Ghost in the Shell: Arise is an OVA consisting of four 50-minute episodes, being directed by Kazichiki Kase, who has been the Key Animator for the good majority of Production I.G's works, including the original Ghost in The Shell movies and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Tow Ubukata, of Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor and Mardock Scramble fame, is in charge of writing the scripts, while the SAC mastermind Kenji Kamiyama has confirmed that he is not involved in this project. The initial concept was approved and fleshed out by Shirow Masamune himself:The first installment, Ghost Pain, was released on June 22, 2013 and is set in 2027, one year after the end of the fourth non-nuclear war. It deals with Motoko Kusanagi, investigating the death of her mentor, Lt.Col. Mamuro, who has been accused for arms dealing. She meets Public Security Section 9 chief, Daisuke Aramaki, and Batou, a man with the "eyes that does not sleep", who suspects that Kusanagi has something to do with the case. Unbeknownst to Kusanagi, she's being watched by the 501st Secret Unit's head Kurutsu and cyborg agents.The second installment, Ghost Whispers, was released on November 25, 2013. The story takes place after Kusanagi leaves the 501st Secret Unit and begins forming her own team until someone has hacked into the Logicoma. As she transports the machines in order to check them for abnormalities, she is suddenly attacked by an armed unit. Not long after, she meets up with Batou, Ishikawa, a former member of the army who is good at finding information through the Internet, and Borma, an electronic warfare expert.The third installment, Ghost Tears, is slated to be released on June 28, 2014.The series also has a manga adaptation, being released at the same time as each OVA episode.The series has been licensed by FUNimation in North America. Both a Limited Edition subtitled blue-ray and an English dub will be released.
Adaptation Expansion: The original manga's first chapter started off with all of Section 9's members undergoing a mission that would also serve as a test. They had to prove their worth to the government so that they could be established as an official operation. These OVAs show Motoko eventually being recruited by Aramaki in order to form Section 9 in the first place. In the manga, the character's backgrounds are never shown or reflected upon.
Alternate Continuity: Kenji Kamiyama confirmed that he is not involved in this project, which itself is confirmation that it is not part of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex continuity (Kamiyama was the head of the entire SAC series. If anything is going to become another part of it, it would need his approval.) Due to the similarities in the artstyle and environmental settings, it could serve as a prequel to the Oshii films, but if it actually does or not is unknown.
Brainwashed and Crazy:Motoko spends the first episode inadvertently infected with a virus that produces Fake Memories, causing her to obsess over proving Mamuro's innocence, while unconsciously following impulses the memories instruct her to, which winds up incriminating her for the murder.
Die Hard on an X: Episode 2, "Ghost Whispers". Unlike most examples, the "Die Hard" here isn't isolated to a single building, but is more reminiscent of "Die Hard With A Vengeance": All of Niihama's transportation is held hostage, and Motoko, cut off from reinforcements and supplies, is forced to play a game of cat and mouse against a JGSDF military unit gone renegade across the frozen city.
In the first OVA, a computer virus which infected both Mamuro and Motoko. This somehow messes Motoko's memories as she investigates Mamuro's death which prompt other investigators, including Batou, to believe that she's responsible for his death.
In the second OVA, this also happens to Batou, Ishikawa, Borma and their squad leader, Col. Soga where they led to believe that Soga didn't massacre the refugees in Qhardistan. Thought it turns that the refugees are armed guerrillas.
Googling the New Acquaintance: The manga starts off with Aramaki prepping the team with a new mission, but they're waiting on Batou to finish bringing some supplies back to HQ. Motoko figured it'd be best to let a pro handle it, revealing that Batou worked in a delivery service before he joined the military. Batou was not amused.
Hell-Bent for Leather: Motoko. Red leather jacket, red leather pants, red leather boots. Still a complete Bad Ass by virtue of the franchise history.
Kaiju Defense Force: Motoko used to be with the JGSDF's 501st Secret Unit. Batou was in the Rangers, taken from the SAC universe. Pazu and Aramaki were in the JGSDF military police, though Aramaki was in the Investigations Department, not enforcement. Ishikawa, Saito and Borma are said to be with the Rangers in the Arise 'verse, while other incarnations have not made it clear which pat of the JGSDF they belong in.
Literal-Minded: The Logicoma following Motoko. When Motoko tells it to disappear for a while, the Logicoma takes the order literally and uses its camouflage.
Made a Slave: The JSDF essentially puts its cyborgs into indentured servitude, due to astronomic costs of their prosthetic bodies and dire financial straits the military is in. It's bad enough that by default their every expense has to be authorized by an assets board, unless given a waiver by a superior officer. Once they've paid out their cost they could be their own person again, though.
Mexican Standoff: Motoko and Batou's first encounter with each other would have resulted in one of them killing the other, had it not been for the intervention of the person who revealed that both of them were assigned to protect. Batou's height gave him the advantage. By the end, his gun was aimed point-blank to her head at full arm's length, but Motoko's knife wasn't quite close enough to his neck.
Also happened in the first OVA when Motoko confronts armed public security officers at a military cemetery. Also crosses to Motoko Is About To Shoot You.
Batou's former post as a JGSDF Ranger prior to joining Section 9. Same with Togusa's detective position with the Niihama Prefecture Police Force before he was recruited to join Section 9.
Played with and averted with Pazu. While he's still good with a knife, it's shown that he's a JGSDF MP officer instead of someone who has shady underworld connections in the SACverse.
Batou using his cyberized teeth to pull the pin off a flashbang to stun a Unit 501 cyborg. This was done in the SAC series where Batou does the same thing with a frag grenade against New World Brigade terrorists.
The climatic fight scene of the first OVA once again involves Motoko facing off against a larger and more heavily armored opponent that tears off one of her arms before trying to crush her head with a three digit machine hand. This time, though, Motoko wins single-handedly by counter hacking her opponent.
Togusa mentioning that his gun is not going to be efficient enough to take out all the landmines, which mirrors a conversation with Batou in SAC.
Near the end of "Ghost Whisper", Motoko insults Saito for "joining" Batou for the money by calling him a mercenary, which was Saito's backstory in SAC.
Non-Idle Rich: The first episode finale says that Major was left a large enough trust fund that paying out the (pretty damn high) cost of her body is a rather small change compared to the rest of it, which would allow her to comfortably retire for life. She still takes Aramaki's offer of a position in Section 9.
Origins Episode: Following along with the first chapter of the manga, this series will cover an aspect of Motoko's life right before she is recruited to Aramaki's Section 9 project. He had to make sure that such a team could work out first before having it officially approved by the government.
Aramaki drives high end Infiniti cars rather prominently.
The Rival: Batou and Motoko to each other in their army days. After joining Section 9, they've settled into the more familiar Vitriolic Best Buds dynamic.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Noroshi has this in the 1st manga chapter after JGSDF officers assigned to the Kuran PKO base evacuated without the Rangers to avoid being killed or captured by armed guerrillas when the base was attacked by rogue Kuran Air Force fighters. He didn't get a chance to bomb the hotel where the officers were since Batou told him that it won't bring back the dead civilians or their fellow Rangers from the dead.
Robot Buddy: Arise introduces the Logikoma to assist Motoko on the job. It looks like a Tachikoma without the pod on it's back, but also has visual features of the Fuchikomas from the original manga.
Room Full of Crazy: Motoko's room winds up ripped up and scrawled with a Madness Mantra as her mind subconsciously obsesses over the directives of her Fake Memories. In a twist, Motoko herself doesn't realize she did this, because of her self-censoring vision.
Shown Their Work: Realistic detailing on the Heckler & Koch MP7 as used by Motoko. The Rangers with their Howa Type 89s modded to take red dot scopes.
Batou's pistol strongly resembles a M1911A1 in the tie-in manga.
Signature Move: Motoko's hacking, which is how she beats enemies that are stronger than her.
Technical Pacifist: Aramaki is at least 60 years old, and when he was in the Military Police he was a detective, not an enforcer, but he's still the only member of his team not incapacitated by and fighting back against the booby-trapped gynoid in the supposed Lt.Col. Mamuro's casket.
Tomato in the Mirror: A lot of many characters' memories and visuals aren't real, but rather phantoms induced by various viruses and hacks, such as those that were used to make Mamuro drop his investigation, which Motoko got from his cyberbrain; or fake memories installed into Col. Soga and his men about their op in the -stans. From the ease that cyberbrains are intruded into, they seem to be running non-upgraded WindowsXP.
We Are Struggling Together: JSDF isn't a cohesive and responsible fighting force at all — it is, in fact, more of a loose group of various units and factions barely held together by the corrupt brass and Sleazy Politicians. On the other hand, given who they stand for, it's inevitable. It was so bad that it often ended in an intra-service schemes. Cases in point:
In the first episode, Unit 501 is used as a cover for illegal arms running under the nose of its supposed commander. When said commander tried to blow a whistle on that, it ended in his death and intra-unit civil war, not to mention the shootouts with various other branches like the JGSDF's Rangers and Public Security.
In the second, the corrupt Defense Ministry official created a long and convoluted Batman Gambit installing fake memories into Col. Soga's and his men, and then setting him as a scapegoat for a civilian massacre, in hopes that he will use a stolen American military computer he was given access to in order to hack into the secret ministry database in an attempt to clear his name. The official in question then intended to sell his own military's dirty underwear to the outside world and flee Japan.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Rangers who were left behind by their officers after the PKO base was attacked by rogue Kuran Air Force fighters despite strong objection from a JASDF crewman. This was the reason why Noroshi wanted to assassinate them.
Zeerust: While still taking place in the future, instead of the creators adapting the technology to reflect upon what we have in today's world, such as smart phones and the like, it takes elements from the original manga from back in 1988. The most notable example are the huge and numerous cables plugged into Motoko as she learns how to use her body in the trailer.