YMMV / Ghost in the Shell

  • Accidental Innuendo:
    Batou: If it looks like you've gone in too deep I'm pulling the plug and taking you home!
  • Adaptation Displacement: The first film is far better known than the manga it's based on, particularly in the West where it really took off. Today's generation of anime fans, however, seem to be more familiar with Stand Alone Complex than either the films or the manga.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After months of controversy over the film's casting, the producers finally realized it might be a good idea to have at least one actual Japanese person in the film, and hired Takeshi Kitano to play Aramaki. They followed this up by casting a number of other Japanese actors, like Rila Fukushima.
    • It's since been revealed that Kaori Momoi will be playing Motoko's mother, implying that Motoko may still be Asian in this continuity, albeit inside a Caucasian android body.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The lesbian sex scene in the original. Comes out of nowhere, is never brought up again in that book.
    • Man/Machine Interface had a sex scene involving a female African soldier getting gang-banged by 3 other soldiers. Shirow admitted to removing it from the North American release because it really added nothing to the story.
  • Broken Base: The casting of Scarlett Johansson as the Major for the Hollywood live-action adaptation earned a lot of accusations on whitewashing while others don't mind about it as long as the story and direction is good.
  • Contested Sequel: The film Innocence. Some fans consider it an Even Better Sequel, others a pretentious bore.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Kenji Kawai's breathtaking score for both films. The climax of Innocence is practically a ballet.
  • Designated Hero: While she's on the job, the Major is not a nice lady; at times, she seems to approach being a Sociopathic Hero. For example, in Section 9's first mission to determine if they would even be approved as an organization, Motoko ends up saving the lives of boys who were working in hellish totalitarian conditions and barely being fed. When they ask if she was here to help them, she told them that they have to make their own lives and not rely on hand-outs. Ouch.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The first movie can be interpreted as the Major leaving behind her attachments to her human existence and becoming a being of pure thought. The second movie's plot is more straightforward, but still contains lots of mind screwing.
  • Fetish Retardant: A sizable faction of the fans maintains that Man/Machine Interface is unreadable because of this. The other faction maintains it is only readable because of that.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In America, it's a bona fide classic, one of the earlier examples of serious, artistic animation. In Japan it was nothing unheard of and was, well, slow-paced and artistic, rarely a recipe for a box office hit.
  • Internet Backdraft: Due to Hollywood's ill reputation on adapting anime and manga into the big screen, people remain skeptical on the upcoming live-action adaptation, most especially the casting of Scarlett Johansson. Several people such as Jon Tsuei and Ming-Na Wen were very critical about the casting while others such as Max Landis and Hollywood Reporter pointed the reasons behind the casting.
  • Les Yay: The Puppet Master is referred to as "he," but is eventually seen in a female body and with (in the 2.0 remake) a female voice. And with all that talk with Kusanagi about "merging"...
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The ringing bells of the Japanese wedding music that's used as the main theme of the first film. Bennett the Sage used them as a hint to how Manga Entertainment were able to recover after the release of Mad Bull 34.
  • Narm: The overabundance of philosophical quotes in Innocence could be seen as one. It's as if one of the writers brought home a book of famous quotes and was determined to have the characters recite every last one.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The 2016 film adaptation became this due to the race lifts of several characters from Asian to white.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The possibility of having your brain hacked. In the second film, we get to see what the result of such hacking looks like from the victim's point of view. It's rather unnerving.
  • Superlative Dubbing: The original film's English dub (courtesy of Manga Entertainment) was one of the very first anime dubs to aim directly at an adult audience, contain excellent acting across the board, and have a script that was extremely faithful to the original Japanese with minimal use of extraneous profanity, a practice that was all too common back in the early-to-mid 90s, often used to supposedly make the product seem "edgier". The dub still holds up extraordinarily well today despite the many advances in dubbing courtesy of such shows like Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is so good that, in fact, when the remake Ghost in the Shell 2.0 was localized for English release, rather than create a new dub from scratch, the original 1995 English dub was reused wholesale with no changes. Now that is impressive.
  • Uncanny Valley: Both films play with this.
    • The original tapped into this with the Major, as she never blinks, and especially with the Puppet Master's male voice coming from a female body. Fans weren't happy when a female voice was used in 2.0.
    • Innocence goes even further, with those eerie geisha robots, Haraway the forensics scientist, Kim and the really creepy-looking doll Togusa brings home to his daughter at the end. The trope is even discussed at one point:
      It's the uncertainty that perhaps something that appears to be alive actually isn't. On the other hand, it might be the uncertainty that what doesn't appear to be alive actually is.
  • Values Dissonance: Towards the upcoming live-action film. In America, there was a large Internet Backdraft towards having a white person playing an Asian character, especially among fans of the originals and Asian-Americans. In Japan the reaction was a bit more varied.
  • Woolseyism: The English title is the subtitle of the original work. The actual Japanese title, Kokaku Kidoutai, translates to "Mobile Armored Tank Police". (Shirow Masamune mentions in the preface to Man/Machine Interface that the Japanese title is a huge misnomer for M/MI, because the story is no longer about the police, nor does the protagonist ride in an armored tank. He considered changing it, but...nah.)
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: When it was announced that Scarlett Johansson will star in the upcoming live-action version of the film; a lot of anime fans are definitely not pleased with this, particularly that the Major will get a Race Lift. It doesn't help that there were reports about using CGI effects to make the white actors look Asian as several people cited that there are several Asian actresses who could fit the role, such as Rinko Kikuchi.