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 Think of the term "plain Jane" in English, since Motoko literally translates to "plain girl".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 moments.
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.
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 served in) but the end of the episode shows that he's gotten over his hatred of Marco.
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 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.
Happily Married: He's the only member of Section Nine shown with a happy family.
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.
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.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to be the ONLY one in the entire Git S 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.
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.
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.
The Worf Effect: Anyone or anything important to the plot will outsmart Saito and his satellite targeting to show how savvy they are.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A super hacker who kidnapped the C.E.O of Serano Genomics 6 years prior to the start of the series. This incident would make him a hero in the eyes of some and the entity "The Laughing Man" become a sort of cultural phenomenon.
Bishonen: According to Togusa's testimony in Portraitz when he was working undercover as a worker for people with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome. He describes him as "A handsome young lad in a wheelchair with a lefty's catcher's mit.
Coat, Hat, Mask: His preferred outfit of a parka with the hood pulled over his face.
The Faceless: For most of the season, he's never seen directly, but either his face is obscured (whether by his disguise or one of his hacks) or he's ghost-hacking someone else's body.
Friendly Enemy: he and Serano (the guy he kidnaps twice) are on relatively good terms for an abductor and abductee
Memetic Mutation: An In-Universe example Aoi, the original Laughing Man, only carried out the kidnapping of Ernest Serano prior to the start of the series. However, this spawned multiple imitators who carried out crimes under the name of "The Laughing Man".
Even in real life some people, most notably Anonymous, use his logo to make a similar statement
Another example. Do you know how he originally found the information that lead to the kidnapping of Serano and all the crap that followed? No? Well, neither does he. He just found a file that had the info on Serano one day, and despite years of extensively searching for the originator of that file, he never found it.
Member of the Individual Eleven terrorist group, Kuze's first major action upon his introduction into the series is an attempt at the Prime Minster's life. He later becomes the lone survivor of the mass suicide the Individual Eleven partake in, and then goes on to start a revolution among the refugees in an attempt to give them independence.
Dark Messiah: To the refugees, he's a savior. To Section 9, he's a dangerous terrorist.
Forgotten Childhood Friend: It's later revealed that he was the other survivor in the plane crash that caused Motoko to get a prosthetic body.
Frozen Face: He rarely shows much in the way of expression, and often doesn't even bother to move his mouth when speaking. Justified - his features are a work of art created by a talented face-sculptor, deliberately programmed with limited mobility to prevent wear and tear.
Implacable Man: Thanks to his high-quality cyborg body designed specifically for endurance in combat.
Light is Good: Downplayed. He may be a foe of our heroes and a dangerous terrorist, but his white hair and outfit signify his ability to salvage a conscience and sense of social responsibility from the Individual Eleven virus.
Man in White: Is first seen wearing a white suit and trenchcoat. This sets him apart from the other "original" Individual Eleven, who wear dark clothing, which thus foreshadows his refusal to follow through with the suicide plan.
Voiced by: Ken Nishida (Japanese), John Snyder (English)
Head of data manipulation within the Cabinet Intelligence Service. An extremely shady character who quickly draws the suspicion and dislike of Section 9.
Always Someone Better: It's outright stated that most of his actions are the result of an inferiority complex. And Batou (using the Major's external memories) even implies that his entire scheme throughout 2nd Gig was an attempt to one-up the Laughing Man. He also implies that said attempts have failed.
Boom, Headshot: Admit it, you found his head turning into a bloody mess massively satisfying, right?
The Chessmaster: He's the one responsible for the emergence of the Individual Eleven in the first place and is the mastermind behind the entire conflict between Japan and the refugees.
Cutting the Knot: How he's undone at the end of the second season. The Prime Minister simply asserts her authority and gives Section 9 what more or less amounts to permission to kill him unless he surrenders (since he's convinced he's more or less untouchable by the law thanks to his scheming but that particular bit of legislation was the equivalent of the USA Patriot Act). Whichtheydo.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half the side of his face is horribly scarred. Despite having the technology to repair it, Ghoda chose to keep it the way it is because it allows him to give off more of an impression. Also, he seems to believe that the scarring of his face also caused a change to his Ghost, turning him from a boring bureaucrat dreaming of greatness into a bona fide Magnificent Bastard.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: He's a deeply insecure virgin himself, and has a bit of a complex about disproving this trope. One of the requirements for his 'hero'-producing Individual Eleven virus to take full effect is that the target must be a virgin pre-prosthetics.
Meaningful Name: His given name literally translates to "one person" or "individual", a big hint at his involvement in the plot.
Obviously Evil: With the scars, the smugness and the attitude, you could see this from miles away.
Red Right Hand: Ghoda's got a mangled face and a bizarrely egg-shaped head. A man of his position, in this world of powerful surgical and prosthetic technology, could have easily repaired his face to look normal, but he chose not to, just because he liked the unsettling appearance he now had. A rare case where the Red Right Hand is entirely voluntary, which alone speaks volumes about his character.
Ridiculously Average Guy: Was pretty much this before his disfigurement, looks-wise, to the point of people struggling just to remember him. Lampshaded by Batou when Section 9 find an older profile of him.
Japan's first female prime minister, responsible for bringing Section 9 back into action (officially, anyway) for the second season. Appears as a Recurring Character. Well-intentioned and has a strong sense of justice, but struggles to earn respect from her cabinet due to a combination of her own naivety and the fact that they intend to use her as a puppet (and later a blame figure).
All There in the Manual: Her first name is never mentioned once in the series or any of the accompanying reference books; it only appears briefly onscreen during a DVD interview with her voice actress.
Expy: Bears a lot of similarity to Kim Campbell (Canada's only woman prime minister, from June 1993 to November 1993). Her country's first female Primer Minister put in place by the ruling party's bureacracy in the wake of major scandals force the party's leadership to resign.
Heroic BSOD: Experiences one of these toward the end of 2nd GIG, when her entire administration turns on her.
Iron Lady: Subverted, although the end of 2nd GIG sees her well on her way to becoming this.
Meaningful Name: "Kayabuki" translates to "reed thatch", though the meaning is probably easier to get if you're British.
Older than They Look: The series' character designer has admitted that Kayabuki looks much younger than she would be realistically; this was done deliberately so she'd have a sporting chance at becoming a popular character even with the Major stealing the show most of the time. Her true age, however, like the rest of the cast's, is unknown.