Right off the bat, I want to complain about something minor.
Arise was originally a series of four 50-minute OVAs which were adapted into a TV series called Alternative Architecture—each movie being trimmed into two episodes. However, the episodes are presented out of order with the movies (1,2,3,4 to 2,1,3,4). Then they added two new episodes on the end to tie into the new movie. Why make it this complicated?
But enough with that. Onto the review.
I was seriously worried about Arise. How many franchises can you think of that pulled off prequels 15+ years after its initial release? This wasn’t just one movie—it’s a six-hour series that no one was demanding… And it’s f*cking great.
Arise shows how every member of Section 9 was recruited and the acrobatics Aramaki went through to get Motoko on board. We watch them start to develop bonds and become a team that genuinely cares for one another.
Since it’s only six parts long, I’ll do a brief synopsis of each.
- Ghost Pain: Motoko’s commander Momoru is killed the day she returns to Japan. She meets Aramaki who enlists her help on the case. After Motoko is outcast from her 501 Organization and a series of clues leads to her being the main suspect, she must prove she’s been hacked and find her commander’s true killer.
- Ghost Whispers: A colonel is convicted of war crimes he believes he did not commit. While in custody, he hacks and shuts down many key infrastructures in Japan. Motoko enlists Saito’s and Paz’s help in defeating the colonel, Batou, Ishikawa, and Borma.
- Ghost Tears: Motoko and Batou attempt to stop a terrorist organization called Scylla who is implanting explosives within prosthetics. We see a blossoming romance between Motoko and Akira Hose (Shockingly well done).
- Ghost Stands Alone: A Riot Police massacre of protestors coincides with the assassination of the vice Prime Minister—all of which look to be caused by a cyberbrain virus called Fire-Starter. Motoko contends with a shell consisting of two ghosts responsible for the hacking.
- Pyrophoric Cult: A super advanced hacker named Pyromaniac crashes an airplane carrying engineers making a Fire-Starter vaccine. Motoko and her team begrudgingly team up with an American agency to protect Hozumi’s cyberbrain and bring down the Pyromaniac.
- The New Movie: The Prime Minister and Motoko’s old 501 Organization commander are blown up, and a Motoko doppelganger appears. Motoko and her squad must discover who’s responsible for the assassination, eliminate the Fire-Starter virus, and stop its programmer.
Arise is phenomenal and a terrific addition to the Ghost in the Shell franchise. See it if you haven’t.
Now to see the live-action version….