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Anime / Ghost in the Shell (1995)
aka: Ghost In The Shell

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Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii's 1995 animated film adaption of Masamune Shirow's classic manga about a cyborg policewoman in Post-Cyberpunk Japan, condenses the original manga's plot by focusing entirely on the "Puppet Master" story. It also takes a much, much more serious tone than the manga, focusing on the series's psychology over most action hijinks. The film's visuals, action sequences, and large amount of both philosophical ponderings and technobabble all but defined Western conceptions of anime for the better part of a decade.

The film's story takes place in a post-cyberpunk future where cybernetic bodies have become the norm and society conceptualizes a person's mind/soul as their "ghost". Major Motoko Kusanagi, a female cyborg and the leader of a covert government task-force specializing in cybercrime, leads her team on the hunt for a notorious hacker known only as "Puppet Master". The Puppet Master "cyber-hacks" the brains of innocent people and implants memories to turn them into his unwitting accomplices in various crimes.

The 2004 sequel, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, revolves around Motoko's team working to solve a rash of murders involving berserk robots while dealing with her absence following the events of its predecessor. Innocence featured heavy usage of integrated CGI and cel animation — and it explored the Uncanny Valley even further than the first film.

A remastered version of the first film, Ghost in the Shell 2.0, saw the light of day in 2009; among other changes to the film, this version mixed in modern-day CGI with the original animation (in the vein of Innocence), all under the supervision of Oshii. A high-definition transfer of the original version came with the Blu-ray version of 2.0, and a separate high-definition "remaster" release of the original version showed up a few years later. A live-action American entry into the franchise that partially draws upon this film was released in 2017.

The Wachowskis cite the first film as a direct influence on the Matrix films — so much so that even the Wachowskis themselves think of Ghost in the Shell as The Matrix's spiritual predecessor.

This film has no relation to the TV/OVA series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex or Ghost in the Shell: Arise other than their shared source material.

Ghost in the Shell contains examples of the following tropes:

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    Tropes common to both movies 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • In Innocence, while the CGI and animated elements meld together, the transition between a fully CG landscape and one containing a mix of animation and CG is very apparent. According to Oshii, the CG sequences were supposed to tap into the Uncanny Valley.
    • Ghost in the Shell 2.0 likewise contains somewhat jarring bits of CGI. Far more jarring, since it constantly flips between early 90's style animation and 21st century CGI. They don't fit together very well, especially when occasionally even the characters are turned into CG.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A lot, as this is an Oshii staple.
  • Action Girl: The Major.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Major is is a lot more downbeat and existential about her situation than she is in the manga.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Played to a extreme degree, and with several characters.
    • The biggest change is Major Kusanagi herself. In the manga, she is an immature, juvenile hustler with a wild personal life and a great rapport with her underlings, while the movie makes her a depressive, introverted philosopher of few words who only seems to trust Batou (and not to a large degree). This resembles the Character Development she receives later in the manga after her encounter with the Puppet Master, only that here it is shown to be her natural state, possibly caused by the experience of her cybernetization. Ironically enough, the first movie briefly reverses this evolution, as she behaves a bit more similar to her initial manga version when she is given a child body after the encounter with the Puppet Master (although Innocence shows she has otherwise retained her stoic new personaliy).
    • Batou is also turned into a quiet, bitter man with his own philosophical doubts, instead of the goofy, happy dumbass he was in the manga. His role in the movies is clearly associated to the more contemplative moments, while in the manga he is instead used as Comic Relief most the time.
    • Togusa in the manga is cockier and more energetic than his movie self, as he is somewhat of a self-conscious Butt-Monkey and whines sometimes about it. In stark contrast, even if he retains his role as the team rookie in the movies, the movies play it dead serious and make sure to give him a professional, collected demeanor.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Both films combine elements from multiple arcs of the manga.
  • Adapted Out: The Fuchikomas are notoriously absent from the movies, making it a case of Artifact Title given that the original one, Mobile Armored Riot Police, referenced directly the wide usage of Fuchikomas as mobile mechs by the Section 9. Paz and Borma also absent from both movies, while Saito is only mentioned in the first.
  • Arc Words: "A whisper from my ghost" and its variants.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Quite a few times, especially in Innocence which uses a lot of Christian symbolism. The original movie quotes an entire passage from The Bible (1 Corinthians, specifically) which comes up twice.
  • Author Appeal: Mamoru Oshii is very fond of basset hounds, even expressing a desire to be reincarnated as one. During the Scenery Porn scene in the first movie, a basset hound is shown. In Innocence, Batou has one as a pet. The bible quotes above and references to Christianity in general are also a fondness of Oshii's.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Arguably much of the technology falls under this, but some of the less-justified examples are the androids at Section 6 with branching fingers for efficient data input.
  • BFG: Probably not the only occurrence, but in the climax of the first movie, Batou shows up with what amounts to a cross between an oversized shotgun loaded with (appropriately oversized) deer slugs and a shoulder-mounted artillery cannon.
    Major: What'd you use?
    Batou: Your standard-issue big gun.
    • This example showcases the attention to guns as minor but significant characters in the movie. The irony of the "your regular old big gun" line is that it's anything but: an obscure toggle-lock action turns it into an incredibly kinetic, clunky, dangerous, violently cycling beast that stops firing early when one of its oversized casings visibly jams the mechanism. Basically, it is a German Luger pistol upsized to become a mecha weapon — something a discerning gun nut would greatly appreciate.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. The characters are clearly shown stopping to reload frequently, and in the first movie, a thug being chased by Section 9 checks how many bullets he has left in his magazine. Motoko's strategy against the Spider Tank at the film's climax even involves waiting for its gun attachments to run out of ammo. Continued in Innocence, with Batou frequently reloading during shootouts and almost running out of ammo to hold off the rampaging gynoids while Kusanagi's borrowed body is immobilized.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: The plug-ins that the characters have on the back of their necks, which directly inspired the similar technology in The Matrix.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: In both films, usually lead by Motoko and/or Batou.
  • Cowboy Cop: In both films (Innocence in particular), Batou is unafraid to ignore orders and take the law into his own hands. In Innocence this puts him (oftentimes humorously) at odds with cautious straight-man Togusa.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: Significantly averted; the soundtracks to both films (especially the first) consist of moody, haunting pieces featuring traditional chants and instruments.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: Even when it's not actually raining, the skies are always overcast.
  • Darker and Edgier: The films abandon virtually all of the comedy and wackiness of the manga in favor of dour brooding and dead-serious philosophizing, a shift already somewhat present in the manga's last few chapters.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Batou. Togusa picks up a little bit of it too by the end of Innocence - as he says, "I learn from the best."
  • Depending on the Writer: In the original manga the Major starts out as a wisecracking, violence loving, Hard-Drinking Party Girl but becomes more introspective after her encounter with the Puppet Master, whereas here she's like that from the beginning.
  • Electronic Eyes: Batou has them.
  • Fan Disservice: In the first film, Kusanagi's naked body being disintegrated. In the second, the host of nude, blank-faced, murderous gynoids.
  • Franchise Codifier: The film did much to redefine the direction of later Ghost in the Shell material with its radical differences in tone compared to the manga. Trading out action-comedy for metaphysical cyberpunk philosophy, it ensured that subsequent installments would be similarly suspenseful police dramas with only occasional comedic elements that happen naturally through the cast's personalities, with Motoko Kusanagi in particular being much more brooding than her perkier manga counterpart. Though, it must be said that while the movie codified this direction, the manga laid the seeds for them, as the philosophical ponderings and Motoko's serious personality can be found in the final chapters of the original manga.
  • The Future Is Noir: Although there are daytime scenes, they're usually cloudy and dim, and the majority of the action is set at night or in darkened buildings.
  • Gun Porn: Oh yeah. The movie's guns are so detailed and realistic that "Firearms consultant" even gets its own place in the credits. For a trip down that rabbit hole, look into the IMFDB page on the first film and the second one.
  • Just a Machine: Questioned in both films.
  • Laser Sight: The snipers' targeting lasers are invisible except when viewed through Batou's eyes, presumably because his cybernetic eyes can see special frequencies and/or can intelligently amplify faint straight-line scatter. note 
  • Matrix Raining Code: The inspiration. Used prominently in the title sequence and conspicuously replaced in 2.0.
  • Mind Screw: Both movies, but especially Innocence.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Major. Her "Thermoptic camouflage" suit in the first movie is basically a nude-colored skintight bodysuit that leaves very little to the imagination, to the point some aren't even aware it is a suit, thinking (or just insisting) it's her skin, and she's actually an Invisible Streaker.
  • Named After Somebody Famous
    • Section 9 is named after real-life German counter-terrorism unit GSG 9 (Border Guard, Unit 9).
    • Despite the barrage of literary and philosophical references in Innocence, the only character who actually falls under this trope is the forensics inspector Haraway, named after scholar Donna Haraway.
  • Our Souls Are Different: A person's consciousness, or their "ghost", is unique and impossible to replicate. It's also thought that machines cannot spontaneously generate one – until the Puppet Master proves this wrong.
  • Reference Overdosed: While the first film doesn't slack in making references, Innocence goes above and beyond in being a highly intertextual work chock full of direct quotations from other works, casually dropped names, and visual references. Its characters having external memory devices certainly helps.
  • Robotic Assembly Lines: The title sequence of the original movie shows Kusanagi's body being assembled in a factory. This is repeated in the opening of Innocence with the construction of a Locus Solus gynoid.
  • Scenery Gorn: There are montages of polluted rivers, rundown buildings and garbage heaps. Could double as Gaia's Lament in this case.
  • Scenery Porn: At least one scene in each of Mamoru Oshii's films exists for this purpose and this purpose alone. Ghost in the Shell is no different.
  • Sherlock Scan: Batou does this in several scenes with his cybernetic eyes. In the first movie, they allow him to scan a crowded marketplace and instantly pick out the criminal he's pursuing.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The film contains numerous homages to Blade Runner, the franchise's primary visual and thematic inspiration. In one scene in Innocence, for example, Togusa asks Batou if his dog is "real" or a clone, since "originals are expensive".
    • The thermoptic camouflage also resembles the scramble suits seen in A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, who also wrote the novel that Blade Runner is based on.
    • One of Mamoru Oshii's production sketches mentions Lau Chan's PPPK combo string as a point of reference for animating the Major's takedown of the hacked thug.
    • Innocence opens with a quote from The Future Eve. "Hadaly" was also the name of the android in this book.
  • Shown Their Work: Batou's weapons handling is just what the military teaches — weapon at the shoulder and fire short, controlled bursts. He does hold the trigger down on his SAW in Innocence, but presumably the enhanced strength of his cybernetic body allows him to better control the recoil (which was confirmed in the manga); he certainly succeeds at clearing the room with it.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence
  • Straight Man: Togusa, particularly to Motoko and Batou's eccentric methods and sense of humor.
  • Technology Porn: Both films have lots of this. For example, the beginnings of both films feature highly artistic scenes showing the assembly of androids — female, of course, and naked. There's a deliberate contrast between the two, as the making of a cyborg is very mechanical, while the birth of a gynoid has an organic feel, especially with the initial formation of the neurochip, resembling an egg being fertilized.
    • Innocence includes a several minute long scene showing nothing but a plane circling a massive cathedral with its segmented wings flapping in the wind like feathers. And then there's the horde of naked robo-chicks spinning and jumping through the corridors while decapitating armed guards. And the virtual assault on the facilities internal computer defense. And...
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The setting is around 2030.
  • Uncanny Valley: Both films play with this In-Universe.
    • 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."
  • Unusual User Interface: The jacks used to access the network and the keyboards so complex they require artificial hands with numerous telescopable digits to use.
  • Used Future: Cities are crowded, dirty and run-down, and high technology doesn't stop people from polluting or spraying graffiti everywhere.
  • Vague Age: In the movies, at least. But Kusanagi especially. She suggests that if she were to retire from the service, she would have to give back her cybernetic body parts. "Which wouldn't leave much", in her case. This could mean that she has had a long career and is chronologically older than she looks, considering how without her government issued cybernetics, she is literally just a brain and has likely hidden her actual age through those cybernetics. In any normal case, the rank of Major in an outfit like Section 9, seems like a rather high rank for a young woman who appears not much older than thirty.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Most of the themes, allegories and nods will fly over the head of most viewers.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The animation crew seemed to have liked these quite a bit; there's a head asploding in some form or fashion at the beginning and end of each movie. It also quite handily shows audiences that this ain't no kid's show they're dealing with here. To quote IGN:
    "Ghost in the Shell opens with what might be the most technically impressive rendition of an exploding head in the history of Japanese animation, and if you know your Japanese cartoons, you know that's a hell of an accolade."

    Tropes Specific to GITS and GITS 2.0 

  • Action Prologue: The assassination of a foreign diplomat provides the film's Cold Open.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The last we see of the garbageman whose wife and daughter were just Fake Memories is him crying as he's confronted with the truth (in the manga, he appears back at his job and clearly over the whole ordeal).
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The Puppet Master here is much more cerebral and speaks in an emotionless, machine-like Spock Speak. In contrast, his manga version behaved much more humanlike and could even be humorous at times.
  • Adaptational Skimpiness: Inverted with the thermoptic camouflage suit used by Kusanagi. The film makes it skintight and flesh-colored, making the Major look naked while wearing it, whereas in the manga it was blue and bulky and didn't really differ from her usual combat uniform.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • The Puppet Master's humanoid body has all four limbs completely wrecked by collision with a truck.
    • At the climax of the movie, Kusanagi is under attack from a huge Spider Tank. She tries to wrench open the tank's access hatch, and instead rips her own arms off at mid-bicep.
    • Batou also loses half his arm when shot by a sniper rifle.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The ending implies this when the Major/Puppetmaster leave Batou's home to face an unknown future.
    And where does the newborn go from here? The Net is vast and infinite.
  • Anti-Villain: The Puppet Master: wanted cybercriminal, or sentient being that just wants to be treated the same as everyone else?
  • Artistic License – Military: The original (1995) film's dub: During Major Kusanagi's battle with the tank, just before the helicopter pilot covering her departs he says "Over and out" to her. To end a conversation, he should have simply said "Out."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Motoko/the Puppet Master.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Chief Nakamura of Section 6. For such an important diplomat, he sure is tactless.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Starting at the slight weirdness of seeing two cars in the parking garage for two guests who arrived together, Togusa is able to investigate from his car and deduce the presence of two thermoptic camo-cloaked operatives in Section 9.
  • Background Halo: When the Puppetmaster first reveals himself, the machinery holding his body forms a circle of light behind his head, giving him an angelic appearance (and creepy lighting on his face.)
  • Badass Longcoat: Batou wears a trenchcoat frequently, as does Kusanagi at times.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The occasional nipple or two are shown, but the downstairs always stay barbie. Potentially justified, given the only naked bodies we see are of full prosthetic ones. Nipples would be purely cosmetic, but there's no need for genitalia if the body is not meant for sexual activity. The Major in particular is usually remarked upon as having a body that looks "stock" but is actually packed with military-grade hardware.
  • Battle Strip: Motoko has to strip down to only her thermoptic camo suit to use it; this is shown at the start of the movie and, briefly, just before she tries to tear the hatch off the tank in the climax.
  • Big Bad: Project 2501 is initially believed to be the main antagonist, but it's later revealed to be Chief Nakamura who, as leader of Section 6, authorized the creation of 2501.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Batou saving Kusanagi from the Spider Tank.
  • Black Helicopter: Section 6 comes after the Puppet Master with snipers in helicopters at the climax of the film.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The criminal that Kusanagi beats up, who turns out to be ghost-hacked.
  • Blue/Orange Contrast: Occurs in the diving scene as the Major rises from the water.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • The diplomat in the opening scene. It isn't pretty.
    • The Puppet Master's borrowed body at the end.
  • Brain Uploading: The Puppet Master installs its own ghost into an empty body. And at the end of the film, into Kusanagi's when the body is destroyed.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The sanitation worker who's trying to hack into a government official's brain turns out to have been under the control of the Puppet Master and has no recollection of anything (see Mind Rape).
  • Briefcase Blaster: The bodyguards in the Cold Open pull hidden submachine guns out of their briefcases.
  • Broken Angel: The Puppetmaster heavily evokes this. His human form is in theory a beautiful blonde woman and he sports a halo of sorts while revealing himself to Sectors 6 and 9. He describes himself to the Major as a being of great power and light above humanity's current potential, and his merger with her literally appears as a descending angel. However, Puppetmaster's body goes limbless for most of its screentime, showing how vulnerable he's become (while also looking really creepy, which is the point.)
  • By-the-Book Cop: Batou, in contrast to Kusanagi. Of course, he's practically a Cowboy Cop by anyone else's standards. Togusa is the most straightlaced of the team.
  • Chase-Scene Obstacle Course: Batou pursues an optic-camo user through a market. His invisible quarry shoves customers aside and plows through a pile of melons, which Batou then shoots to disrupt his camo.
  • The City Narrows: Rundown ghettos exist alongside gleaming office towers. An entire part of town is mentioned to be flooded.
  • Clone Angst: Kusanagi, when she sees how similar she is to the Puppet Master's "shell" (they were made by the same MegaCorp). In one scene, she wanders around the city alone and notices just how many people look like her, including a mannequin.
  • Cool Shades: The Major often wears them, as do quite a few of the government's mooks. Batou's artificial eyes give off this effect as well.
  • Creepy Monotone: The Puppet Master sounds like this at times.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Discussed. When Togusa asks the Major why she brought him along on a mission, she replies that his different skill set as an organic will balance out the team. This foreshadows the Puppet Master's reasons for wanting to merge with her.
  • Cyber Green: The opening sequence of the first movie, portraying the creation of a cyborg is tinted green, with green computer screens, green computer simulations, and green numbers repeatedly filling the screen before the numbers turn into the opening credits.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Mostly averted, since the characters are treated like regular people most of the time. However, they still wonder if they're really human or not.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The climax of the film, which appears to be set in a museum of some sort.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the series and to a lesser extent, the manga. Most of the comic relief is dropped, and what little remains is much darker in nature. The characters, all of whom are quite goofy and talkative in the manga, become morose and introspective. The visuals are very dark as well, with most outdoor scenes taking place either at night or under overcast skies, while the manga has many missions be at daylight.
  • De-power: Subverted; Kusanagi may be in a child's cyborg body at the end of the film, but mentally...
  • Digitized Hacker: The Puppet Master is a variation on the trope. He is technically digitized, but only because he was never human to begin with.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In the Action Prologue, Section 6 burst in on a foreign diplomat and a classified computer programmer who's planning to defect. The diplomat says he has immunity and a signed affidavit from the programmer requesting political asylum at his embassy where it will be delivered in a couple of days. At that point The Major, who's rappelled down outside the window, blows the diplomat's head off and literally disappears before their eyes as Section 6 opens fire on her. Presumably Section 6 then dragged the programmer out of the room and blamed the assassination on some terrorist.
    Batou: If Section 6 manages to catch the bastard all they can really do is deport him. Don't forget, we're Section 9; we'll clean it up.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Major Kusanagi actually merges her consciousness with The Puppeteer, a rogue A.I., and becomes able to live in both the physical and digital world. So, is she a human soul who can exist in the digital world? A human who spontaneously uploaded herself? An A.I. with the memories of the original human?
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: In the Japanese original voice-track, Kusanagi had "noise in her brain" because of her monthlies (just like in the manga). In the English dub, it was "a loose wire".
  • Einstein Hair: Chief Aramaki has it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Kusanagi comes across this way at first, but she's really more of a Sugar-and-Ice Girl.
  • Ethereal Choir: The film's recurring theme, which plays over the opening credits, is sung a capella over percussion. The lyrics are in archaic Japanese and are derived from a wedding chant, which ties into a theme (the marriage of humans and machines) of the film.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Kusanagi is still called "Major," despite not holding that rank at the time of the film, out of respect.
  • Everything Is Online: Even garbage trucks.
  • Evil Counterpart: While Evil is a bit strong, Chief Nakamura, as head of Section 6, is the direct counterpart to Chief Aramaki of Section 9. And Nakamura is presented as being more rude and antagonistic compared to Aramaki, and while Aramaki is depicted as a force for good or at least isn't bad, Nakamura, and Section 6 as a whole, engages in particularly corrupt and skeevy methods, such as taking Project 2501 from Section 9 headquarters through a false flag operation and then directly targeting Kusanagi, a fellow member of the government, for assassination.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Puppet Master, although he's not strictly speaking evil.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Hinted by the mural showing humanity's evolutionary heritage. It also implies that cyborgs occupy the next level.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Subverted. It seems like the Puppet Master makes the computer banks explode when it's recovered from Section 9 headquarters, but it's actually Section 6 mooks using thermoptic camouflage.
  • Explosive Overclocking: The high-velocity rounds used by a criminal overload the firing mechanism of his gun, ruining the barrel.
  • Face, Nod, Action: In the beginning, when the ambassador's two guards detect the Section 6 police raiding the meeting, they nod at each other just before opening fire.
  • Fake Memories: A man's entire past (including his family) is revealed to have been implanted by hackers. He's grief-stricken when he finds out.
  • False Camera Effects: There are a lot of horizontal Lens Flare effects, especially from red warning lights. And then there's the Dolly Zoom during the Major's post-diving navel contemplation.
  • Fan Disservice: The Puppet Master's human form is an attractive naked blonde woman... whose topless torso is considerably less appealing when it's had all its limbs ripped off.
  • Fantastic Nuke: A talented computer programmer is considered to be almost like a Weapon of Mass Destruction in this setting. They're even subject to arms treaties.
  • Fantastic Racism: When the Puppet Master requests asylum, the response of the government officials is to deny it's a sentient being, though it clearly is. Interestingly, cyborgs seem to suffer no such discrimination, only androids (most likely because cyborgs are human in spite of their modifications, but androids are artificial).
  • Fast-Roping: The Major uses this to get to the museum during the film's climax.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: A chase scene is set in one, compete with the obligatory knocking over of a Fruit Cart.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The opening scene and others in which the Major wears an Invisibility Cloak.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Section 6 uses them liberally.
  • Ghost Memory: In a rather disturbing scene, a man is told that despite what he thought, he doesn't have an ex-wife or a daughter — a hacker implanted those memories in his brain so that he would do their bidding. Perhaps even more disturbing is the moment in which he is asked to look at the photo he kept trying to show his coworker of his daughter, and it turns out to be a photo of him and his dog.
  • Gorn: Lots of it, including people being shot with high-powered sniper rifles and Kusanagi's body being torn to shreds.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Section 6, Section 9 and others.
  • Gut Feeling:
    Motoko: "My ghost is whispering to me."
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In a non-DNA variant, the film ends with Kusanagi merging with the Puppet Master's formless entity to become something else entirely.
  • Hannibal Lecture: The Puppet Master gives one to Nakamura when captured by Section 6, coupled with a Motive Rant.
    Puppet Master: And can you offer me proof of your existence? How can you, when neither modern science nor philosophy can explain what life is?
  • Hearing Voices: When both Motoko and Batou hear the voice of the Puppet Master reciting the passage from The Bible, "But for now we see through a glass darkly." He uneasily asks her if she's the one who said it.
  • Heroic RRoD: See An Arm and a Leg above.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: The Spider Tank keeps firing behind Major Kusanagi as she runs along a wall and backflips up a flight of stairs.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Motoko assembles a more powerful rifle from a suitcase to take on the Spider Tank — for all the good it does.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Corgi shooting at Batou and the Spider Tank shooting at Kusanagi both absolutely obliterate the scenery on either side of their target without landing a single bullet on what they were actually shooting at.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Not that much, but there are a few examples, such as shooting out a car's tires or being able to hit a moving vehicle in the license plate. Some feats are due to cybernetically augmented reflexes.
  • Infrared X-Ray Camera: Both types show up in the film.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Major Kusanagi seems to get (nearly) naked quite a lot while she's on the job. As a Robot Girl, she doesn't have any inhibitions about it either.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: The Puppet Master is a government experiment in strong AI that became sentient on its own.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Section 6 (foreign relations) vs. Section 9 (counter-terrorism).
  • Invisibility Flicker: The Major's cloaking device briefly displays her when attacking, a concept that was borrowed by Perfect Dark.
  • Kubrick Stare: The Major fixes her gaze on Batou in that manner while talking to him on the boat. Accentuated by a dolly zoom effect. Project 2501 breaks one out when they request political asylum. The product of the Major and Project 2501 fusing does this as they look out over the city.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The foreign diplomat shot by Kusanagi in the opening scene practically explodes. His spine can be seen for a brief moment.
  • MegaCorp: Several. The one that made Section 9's cyborg bodies is even called Megatech.
  • Mental Fusion: Project 2501 was trying to lure the Major to it so it could offer her to fuse their minds. Her interpersonal behavior remains the same (which wasn't much to begin with), but her abilities as a hacker and to dive directly into computers increased greatly.
    "I want a guarantee that I can still be myself."
    "There isn't one. Why would you wish to? All things change in a dynamic environment. Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you."
  • Merger of Souls: Motoko Kusanagi and the Puppet Master merge souls (or rather, "Ghosts") to become a new being with the personalities of the two, only now moved to the body of a young girl android.
  • Mind Rape: "Ghost-hacking", or essentially hacking into a person's brain in order to force them to commit crimes. Some sequences indicate just how it looks to the hijacked individual — it's chillingly unclear where the individual's true perception ends and the hack begins until the connection breaks down. It's especially bad in that it can never be completely undone — the garbage man, for example, will always retain some memory of his false wife and child, even though he knows intellectually that they are fake.
  • More Dakka: All over the place. There are the submachine guns that Section 9 carries, the Spider Tank's miniguns, and a criminal who uses armor-piercing bullets in a Micro Uzi.
  • Mr. Exposition: Batou usually fills this role.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: "Just a feeling. A whisper from my ghost."
  • Never Gets Drunk: During the diving scene, when Motoko starts getting philosophical about herself, Batou asks her if she's drunk. She responds that as a cyborg, their bodies can fully process alcohol in less than 10 seconds when ordered to do so, so they could even be drunk while waiting for contact from work but respond to the call fully sober.
  • Nipple and Dimed: We see the occasional uncensored nipples, but no genitals are drawn.
  • No Periods, Period: Motoko joking about being on her period was censored out of the English dub.
  • No Water Proofing In The Future: The cloaking devices also don't work when in contact with water, even when the user steps in a puddle.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • At the end of the first film Batou puts the Major combined with Project 2501 into the body of a child. She asks if he goes for that sort of thing. He reminds her that he had to go to the black market - they didn't allow him the luxury to choose.
    • Also, Director Mamoru Oshi, in toning down Kusanagi's very ebullient manga persona, envisioned her as a mature woman, hence her more soft-spoken demeanor in the film. He speculated that she was older than the young woman that even her regular adult body suggested. Given her rank (unusually high for a woman who appears physically to be only about thirty), she may very well have been at least well into middle age, with him putting her at being 47 to 48 years old.
  • One-Woman Army: Kusanagi is easily the most badass member of Section 9, taking on (and almost defeating) a giant robotic tank all on her own.
  • Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: Kind of. Although there are very advanced-looking 3D monitors, the GPS system that Section 9 uses to track criminals is like a bare-bones Google Maps.
  • Parking Garage: Togusa is in one when he notices that a cloaked person or persons has snuck in behind the minister. It's a team sent to capture the Puppet Master.
  • Platonic Life-Partners:
    • Motoko and Batou are close friends as well as coworkers, and in her case, perhaps her only real friend. In addition, there are very subtle implications, such as the way Batou looks away when Kusanagi undresses and covers her with his jacket, that he may have some unrequited feelings for her.
    • Some of Kusanagi's dialogue in both movies suggests that she may have feelings towards Batou that border on "motherly". Especially, given that Mamoru Oshi likes to suggest a Vague Age for the characters, given their nature as cyborgs, and especially given that Kusanagi's body (except for her brain) are completely artificial.
  • Powered Armor: The Section 9 members' enhanced bodies are more or less this, allowing them to perform all sorts of feats beyond normal human endurance.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This is a Mamoru Oshi film, so everyone is very serious and no character banter.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief Aramaki of Section 9.
  • Repeat Cut: The Major's knockout roundhouse kick at the red shirt-wearing thug during the garbage truck chase scene is shown three times in quick succession.
  • Research, Inc.: Many companies, as it takes place 20 Minutes into the Future.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: As Togusa finds out. Apparently, an entire clip from a 9mm can't pierce a car's frame, but a single slug from a revolver can. Justified in that the trace slug was meant for the far softer license plate.
    "With an automatic, you could have buried two trackers."
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Cyborg bodies can do practically anything human bodies can (including drinking alcohol and having sex) but are much stronger.
  • Romantic Fusion: The goal of the Big Bad, Puppet Master, is to merge with Major Kusanagi. This is referred to at various points as "mating" between the two machines. When it happens at the end, the new entity has a child-like body and is comparable to the "offspring" of the two original beings.
  • Roof Hopping: Section 9 does quite a bit of it, augmented by their cyborg bodies.
  • Rule of Cool/Stripperiffic: Kusanagi goes into battle three times using her thermoptic camouflage bodysuit, which is tight enough to leave very little to the imagination. At the climax, it's revealed that she's not wearing anything underneath it.
  • Running Over the Plot: A truck driver runs over a naked woman on a rainy freeway. It turns out to be Project 2501 escaping in a cyborg body.
  • Say My Name: Batou, when Kusanagi is shot by the police helicopter.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: When the Puppetmaster first reveals himself, a halo of light behind his head leaves parts of his face nearly whitewashed while other parts (especially near the eyes) are creepily shadowed.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Puppet Master towards Motoko. It's joked about that he/it may be in love with her.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Kusanagi enjoys diving, a risky hobby for cyborgs (as they are extremely heavy). She has to rely on the floaters as a skydiver would their parachute.
  • Super-Strength: The Major, being a Cyborg, has greatly enhanced strength and Super-Toughness compared to the average human woman; one time, just her landing on a roof too hard causes the metal tiles to be crushed beneath her artificial body. Subverted at the end of the movie, when the Major fights the Spider Tank; despite her best effort to physically rip off the hatch on top of the tank, Motoko's arms shatter in the effort, showing that her strength has limits.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: The diving scene. The Major comments to Batou that that the ballast tanks keeping her heavy cyborg body from sinking into the depths provides her with a calmness that tells her that she's still a human inside.
  • Three-Point Landing: The Major does a series of jumps to scale a building, and lands like this on the final jump with enough force to crumple the roof she lands on.
  • Tinman Typist: There are at least two scenes in which we see cybernetically-enhanced individuals extend their fingers into some highly dexterous tentacle-things which they then use to type on keyboards. While it is established that people in the GitS 'verse can connect their minds directly, doing it that way opens up the user to mind-hacking.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Kusanagi is motivated by a need to come to terms with her own humanity as a cyborg who must hunt down an artificial lifeform.
  • Tracking Device: Togusa implants one in a car with a Trick Bullet (see Revolvers Are Just Better).
  • Trust Password: At the end of the film, just before Major Kusanagi leaves Batou, she tells him that 2501 (the code number of the Puppetmaster project) will be their password so he can identify her when they meet again.
  • The Unblinking: The Major never blinks, since she is a full body cyborg. This is especially noticeable in one long, unbroken shot of her head on that lasts well over a minute.
  • Visible Invisibility: The cloaking devices leave a faint outline of the wearer visible (see Invisibility Flicker as well).
  • Wetware CPU: The Section 9 cyborgs have data input jacks in the backs of their necks which connect to their brains.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A central theme of the film. The Major questions herself and her worth due to being a cyborg. Also, the Puppetmaster's attempt to escape Sector 6's control and assert he is a living thing with rights is the main plot of the film.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: Batou questions at one point how reliable the technicians who maintain their cyber-brains really are, which Aramaki dismisses.
  • Zeerust: Sentient AI and full-body replacements exist alongside satellite phones.

    Tropes Specific to Innocence 
  • Adaptation Expansion: The movie is a very loose adaptation of the chapter "Robot Rondo" from the original manga. In particular, the Powered by a Forsaken Child robots were used to make hundreds of robots who all went berserk rather than just sexbots, hence Batou's angry reaction.
  • Arc Number: "2501". Batou knows that he's safe whenever he sees it. See Deus ex Machina below.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Batou and a gynoid possessed by Kusanagi.
  • Bring It: Batou does this when confronted with the scissor-armed cyborg assassin.
  • Call-Back: Numerous references to the first movie:
    • The opening credits sequence visually and musically echoes the "Making of A Cyborg" sequence from the first film, as does the mid-film montage of scenes in the city set to a reiterated version of the opening theme.
    • The password to Batou's car is "2501", just like he said it was at the end of the first movie.
    • During a conversation with Ishikawa, Batou remarks that "I liked you better when you were the quiet type", a humorous Lampshade Hanging on the fact that Ishikawa only had a few lines of dialogue (most of them exposition) in the first film.
    • After Batou's arm has been fixed, he quotes the Major's line from the first film "Then what's the point of even having a Section 9", in response to the idea that Section 9 is no longer able to directly support him and Togusa in this case.
    • The "BAJIDU" brand dog food that appears briefly in the first film shows up again as Batou's brand of choice for Gabriel, even retaining the exact same package design.
    • When Motoko first appears to Batou in Kim's mansion, she assumes the form of the child's body she had at the end of the first movie.
    • After he's brain-hacked, Batou asks Togusa how he knows his wife and child aren't simulated experiences and he isn't just a bachelor living in an empty apartment, a reference to the experience of the Puppet Master victim whom Togusa had interrogated in the first film.
    • When Batou dives underwater to infiltrate the Locus Solus factory, he remarks that he used to know a cyborg who went scuba diving in her spare time.
    • After Kusanagi enters one of the gynoids and they take down the swarm of attackers together, Batou places his vest on the gynoid's naked body, just like he covered the nude Kusanagi with his jacket in the first film.
    • During the climax of the film Motoko destroys the arms of the body she's occupying attempting to open a hatch. Just to cement the homage, the music in this scene briefly adopts the theme used at the climax of the first movie.
  • Creating Life: The intro sequence details the semi-organic creation of a cybernetic organism.
  • Creepy Doll: The gynoids are modeled after Hans Bellmar's Uncanny Valley doll-sculptures, and are every bit as creepy. There's also the hacker Kim, who lives in a (possibly virtual) giant dollhouse and has his cybernetic body made to resemble a life-sized balljoint doll, and is more than eager to lampshade his creepiness at every opportunity.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Ghost in the Shell is well known for the incredible visuals and soundtrack in all its anime adaptations, but Innocence cranks it up even further. At the arrival at Etorofu with the incredible plane scene, the film turns into half an hour of X-rated Scenery Porn.
  • Deus ex Machina: Averted. The Major coming back from Cyberspace to save Batou might appear to be one, but if you pay attention, it's obvious that she's been watching him at least since the convenience store; her voice warns him that he's on a kill-zone. Also, the little girl sitting on the floor in Kim's mansion is the artificial body that Batou placed the melded Puppet Master/Major in at the end of the first movie, and her final comments imply that she is everywhere, and always looking after Batou.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Togusa repeating the same scene thanks to a brain hack.
  • Fan of the Past: People in the future's obsession with the past is a recurring motif in the film, as demonstrated by the constant quotation of classic philosophy and literature and the striking festival sequence. In addition, there appears to be a popular market for 50's-style carshells constructed around modern electric vehicles.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The killer Fembot Sexbot Geisha hookers are revealed to be hosting copies of the ghosts of kidnapped young girls, in order to make them behave more like humans. Geez, no wonder they went berserk.
  • Fembot: Gynoids are central to the plot.
  • Festival Episode: The film has Batou going into New Port City, which might be located in China (it has very distinct Chinese atmosphere). And a festival/carnival is going on, it's like something you can expect in local Chinatown during certain time, but... Mind Screwier. For starters, everything seems huge, including the statue/balloon/hologram of Guan Yu that's being paraded around town.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: It's just for a second, but when Batou confronts the mob boss after having murdered a dozen thugs and defeated the cyborg with the "crab claw", the latter appears to have crapped his pants!
  • Future Copter: The film uses this trope in conjunction with a bird theme, featuring a tiltrotor whose wings extend outward upon takeoff, and the wings themselves are made up of numerous individual lift flaps. One scene shows the raven-like tiltrotor landing on top of a rooftop, and the individual flaps of the wings look like feathers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Locus Solus, as a faceless corporation, is something of an absent enemy, its tools and henchmen, such as the factory and Kim, act in its name.
  • Mobile Factory: The factory building Fembot geishas is based on a maritime ship for... legal reasons. It also turns out that they are ghost-dubbing abducted children into their droids, which is enough to bring down Section 9 on them.
  • Morality Pet: Batou may be a cold, hardened antihero, but the innocent Gabriel brings out his humanity.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The entire sequence set in Kim's mansion is accompanied by the world's biggest music box ("The Doll House" versions 1 and 2). The score composer Kenji Kawai said in an interview that he wanted it to sound like you were inside said music box — and he most certainly succeeded. In the Making Of extras on the DVD, it's shown how they did it: they had a company specializing in music boxes make them a huge one to play the tune, and then took it into some empty mine shaft to record it. Sure, they could have just electronically added the echo, but it just wouldn't have been authentic enough.
  • One Last Job: After getting brain hacked, Togusa declares that he's done and is gonna quit to spend time with his family. All the same, he refuses to do so until after he helps Batou pull off his raid on the gynoid factory.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: Togusa asks Batou if his basset hound is a clone, remarking that the real thing (as though a clone is any less real) is expensive. (Batou also feeds his dog real food, but this is not presented as an issue of cost, but one of taste.) Ghost in the Shell is set in a world recovering from war, not (demonstrably) one with a thoroughly devastated environment, however, so the trope borders on cliche here. Of course, in a world where cybernetics and androids are so plentiful, it could be that some people keep robotic pets that don't have the living and training needs of a real live one.
  • Pacified Adaptation: The anime adaptation places a much heavier focus on philosophy of humans and technology than the original manga, but it sets up the action scenes to really deliver when they happen.
  • Pet the Dog: Batou has an entire scene dedicated to this, quite literally.
  • Present Absence: Though the Major is absent for most of the movie, her disappearance in the first and its ramifications on Batou, emotionally and professionally, are frequently mentioned. It's taken even further when Motoko herself says that she is always watching him and has been protecting him for much of the film, with Batou himself calling her a guardian angel.
  • Psychological Horror: The whole part in Kim's mansion goes quite into this.
  • Robotic Reveal: Used to chilling effect at the end of one scene; after Batou and Togusa finish a conversation with a forensics scientist about the nature of the Uncanny Valley, her face flips open to reveal mechanical insides. If you look carefully, you can deduce her cyborg status by noting that she wears short sleeves in extreme cold, and her breath isn't visible even though Togusa's is.
  • Scenery Porn: Some scenes, like the massive, incredibly colorful and detailed parade, and the sky-reflecting pond outside Kim's mansion, have to be seen to be believed.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: Batou and Togusa meet Kim, a cyborg hacker with the ability to completely alter the perception of people with any kinds of brain implants. When they notice that they are trapped in an illusion, they manage to break out, only to realize that they are just in another illusion, before they finally manage to break free for real. Of course, they wonder if perhaps they never actually left the false realities, and if they might unknowingly live out the rest of their lives in an illusion.
  • Sexbot: Section 9 gets called in to investigate what is causing a company's sex bots to go berserk and attack people. They find out that the company was dubbing the "ghosts" of real people into their machines, a serious offense in the GITS universe due to the process killing the original from which the copies are made.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Togusa's response to a creepy cyborg dressed like him ranting about the Uncanny Valley is violence. The final scene of the movie implies that Togusa is resisting a valid but uncomfortable moral.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Done rather subtly — you don't know that the person is a cyborg until the face is taken off to plug in data cables.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: The gynoid geishas... at least, until a shipping inspector trying to free Locus Solus's imprisoned girls tampers with their "ethics code", leaving them free to kill others and themselves.
  • Trunk Shot: Used before Batou and Togusa raid a Yakuza office.
  • Uniformity Exception: Batou invades a manufactory ship that is making illicit gynoids. When the gynoids swarm him, Major Kusanagi takes over one of them to lend a hand. He puts his jacket on her shoulders, a technically pointless gesture that serves both as a Call-Back to the previous film and to easily distinguish Kusanagi from the dozens of gynoids that she is fighting.
  • Vomiting Cop:
    Ishikawa: Toga got reacquainted with the tuna sandwich he had for dinner and headed on back with the corpse.
    Batou: Maybe he should have had the chicken.
  • Yakuza: Batou and Togusa raid an office of theirs.

"And where does the newborn go from here? The Net is vast and infinite."

Alternative Title(s): Ghost In The Shell 2 Innocence, Ghost In The Shell 20, Ghost In The Shell Two Point Oh, Ghost In The Shell 2 Innocence After The Long Goodbye, Ghost In The Shell