Anime: Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Ghost in the Shell: Arise is an OVA consisting of four 50-minute episodes. Kazichiki Kase — the Key Animator for the good majority of Production I.G's works, including the original movies and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex — serves as director, while Tow Ubukata — of Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor and Mardock Scramble fame — serves as scriptwriter; Stand-Alone Complex mastermind Kenji Kamiyama confirmed that he has no involvement in this project. Shirow Masamune himself approved and helped flesh out the initial concept.

The first installment, Ghost Pain (released on 22 June 2013), starts in 2027, one year after the end of the fourth non-nuclear world war. 501st Secret Unit agent Motoko Kusanagi looks into the death of her mentor, Lt.Col. Mamuro, after accusations arise of his involvement in arms dealing. During her investigation, Motoko meets Public Security Section 9 chief Daisuke Aramaki and JGSDF Ranger Batou, the latter of which suspects Kusanagi of having a bigger role in the case than she lets on. Unbeknownst to Kusanagi, the Secret Unit's head, Kurutsu, and the unit's elite cyborg agents have placed her under surveillance.

The second installment, Ghost Whispers (released on 25 November 2013), takes place after Kusanagi leaves the 501st Secret Unit and forms her own team. When someone hacks into the Logicoma, Motoko supervises a transport of the machines for an abnormality scan; along the way, an armed unit attacks the transport and specifically targets Motoko. Not long after the attack, Motoko meets up with Batou, Ishikawa (an Army hacker and a longtime Batou's associate), and Borma (an electronic warfare expert), and recruits them into Section 9.

The third installment, Ghost Tears (released 28 June 2014), follows Section 9's investigation on the terrorist organization, whose symbol is the Scylla, an ancient sea-monster. Meanwhile, Togusa investigates a murder of a man who possessed a prosthetic leg manufactured by the Mermaid's Leg corporation. His findings are connected to Motoko and Section 9's case and it all leads to someone who is in a relationship with Motoko.

The fourth and final installment, Ghost Stands Alone (released 6 Sept 2014) takes place in the winter of 2028. Tensions are rising in New Port City as demonstrations are held concerning the interests of foreign cartels. This leads to a shooting incident involving riot police. It all started with a cyberbrain infection released by the terrorist "Fire Starter." Section 9 entrusts the suppression of the situation. As they investigate further, the group discovers a deeper revelation regarding the terrorist.

A manga adaptation of Arise released simultaneously with each OVA episode. In the Spring 2015 Anime season, a 10-episode TV series called Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Alternative Architecture aired. Alternative Architecture is the original 4 OVA episodes split up into two episodes each for TV broadcast; the final two episodes are a new arc called Pyrophoric Cult and conclude the Fire-Starter Myth Arc... for now.

The Arise continuity is set to be concluded with the release of a movie on June 20, 2015.

FUNimation licensed the show for release in North America; initially releasing a Limited Edition subtitled blue-ray. The dub of Episode 1 and 2 was released in October 2014.


Ghost in the Shell: Arise contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 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.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us / The Siege: The UN PKO base at the Republic of Kuran before and after rogue Kuran Air Force fighters bombed the base.
  • 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. Motoko's origin story in this series completely contradicts her backstory in SAC, making it impossible for them to be connected.
  • Anachronic Order: Alternative Architecture starts off with the "Ghost Stands Alone" arc, turning the other three OVA arcs into a Whole Season Flashback.
  • Armies Are Evil: The JSDF in general and the JGSDF in particular are shown to be pretty damn shady. True, they're in rather awkward situation (and financial black hole), what with the grand reorganization and mass downsizing after the war, but it's not really a justification for putting their cyborgs into debt peonage, engaging in illegal arms deals, street murder, covert foreign interventions, general corruption and whatnot.
  • Arms Dealer: A sub-plot in the manga shows that Unit 501 covertly backs a military government in the Republic of Kuran to earn income for the unit by selling them weapons and military gear.
    • Colonel Mamuro's attempts to blow a whistle on this drive the whole plot of the first OVA.
    • One of the main political conflicts on the postwar Japan in the Arise world is whether the military development (and, naturally, sales) should be domestically based, or outsourced to the Third World.
  • Avengers Assemble: The main premise of the OVA where Motoko recruits the men who would be the future members of Public Security Section 9.
  • Boxed Crook: The Major recruits half her team this way.
  • 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.
  • Car Fu: A Big Damn Heroes with an armoured Toyota Koukidousha.
  • Cramming the Coffin: The first episode opens with Public Security disinterring the grave of a military officer whose cyber brain they need to access. Instead they find the coffin empty except for an android that tries to kill them. Later Motoko goes back to the gravesite and finds another coffin buried underneath the first, with the officer's body.
  • Creepy Doll: The landmines definitely look the part. Especially when Motoko starts seeing them everywhere because of the virus.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Motoko's hair and eyes are different shades, but still close enough to count.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Motoko's JGSDF uniform closely resembles those worn by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. This isn't a coincidence in the slightest.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The scenes at the cemetery.
  • Dream Team: Motoko scouts out 6 potential members to join the team that Aramaki and Section 9 is allowing her to create. He thinks it's pretty absurd that she's setting her standards impossibly high, yet everyone she recruits fits her expectations perfectly.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Well, Section 9 and the JGSDF's Ranger-trained soldiers for starters.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Motoko lets the Logicoma shoot the tires of Jeep, drives past them and the suddenly go kablooey.
  • Fake Memories:
    • In the first OVA, a computer virus which infected both Mamuro and Motoko. This somehow messes up Motoko's memories as she investigates Mamuro's death which prompts 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're led to believe that Soga didn't massacre the refugees in Qhardistan. Though it turns that the refugees are armed guerrillas. The child Batou remembers giving water to was a deadly child soldier gunning for him.
    • In the third OVA, a mysterious hacker involved in Qhardistan underground movement and whose ghost gets dubbed onto Akira Hose's mind, turns out to be Motoko herself, then on a mission from the 501st, and made to forget about it by installing fake memories into her cyberbrain.
    • In the fourth OVA, the virus makes a riot police unit to see the armed terrorists within the largely peaceful demostration, massacring it as a distraction for an assassination attempt on a runaway hacker and a head politician.
  • Frame-Up: Motoko doesn't believe that Mamuro is involved with arms dealing and then, she also got accused for his death. But it turns out it's a gambit to expose the Defense Vice Minister's corruption and Mamuro and Motoko are just pawns.
  • 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.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Possibly for the actual National Security Agency. The series has the name of the agency as the "National Secret Agency" and the logo is taken from the actual FBI.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: Organized by rogue JGSDF Rangers in order to prove that they are serious when they want their imprisoned CO freed of false charges.
  • Interservice Rivalry : The 501st and the Rangers in the manga are shown not to get along at all. And both hate Military Intelligence with a passion.
  • It's Personal: In the first OVA, Motoko investigates Mamuro's death which goes with disregarding her superior's orders to not get involved. Batou digs in the case because his Ranger friend who was killed is connected to Mamoru.
  • Just Between You and Me: Motoko gets a ready confession from a corrupt politician, but only because his cyborg mooks are waiting outside his vehicle. Unfortunately Motoko is talking remotely via a fem-bomb under her optical camouflage, so he gets a nasty surprise.
  • 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, and was later transferred to the Military Intelligence (which is a plot point in "Ghost Stands Alone"). Ishikawa, Saito and Borma are said to be with the Rangers in the Arise 'verse, while other incarnations have not made it clear which part of the JGSDF they belong in.
  • Karma Houdini: Unit 501 in general and Lt. Col. Kurutsu in particular, who were never taken to task for all the treachery, confusion, and destruction they've caused.
    • With the conclusion of Pyrophoric Cult, it's looking like this will be addressed in the movie.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Happens twice with Batou and Motoko, before he's forcibly recruited into her squad.
  • 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.
  • Madness Mantra / Room Full of Crazy: The Lt. Col. is innocent. The Lt. Col. is innocent.
  • 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.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Motoko keeps getting Mirror Scare moments of the fem-bomb being in the room with her. Turns out she's been there all the time, but the virus kept editing her out.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Motoko diving off a skyscraper at one point.
    • 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.
    • 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 prosthetic teeth note  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 climactic 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.
      • In the same OVA, Ishikawa insults Motoko by calling her a gorilla. All throughout the franchise, but most notably in SAC, Ishikawa calls Motoko "Queen Kong" and "Major She-Ape" in "Not Equal" and "Poker Face", respectively.
    • Motoko's going for a midwinter swim (from Batou's boat, to boot) in the end of "Ghost Stands Alone" is a send-up to the first scene of the original GITS movie.
      • Subverted with in the OVA since Motoko refuses, as it's mid-winter, and simply accuses Batou of wanting to see her in a swimsuit.
    • In "Ghost Tears", Pazu mentions that he never sleeps with the same woman twice, something he mentions back in SAC 2nd GIG.
    • In the fourth OVA, Motoko once again finds herself straining to open the hatch of a think-tank with her bare hands. Bonus points since the rest of the team use sticky gel to try to immobilize the tank as well.
    • The virtual swimsuit that Motoko's avatar is wearing while she's net diving in Ghost Whispers is the same style as the swimsuit Motoko Aramaki is wearing at the start of the Man-Machine Interface manga.
    • Batou's penchant for joking about the Major's love life results in her hacking his hand to make him punch himself out. This is a carryover from the original manga.
    • In the episode "Pyrophoric Cult, Part 1", Section 9 uses vans that are from "Seishinkouki Company". This was the same van type they used in the SAC series.
      • Togusa, in the same episode, begins to wear a trenchcoat after he begins his duties for Section 9. He previously wore it in the Solid State Society animated movie.
    • In "Pyrophoric Cult, Part 2", the suspect was strapped onto the wall just like how the Puppet Master was strapped in the first GITS movie.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: The JSDF funneled enormous amount of money into the research and production of military cyborgs during World War IV. This is the main reason for their current Perpetual Poverty.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • Motoko pretty much coerces Saito to join Section 9. She threatens to hack his bank account and give back all the money he's accrued from gambling over the years if he didn't. She at least pointed out that he would still be paid for his work though.
    • Batou was given a more merciful offer. Either he joined Section 9, or go to trial for his crimes and be left at the mercy of a court that would be unquestionably stacked against him.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The assets board that manages military cyborgs in Episode 1.
  • 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.
  • Overranked Soldier: Both Motoko (a Major) and Batou (a Commandernote ) were wa-a-a-ay above the missions both did in the Kuran Republic.
  • Parental Substitute: Lt. Colonel Mamuro is implied to be this for Motoko, and apparently transferred this responsibility to Aramaki, whose friend he was.
  • The Plan: Kurutsu and Unit 501 plotted to expose the Defense Vice Minister's illegal arms trade by letting Mamuro take the fall for the crimes of the Vice Minister. Of course, they didn't anticipate the memory virus installed in Mamoru's cyberbrain and Motoko, attempting to analyze his cyberbrain and getting infected herself.
  • Posthumous Character: JGSDF Lieutenant Colonel Giichi Mamuro, the former Unit 501 commander and Motoko's superior officer. His murder basically starts the whole plot of the first episode.
  • Prequel: To Ghost In The Shell in general. The formation of Section 9 is something that isn't even covered in the manga aside from the first chapter, and the trailer already shows it going much beyond that in detail. This trope is somewhat zigzagged, however, as while 2027 is the earliest setting in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, this is still not an official part of any of the three separate continuities.
  • Product Placement: All over the place, sometimes to the detriment to the Willing Suspension of Disbelief — it's hard to believe that the current gee-whiz gizmos would stay relevant after 14 years:
    • The first official reveal of all of Section 9's character designs is in an advertisement for Microsoft's Surface.
    • Aramaki drives high end Infiniti cars rather prominently.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: Kurutsu and Unit 501 had to let Mamuro take the fall for the Vice Minister's crimes so they can expose the latter. Motoko is not pleased with this.
  • Really Gets Around: In Ghost Tears Motoko was said to go through six boyfriends in six months. In the same conversation Paz says that he never sleeps with the same woman twice as well.
  • 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 Logicoma 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. In this case, the name is short for Logistics Conveyor Machine.
  • 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.
  • Sleazy Politician: Everyone with even a tiniest bit of political connection, except Section 9 chief, Daisuke Aramaki, though he's more of a bureaucrat than politician in the strict sense.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Aramaki's main tool on implementing the following trope. During his long and varied career he did a lot of favors to a lot of people, and he's not shy to call in on them.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Both Aramaki's and Major's team note  modus operandi, for which Aramaki was even called out by one of his less scrupulous former colleagues. In fact, making this official (removing the Section 9 from the oversight of the blatantly corrupt Ministry of Interior) and setting it up as an independent agency is the main political conflict of the series.
  • 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.
  • Throw-Away Country: The Republic of Kuran in the manga. Qhardistan in the OVA.
  • 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 Windows XP.
  • Trail of Blood: Batou and Togusa follow a red blood trail when they were investigating a suspect behind a series of bombing attacks involving prosthetic limbs. While it led to a crumpled bullet head, the two detectives were caught in an ambush from the back.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: or 2027 placing it closer to now than the rest of the franchise.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Guess who? Is starts with the Belligerent Sexual Tension in the manga, where Batou and the Major are still major rivals, through their usual Vitriolic Best Buds and Well, Excuse Me, Princess! dynamic, to the pretty blatant last scene of the fourth OVA.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Batou and Motoko, as usual. Batou is still fond of telling racy jokes about Major and her love life, while she likes hacking him to punch his own face for that. They still have an incredible chemistry together.
  • 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 and his men, and then setting him as a scapegoat for a civilian massacre, all 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.
    • In the third episode, the Military Intelligence unit in support of the outsourcing the weapons development to the third world enters into the illicit deal with a foreign company producing the cyborg parts, in which it uses the sales of water from an impoverished Third World country to finance the production of booby-trapped prosthetics. Then MI smuggles the limbs into Japan and the uses a strung-out former military cybernetics expert (and the Major's current boyfriend) to install them on various high-placed officials to blackmail them.
    • In the fourth episode, the Unit 501, which supports the domestic military development, tries to kidnap a runaway hacker (a 17 y.o. war orphan girl involved into the aforementioned MI unit schemes) until it all runs into Section 9 trying to investigate both. It ends with the said MI unit disbanded, its colonel arrested, Unit 501 getting off scot-free, Section 9 emerging as an independednt investigative agency, and the poor hacker girl (and her boyfriend) dying and dispersing their Ghosts over the 'Net.
  • 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.