Major Motoko Kusanagi
Usually called "The Major"
, she is ostensibly the protagonist, although the series gives much more time to her squadmates
than the feature films and manga do. She is a full-conversion cyborg, having been fully inorganic except her brain and part of her spinal column since about age six. Her skills are exceptional, and while her body is a standard cyborg model it's modified extensively with top-of-the-line custom military cybernetics. A brilliant hacker, able to invade even the connected human mind. She has a cold demeanor and a strict devotion to her job, bordering on sociopathy.
Her last name, "Kusanagi" (literally "Grass-Cutter") is the name of the sword
which is part of the Japanese Imperial Regalia, along with the Jewel and the Mirror. As the manga explicitly points out, the name is "an obvious pseudonym", roughly equivalent to a westerner going by the name "Jane Excalibur".note
- The Ace: Inside Section 9, at least. It is easier to list the domains where she is not the most skilled of the team - that would be sharpshooting (Saito), knowledge of explosives (Borma), detective work (Togusa), and politics (Aramaki). Batou and Ishikawa often challenge her in general mayhem and hacking respectively, but they tend to hit the plank most of the times.
- Ace Custom: The Major's body is an ace custom. The base model is a civilian model that was fashionable a few years prior to the series but with red eyes and purple hair plus a ton of illegal mods.
- Action Girl
- Anti-Hero: Type IV
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: Her name is pretty cool, but she didn't choose it just to be so. It's because she doesn't know what her real name is anymore.
- Berserk Button: Anyone that harms children. Note that she was cyberized as a child herself.
- She gets pretty pissed when the head of the goon squad trying to retake Imakurusu comes at her and her squad with what is essentially a mech suit. So much so that she repeatedly shoots at him at point blank range with an anti-tank rifle
- Bi the Way: Unclear; she doesn't have a boyfriend in this continuity, but she also doesn't have explicit lesbian VR-sex either (she's just seen talking philosophy with Kurtan in bed while Ran comes out of the shower). Kurutan and Ran are still by far the closest thing the Major has to a long term romantic relationship.
- In 2nd Gig's first episode, she (jokingly) suggests the team goes to a nudie bar if they are told to stand down from their impending mission.
- Kurtan later accompanies her to hospital, checks out her new cyborg body and comments on how excited it makes her to think of what she could do with all the illegal modifications her new body has.
- In the manga, Motoko does have a boyfriend. Sugi makes a brief appearance in FAKE FOOD, even asking if Batou and Togusa knows her. However, this is not enough evidence to suggest he is her boyfriend in this continuity.
- He uses 'Motoko', her actual name, when referring to her and not 'The Major', unlike seemingly everyone else who's worked with her on a professional level. This probably means they know each other outside of work.
- By-the-Book Cop: Invoked in one episode when Togusa refers to her this way, although it's debatable how true this is.
- The Captain: She's Section 9's field leader.
- Combat Stilettos: She wears heels with her military uniform while protecting the Superintendent-General.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Drives Like Crazy: Including once while ghost-diving.
- Fair Cop
- Fearless Fool: While she doesn't do it the same way as a stereotypical Shonen hero, it becomes increasingly obvious as the series goes on that she is overconfident to the point of being suicidally brave and feels no fear in situations where ever her hardened comrades are inclined to back down. To the point it's almost a running joke that Batou tells her not to "do anything stupid" and she proceeds to do it anyway. Part of this is some definitely justified self-confidence, given she can demonstrably outperform almost any member of her highly skilled team in any given area, and is more resourceful than all of them combined, she is still flesh and blood (albeit artificial) and can be taken by surprise and overwhelmed.
- Fingerless Gloves
- Genius Bruiser: Every member of Section 9 has a speciality. Motoko specializes in the leadership of her team, hacking and net-diving, stealth and infiltration, and close quarters combat, among many other things. She's not as specialized with explosives as Borma is, or sharpshooting like Saito.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Frequently seen wearing a punkish leather jacket.
- Heroic BSOD: Undergoes ones after diving into Kuze's cyberbrain. She gets better after a short while.
- Heroic RROD: Subverted. In the second episode of the series, there's a Shout-Out to the original movie, but she doesn't RROD; she's just not strong enough, and nothing happens.
- Kick Chick: Watch her take out Sano with a roundhouse to the head.
- Lady of War: Her career even started in the military.
- Majorly Awesome: Still a Major Bad Ass too.
- Ms. Fanservice: Something of an Innocent Fanservice Girl too, such as when she gets thrown in a garbage pile and has to change clothes.
- It's basically spelled out in the third novel that she has no nudity taboo because she is fully cyberized and there are thousands of others with her exact external body.
- Not So Stoic: Shown at times, such as when she involuntarily cries at a very sad movie, and she takes it personally with what the med students were doing in MISSING HEARTS.
Major: HEY SAITO! FORK OVER THAT WEAPON NOW!!
- Sexy Backless Outfit: In Cash-Eye, also with borderline Absolute Cleavage.
- Sinister Surveillance: For her enemies, at least.
- Stocking Filler: Frequently, whether under her coat or just as outerwear (see Stripperiffic).
- The Lad-ette
- The Stoic: The Major never laughs, involuntarily cries only once, and it takes a hell of a lot to make her angry. If you do ever manage to piss her off, be very, very afraid. She is not unsympathetic, however, or unwilling to express where her sympathies lie.
- Stripperiffic: The Major's clothes are too hot for espionage, and that's what she wears in civvies. (Some fans call it the Battle Teddy.) She almost always wears it with an open leather jacket that she occasionally pairs with leather pants. However, in more formal public functions, she wears a standard military uniform instead.
- She gets slightly better civvies during the 2nd Gig - still Stripperific by conventional standards, but at least includes pants. She also gets a fairly modest, and very stylish black business dress for formal occasions where military garb is unsuitable.
- This is played for laughs in one SAC episode, where a raid goes wrong and the Major's normal outfit gets trashed. At the debriefing, she's wearing a much more revealing outfit (basically workout clothes) and is visibly uncomfortable about the humiliation she just went through (thrown to a garbage heap by run-off-the-mill combat android), and Aramaki Lampshades it.
- Technicolor Eyes: The Major has red eyes.
- Tranquil Fury
- Tomboyish Sidetails
- Unstoppable Rage: Episode 21 displays this very well.
- Vapor Wear: She doesn't ever seem to wear a bra. Justified in that her body is a military grade cyborg and would most likely not require one anyway.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Averted. In Season 1, she has a gun holster on the back of her waist, hidden behind her jacket (she's shown pulling it out and firing in the opening credits, as well as in some episodes.) In 2nd Gig, she carries it high up between her shoulder blades on the back of her Leotard of Power underneath her jacket, in a position and orientation that only a contortionist (or a full body replacement cyborg) could effectively draw from.
- Warrior Poet
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: The Major stands out in a cast of fairly realistic hair colors. (In the movie, she had black hair.) Justified as she is a full cyborg and probably could get any color hair she wants without much trouble.
- Further justified in 2nd Gig when you find out that she chose the option of red eyes with purple hair a long time ago. Why? She was six years old, and like most kids that age, had a fondness for bright colors. It's implied that she could have changed these options a long time ago, but didn't because they had become a part of who she was.
- This is an example of Truth in Television; Stephen Hawking has been offered more realistic sounding voice synthesizers several times now. He's refused them all because they're not "his" voice.
- Given her preference for a (modified) version of cyberbody popular 3 years prior to the events of the series, her hair and eye color may have been one of the few aesthetic options she could keep across bodies.
- The first opening and a comment made in an early episode of the first season suggests that she got the colour scheme from a favourite doll of hers; the one she broke while she was still getting use to her cyberbody.
- Zettai Ryouiki
Another full cyborg (whose name is more properly spelled in the French style as Bateau). Built as a 6'1" tall muscle-man, with eyes that resemble classy shades. He's all about brute force and strength. Likes big guns
. Very friendly and jocular, and harbors a deep attraction to the Major, which he hides pretty poorly. She just ignores it, except for a few key points in the series. Regardless of this, the Major considers him her best friend and confidant. Something of a jerkass
at times, but still a pretty nice guy who's had his share of Pet the Dog
- All Love Is Unrequited: He has this dynamic with the Major
- Going by the Major's talk with Kuze in episode 26 of the 2nd gig, it may very well be mutual.
- Keeping that scene in mind, it's really more of a Will They or Won't They? that settled on the 'won't' side in a case of No Romantic Resolution
- Apologetic Attacker: A variation happens when he fights a heavily armed Umbozu member. He apologises for using underhanded tactics, not for killing him.
- The Big Guy
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dogged Nice Guy: To the Major, and of the Longtime Friends variety.
- Drives Like Crazy
- Electronic Eyes
- Fan of the Past: Discussed when he ribs Togusa for carrying a revolver; in return, he points out that Batou loves old cars instead.
- He also mentions laughing at Marx brothers movies, and After the Long Goodbye reveals he enjoys old jazz music.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- Hardboiled Detective: Despite Togusa being the former cop, Batou often seems to play the resident version of this for Section 9.
- Hidden Depths: Anyone who's known him for more than five minutes assumes him to be Dumb Muscle based on his huge physique and hot-blooded, reckless personality. And then you find out that he's arguably the best hacker after the Major and Ishikawa, has a base grounding in sociology, religion, politics (even if he doesn't usually care, it's clear that he understands it when he explains things to Togusa), and is more than capable of keeping up with the Major in advanced philosophical debate, even if his stances tend to be more empirical and down-to-earth.
- Honor Before Reason: Why he doesn't shoot Marco Amoretti.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He even has one specific Tachikoma that he calls "his" and tends to spoil it which results in a rather interesting Plot Twist involving the Spider Tanks.
- The Lancer
- Men Are Uncultured: Both subverted and played with, since Batou's interests range from classical philosophy to weight training and old cars.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Subverted - He is normally Red to Togusa's blue as he has a boisterous personality, but on the scene he is actually much more collected and professional than Togusa.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: To some extent. JUNGLE CRUISE shows that Batou still has flashbacks about Project Sunset (an extremely brutal covert operation in Central America that he and the Section 4 Rangers he was with stumbled across) but the end of the episode shows that he's gotten over his hatred of Marco.
- Shouting Shooter: On occasion.
- Unstoppable Rage: At times.
- Warrior Poet: Not as readily apparent as Motoko's case, but still definitely there.
A regular joe Japanese beat cop with very few cybernetics. Brought into the team to balance out the skill set, basically. He's an old-fashioned guy, with a young wife and two kids (one boy and one girl). Carries an old Mateba semiautomatic revolver — almost as much of an anachronism as his teammates consider him
to be, though both seem to get the job done when need be.
- Badass Longcoat: In Solid State Society.
- Badass Normal: Being the only member of Section 9 save for Aramaki without any major cybernetic alterations doesn't stop Togusa from holding his own in battles with other cyborgs, and getting critical data on the Laughing Man case despite getting shot in the process.
- By-the-Book Cop
- Combat Pragmatist: He's much squishier than his cybernetic colleagues so he pretty much has to be pragmatic to survive.
- Averted by his use of a revolver, which other characters frequently point out is inferior to a semi-automatic.
- '80s Hair: The character design is old enough to be the real deal on that action mullet.
- Eureka Moment: Often what cracks cases and gets the team going again. He once has two in five on-screen minutes.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Yamaguchi.
- Hand Cannon: His revolver, of course.
- Happily Married: He's the only member of Section Nine shown with a happy family.
- Honor Before Reason: In the episode where he's charged with illegally discharging his gun while off duty, he's given a clear hint by the Major that he can talk with her and Arimaki in the courtroom by using Section 9's communications encryption, but he refuses to do so because it's against the law, even though he was going to be convicted in a Kangaroo Court and sent to prison. The Major finally resorted to hacking his cyberbrain in order to save him.
- Improbable Weapon User: Subverted. When the cyborg enforcer from the social welfare facility he infiltrates in PORTRAITZ has him cornered, he pretends to fight against it with a sculpting tool. It turns out to be a ruse so he can distract it while he pulls out his revolver.
- Morality Pet/Pet the Dog: For everyone, but especially the Major, and Batou to an extent (though half of Batou's Pet the Dog goes to the Tachikoma). Togusa is single-handedly responsible for at least a third of the moments where the audience sees that Section Nine might be a group of ruthless ex-war dogs, but they still take care of their own. And god help you if you do anything to mess with Togusa's happy family life.
- New Meat: Though by Solid State Society he's shaken off the "rookie" label to become Section 9's field commander.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Batou's red. Subverted, see Batou's entry.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His Weapon of Choice. The first episode shows that he likes to go to the firing range to unwind.
- The Team Normal: Canonically. The whole reason the Major recruited him in the first place was to keep the team from being overspecialized and cyborg-centric.
- Weak, but Skilled
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Shame the world he's living in is not exactly a happy place
- What makes all the more heartbreaking to watch is that even though the GITS universe is at the very bottom of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, there is never a moment where it falls into the Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! aesop. His comrades don't have any problem with his kinder view of the world and even feel it balances out the team. They do, however, get irritated when his naivety almost gets him killed. By Solid State Society, it can be argued that he's gone through something of a Break the Cutie, as he's noticeably more cynical, no longer carries his Mateba, and is considering the full-body prosthetics he rejected before. (Even more so, considering his emotional breakdown at the end of Season 1) And after all of that he still tries to kill himself to save his daughter.
Voiced by: Osamu Saka (Japanese), William Frederick Knight (English)Da Chief
. He's the old man that does all the back door politics that need, um, politicking. Has connections at every level of the government. Trusts his people implicitly.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: He's still a balding, elderly man but in this version he's more "distinguished gentleman" and less "Japanese snow monkey in a suit".
- Anime Hair
- Badass Boast: It's not really boasting per se, but he has utmost faith in the abilities of his team; enough to unflinchingly stake his own personal reputation on them on a regular basis. A notable example would be the first episode of 2nd Gig, where he tells the new Prime Minister that he's willing to be the scapegoat/"fall guy" and will take full responsibility if things go south as a result of his team's intervention in the hostage situation.
- Badass Bureaucrat: Tears through all the red tape so Section 9 can do it's job.
- Bald of Awesome/Forehead of Doom
- Benevolent Boss
- Big Good
- The Chessmaster
- Cool Old Guy
- A Father to His Men: This becomes more apparent in the Umibozu arc at the end of the first season, when Section 9 is disbanded by force.
- Guile Hero: His job. Aramaki knows the legal and political systems inside and out; when a delicate situation needs to be resolved, he'll be one of the first people to know how to get it done by bending as many rules as necessary without actually breaking any of them
- Karma Houdini: Pulls this at the end of Season 1 as Section 9 is disbanded by force, and uses his influence to save Togusa from the worst of it too.
- Long-Lost Relative: His brother.
- New Old Flame: In episode 16 of Season 1. Although he has to leave her at the end, he still finds a way to tell her But I Would Really Enjoy It.
- Old Master
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to be the ONLY one in the entire GitS universe. Practically every other political, military, or corporate official in the entire series is incompetent or outright corrupt, and the few good ones seem to have their hands tied on a regular basis. Thankfully Aramaki regularly blackmails, threatens, or bends the law so he can see justice done, and is quite willing to use extremely underhanded tactics to cut through red tape.
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- The Strategist: He was actually a very brilliant strategist in the military when he was young. Now he effectively applies those strategies in politics, yet he's still more than capable of turning a situation in his favor, such as using two would-be bank robbers to fool a SWAT team who were under orders to kill everyone inside, himself included.
- Urban Legend Love Life
Voiced by: Yutaka Nakano (Japanese), Michael McCarty (English)
Exceptional info-gatherer. Specializes in traditional hacking, as opposed to cyberbrain invasion. Turns any computer into a Magical Database. In a subversion of the type, he is actually a fairly old guy, being one of the oldest members of Section 9.
Team sniper (the name is pronounced in Japanese the same as "Sight"
). Has a single cybernetic eye and cybernetic wrist. May or may not have had an... interesting first meeting with the Major.
Voiced by: Taro Yamaguchi (Japanese), Dean Wein (English)
Sumo-esque backup guy. His specialty is explosives, and he often acts as transportation (pilot, driver) or assisting Ishikawa with anything computer-related, but he is so minor that his talents are mentioned only once in first season, and used once in 2nd Gig.
- Bald of Awesome
- Electronic Eyes: Seems to be a larger red variation of the same type Batou has.
- The Generic Guy: Is easily the least developed character in Section 9, and is arguably the only member of Section 9 devoid of doing anything that's really cool. All we have to go on is that he's the explosives specialist of Section 9.
- He does assassinate the lawyer going after Togusa, so one thing we know he isn't is a goody-two-shoes.
- And his explosives experience becomes relevant in one of the novels.
Voiced by: Takashi Onozuka (Japanese), Robert Buchholz (English)
Another backup guy. Boasts that he "never sleeps with the same woman twice".
- The Casanova: Paz claims that he never sleeps with the same woman twice. This comes back to haunt him in 2nd Gig.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Spot the Imposter: The only clue detailing that it was the real Paz who defeated his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend, who had decided to duplicate his body and transfer her brain into it, was the lack of blood coming from the stab and slash wounds in the eye and chest. Pazu is still mostly human, while she was fully prosthetic. This is never brought up again.
- The Stoic: The most unemotional member of Section 9 by spades.
A.I. Think-Tanks (literally) and the Stand Alone Complex incarnation of the manga's "Fuchikoma", that have personalities like children and resemble blue, four-legged mechanical spiders. There are about 12 of them. Subject to regular memory synchronization, they are all supposed to be identical and interchangeable. As the most advanced A.I.s on the planet (probably), they are quite philosophical about their place in the world, to the point of surprising Section 9 at times.
Or, more succinctly: If you mushed together a puppy, a philosopher, and a machine gun, you'd get a Tachikoma. Add in the curiosity of a 5 year old child, and the zeal for destruction of a barbarian, and you get closer.
- A Day in the Limelight: Several episodes revolve almost exclusively around them.
- Back from the Dead: Twice.
- Badass Adorable: Imagine a talking puppy packing a machinegun. You are not terribly far off from how the Tachikomas behave.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason behind their Undying Loyalty to Batou-san.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Including the one who escapes and rescues Miki, giving a stern lecture to the police while it's at it.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: After being discharged from service, the Tachikomas who find different jobs are painted various colors including grey and yellow. This is also because they've developed distinct personalities.
- Contemplate Our Navels: When sitting in the garage in between missions, this appears to be their favorite activity. The subject is usually the nature of their existence as reasoning AI's and whether their developing individuality could be evidence that they are developing or already have ghosts (souls).
- Cute Bruiser: While not humanoid, their voices and personalities are adorable enough to make them the cutest characters of the series. However, they are still advanced combat robots, and they will completely mess you up, especially if you hurt Mr. Batou.
- Cute Machines: Bulbous chassis? Light-blue paint job? High-pitched childlike voices? Check, check, and check. Their constant and insatiable curiosity helps as well.
- Do Androids Dream?: The general topic of their philosophical debates. They often compare and contrast their own experiences with those that humans have described.
- Gatling Good: Occasionally have their grenade launchers replaced with one.
- Keet: While ultimately being genderless spider tanks, they are energic, easily excited and use the more masculine "boku" when referring to themselves. They're referred to by male pronouns by other characters as well, and are even given male names in Solid State Society.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: They have them built in for scaling buildings.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of both seasons no less!
- And minor ones in some episodes, like the fight between the Major's Tachikoma and a crazy helicopter. He got better, and even talks of it with his fellows.
- Hive Mind: The memory banks and CPU for all of them are located in a satelite rather than their individual bodies. They als synchronize experiences. Despite this, they develop distinct personalities and separate awareness. Debating this topic is like one person liteally talking with themselves.
- Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Batou treating one particular machine as his "favorite" and giving it natural oil rather than synthetic serves as the catalyst that sparks their developing individuality.
- Just a Machine: What Section 9 tends to think of them, although they insist they are more than that.
- Made of Iron: They can take bursts of fully-automatic gunfire and still get up and fight.
- Spider Tanks: In fact, they can walk on walls and ceilings and fire a "web-like" substance to use as a grappling hook or to swing after targets.
- Spanner in the Works: Their unpredictability is a huge factor in stopping Ghoda's plan.
- Tears from a Stone: Batou's favorite tachikoma cried natural oil Batou used to give him (they developed a "Ghost" largely because of this simple thing Batou had done for them) then they sacrificed themselves for their friend.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the second season, they become very efficient hackers.