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Koukaku Kidoutai Arise
Ghost in the Shell Arise is another spinoff of the Ghost in the Shell series franchise that bases its setting around the time that Section 9 officially formed and features the group tackling a series of crimes in each OVA episode that involve hacking of cyberbrains in some form. While maintaining the same themes of earlier Ghost in the Shell anime with corrupt political elements and debating the nature of one's humanity if they heavily convert their body into a machine, the different continuity leads to some interesting differences in character chemistry and personality. For instance, Motoko's more brash character leads her relationship with members of Section 9 to be different in comparison to earlier takes on the character as she is defiant of Aramaki's authority, will press Batou's buttons with her cyber-hacking skills and can usually find herself biting more than she can chew when dealing with cyberhacking threats due to inexperience in the field. Also, the time frame for the series is before Togusa's daughter was born which the series alludes to as he was still a police detective before joining Section 9 later in the series. Beyond this though, the majority of Section 9 get shafted in regards to any character focus as Arise is more focused on Motoko's perspective on any of the cases that she tackles.|
In regards to plot, Arise mostly focuses on the gradual formation of Section 9 through the different cyber-hacking crimes that they have to thwart. Each episode dabbles into the typical themes of the GitS franchise as I covered with Motoko and the remainder of Section 9 trying to figure out and resolve the threat from each case. While this exploration helps to attract Ghost in the Shell to more recent anime fans, all the cases that Section 9 tackle are self-contained in each episode and the lack of an ongoing plot like what Stand Alone Complex offered in the 2000s makes Arise lose a good deal of the intrigue and depth that came with Section 9 being challenged in handling cyberhacking crimes and questioning the state of their country's political and military system when uncovering more corrupt elements to both through the investigation of any cases they dabble into.
Presentation-wise, Arise offers excellent visual quality as it sports highly detailed settings and character designs, notable examples being heavy mechs and Arise's version of the Tachikomas used as Stand Alone Complex's unofficial mascots. Movement is consistently fluid throughout the OVA's run as action sequences are nicely animated and net-diving scenes are just as much of a visual experience as they were from seeing Stand Alone Complex over a decade earlier. In regards to music, Arise chooses to utilize electronica tracks for many of its scenes and these clash rather poorly with the show's themes and action scenes due to their underwhelming mood.
Overall, Ghost in the Shell Arise makes for a decent addition to the franchise as it offers some new takes on Motoko and the members of Section 9 while introducing its themes to new anime fans who got their start in the 2010s. The more episodic format of its storytelling does lead the majority of Section 9 to get shafted in focus and the lack of an ongoing plot may turn off those who enjoyed Stand Alone Complex. But with what it offers, it is still a good time-killer for action anime fans or diehard Ghost in the Shell fans.
Last updated Wednesday, January 06 2016. Created Wednesday, January 06 2016.