFromTheMouth: Frequently when people are killed. Togusa has some rather prominently in the first season after [[BlownAcrossTheRoom taking a beating]] from a hugely strong combat cyborg.
* BluffTheEavesdropper: At one point, the Major realizes that the Tachikomas are observing her meeting with Batou. She and Batou proceed to hold two conversations simultaneously: they speak audibly to mislead the Tachikomas, while using their neural implants to message each other wirelessly and say what they really mean.
* BlushSticker: A Tachikoma, in one of the closing omake animations.
* BodyguardBabes: Marcello Jarti has two female android bodyguards protecting him. They don't last very long against Motoko.
* BondageIsBad: Marco Amoretti's MO is to tie up his female victims before skinning them alive.
* BookEnds:
** The first season begins and ends with Major standing on a rooftop, and Batou appearing in a helicopter rising past it.
** The second season's first and last episodes involve Major Kusanagi shooting a villain in the head, causing it to explode rather violently. This is also a callback to the prologue in the manga and TheMovie.
** Both the end of the first episode of the first season and the end of the last episode of the 2nd series deal with [[spoiler: stopping the defection of a high ranking official to another country]].
** Season 1, Episode 7;
-->'''Inspector:''' ''"...I conclude that this person is '''Marcelo Jarti'''."''
* BoomHeadshot: This is standard operating procedure when fighting cyborgs, as aiming for the center of mass is not a guaranteed kill - only destroying the brain case is.
* BottomlessMagazines: Rarely for the show, played straight in one episode when a [[PsychoForHire deranged mook]] sprays a hallway with gunfire, pinning down Togusa until he can return fire.
* ABoyAndHisX: Batou and his favorite Tachikoma.
* BrainComputerInterface: Most cyborgs have jacks in their necks which can be used to plug into computers or even another person's brain.
* BrainUploading: The practice of "ghost dubbing," which is highly illegal in the Ghost in the Shell universe due to the effects of said dubbing on the original, who suffers severe brain damage and eventually dies.
* BrickJoke: In the first episode, we learn that Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs [[spoiler: likes to swap his brain into robot geishas]] when he's out having a good time, which causes him to [[spoiler: be kidnapped via his brain being put in a box while his body is stolen.]] Much later in the beginning of 2nd Gig, Section 9 sees him at the party for "people of particular tastes" they're staking out, and comment that he hasn't changed much. We also get a closeup of him while the Tachikomas discuss whether the partygoers should be called "perverts" or "eccentric."
* BridgeBunnies: Section 9 employs numerous Operator androids to cover various tasks around headquarters.
* BringNewsBack: Togusa and the head of the Sunflower Society [[MoreHeroThanThou argue over which of them]] should leave with the file containing [[spoiler: the list of cyberbrain sclerosis victims]] when the offices are stormed by corrupt [=NSS=] officers.
* BrokenPedestal: Batou looked up to Zaitsev as an idol. [[spoiler: It seriously angered him to find out he was a spy.]]
* BrownNote: Several interesting takes on this, including one which turns people into fanatical terrorists, though it only works on people with a tendency towards fanaticism in the first place. Other people get far less dramatic reactions: a journalist assumes more radical views and later becomes suicidal, while a professor of sociology just becomes convinced that he's studying a text that does not in fact exist.
* BulletproofHumanShield: The terrorists from ''NOT EQUAL'' use their dead as shields during a firefight.
* BulletproofVest:
** Not that they really ''need'' it, given that most of Section Nine are cyborgs of some sort, but they prefer to wear body armor and combat bodysuits when they're expecting trouble.
** In Solid State Society, bulletproof vests worn over street clothes for a raid, as opposed to combat bodysuits, serve to show how the core team have moved on from being the tip of the spear, and that things have changed significantly from two years ago.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Proto calls out on Aramaki for allowing a secret raid on Ka Rum's island estate in Solid State Society.
--> '''Proto''': "Is that wise, sir? I don't believe she gave you authorization for this."
--> '''Aramaki''': "If no one finds out that I'm the person who opened up Pandora's Box, then I didn't break my word to the Prime Minister."
* CanisLatinicus: The refrain ''"nalyubuites', aeria gloris"'' from the theme song "Inner Universe". While ''nalyubuites''' is correct Russian (meaning "watch in awe"), ''aeria gloris'' is not grammatical in Latin.
* CameraAbuse: Particularly noticeable during the bombardment of Dejima towards the end of ''2nd Gig''.
* CallBack:
** NOT EQUAL has a call back to MISSING HEARTS when a Tachikoma lifts itself into a narrow tunnel saying "I hope I don't get stuck again".
** CASH EYE shows the former Foreign Affairs minister show up to an exclusive party with a Geisha android sex bot, his first appearance in the first episode also concerned him getting into trouble that started with some Geisha androids.
** EXCAVATION refers back to ESCAPE FROM when a Tachikoma connects to a discarded cyberbrain and dejectedly notes that the last time was probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
** During 2nd Gig, Aramaki has the Laughing Man's library checked for a copy of an important text they can't seem to find anywhere, figuring if they can't find it ''there,'' they're not going to find it at all. The library doesn't have it. [[spoiler: Because it doesn't exist.]]
* CameraSpoofing: Taken to extremes, including hacking people's eyes.
* CarChase: Several, including one in ''ANNIHILATION'' where Togusa gets to show off some CarFu.
* CastFromMoney: A cyborg assasin uses coins for her shotgun-style ArmCannon. She does this because she hates rich people and capitalism and loves the {{Irony}} of [[KarmicDeath killing them with money]].
* ChainLinkFence: Big, heavy Tachikoma climbs over a flimsy chain link fence at the top of a high-rise building.
* ChairReveal: When Batou and Togusa burst into what they think is Nanao's apartment, they discover he's not there and his chair is occupied by a sex doll.
* ChalkOutline: In a few episodes.
* ChekhovsGun: Batou gives his favorite Tachikoma some natural lubricant in Episode 2, which allows it to [[spoiler: self-activate in Episode 12, thus sparking a chain of events that eventually leads to all of the Tachikoma being disbanded... and developing individual ghosts.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: The punch that Zaitsev uses to knock out Batou when they spar for the first time. At the end of the episode, Batou challenges Zaitsev to a fight when arresting him and says he'll let him go if he can punch him out again. [[spoiler: Subverted in that Batou blocks it - he let Zaitsev win the first time.]]
* AChildShallLeadThem: In "Not Equal" Eka Turkuro, a girl who was kidnapped by a terrorist group called the New World Brigade, reappears as the ''leader'' of the group 16 years later. Except [[spoiler:she's not really Eka, she's her ''daughter''. The real Eka? The old woman no one noticed]].
* CityOfAdventure: Niihama is where most of the series takes place.
* TheCityNarrows: The abandoned docks by the port.
* ClickHello:
** ''CAPTIVATED'' has Batou doing this [[spoiler: to Cruzkowa immediately after she and Motoko engage in a MexicanStandoff with each other]].
** [[spoiler:the man who kills Nanao sneaks up behind him and does this]].
* CloningBodyParts: A company in the first season grows cloned organs in genetically engineered pigs for its clients as a combined insurance policy (since you can have the organs implanted in you if there's an accident) and investment (since you can opt to sell your unused cloned organs). This was borrowed from the second manga volume.
* ColonCancer: ''Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig'' and ''Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society''.
* CompilationMovie: ''The Laughing Man'' and ''Individual Eleven'' cover the main story arcs of the first and second seasons, respectively.
* ConcealmentEqualsCover:
** In ''CAPTIVATED'', Batou dodges gunfire by ducking behind an I-beam.
** Averted in ''RE-VIEW'' when Togusa hides behind a desk to evade a group of gunmen and gets hit anyway by a stray bullet.
* ConspicuousCG:
** Noticeable in the first season opening, as well as some brief moments during some fight sequences. Curiously averted with the Tachikomas, who are animated in 3D first and made to look 2D with some particularly good looking cel-shading programs, right down to any battle damage they receive.
** Virtually every mode of transport, be it car, jet, copter, or monorail, and in addition to all these, robotic weaponry, is animated in blatant 3D. Although the animation's impressively refined, it's jarring when any one of these gets blown to bits and what's left of them mid-explosion gets drawn in 2D animation.
** Also, the collapsing bridge near the end of 2nd Gig is quite obviously CG. Still looks good though.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Episode 9 revolves a group of them who gather in a chatroom to discuss the Laughing Man.
* ContinuityNod:
** In the 3rd volume of the ''Stand Alone Complex'' manga, Section 9 is watching a news report discussing famous South American war hero Marcello Jarti supposedly returning to Japan. The scrolling news ticker at the bottom of the screen mentions that Kenbishi Industries' stock jumped significantly after the debut of their latest tank, a nod to the 2nd episode, ''TESTATION.''
** Remember Aramaki's missing brother from season 1? He makes a cameo appearance in 2nd Gig so Kuze has someone to explain his plans to.
* ContemplateOurNavels: In-universe
** The Tachikomas' tendency to do this makes Motoko worry about their efficiency as fighting machines and that they might become too intelligent.
** Batou has a rather lengthy inquisitive conversation with Gouda when the two meet up at the site of the Individual Eleven's (minus Kuze) cluster suicide. They ping-pong a discussion about dreams of power; what would drive a person to such extremes, and how they could possibly succeed with their wild-eyed intentions. They agree it's all factored on desire, knowledge, and an "X factor," pure luck. However, Batou was actually prodding at Gouda to see if he could get him to admit to following any of these dogmatic ideals himself- since Section 9 correctly suspects Gouda is quietly brewing ominous plans in secrecy. But, he's effectively caught on, kept all his bases covered, and behaved so passively and resigned thus far, he's shown not a shred of nervousness at any given time, which would help give him away as "guilty." By the time they finish speaking, you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. [[spoiler: In the end, Batou manages to insult Ghoda's pride just enough that Ghoda reveals something that only the creator of the Individual 11 virus could know, and he challenges Section 9 to try and stop his plan.]]
* ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind:
** Batou rescues Motoko a few times this way, such as her MexicanStandoff with Cruzkova.
** She saves Vice-Minister Jin from Tsujisaki Yu's assassination attempt this way as well.
* CoolCar:
** Batou drives a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancia_Stratos_HF Lancia Stratos]], a ''very'' rare 1970s racing coupe.
** In ''Solid State Society'', Batou's Stratos is replaced by a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_GT Ford GT]]. The Major can't help but point out his change in taste.
*** The Major herself has a green Ferrari F430 ''Solid State Society'' that she apparently modified herself. [[spoiler: Her security mods are what tip Batou off that the car is hers, right before it gets wrecked during their fight with Ma Shaba's powered armor.]]
** The animators must have a fetish for Lamborghini's as it's not uncommon to see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Murci%C3%A9lago Murcielago]]'s (their top of the line model when the series was made) driving around town in both S.A.C. and 2nd Gig. Also, during ¥€$, Batou stumbles upon a garage filled mostly with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Countach Lamborghini Countaches]].
** Many of the cars featured puttering about in ''Stand Alone Complex'' are actual concept cars from the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. Honda's Dualnote hybrid sports car concept, then one of the firm's proposals for a replacement for their NSX supercar, makes quite a few appearances. The then-new Mazda RX-8 also shows up a few times.
*** Continues in Solid State Society where Aramaki is driven around in the Infiniti Kuraza concept car from the 2005 Detroit Auto Show.
* CoolCodeOfSource: When Ishikawa is hacking, lines of code tend to scroll down the screen far faster than any human could possibly read them. As a cyborg, it's likely he has no problem, though.
* CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority: The reason why the Laughing Man is so popular.
* CoolPlane: The Tiltrotor that Section 9 uses, the helicopters the Umibozu use, and the wasp-like Jigabachi helicopters from the second season all qualify.
* CopKiller: A plainclothes officer working the Laughing Man case is killed in what appears to be a car accident. Until [[spoiler:Section 9 learns that the accident was engineered by the bad guys in the first season in order to prevent another investigation of the case.]]
* CopShow: With {{Cyberpunk}}!
* CorruptPolitician: The Yakushima administration in the first season, as well as a few cabinet leaders in the 2nd season.
** Kanzaki from the episode ''CAPTIVATED'', although he's more dishonest than corrupt (he later makes a HeelFaceTurn).
* CranialProcessingUnit: Braincases, which allows robots to be killed instantly with [[BoomHeadshot headshots]] (as seen in the first episode).
* CreatorCameo: Kenji Kamiyama's name appears on the rim the cybernetic eye in the first episode of the first series. In Second Gig, he is seen on a security camera system driving a car.
* CriminalMindGames: The Laughing Man seems to enjoy toying with authority figures a lot as they struggle to figure out his true identity.
* CriminalDoppelganger: Pazu gets one in the second season. [[spoiler: Motoko has one in the PS2 game.]]
* CutTheJuice: Ishikawa's emergency anti-hacking measure is an electrical main and a fire axe in the computer room, which he uses to foil a hacking attempt that he can't stop electronically.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]], although the general consensus is that they don't and cyborgs are just as human as anyone else. Certain religions and factions, such as the Human Liberation Front, believe this completely, which is why they refuse to even let themselves be cyberized. [[InvertedTrope There are some major religions that have changed their views in favor of cyberization, and benefited from it as well.]]
* {{Cyberpunk}} / PostCyberpunk: ''Ghost in the Shell'' has been classified by some commentators as Neo-Cyberpunk or Post-Cyberpunk rather than classic 1980s Cyberpunk, in that the protagonists of GITS work ''for'' the government and hunt down terrorists instead of being urban guerrillas and streetpunks fighting against governments and mega-corps. Most noticeably, while GITS shows a global community still suffering from the aftereffects of a third and fourth World War, the society in those nations that we get to see has ''not'' utterly collapsed and segregated into corporate wage-slaves living in gated communities ("arcologies") on the one hand and the rest of the population living in dismal slums outside the system. The Japan of GITS, while being something of a police state with government and intelligence service controlling the propaganda permeating the media, still has an urban middle class, nature resorts and traditional society. Even the poor and the refugees in their ghetto are not "invisible" and "falling through the cracks" (except in a social sense). Instead, cyberbrain interconnectedness is widespread and surveillance by public cameras, spy satellites and the Net is all-pervasive.
* {{Cyberspace}}, specifically of the {{Metaverse}} variety (see the episode where Major Kusanagi visits a chat room, for an example), though not the central theme.
* CyberPunkIsTechno: Played straight and subverted with the soundtrack, which also includes Jazz, Punk Rock, Folk, Easy Listening, Hip-Hop, and Funk, among other genres.
* CyberpunkWithAChanceOfRain: A couple of scenes, but otherwise subverted.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:D-I]]
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: The Umibozu commander in the endgame of SAC, who counters ''every single play'' Section Nine throws at him.
* DavidVersusGoliath: In the ''Stand Alone Complex'' manga's ''Tachikomatic Days'' bonus chapter, the Tachikomas are sent to a construction site to earn more experience and learn. They decide to challenge a gigantic Power Loader commonly found in strip mining pits in protest to doing menial labor. The boss shows up in a smaller version commonly found in construction sites, and [[CurbStompBattle proceeds to instantly beat them all.]] Played for laughs of course.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: In 'Jungle Cruise' we can get a little insight in Batou's background. [[WarIsHell It is not pretty]].
* ADayInTheLimelight: Several episodes focus heavily on Tachikomas. Pazu and Saito each get one in ''2nd Gig''. Batou and Togusa both get a few over the series.
* DeadManWriting: The clues Yamaguchi leaves to Togusa in the Interceptor case.
* DeadlyDoctor: Sano in the episode ''SCANDAL''.
* DeadUnicornTrope: The series' subtitle is the in-universe name for it. A "stand alone complex" refers to copycat activities (criminal or otherwise, but in the context of the show mostly criminal or terrorist) which mimic a supposed original that doesn't exist.
* DeathGlare:
** The Major can do little else while StrappedToAnOperatingTable with her [[AndIMustScream speech center immobilized]].
-->Sano: "My, what rebellious eyes. That won't do." ''(cuts out her vision as well)''
** Aramaki gives a particularly epic one to the wine bank robber in ''Angel's Share'' while tied up and with a gun to his forehead. It's enough to get the robber to back down.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: While "Friendship" can be debated given the personalities involved, in [[spoiler:Saito]]'s {{flashback}} in ''POKER FACE'', the Major's first words to him after their duel are:
-->'''Japanese dub:''' ''You're pretty good. I want you to join my team.''
-->'''English dub:''' ''From now on, you're mine!''
* DidTheyOrDidntThey: The Major may or may not have slept with [[spoiler:Batou]] during episode 25 of the first season. It's another shot you might miss if you look away, as the two of them (wearing their undershirts and having had the [[ViewersAreGeniuses prerequisite discussion of mnemonic devices as related to personal identity]]) walk off together with [[spoiler: Batou]]'s arm around the Major's waist.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: A few scenes, such as the training exercise from episode 15.
* DesignatedGirlFight: Rarely for the series. The Major enters a hotel room in pursuit of Marcelo Jarti and has to fight his two android BodyguardBabes, whom he left behind to delay her while he escapes.
* DesignStudentsOrgasm: Some depictions of cyberspace, such as the beginning of the first season finale [[spoiler: when the Major exists online in an incorporeal state]]. See ExtremeGraphicalRepresentation.
* DieHardOnAnX: Die Hard in a... wine bank. Interestingly played in that it was a ''double'' hostage situation, with the ex-mob bank robbers holding Aramaki and his friend, and the mob-bribed police ready to swoop in and kill them all. Aramaki plays the John [=McClane=] role hilariously as he starts ordering the would-be hostage-takers around so that they can all get out alive.
* DigitalAvatar: See {{Cyberspace}} example above. Called attention to by the Tachikomas in one episode. While they use full avatars, most of the team use a generic "labeled triangle in circle" to identify themselves.
* DirtyCommunists: Fem, the radical leftist villain from ''¥€$''.
* DistressBall: Despite an overwhelming amount of experience and knowledge about political and domestic affairs, Aramaki falls victim to this when he hears his brother was arrested under (falsified) drug trafficking charges. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that he was previously shown to be upset over his dedication to keeping his personal and professional actions separate, to the point of refusing to help the daughter of his former best friend. His guilt over this contributes to his resolve cracking and decision to personally investigate his brother, according to the dialog at the end.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: The United States has been split up into the United States Of America, the Russo-American Alliance, and Imperial Americana. The 50 states are almost evenly divided up between the three, though Imperial Americana takes up the largest portion of the country. They also play a major part of the storyline in 2nd Gig.
** The United States of America now consists of the states of Washington, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.
** The Russo-American Alliance consists of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and the entire New England area.
** The American Empire (Imperial Americana) makes up the largest part of the country, with all the states east New Mexico, south of South Dakota, and south of the New England area. Washington D.C. is part of this country.
* DoAndroidsDream: A main general theme of the GITS franchise. Not only do the Tachikomas do this, but the humans themselves do as well, though in the opposite fashion: at what point does a human ''stop'' being a human, if there is such a point?
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: The Major had difficulty controlling her prosthetics when she first became a cyborg. The opening sequence of the first season show her crushing a doll due to being unable to control her hand properly. Incidentally, full-prosthetic cyborgs have a theoretically limitless amount of strength (all comes down to technology,) so there are laws put in place preventing citizens from using their bodies to jump around as a faster form of transportation in order to cut down on property damage. There are many instances in the series where Motoko, Batou, or the Tachikomas survive free-falls from heights that would easily kill them, but they land with very minimal (if any) damage to themselves or the surroundings.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: In ''¥€$'', watch when the Major gets knocked into a pile of garbage by the criminal's android. Although it's only on screen for a second, an [[GagPenis enormous cannon]] can be seen unfolding from the android's crotch.
* DoNotAdjustYourSet: When the Laughing Man hacks the Superintendent-General's brain as he's giving a speech on live TV.
* DramaticGunCock:
** It seems to be a rule that nobody can load a weapon in this show (or even point it at someone else) without noisily chambering a round.
** Done over the the top in 'Jungle Cruise' with Batou breaching a door in the sewers. He scans the (empty) area pointing his gun at walls and his every move is accompanied by a reloading sound.
* DressHitsFloor: Motoko pulls this off in ''Cash Eye''. [[FridgeLogic How she managed to conceal a full body suit underneath an evening dress is anyone's guess.]]
* DressingAsTheEnemy: The Major steals a British SWAT trooper's uniform to rescue Aramaki in ''ANGELS' SHARE'' using nothing but [[ShowSomeLeg her sex appeal]].
* DrivenToSuicide: One politician attempts to commit "cyberbrain suicide" over the scandal over cyberbrain sclerosis coming to light.
* DueToTheDead: Aramaki tells Togusa to put some flowers on Yamaguchi's grave in gratitude for discovering the Laughing Man's return.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: The [[spoiler: Tachikomas using the satellite holding their memories as an]] interceptor missile to stop a nuclear strike.
* {{Eagleland}}: The American Empire was [[Manga/{{Appleseed}} established in other]] Creator/ShirowMasamune works to specifically be Type 2, leaving the United States of America and Russo-American Alliance as Type 1. They are the main the cause of trouble for Section 9 in the series, either manipulating them for their own ends, or by being racist, incompetent military leaders who are trying to find a way to stabilize their own economy through foreign affairs.
* ElectronicTelepathy: Section 9 can use their cyberbrains to communicate silently.
* EliteMooks: The Umibozu.
* EmpathicEnvironment: Mentioned by the Major after the Laughing Man returns and the sunset tints everything the same colour.
* EnemyMine: When Aramaki is held hostage by ex-mobsters in episode 16, he convinces them to work with him to escape when the police show up.
* EnhanceButton: Used in "Interceptors" as part of a ShoutOut to ''Film/BladeRunner''; the terminology used by the voice-activated photo-enhancement program is even identical, with Togusa saying lines like "Enhance 32 to 50" while studying a set of photos a friend from the police force died trying to get to him.
** Best part: the enhancing does bupkis for the investigation. Togusa's EurekaMoment comes after hours of pointless enhancing when he comes to a picture of [[spoiler:a mirror that doesn't reflect a ''camera.'' This is when he realizes that the pictures were taken with the (minimally-enhanced) subject's ''eyes.'' Someone lo-jacked the subject with {{Nanomachines}}!]]
* EpicFail: The credits sequence for the second season of ''Tachikomatic Days'' plays out like a scene from VideoGame/DigDug, with a Tachikoma using the air pump to inflate a Jamison-type robot. The Tachikoma somehow manages to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR6oj8HVGZE inflate itself]] instead.
* EtherealChoir: In the soundtrack, although not as much as the movie had (eg. the song "Stamina Rose").
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The Laughing Man: the real one, rather than the many impersonators that cropped up over the years - gets fed up with the latest police corruption scandal and gives a dire (if vague) warning to the police commissioner to come clean during his next speech, ''or else.'' Because of the sensationalism of the literal MemeticMutation of the Laughing Man, people from all walks of life come out to try assassinating the commissioner, each claiming to be the real Laughing Man. The police conspirators even had their own fake set up but were totally unprepared for sheer numbers who showed up to take a shot at the commissioner. The kicker is that apparently the real Laughing Man didn't even do a thing other than issue a threat; the imitators did all the work without even being mind-controlled.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Major Kusanagi is almost always simply referred to as "the Major" Of course, she doesn't introduce herself as just "The Major" to people, and close friends are exempt. In fact, she hates it when anyone calls her by her name while she's on duty.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Some cars blow up extremely easily, such as Yamaguchi's in the crash where he dies.
* EveryonesBabySister: Togusa for Section 9. Partly because he's the team's only non-{{Cyborg}} member and partly because he has a family. This can be seen best in the episode "One Angry Man -- TRIAL", where [[spoiler: trying to drag Togusa's name through the mud leads a {{Domestic Abuse}}r and his lawyer to suffer an [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident unfortunate car accident]].]]
* EvilPlan: Ghoda in the second season. [[spoiler:He's the one controlling Kuze]].
* ExpandedUniverse: The light novels, Playstation 2, and PSP video games are all written by the storywriters for the series itself, and are considered Stand Alone Episodes.
* ExpendableClone: It's possible, though very, ''very'' illegal and expensive, to copy a person wholesale, right down to the essence of what could be called their ''soul''. The "illegal" part mostly comes from the fact that "ghost dubbing", as it's called, requires the subject to be so thoroughly analyzed that it's taken apart, a process few individuals can survive more than a few times. With all that said, however, it is possible to create lots of copies of the same guy, and one episode deals with a South American revolutionary leader who seemingly has an endless supply of body-doubles...
* ExtremeGraphicalRepresentation: Cyberspace is full of flashy lights and colors as well as being fully 3D. It resembles an [[InsideAComputerSystem elaborate VR simulation]] more than present-day Internet browsing.
* ExtremeMeleeRevenge: The Armed Suit who fights Batou in ''BARRAGE'' taunts him by tossing his body around like a rag doll, [[AndThisIsFor in revenge for his comrades that he killed]].
* EyepatchOfPower:
** Saito has his Hawkeye program hidden behind his eyepatch.
** Cruzkowa provides a rare female example, but hers doesn't particularly do anything.
** In Solid State Society, Raj Puhto from the collapsed Seok Republic has one.
* EyeScream:
** If Saito's flashback in episode 14 of ''2nd Gig'' is to be believed, he lost his left eye when Motoko sniped over his nose just as he was retreating back behind a wall for cover.
** The one who died in the knife fight at the end of "MAKE UP".
* TheFaceless: The Laughing Man superimposes his logo over his own face and that of people he controls.
* FakingTheDead: Part of Section 9's plan while [[spoiler: evacuating their headquarters]] is to leave several prosthetic bodies laying around in the hopes that they'll be confused with those of the actual members.
* FallenHero: Zaitsev is a former boxer and Paralympics silver-medalist who had more than enough skill and fortitude to take the gold. [[spoiler: Because he threw that fight, he had lost his way and resorted to spying on the country just to make some cash.]] [[BrokenPedestal Batou is understandably a little more than pissed off when he finds his idol had sunk so low.]]
* FanDisservice: In one episode where we're introduced to a HospitalHottie doctor via a MaleGaze close-up of her high-heels and [[{{Gainaxing}} bouncing breasts]], who then proceeds to carry out an [[CreepyPhysical intimate examination]] of the Major's body whilst making overt LesYay comments. Things quickly turn here when we realise she's [[spoiler: a corrupt narcotics officer out to kill the Major once she's been immobilized.]]
* FantasticSlur: One of the Tachikomas mentions that "cyborg" is considered a slur by some people.
* {{Fetish}}: In-canon
** In ''Cash Eye'', the leader of a bank corporation admits he has a fetish for having sex with women who have fully-prosthetic bodies. He'd rather do it while said bodies are running, but the women inside are inactive.
** The first episode of the first season has an elderly minister who likes swapping his brain into that of a sexy geisha whenever he gets drunk. Unfortunately this sets him up as a prime candidate for a GrandTheftMe when his brain's exposed.
* FiringInTheAirALot: Batou empties the clip of his assault rifle into the air out of anger after realizing the Laughing Man hacked his eyes and walked away right in front of him at the end of ''ERASER''. A rare instance of RecklessGunUsage from him.
* FiringOneHanded:
** Togusa does it with an assault rifle in ''NOT EQUAL'', although it isn't shown that he ''hits'' anything either.
** In ''RE-VIEW'', Gayle (the head of the DEA squad that storms the Sunflower Society's offices) also does it, although in this case it's a hint that [[spoiler: he's a full-body cyborg, and Togusa is no match for him]].
** In ''ERASER'', Kusanagi fires Saito's anti-tank rifle at Gayle one-handed, in revenge for him [[spoiler:almost crushing her skull beneath the foot of his PoweredArmor. Of course, two-handed wasn't exactly an option at the time; she only had the one arm left from the battle.]]
* FishEyeLens: Used in episode 2 at various points, specifically when showing Motoko or Batou from the camera view from inside their Tachikomas.
* ForcedToWatch:
** Serial killer Marco Amoretti links with his victims' brains so they can [[MurdererPOV view themselves]] being tortured and murdered from his perspective.
** The SST team who plugged into Eka Turkuro's brain were apparently [[GoMadFromTheRevelation horrified]] by what they saw.
* ForeignLanguageTheme: The opening and ending themes for both seasons and ''Solid State Society'' are either performed in Russian and English (with a little Latin in the first season's opener) or entirely in English.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Listen closely to the conversation between Aramaki and Ghoda in episode four of 2nd Gig. That seemingly unimportant line: "...And of course, the occasional manipulation of public opinion" during Ghoda's description of CIS duties becomes very important later on.
** During the last episode of 2nd Gig; blink and you'll miss it when the Tachikomas [[spoiler: transfer themselves off their satellite, setting up their return in Solid State Society.]]
* FreezeFrameBonus: Each episode's title card includes a multi-paragraph description of the opening scene which doesn't appear onscreen long enough to read in full.
* FriendlyEnemy: Zaitsev becomes friends with Batou, unaware the whole time that Batou is tailing him on suspicion of espionage.
* {{Gainaxing}}: Sano is introduced in ''SCANDAL'' through a lingering shot of her cleavage. This is the first clue that she's a FemmeFatale.
* GambitPileup: The end of 2nd Gig sees [[spoiler:Ghoda's, Kuze's]], and Section 9's plans all collide together.
* GasMaskMooks:
** The SWAT team that occasionally helps out Section 9. And by help, read "form a shield wall and look scary".
** The DEA hit squad that storms the Sunflower Society's offices in ''RE-VIEW'' also have them.
* GatlingGood: Batou uses a minigun at one point, and the Tachikomas can have their grenade launchers switched out with rotary cannons when needed.
* GenreRoulette: The Tachikomatic Days short from episode 16 goes from a ''StarWars'' parody to ... a romance series?
* GetAHoldOfYourselfMan: Used at various points, but the most notable example by Batou to Motoko when she experiences a HeroicBSOD from getting too close to Kuze's consciousness.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: ''SCANDAL'' has a lot of fairly blatant LesYay in the scene where the Major goes to get her body replaced, such as Kurutan enthusing over how great the Major's body is and wondering what she could do with it.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: The team that plugged into Eka Turkuro's brain are so traumatized by their findings that Batou has literally [[GetAholdOfYourselfMan grab ahold of one]] to get him to talk about it.
* {{Gonk}}: The Minister of the Interior.
* GoodIsNotNice: Not at all. The methods used by the heroes are really not much different than those of the villains. Their aims are.
* GoodNewsBadNews: The Major delivers some to Aramaki when he's in the hospital at the end of ''SCANDAL''. One is about the case, the other is about his brother.
* GoodOldWays: Inverted in the Season 1 finale. [[spoiler:It's Aramaki who's calling old-fashioned paper books obsolete, and the young Laughing Man who's defending them.]]
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Whenever Section 9 smokes, it's of the SmokingIsCool variety (eg. Ishikawa really shouldn't be smoking while working on his computer; Batou doesn't need to smoke because he's a cyborg, etc.).
* {{Gorn}}: The scene where [[spoiler:the Major blows off Gouda's head at close range]], as well as Marco Amoretti's murders in the episode ''JUNGLE CRUISE''.
* GoryDiscretionShot: When Nanao is killed by a gunshot to the head. Only a few specks of blood can be seen onscreen.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: Several, most notably Section 9 itself. The other Sections all have their own territories and obligations, and many take on the roles equivalent to many real life agencies.
** Section 1 deals with criminal investigations within the territory of Japan. Think FBI.
** Section 2 is controlled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. They police any and all matters regarding any illegal testing or experimentation of new biomedical technology or drugs. They ''would'' be the ones in charge of the Laughing Man incident if not for the fact that they're backed up by the use of micro-machine technology and therefore can't get involved. (Have to let a neutral, unbiased 3rd party take care of that.)
** Section 3 deals with drug-related crimes. Trafficking, smuggling, etc. Basically equivalent of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
** Section 4, seen at the end of 2nd Gig, is a squad of Rangers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. Think Green Berets or Navy S.E.A.L.S.
** Section 6 deals with intelligence gathering on international crime and terrorism. They have the authority to carry out hits on members of other Sections if they find sufficient evidence to support a crime linked to that person. Think CIA.
** Section 9 is a cyber-warfare counter-terrorism unit. The blurring of technology and humanity usually means that some form of cyber technology (no matter how small) will be involved in almost any crime committed within Japan.
* GovernmentConspiracy: Part of the {{Cyberpunk}} theme of the series.
* GrandTheftMe: The first episode involves a government official with a fetish for swapping out his brain into a sexy female robot body, and this leaves him open for attack by a spy who swaps his own brain into the official's body. Fortunately they were able to recover the real minister's braincase.
* GratuitousEnglish: Dramatic reveal moments are made somewhat {{narm}}ful by Japanese voice actors saying things like "Stando Arone Conpureksu". In the Major's conversation with the Laughing Man at the end of the first season, where he replies to her questions with the English "yes" and "no", because its his native language (see BilingualBonus, above).
* GreatOffscreenWar: WorldWarIII and [[WorldWarWhatever IV]], but also a covert operation in Central America that Batou served in as part of a conflict between America and Japan.
* GroinAttack:
** During the shootout in Kusanagi's mansion, Batou gets his crotch stomped on by a pissed-off mook in PoweredArmor. Even though Batou's a full-body cyborg he doesn't find it a pleasant experience. However, the mook wasn't so much stomping on his groin, but rather the entire midsection of Batou's body.
** Motoko escapes from one mook who has her in a headlock this way.
* GuileHero: Aramaki. Without his skill at politicking, Section 9 would not be able to operate. Especially evident at the end of the first season. The Major, Batou and Saitou also have elements of this, using mind games to gain the advantage in a fight.
* GunsAkimbo: The Major wields twin pistols when fighting Gayle in ''ERASER''.
* HandSignals: Multiple examples in both series. One notable examples is Motoko and Batou using this when they infiltrate a youth reform facility for fear of having their comms intercepted/destroyed/hacked after losing contact with Togusa.
* HarmlessVillain: Most of the people that Section 9 goes after are political criminals more than violent ones.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Aramaki presents the prime minister with evidence of the cyberbrain-sclerosis cure scandal that indicts a lot of people in power, including the vice-minister. The PM asks how many other people know. You can guess what happens next.
* HeartDrive: Anyone with a cyberized brain has the capability of transferring it over into a new body as long as it remains safe and undamaged.
* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: In Saito's flashback in "Poker Face" initially Kusanagi, Batou and Ishikawa are all wearing the white UN Peacekeeper helmets until he starts sniping them, at which point they remove them. It's justified because the stark white of the helmets is actually endangering them by making them easier to see, the former two are full-body cyborgs, and they find out firsthand that the helmets might as well be tissue paper when faced with a high-velocity round when Saito takes out several of their helmeted comrades.
* HeroicBSOD:
** Togusa almost snaps from being out of the loop for three months at the end of the first season. Luckily Batou stops him before he can do anything rash.
** Motoko suffers one [[spoiler: after coming into contact with Kuze's consciousness]] and makes a rash decision that gets one of the rookie members killed. She's able to snap out of it soon enough though.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:The Tachikomas. In ''both'' seasons]] also counts as TearJerker and CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* HeroKiller: The Umibozu. They don't actually kill any members of Section 9 ([[spoiler: except the Major, and even then she had no intention of actually dying]]), but when they go after them it's the first time Section 9 is so thoroughly defeated.
* HeKnowsTooMuch: Whenever Section 9 discovers the identity of a potential key witness who is not already in custody, they'll inevitably arrive at a police cordon around the murder scene.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Episode 10 revolves around this and [[spoiler:until the last minute it seems Batou will fall prey to this]].
* HeyYouHaymaker: Batou delivers one to the GiantMook android in episode 14.
* HollywoodHacking: Skilled hackers like Ishikawa are able to whip up cyber-vaccines in a matter of minutes. Notably, the Laughing Man is said to be able to hack into computer networks and replace other people's faces with his logo ''in real time''.
* HollywoodHealing: Togusa gets mortally wounded in ''REVIEW'', but is well enough to drive just a few episodes later. This is possibly justified by better medical technology in the future, but he's still not a cyborg who can simply swap bodies like the Major can (and does).
* HollywoodPoliceDrivingAcademy: The CarChase in ''ANNIHILATION'' shows the police being terrible drivers in general, including crashing into other cars, although they catch up with [[spoiler: Togusa and Aramaki]] eventually.
* {{Homage}}: The opening titles for 2nd GIG homage Film/TheMatrix, with Section 9 looking badass in trenchcoats, a green tint on some shots, and a scene of Motoko and Kuze that happens nowhere in the actual show styled after Neo's meeting with the Architect.[[note]] This is an homage coming full-circle, as Film/TheMatrix was pitched as a live-action Ghost in the Shell and owed much of its style to the original movie.[[/note]]
* HospitalHottie: Sano from ''SCANDAL'' tries to be this, but it soon becomes apparent that she's really AWolfInSheepsClothing.
* HostageSituation: ''ANGELS' SHARE'' is an entire episode about this trope as well as a subversion in that it's more about [[EnemyMine Aramaki cooperating with his captors in order to get them all out safely]].
* HumanTrafficJam: Happens to the Tachikomas in episode "Ag[[subscript:2]]O" when the one in front stops to speak to Batou.
* HypocriticalHumor: When the Major arrives at a party posing as a sexbot, her team is leering at her SexyBacklessOutfit / AbsoluteCleavage dress but then get indignant when one of the guests feels her up.
* INeedToGoIronMyDog: The Tachicomas attempt this in 2nd Gig. When they discover that they're going to be going up against [[OhCrap anti-tank attack helicopters]], they try to claim that they need to return to base because they have stomachaches. Batou isn't fooled or amused.
* IconOfRebellion: The Laughing Man's symbol.
* IdiotBall:
** On a meta level, ''Motoko herself'' in ''CAPTIVATED'' when she arrests Cruzkova. In the real world, anyone with military or police training would tell you that 11 feet is the bare minimum distance you need to hold a gun up to someone, giving you enough time and distance to react if someone were to try and pull a fast one like Cruzkova did with her hidden knife. It would be safe enough to apprehend her only after Batou showed up as backup. Although it made for a more intense scene, Motoko needlessly put herself in harms way.
** An offscreen moment for Ghoda in ''2nd Gig'' that gets him into a lot of trouble down the line. When manufacturing your own terrorist group, it's generally a good idea to give them something remotely resembling a [[TerroristsWithoutACause coherent ideology.]]
** The refugee sniper who fired the first shot. Although this was thanks to the [=JMSDF=]'s jamming, it ended up lighting the powder keg between the refugees and the armed forces.
* IdTellYouButThenIdHaveToKillYou: Paz says this to a {{Mook}} in ''Solid State Society''.
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow:
** When Batou is tailing Zaitsev, both begin to suspect the other of being up to something suspicious. They both are - Batou is under orders to investigate him for espionage.
** In the episode ''POKER FACE'', Saito thinks that the Major doesn't have control software installed for mid-range aiming, based on her shooting. [[spoiler: It turns out that was deliberately being inefficient to mislead him, allowing her to blind him with a sort-of ScopeSnipe.]]
* ImpairmentShot: When Aramaki is drugged in ''SCANDAL'' and Batou links with his brain, his vision becomes blurred and staggering.
* ImpersonationGambit: In ''EQUINOX'', [[spoiler: the Major, pretending to be the Laughing Man]] kidnaps the CEO of Serano Genomics in order to get some incriminating dirt on Yakushima's role in the cyberbrain sclerosis affair.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Justified, since people can download specialized aiming software to make them crack shots.
* InASingleBound: Cyborgs can jump much higher than unaugmented humans and Section 9 uses this to their advantage, such as when Batou jumps on the roof of a garage to avoid a pack of robotic guard dogs. There are laws in place to prevent property damage (such as Motoko's landing impact in the first opening) but despite that, jumping from location to location would sometimes be a more effective means of travel.
** The ultimate example is in ''Solid State Society'' when Batou jumps off the top of a '''skyscraper''' just because it's the fastest way for him to chase after his target. [[AllThereInTheManual Even though cyborgs have theoretically limitless strength and durability,]] Batou should not have been able to survive that.
* InformalEulogy: Batou does a visual version where he places a lit cigarette in a bottle and prays over it like a stick of incense for the [[spoiler:Individual Eleven]] as part of his attempt to [[spoiler:[[BreakingSpeech break Ghoda by talking to him]]]].
* InformationWantsToBeFree: The micro-machine industry muzzled the discovery of the cure for cyberbrain sclerosis. Laughing Man wants to expose them.
* InfraredXrayCamera: Section 9 uses something like this to spy on suspects through walls, eg. when Batou is staking out Nanao's apartment.
* InnocuouslyImportantEpisode: The [[TearJerker heartbreaking]] episode ''Affection'' in 2ng Gig seems to be just a standalone episode made to shed some light on The Major's tragic past. Turns out it [[spoiler:explains a lot of ''Kuze's'' past too, and shows how he and The Major met when they were much younger]]. This does not become explicitly apparent until the end of the season.
* InSeriesNickname: The other members of S-9 have been known to call Motoko as "Queen Kong" and "Major She-Ape" when she's not around to hear it. The Tachikomas simply refer to her as "God".
* InsistentTerminology: Whenever [[GreatOffscreenWar World War IV]] is referred to, it's always done so as "World War IV, the unofficial Second Vietnam War" or "Non-Nuclear World War IV".
* InstantAIJustAddWater: Numerous examples, such as the [[SexBot Jeri]] from the third episode, or even the Tachikomas.
* InstantDeathBullet: Every now and then someone gets killed instantly when getting shot. Mostly mooks that S9 ends up fighting against or anyone who gets shot in the head.
* IntentionalEngrishForFunny: The ending theme of the first season ("Lithium Flower") sounds like a BlindIdiotTranslation, but it was written by an American, Tim Jensen.
* InternalReformist: As mentioned on the page, Section 9 is Type 2 with a healthy dose of Type 1 thrown in. They are a police force who for the most part believe in doing what is ''right'' for the future of the country in order to maintain peace and order. This means exposing the very corruption within the government that allows them to exist if need be.
* IntrepidReporter: One appears outside the Superintendent-General's home after the Laughing Man's ghost-hacking incident, which annoys him greatly.
* InvisibilityCloak: Thermoptic camouflage.
* ItAlwaysRainsAtFunerals:
** Yamaguchi's funeral in the episode ''INTERCEPTOR''.
** When Aramaki visits Tsujisaki's grave in ''LOST HERITAGE'', it's also raining.
* ItsQuietTooQuiet: When the team are storming the terrorist cell's hideout in episode 12.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:J-P]]
* JustAMachine: Motoko thinks this about the Tachikomas, who manage to literally evolve out of this trope. [[spoiler: All of Section 9 thinks this about [[TheScrappy the Uchikomas... who do not.]]]]
* JustBetweenYouAndMe: Nanao delivers a MotiveRant to his killer right before he dies.
* JustifiedCriminal: In the manga, Fem is portrayed as this, having a [[FreudianExcuse good reason]] to go after and kill Kanemoto Yokose. [[spoiler:Her father was a successful businessman, and Yokose managed to gain his trust when she was seven years old. Only shortly after that, Yokose sabotaged the corporation and set things in motion to completely take over the company and run it into the ground. After paying off the employees, Fem's father was [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident gruesomely killed]]. Fem and her mother were forced to live on the streets in poverty, but her mother couldn't handle it and hung herself soon after. Fem was taken to an orphanage where she spent the rest of her life learning to become an assassin just to get her revenge]].
* [[UsefulNotes/KaijuDefenseForce Kaiju Defense Force]]: The JSDF has a strong presence in the series. The Major, Batou, Ishikawa and Boma served in the JGSDF in World War III/IV. Aramaki and Kubota were ex-JGSDF officers before the former went into Public Security service and the latter to the Ministry of Defense.
** Expanding on Batou's background, he served in Latin America as a Ranger-trained soldier who witnessed Project Sunset.
** Hideo Kuze was an ex-JGSDF mechanized infantry soldier who served in Korea during World War IV.
*** Yakushima served in the JMSDF prior to joining politics. Daido possibly served in the same branch prior to joining the National Police Agency.
*** A dead man's son turned assassin was a famous JGSDF officer who was involved with the "incident" in Okinawa.
* KansaiRegionalAccent: The CEO/robot from the eighth episode. In the English dub, [[CulturalTranslation this was replaced with a strong Texan accent.]]
* KnifeNut: Cruzkowa has blades hidden in her cybernetic arms which she uses as melee weapons.
* LaserSight: Used to the hilt - and often. There's even a scene where a runaway tank produces its own lasers to baffle other laser targeting systems.
* LetOffByTheDetective: The medical students in ''MISSING HEARTS'' (see IneffectualSympatheticVillain).
* LetsSplitUpGang: Kusanagi's plan for [[spoiler: evacuating Section 9 headquarters and sending the team into hiding.]]
* LighterAndSofter: The ''Stand Alone Complex'' series, while still fairly dark, is noticeably less grim than the [[Manga/GhostInTheShell manga]] and the [[Anime/GhostInTheShell movies]]. ''Usually.''
** The lighthearted "Tachikomatic Days" shorts at the end of each episode are much lighter in tone than the rest of the series and indeed the rest of the franchise. They're meant as humour to lighten the mood of the viewers after watching the episode.
* LittlestCancerPatient: The girl from ''MISSING HEARTS'' who recently had a heart transplant.
* LogicBomb: The Tachikomas use a variant of the liar's paradox on an Operator android, because they were curious about a new device that S9 had just tested out, which she was guarding.
* LostInTranslation: When the Tachikomas realize they may have to fight against the Jigabachi helicopters in ''Natural Enemy'', they try to make up an excuse that they have stomach aches so they can back out. The reference here makes more sense in Japanese, as it's made more obvious how the spider-like Tachikomas would be fighting against the wasp-like Jigabachis. Various species of wasps and hornets have been known to prey on spiders, especially the infamous Japanese Giant Hornet.
* LotusEaterMachine: A variant. One of the Tachikomas brings back a mysterious cyberbrain core which seems to have trapped a number of people inside a theater in cyberspace which repeatedly shows a film so beautiful and sad that none of the viewers ever wish to leave: they only want to discuss the film. Could be considered a ShoutOut to the film from David Foster Wallace's InfiniteJest. The Major dives in to save them. Her assessment of the movie? [[spoiler:She tells the rest of the team it was okay, but when she watches it she is moved to tears.]]
* MagnificentBastard: In-universe, Kuze and Kazundo Ghoda. So much so that [[spoiler:they fall for each other's {{plan}}s]].
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: Section 9 stages a car accident to take care of the district attorney and his client who threatened to expose them to the public after Togusa's trial.
* MaleGaze: The Major is often shown from interesting angles. This is PlayedForLaughs in a ''2nd Gig'' episode where a street kid is enthusing about the Major's body - the camera angle makes it look like he's staring at her breasts, when he's referring to her cybernetic modifications.
* MalevolentMaskedMen: The Umibozu.
* ManInTheMachine:
** Takeshi Kago, the recently deceased scientist from the second episode who [[BrainUploading transfers his ghost]] into a SpiderTank.
** Marcelo Jarti turns out to be an unconscious man on life support who directs his body doubles to do his bidding from an iron lung.
* MatrixRainingCode: Subtle usage from time to time.
* MegaCity: Niihama.
* MegaCorp: Serano Genomics is the most prominent.
* MementoMacguffin: The Major's watch and Batou's exercise weights, as discussed in "Barrage".
* MemeticMutation: The Laughing Man's very existence is a central and clear demonstration of this - both in-universe and [[{{Defictionalization}} out]].
* MentalPictureProjector: All you have to do to see inside someone's cyberbrain is to hook it up to a monitor. Ishikawa monitor's Motoko's progress as she brain dives into the derelict movie director's cyberbrain.
* TheMetaverse: Diving into the Net is essentially like RealLife, with fully navigable 3D environments and life-size {{DigitalAvatar}}s of people.
* MexicanStandoff: Multiple times, such as the climax of ''CAPTIVATED''.
* MildlyMilitary: Although it appears this way on the surface, it's subverted. Section Nine are TrueCompanions, and will joke around sometimes, but there is a definite pecking order. The Major can and will pull rank whenever she feels her natural leadership abilities aren't enough. And ''nobody'' argues with Aramaki. And on the rare occasion this trope is played straight, it's justified in that Section Nine is a small black ops team and gets a lot more leeway than the regular military.
* MilkmanConspiracy: In ''Solid State Society'' the titular Society consists mostly of [[spoiler:elderly people with no children]] who want to impact the society by participating in kidnapping and brainwashing of abused children and leaving all their assets to them after their family histories have been rewritten, thus hoping to save them.
* MiraculousMalfunction: The Tachikomas [[spoiler: become sapient]] partially due to the natural oil that Batou gave to his "personal" Tachikoma.
* MoodWhiplash: The rather cheerful "Tachikomatic Days" omake sometimes cause this. For example, the episode ''BARRAGE'' ends with [[spoiler:Section 9 disbanded and most of the main characters arrested]]. This is followed by a tongue-in-cheek segment describing "The Life Cycle Of The Tachikoma".
* MoreDakka:
** Batou loves this trope. It's his job as a the heavy arms specialist.
** Some of the gunfights can go in this direction, especially if PoweredArmor or gunships are involved.
** The Tachikomas have [[GatlingGood miniguns]] which can spray ridiculous amounts of dakka at targets.
* MuggedForDisguise: A member of the British SWAT team in ''ANGELS' SHARE''. See DressingAsTheEnemy.
* MundaneUtility: It's well-established that thermoptic camouflage is [[SeeTheInvisible foiled by water]], so the Major deals with the cloaked Umibozu troops by turning on the fire sprinklers.
* MusicalSpoiler: In the episode ''TRIAL'', the instrumental intro of ''I Can't be Cool'' is played over a speech by Togusa. ''I Can't be Cool'' is usually played when [[spoiler:The Major is hacking. Later in the episode it's revealed that she hacked Togusa's brain to deliver that speech]].
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Section 9's purpose for existence is to protect the country from terrorism and uphold the law. This means that if need be, they will uproot the government's own administration if they are found guilty of committing a form of terrorism against the people of Japan.
* MythologyGag: Almost every scene is recreated or referenced from start to finish from the original manga across the series.
** ''Solid State Society'' almost entirely recreates scene for scene the "Human-Error Processor" manga. The tank/Armor Suit battles are perhaps the most obvious.
** The first episode of ''2nd Gig'' mimics the iconic shot of Motoko diving off a building and becoming camouflaged from the first movie, though in a slightly simpler style and, of course, minus the nudity.
*** The first episode of the first season could be considered a recreation of this scene as well.
*** The scene in the film was originally taken from the comic. It's one of those oddities that made it into every iteration of the story.
** The second episode of the first season has a robot tank that has a crippled soldier's brain uploaded to it go on a rampage to his anti robotics parent's house. Kusanagi attempts to stop it by ripping open it's hatch just like the climatic battle in the film. In this case it doesn't result in ExplosiveOverclocking and she doesn't rip herself apart, she just doesn't have the strength to do it.
*** In the 3rd episode of 2nd GIG, one of the sex dolls in the background looks just like the Major in her civilian clothes from the manga.
** Shikibu, a prefectural Public Security officer shows up from [=GITS=] 1.5: Human Error Processor in Solid State Society as a Public Security officer who talks to Togusa in Niihama International Airport alongside Borma, Pazu and Azuma. He's not snotty unlike in the manga.
*** Also the sniper duel between Saito and Raj Puhto, both of them Class A snipers, is based on 1.5 where Saito engages an East Asian mercenary named Yuen Shohoi in a golf course with Batou. Like in the movie, both men are wounded in the course of the duel.
** In the SAC episode DECOY, Motoko goes to a friends house to use a device to help her learn more about the Laughing man. The scene is a "sanitized" shout out to the infamous "[[GirlOnGirlIsHot Lesbian Boat Scene]]" in the manga.
** Much of the Etorofu episode in ''2nd Gig'' was largely lifted from the manga, including the cyborg Koil, the geofront and the visit to Sagawa Electronics.
** There's a recreation of a scene where Pazu interviews someone, asking for the current face and name of a person they're looking for, all while remaining invisible throughout the conversation, then departing with a comment on how it must be nice to be a DeskJockey.
** The Major jumping off the roof of an office building and [[YourHeadAsplode headshotting a terrorist in freefall]] in the first episode of 2nd Gig, which plays out almost exactly the way it did in the first movie (sans the Major [[{{Fanservice}} getting naked beforehand]] so that her optical camo will work.)
** For a few episodes in 2nd Gig, Batou is wearing his beige jacket from the original movie.
** In the second season, Batou exclaims that dogs don't like him much.
** In episode 25 there is a reference to the scene in the film with [[spoiler:Motoko/Puppetmaster's new body, only this time with Motoko's younger-self puppet in her high-rise safehouse.]]
** The fight between the Major and a PoweredArmour-wearing Gayle in ''ERASER'' is an almost blow-by-blow recreation of her fight with the SpiderTank in [[Anime/GhostInTheShell the first movie.]] At the end, [[BigDamnHeroes Saito even shows up]] with an [[{{BFG}} anti-tank rifle]] the way Batou did in the original scene.
** During a standoff in 2nd Gig, Batou shoots a cornered refugee girl in the mouth to keep her from triggering an explosive wired into her jaw. This is lifted from one of Shirow's other works, ''Manga/{{Appleseed}}'', which takes place in the [[TheVerse same continuity]] as GITS.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous:
** Section 9 is named after real-life German counter-terrorism unit [=GSG9=] (Border Guard, Unit 9).
** It's likely that Prime Minister Kayabuki's surname is a reference to Margaret Thatcher - the kanji used translates as 'reed thatch'.
** A suspect in one case is named Marshall [=McLaclan=], which evokes the name of famous media theorist Marshall [=McLuhan=], both of whom are Canadian.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast:
** The Umibozu, a [=JMSDF=] special forces squad named after a deadly Japanese Sea Spirit. They live up to their name in spades at the end of Stand Alone Complex, especially when they were infamous for retaking Nemuro from invading armies.
** Kusanagi is the name of a legendary sword made by a God from JapaneseMythology, which means she has an AwesomeMcCoolname.
* {{Nanomachines}}: It's mentioned that nanotechnology is used for medical purposes in the world of the show. [[spoiler: They're an ineffective treatment for cyberbrain sclerosis, though.]]
* NeuralImplanting: At one point in ''POKER FACE", Saito theorizes that [[spoiler: Motoko]] was downloading fire-control software for the gun in the middle of the shoot-out.
* NeverFoundTheBody: DoubleSubverted. [[spoiler:Section 9]] takes extra care to leave fake corpses to be found and [[spoiler:the commander of the Umibozu]] isn't fooled.
* NewNeoCity: Niihama. Its name loosely translates to "new port".
* NightVisionGoggles: Batou can do this with his ElectronicEyes.
* NinjaMaid: The android maids at the mansion in ''¥ € $'' also serve as security. They have hidden weapons built into their arms and are programmed to respond to threats.
* NintendoHard: The ''Stand Alone Complex'' video game is subject to this. Particularly because, like the anime, it assumes that ViewersAreGeniuses and subjects the player to some serious TrialAndErrorGameplay (such as the first level, where the only real way to gauge if a distance is short enough to not get sniped is to attempt it), a control scheme comparable to Halo with no in-game learning curve (the tutorial is off of the main menu, and the first level assumes you've completely memorized and mastered every single aspect), frequent checkpoints but very infrequent save points, and all while other characters will talk at the bottom of the screen about very important things in the level and plot that won't be repeated if you happened to miss it because you were busy trying not to die. It doesn't help that the dialogue itself assumes not only once again that ViewersAreGeniuses, but that their full attention is dedicated to listening.
** It should also be noted that many of the PS2 game's conventions of gameplay and interface were lifted almost directly from the game ''{{Oni}}'' by {{Creator/Bungie}} Studios, which was published several years before it. However, ''Oni'' itself was inspired almost entirely by ''Ghost in the Shell'', bringing the inspiration full-circle.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Eka Turkuro (a girl kidnapped by a terrorist group who becomes a member of it) is clearly based on the infamous case of Patty Hearst. There is even a shot of her holding a gun which is similar to a famous photo of Hearst.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: Niihama is visually based on Hong Kong, although viewers may mistake it for Tokyo as well.
* NoSuchAgency: Officially, Public Security Section 9 doesn't exist... publicly anyway. Localized police forces and other military units know of them, but they're not suppose to talk about them (not that S9 ever gets involved in such a way that they would need to.) As mentioned in other tropes on the page, loopholes in the system allows them to exist off the record. When S9's identity did go public near the end of the first season, Aramaki had to make sure that they were "officially" wiped from existence, even though he was fighting against military forces who really were trying to wipe them from existence.
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: The Human Liberation Front is one of several groups opposed to cyberization.
* NoisyGuns: Averted for the majority of the series, but played straight in some episodes of the 2nd season.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: The Major absolutely flips out on Gayle. Considering that he blew off her arm, tried to crush her head in, and nearly killed [[spoiler:Togusa]], it's hardly surprising.
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture: Unless there is a sudden trend for going pantless underneath a leather jacket.
* NoodleIncident: At various points in the series, the novels, and the Playstation 2 video game, the Nemuro Landing Operation is mentioned. The game mentions it the most, but it's never explained what this operation was, beyond an [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin amphibious landing at Nemuro]], Hokkaido. It is mentioned that Motoko, Batou, and the Umibozu were all involved in it though. The PSP game goes into the most detail, but still doesn't explain exactly what it is.
* ObfuscatingDisability: [[spoiler:the Laughing Man went into hiding by hacking the computers of a mental hospital for children and youths and creating a fake identity of being a patient suffering from severe mental disabilities and being almost unresponsive to other people. Which is particularly ironic as his CallingCard was an image that included the quote from ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'': "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes." The context of the quote is more telling still; it's taken from a passage where the narrator decides in a flight of fancy that he'd run away and live a life of seclusion, far from the falseness and ugliness of society.]]
* OdangoHair: Fem wears her hair this way.
* OddlyOvertrainedSecurity: An episode has Togusa go undercover to investigate a facility for youths suffering from "cyberbrain addiction". The first sign something's up is the presence of an 8 foot tall cyborg covered in solid metal armor.
* OhCrap: When Ishikawa finally decodes the faces of the last three members of the narc squad, [[spoiler:he realizes they're the two friendly-looking "hobos" talking to the chief in the refugee district. Another one from the viewer when it's revealed the third is the doctor performing the body-swap on the Major.]]
* OlderThanTheyLook: The Russian spy Cruzkowa is over 70 years old, but looks to be in her mid-20's [[JustifiedTrope because of her fully prosthetic body.]]
* {{Omake}}: "Tachikomatic Days"
* OminousLatinChanting: ''[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome Torukia]]'', featured in the MexicanStandoff between the Major and [[spoiler:Saito]] at the climax of ''POKER FACE''.
* OneWayVisor: Motoko uses one in ''Cash Eye.''
* OrganTheft: Several episodes revolve around it, such as the medical students from episode 8.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: "Ghosts", the sum of a person's consciousness, are referred to constantly. They are explicitly stated to be impossible to reproduce. Whether machines can have them or not is a topic of debate in-universe.
* OverTheShoulderMurderShot: [[spoiler:This occurs in episode where Batou recognizes the tactics of a serial killer from a CIA black op during a war. During the flash back they come upon a whole village brutally flayed alive and left to die. The killer in the flash back demonstrates this trope as Batou reaches out to touch him.]]
* ParanormalEpisode: There are no fantasy aspects except for the 2nd Gig episode "Kusanagi's Labyrinth - AFFECTION". Major Kusunagi finds herself cut off from outside contact and seemingly alone in an empty city. She finds TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday: a store that somehow has stored memories and cyberbodies from her own past. The owner who tells her a story very similar to what happened to her when she was a child.
* ParkingGarage:
** Part of the shootout in episode 6 takes place in one.
** Aramaki gets bothered by an IntrepidReporter in his car in episode 23, although he does get a photo of his long-lost brother from him.
* PassiveRescue: [[spoiler: The Laughing Man]] gives the Major one near the end of the first season by [[spoiler: giving her control of her body again]].
* PeopleJars: Motoko and Batou discover a cache of replacement bodies that Marcelo has stored in a warehouse.
* PerpSweating: Attempted with the Laughing Man suspects, but it doesn't work because they're either fanatically devoted to his cause or have LaserGuidedAmnesia.
* PinnedToTheWall: Towards the end of the second season, [[spoiler: Kuze defeats Batou]] by driving a large metal pipe through his leg and into the concrete (they're both full body cyborgs, so this isn't fatal; it just holds him in place). The former claims [[spoiler: Batou's combat knife]] as a trophy before leaving.
* PinPullingTeeth:
** Batou does this a couple of times during the shootout in Kusanagi's mansion, though as a full-body cyborg his teeth might be a lot tougher than those of an ordinary person.
** He also does it in ''NOT EQUAL'' when fighting the Human Liberation Front.
* PlotTailoredToTheParty: Nobody's ever totally useless, but some episodes manage to make use of everyone of note in Section 9. In ''TESTATION'', for example: The Major and Batou follow an out of control automated tank on the freeway, supported by Tachikomas; Togusa uses his police skills to politely interview, then interrogate, the person most likely to have sabotaged the tank; Aramaki puts the pressure upon the tank's production company's corporate heads to get them to cough up its secret weaknesses; Saito tries snipes the tank with a mounted anti-tank rifle, but is foiled by its defenses, and Ishikawa gets to deliver the coup de grâce with a corporate-supplied glue-bazooka. (Pazu and Boma are still third-stringers, unfortunately, but they get their fair share of action as well.)
* PositiveDiscrimination: The team are [[TheAce all specialists who are world-class in their field]]. Except for Motoko Kusanagi, the only female, who is usually better than anybody at everything. If she's not better, she'll just change the rules of engagement.
* PoweredArmour:
** Called "Armed Suits" in-universe, the Umibozu use these to go after the Major, and later Batou. Other varieties make appearances later on.
** Togusa fights a cyborg who ''is'' an armored suit in ''PORTRAITZ''.
* PowerFist: Both the Major and Togusa use a concealed weapon that resembles nothing so much as a taser glove against cyborgs.
* PowerWalk: In the second season OP.
* PreMortemOneLiner: The Major likes to announce her presence after sneaking up on people with thermoptic camouflage. [[YourHeadAsplode Before blowing their heads off.]]
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Motoko delivers one at times, as do some of the other members of Section 9.
* PsychoExGirlfriend: Kaori Kawashima, a woman who held a vendetta against [[spoiler:Pazu]] just because he slept with her twice despite saying that he never sleeps with the same woman twice. She fell in love with him and wanted to ''become'' him after that. Fuse their love together into one being and all that. [[spoiler: She was not able to kill Pazu in her fight against him. The real Pazu won in the end.]]
* PsychoForHire: Gayle. In the raid on the Sunflower Society, he casually kills his own men to make it look like his squad was acting in self-defense.
* PsychoLesbian: Sano, the Narcotics squad member, has elements of this. She is blatantly flirtatious towards the Major while [[spoiler:trying to kill her during her body-swap operation]].
* PunchCatch: When Batou is ordered to investigate Zaitsev, a former silver-medalist boxer and his idol, he starts off by sparring against him in a match. He intentionally lets Zaitsev knock him out with a move known as the prosthetic blind spot. When he later discovers that Zaitsev is a spy, he confronts him and challenges him to another boxing match to settle things once and for all. Zaitsev confidently tries to use the prosthetic blind spot on Batou, but his punch is caught in Batou's hand. Batou counters with a right hook and knocks Zaitsev out.
* PuttingTheBandBackTogether: The first half of the season 1 finale.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Q-Z]]
* QualityOverQuantity: A dilemma that Section 9 has to deal with. The BigBad of the second season points out that no matter how good the members of Section 9 are, they would still lose if they were out-numbered. Batou later has to decide whether he should decrease the difficulty for new recruits to join S9, knowing that doing so would reduce the overall quality and potential each member has. Ultimately, in ''Solid State Society'', Section 9 has expanded it's ranks.
* RammingAlwaysWorks: In ''BARRAGE'', the Tachikomas try to take out the Armed Suit threatening Batou by slamming into it with their bodies. [[spoiler: It works when the one with an explosive shell does it.]]
* RapidAging: Eka Turkuro. It's implied to be caused by the stress of her long captivity, although it's never really explained how it happened.
* RecruitingTheCriminal: Motoko and Aramaki try, albeit unsuccessfully, to recruit The Laughing Man in the finale of Season 1.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: The security cyborg from ''PORTRAITZ'' who nearly throttles Togusa.
* RemoteBody: Major Kusanagi (and presumably other characters) can remotely control robot bodies. At the end of the first season she uses this ability to avoid being killed.
* ReplacedTheThemeTune: "[=GET9=]" was used as the theme song in some rebroadcasts instead of "Inner Universe" in the first season. "[=CHRisTmas in the SiLent ForeSt=]" replaced "Rise" in the 2nd. The ending themes were changed as well.
* RestrainingBolt: The Northern Territories mafia uses electronic {{SlaveCollar}}s on their abductees.
* TheReveal: At the end of ''EQUINOX'', the Laughing Man is shown to be [[spoiler: Major Kusanagi in disguise. Not the real one, though.]]
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: Well, cyborgs, anyway.
** A full-body cyborg can look just like any human and even has skin and all the senses a human would have.
** This trope is inverted with the Jameson-type cyborgs; they're literally just a small box with four little legs and a single telescoping arm on top; they're technically human but their bodies are as inhuman as you get.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The episode about kidnappings by the Northern Territories Mafia which is being denied by a prominent politician probably takes from the story of kidnappings by North Korea that were being denied by a prominent politician.
* RoboCam: Batou's vision through his cybereyes. Also, the Tachikomas.
* {{Robosexual}}: Humans who prefer to have sex with robots are not unusual in the series at all (eg. the minister from the first episode who has a fetish for swapping bodies with robot geishas).
* {{Roofhopping}}: Section 9 does it from time to time (check out the opening credits).
* RobotBuddy: The Tachikomas, cute and bubbly killer robots.
* RobotGirl: The various female cyborgs and androids, such as the Operators at Section 9 or the maids in ''¥ € $''.
* RobotHair: The Operator androids in all have synthetic hair to help them closer resemble humans. People who opt to switch over to prosthetic bodies also have bio-synthetic hair, even though they're now cyborgs instead of being complete robots. In the later category, The Major is unusual for selecting an unnatural colour for her hair.
* RoboticReveal: Towards the end of ''2nd Gig'', [[spoiler: Proto is revealed to be a [[MeaningfulName prototype]] bioroid when he coughs up white blood after being injured.]]
* RogueDrone: Subverted. The HAW-206 tank that escapes in the second episode is no rogue, but [[spoiler: a scientist who uploaded himself into it so he could see his parents one last time after his natural body had died.]]
* RooftopConfrontation: The Individual Eleven practice a ritualized [[spoiler: MutualKill]] on top of a rooftop; it ends with a sword-fight when one of them changes his mind. All of this is aired live by a news helicopter.
* RuleOfSymbolism: [[spoiler: The Major giving Kuze an apple, which he eats before he dies, Batou using a cross to save the major, Kuze's superstructure and heaven, the list goes on.]]
* SadisticChoice: In ''Solid State Society''. [[spoiler: The Puppeteer hacks Togusa's cyberbrain after he doesn't have Section 9 stop the investigation, explains the process of the abductions and leaves him two options, let them take his daughter or kill himself.]]
* SapientTank: Tachikoma tankettes.
* SaveSat: In the final episode, [[spoiler: the Tachikomas ram the satellite containing their AIs into a nuclear missile to save the lives of Section 9 as well as 40,000 refugees and soldiers, all while singing a happy children's song that celebrates the importance of life, showing that they understood the concept of death, and weren't afraid to die for a good cause.]]
* SayMyName:
** Batou, after [[spoiler:the Major is shot in the head]]: "MOTOKOOOOOOO!". When [[spoiler: she gets better]], the other Section 9 operatives [[CrowningMomentOfFunny mock him for it.]]
** During the climax of the PS2 game, the Major is fighting hand-to-hand with another cyborg who has [[MirrorMatch a body identical to hers]]. Batou comes across the battle, [[SpotTheImposter and has to figure out which one of them is the real Major]]. He calls her name to get their attention, [[spoiler:then shoots the one who turns to look at him]].
** At the beginning of ''ERASER'', the Major does it when she and Aramaki burst into the operating room to see [[spoiler: Togusa, who's been shot]].
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Sano has them for a few scenes. She starts off innocent enough, but then they turn scary when she reveals what her intentions are with Motoko.
* SchizoTech: Sort of. Despite all the futuristic technology, anachronisms like floppy disks and 2G cell phones still appear (although those were the standard at the time the show was created).
* ScopeSnipe: [[spoiler:The Major does this to Saito in a flashback]] in ''POKER FACE''. Unlike most of the examples of this trope, he survives. He also ''predicted'' this would happen to him when he ran through the scenario in his head.
* TheScrappy: In-universe, in ''Solid State Society'', Section 9 acknowledges that while the Uchikomas are suppose to be technologically superior [[spoiler: to the Tachikomas they replaced]], their AI's weren't capable of advanced development. They just acted like robots with a flat monotone voice, much to the expressed dislike by the members of Section 9. They were eventually.. well, scrapped. [[spoiler: With a little help from the Major, The Tachikomas are brought back and reinstated.]] The SSS {{Omake}} even expresses how the Uchikomas just want to be loved, but are incapable of experiencing or understanding it.
* SecurityCling: Done wordlessly between [[spoiler:Kuze]] and The Major in the last episode, as they embrace in the face of [[spoiler:a nuclear strike]].
* SerialKiller: Marco Amoretti from "Jungle Cruise".
* SeriouslyScruffy: Usually shows up when the team are burning the midnight oil (along with many empty or half empty boxes of pizza and cigarette stubs). Mainly Ishikawa (and whoever ends up helping him), since he does most of the [[MissionControl research related work]]. Togusa also falls into this when he's investigating the death of a former colleague in "Interceptor".
* {{Sexbot}}: One episode in the first season revolves around all sexbots of a particular model committing suicide. The ''2nd Gig'' episode ''CASH EYE'' has a bunch of corrupt politicians holding a party to show off their sexbots, which the Major infiltrates by posing as her own boss' sexbot.
* ShaggyDogStory: ''NIGHT CRUISE'' has no relation to the overall storyline, follows a one-shot character for 90% of the episode, and features the Major and Batou in what could easily be cameo appearances.
* ShellShockedVeteran: [[WordOfGod According to head script writer Dai Sato]], Marco Amoretti from ''JUNGLE CRUISE'' and Gino from ''NIGHT CRUISE'' both suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it shows. Marco is convinced that he's still fighting his war, unable to let go of what he experienced and adapt to reality, and Gino lets himself get lost to his own delusions of grandeur in order to forget all he's gone through and cope with how disgusting reality has become.
* ShippedInShackles: Cruzkowa's hostages in ''CAPTIVATED''.
* ShooOutTheClowns: In the first season, the Major decides to send the Tachikomas to the lab for analysis just as the truth behind the Laughing Man case starts to become apparent.
* ShootTheMoney: ''Stand Alone Complex'' probably set a budgetary record working on all the CGI effects, and it ''really'' shows.
* ShownTheirWork: All the time. When the series ''is'' inaccurate with regard to physics or technology, it's more a matter of RuleOfCool.
* ShowSomeLeg: Not used often, which is surprising given the Major's {{Stripperiffic}} outfit (she prefers to hack her way past the guards). An exception occurs in London when the Major (dressed in a trenchcoat, but with [[VaporWear nothing underneath]]) lures a police Special Weapons officer into an alley so she can knock him out and [[DressingAsTheEnemy steal his uniform]]. In ''2nd Gig'', Aramaki brings the Major along to infiltrate a meeting of CorruptCorporateExecutive-types showing off their {{sexbot}}s. The team are eager to see what the Major will be wearing, and she doesn't disappoint with her SexyBacklessOutfit AbsoluteCleavage dress.
* ShroudedInMyth: Just who or what The Laughing Man is gets discussed to some good length in ''CHAT CHAT CHAT''. [[spoiler: If only those people knew that the real Laughing Man was there in the chatroom discussing it with them.]]
* SigilSpam: The Laughing Man's logo, which he plasters all over the place.
* SkywardScream: Batou, at the end of ''BARRAGE''; he's mocked for it by Ishikawa in the finale.
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity:
** The first season falls in as a Type 4: Arc-based Episodic continuity- which explicitly identifies each episode as either "Stand Alone" (episodic) or "Complex" (part of the series arc). The episodic ones rarely contain any reference to other episodes.
** 2nd Gig takes a Type 3 approach- Subtle Continuity. Episodes are split up into Individual, Dividual, and Dual types. While many of the Individual and Dividual episodes may seem like Stand Alone episodes, every episode focuses on at least some minor detail that plays a larger part later on as the entire story builds up. Individual episodes focus on the story in regards to the rising tensions with the refugees in the country and the Individual Eleven. Dual episodes focus on the government's (and more specifically, Ghoda's) involvement in the story. Dividual episodes focus more on the members of Section 9 and how they get involved in the whole story.
* SlidingScaleOfRobotIntelligence: The Tachikoma are Human-level. The humanoid Operators superficially appear to be Human-level, but malfunction and shut down when presented with a [[LogicBomb logical paradox]] by the Tachikoma.
* SlowElectricity: At the end of the 2nd Gig episode "Embarrassment", the crew of a Coast Guard ship sees the lights of Nagasaki going out in sections after the city's power is cut.
* SomebodySetUpUsTheBomb:
** The second season reveals that Borma specializes in bomb analysis and defusing. His talents are called in later into the season when an entire city is evacuated when a supposed nuclear bomb is discovered in a skyscraper.
** Cruzkowa seemingly lets Togusa pull of one of her arms. It turns out to be rigged to explode.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Depending on the translations, many names are transcribed very differently.
** Batou / Bateau (the former is the correct spelling, though the later would be more correct if spoken by a French speaker.)
** Bouma / Borma (pronounced as the former, but written as the latter.)
** Pazu / Paz (pronounced as the former of the two names.)
** Ghoda / Gouda (both are technically correct as they are both acceptable romanizations of the same kana sequence. The first is the most accepted one in print, though, because the second one is a type of cheese.)
* SpiderTank: The Tachikomas, all other tanks shown in the series, though they're closer to "Crab Tanks" since they have arms that can grasp things. One model resembles a scorpion.
* SplitPersonalityTakeover: Colonel Tsujisaki [[BrainUploading uploaded his ghost]] into his son Yu's brain when he died. When his sister notices he is NotHimself, it's because [[spoiler: their father is taking over Yu's body and forcing him to kill the Chinese minister.]]
* SpotTheImposter:
** A duel between two Pazus. [[spoiler:It's never made clear, but close examination, showing "ripped flesh" and no blood, reveals that the real Pazu won.]]
** In the Playstation 2 game, Motoko yells at Batou early on in the game because she hates it when he calls her by her name (instead of Major) while they're on duty as members of Section 9. [[spoiler: At the end of the game, while Motoko is engaged in melee combat with a CriminalDoppelganger of herself, Batou figures out which one is the real Motoko when the fake responds to him calling out her name, and shoots her accordingly. He knew the real Motoko isn't that easily distracted.]]
* SpySatellites: An entire network of them over Japan, which Ishikawa and Borma hack into in one episode. Yes, all of them.
* SpySpeak: Zaitsev talks to his handlers this way (eg. using "brewing coffee" as code for "sending data").
* StagedPopulistUprising: 2nd Gig revolves around Gouda's plan to use Kuze to incite a revolution among the refugees.
* StateSec: Public Security Section Nine. Well armed with military equipment and staffed with ex-military operatives, they conducted intelligence ops and law enforcement. Operating with great autonomy and great leeway, they only answer to the Prime Minister or the Minister of Home Affairs. They are also one of the few heroic examples of this trope.
* StormingTheCastle: Multiple examples, such as the raid on the restaurant in the series opening.
* StrictlyProfessionalRelationship: Batou and Kusanagi, although EveryoneCanSeeIt. The other members of Section 9 rib him for it in ''STAND ALONE COMPLEX'' (specifically, his overreaction to her [[spoiler: apparently dying]] in the previous episode).
* StrikeMeDownWithAllOfYourHatred: Marco Amoretti dares Batou to kill him when he's finally cornered. He almost does, but refuses because he's a cop and has a sense of honour.
* SuicideByCop: How the Americans plan to bump off [[spoiler:Marco Amoretti]]: by setting up Batou to murder him.
* SuperCop: All of Section 9, but especially Motoko and Batou.
* SuperWindowJump: Batou bursts through the window of a hotel room to rescue Imakurusu from the DEA. [[spoiler: He gets assassinated at the end of the episode though.]]
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: The lyrics of both seasons' opening theme has this, along with surprisingly good Russian, thanks to Origa.
* SWATTeam: Several appear, mostly Riot and SWAT cops from Niihama PD, with Section Nine occasionally called in to resolve situations they can't handle. There's also the Narcotics Suppression Squad, a SWATTeam made up of {{Dirty Cop}}s run by the Ministry of Health, and at one point Batou and Saito rescue a Coast Guard SST operator.
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: The Tachikomas who blow themselves up to stop an armed suit from killing Batou]].
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: Exploited in ''¥€$''. [[spoiler: Fem thinks that she's all alone in the bedroom of the man she had been hired to kill, and decides to monologue out loud about the problems of capitalism before she kills him. Motoko takes this time to sneak up and arrest her.]]
-->'''Motoko:''' "A ''smarter'' hitman would have shot first."
* TapOnTheHead: Whenever people are knocked out, they seem to recover with no ill effects. Justified in that a titanium brain case provides much more trauma protection than a skull would.
* TechnoBabble: Par for the course with the franchise, but it's not as bad as the movies. It does use much more use of philisophical babble instead though.
* TerroristsWithoutACause: The Individual Eleven's ideology makes ''absolutely no sense''. [[spoiler:Picking up on this is what allows Kuze to escape the group's programming in time.]]
* ThemeMusicPowerUp:
** In the first season, if "Run Rabbit Junk" is playing, Section Nine is either doing something awesome, or is about to.
*** This is lampshaded in the 'Tachikomatic Days' omake to 2nd Gig ep. 24 - NUCLAR POWER, which features the Tachikoma superhero Tachikoman, who's theme song is, needless to say, "Run Rabbit Junk."
** When the Major regains control of her body and overpowers Sano in ''SCANDAL'' (with a little help from the Laughing Man), "Flashback Memory Stick", a remix of "Inner Universe" plays.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Justified in that due to prosthetics, people can sometimes withstand ''a lot'' of firepower. Averted in several cases where someone was able to cause a final act of killing because they weren't shot enough to kill them.
* TheyreCalledPersonalIssuesForAReason: The reason why Paz doesn't want the teams help to [[ClearMyName clear his name]] in "MAKE UP".
* TitleDrop:
** The phrase "Stand Alone Complex" is coined and used a few times in the first season, and early on in the second.
** Some of the individual titles in the first season like "Jungle Cruise" and "Intercepter" are also heard.
* ThrowawayGuns: Batou seems to do this a lot, such as in ''ANNIHILATION'' when he exhausts all the ammo in his minigun and simply abandons it.
* TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: Averted in that Niihama isn't Tokyo, but the trope is played straight otherwise.
* TomatoSurprise: Played for humor in "C: The Man Who Dwells in the Shadows of the Net – CHAT! CHAT! CHAT!" is both a sort of recap episode, and advances the plot. It consists largely of Motoko, as her avatar, discussing the case in an online chatroom that consists of fully 3D environments with user characters, spectators, and is more like a cyberspace talk-show than IRC. The ending reveals that Motoko, in reality, has been ''driving a car'' for the duration of the episode, much to Batou's horror when he realizes, as he's been sitting in the passenger seat of said car.
* {{Transhuman}}: One of the key themes of the franchise itself, just about everyone in the series has an artificial body to some extent.
* TranslationConvention: The Tachikomas talking to each other. {{Lampshaded}} in one of the ''Tachikomatic Days'' {{Omake}}s.
* TryNotToDie: Aramaki says this to the Section 9 crew in season 1 after finding out that [[spoiler:Section 9 is to be shut down by force]].
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The series takes place between 2029 and 2032, but technology is not that far out of reach of modern science to invent. In fact, this series has served as inspiration for modern science to go out and make such futuristic technologies.
* {{Ubermensch}}: Hideo Kuze, with his plan of trying to [[spoiler:emigrate his followers onto the web to create a new society]], and his charisma. Ghoda probably falls under the last man type.
* UncannyValley: The tachikomas invoked a discussion about this in ''MACHINES DÉSIRANTES''. When they learn that a computing device designed to assist Saito in sniping was not going to be put into use, they begin to address the issues of robotic AIs and androids looking and acting human, noting that the Operator androids seem to blend in just fine because they were designed to carry out simple tasks, but didn't have AIs that could question their own programming. The conversation drifts towards the genetic structure in humans and their offspring, which itself eventually leads to the them questioning the concept of death, and what would happen if they were to be scrapped. One tachikoma seems to think that the Major doesn't care too much for them, and think that by acting more "robotic", specifically speaking in monotone voices, she might be more comfortable in accepting them. It was too hard of an act for them to continue pulling off after she left the room.
* UndercoverCopReveal: At the end of ''EQUINOX'', we discover that the Laughing Man who met with Serano in the coffee shop was [[spoiler: Motoko Kusanagi in disguise]].
* UnstoppableRage: The Major, usually quite level-headed, totally flips out on Gayle after he blows her arm off. It's not often that you see a mech pilot begging for mercy from someone on foot...
* UnusualUserInterface: Most characters have the standard back-of-the-neck network jacks. Printed media contains mostly barcode-type data that can be translated by a cyberbrain. It allows the media to put far more words on a page than normal.
* UnwittingPawn: Kuze to Ghoda, and [[spoiler:Ghoda to Kuze]]
* UsedFuture: The world is recovering from two world wars. Society in Japan seems fairly normal, though it has its fair share of problems relating to the rest of the world. Not every machine or building is in pristine condition. In fact, the Refugee Districts are buildings built upon other buildings, just adding on more and more on top of the decay.
* TheVerse: The critical technologies and themes of another work Creator/ShirowMasamune worked on, ''Anime/RealDrive'', are near-identical to the critical technologies and themes of ''Stand Alone Complex'' from prosthetic bodies, cyberbrains and the social benefits/disadvantages thereof, to Operator androids and radiation-scrubber technology. Likewise, the geographical map of the world shown in episode 25 of 2nd Gig and Proto's [[TheReveal reveal]] prove that the series shares the came continuity as ''Appleseed'', which takes place around 100 years further down the timeline.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Tons of philosophy and literary references tossed about. And they rarely repeat themselves. They won't spell out many things (like the [[spoiler:locked car door at the end of the first season, which has been interpreted as a cyber-brain hack, a bomb, and simply indicating that the guy's car was broken into]]) as they assume the audience memorized everything in the Complex episodes beforehand.
** In-universe, this is justified by widespread cybernetics. How deep and cool could ''you'' sound if you had high-speed internet [[UnusualUserInterface in your head]]? They even {{Lampshade}} it:
--> '''Aramaki''': "I've been listening in for a while, but without an external memory device, I can't follow your conversation at all."
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: The Laughing Man, who has become a MemeticMutation in-universe. His popularity, or at least his widespread social influence, is reflected when him merely making a threat against the Police Chief's life leads dozens of others, with no other prompting, to try murdering him. The South American revolutionary hero detailed in an earlier first-season episode might also qualify, though we only have Section 9's word to go on.
* VisibleInvisibility: Transitions between total invisibility and translucent distortion invisibility. There's at least one instance where the Major seems able to see a cloaked mech suit even when it is using its optical camouflage, and the narc squad in the same episode is explicitly stated as using cloaking technology that isn't perfect, so it seems that both types are viable. The protagonists usually don't employ their invisibility for long periods of time, presumably because it drains the batteries quickly.
* VoicesAreMental: The cyber-telepathic "voices" of the characters sound just like their speaking voices with an electronic reverb added.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: ''Night Cruise'' shows Gino throwing up on screen. In a later episode, a soldier suffering from [=PTSD=] is seen throwing up after seeing [[WarIsHell nasty stuff during combat]].
* VomitingCop: Togusa is so disgusted by the recording of Marco Amoretti torturing and flaying a woman that he has to leave his car and throw up over the side of a bridge.
* WallJump: The Major does this while she's doing a training exercise with some rookies at the start of ''AFFECTION'', who have been tasked to track her down. She dashes out of the window of a women's bathroom and jumps out, jumping off the building across the street before flying through the air.
* WarMemorial: Section 9 is assigned to stop an assassination attempt on a foreign vice-minister who is paying his respects to the Kagoshima War Dead Memorial from Non-Nuclear World War IV.
* WatchingTheSunset: The Major does it quite a bit.
* WaxOnWaxOff: The Tachikomas in the ''Stand Alone Complex'' manga are sent to a construction site to earn more experience points by observing and learning more about the environment. They get tasked with shoveling dirt, which they protest because they're far more advanced and capable of doing more advanced tasks. They decide to challenge a power loader to prove they're worthy of stronger tasks, but all become overconfident and are easily beaten by the site foreman. They go back to shoveling dirt with a new appreciation for the task they're doing.
* WeWillNotUsePhotoshopInTheFuture:
** Averted when the Tachikomas point out that because it's so easy to falsify data and memories, that not even '''live broadcasting''' over television or the net can be taken as the truth.
** The Laughing Man does this in live action by hacking into the cyberbrains of anyone who witnesses anything he does and makes them see the infamous logo or otherwise erases himself out of the viewer's eyesight, such as what he did to Batou.
*** Batou himself does almost exactly the same thing afterwards; hacking a mech pilot's eyes to show his (Batou's) decapitated body where the pilot was expecting it to be. In the future, Adobe is clearly the world's most powerful corporation.
* WeaponOfChoice:
** While the members of Section 9 are shown using various weapons across the series, in heavy combat situations, they are mostly seen using the standard issue ''Seburo C26a assault rifle'', and environmental variants. The weapon was inspired by the [[ArtImitatesLife FN F2000.]] Even Togusa, who prefers to use his Mateba Autorevolver, uses this weapon in gunfights.
** Additionally, most Section 9 members wield the Seburo M-5 pistol (chambered for the 7N7 5.45x18mm pistol cartridge) as their primary sidearm, exceptions being Togusa with his afore mentioned Mateba 2008M (a futuristic version of the real life 2006M) and Batou, who wields a futuristic Browning BDA variant chambered for .45 ACP and called the M-7.
* WhyAmITicking: A security guard at the wine bank in ''ANGELS' SHARE'' has a bomb strapped to him while he's unconscious which is discovered by the police when they break in. Thankfully it's not real, just a fake [[spoiler:made using the old analog clock]] to buy them some time.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: Averted. [[spoiler:The Major gibs Ghoda in the last episode, but they needed government approval first.]]
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Batou and Motoko, to the point that even their voice actors are well aware of it and poke fun when they speak at conventions. No real resolution is ever reached, aside from a very faint MaybeEverAfter in the end of Solid State Society. [[spoiler: Batou puts him arm around her and she doesn't throw him into the pool.]] Yes, that's the closest their romantic and sexual tension ever comes to going anywhere.
* WordSaladLyrics: Many songs in the soundtrack combine multiple languages, such as English, Russian, and Latin in "Inner Universe" or Italian and English in "Velveteen".
* WorldHalfEmpty: The political atmosphere in Japan is fairly nasty, between season 1's corporate corruption and season 2's refugee crisis. Other places in the world aren't faring much better. It's not a CrapsackWorld by a long shot, but the heroes don't always win.
* WorldWarIII: According to a series co-writer World War III erupted in 1996, and Non-Nuclear World War IV erupted in 2020. It's never made totally clear which countries fought which, though it can be discerned from context that the USA fought China during WWIII. Batou once monologues about how Berlin was destroyed in both wars.
* WorldWarWhatever: Non-Nuclear World War IV.
* WouldHitAGirl: In general, people are not afraid to hit Motoko. Not that it does them any good, but they try.
* WouldNotShootAGoodGuy: [[AvertedTrope Yes, they would]]. Whether or not the guys gunning for them are "good" is debatable, since they're Black Ops types who specialize in erasing people, but they are definitely working for their government and Section 9 doesn't hesitate to defend themselves lethally against them.
** WhatTheHellHero: Batou straight up executes one of them, even after hacking the guy's eyes so that he thinks that Batou is dead.
* [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks Yanks with Tanks]]: The American Empire is the strongest of the three successors of the ex-[=USA=], alongside the remnants of the [=USA=] and the states that allied with Russia as the Russo-American Alliance.
* YokoKanno: This series' soundtrack is usually regarded as one of the best, if not the best soundtrack she has ever composed.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: "Vaccine" is consistently used to refer to a ''cure'' for a cyber-virus, never as a preventative measure. The same for the Murai Vaccine - it doesn't prevent [[spoiler:Cyberbrain Sclerosis]], it just suppresses it.
* YouKilledMyFather: Yu's motive for assassinating the Vice-Minister of China is that he's responsible for his mother's death. [[spoiler: And that of his wife, since he and his father share the same cyberbrain.]]
* YoungerThanTheyLook: An old woman found in ''NOT EQUAL'' - [[spoiler: she's a young girl who was kidnapped 16 years ago, and has been rapidly aged by her experiences as a hostage.]] Togusa is visibly shocked to learn she's younger than he is.
* YourHeadAsplode: Boy, does it ever. The animation crew seems to have a somewhat disturbing liking for these; there's a head that explodes in some form or fashion in the first/last episodes of both anime seasons. Up to and including [[spoiler:the Major herself]].
** JustifiedTrope. In a world where you can have your brain put in a cyborg body, only a devastating head-shot is a confirmed kill ([[spoiler:The Major [[AvertedTrope escaped]] this fate by sending a remote controlled body in her stead]]).
* YouWouldntShootMe:
** Nanao believes this of his assassin. Unfortunately for him, it's untrue.
** Serano also says this to the Laughing Man when he holds him at gunpoint.
** Aramaki isn't fazed at all when he's captured and held hostage, even though he's threatened with a gun to his forehead multiple times.
** There's a third-person variant in ''2nd Gig'', when [[spoiler:the CIA agent]] doesn't believe that the Prime Minister would really tell Section 9 to shoot [[spoiler:Gouda to prevent him from defecting]].
--> '''The Major''': "You think so, do you? [[PreMortemOneLiner Well you're]] ''[[YourHeadAsplode dead wrong]]''."
* ZeroesAndOnes: Scrolling binary code is shown at times when password cracking is in progress.
[[/folder]]

----
''[-I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. [[spoiler: ... Or should I?]]-]''