Whilst I was watching Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, I did some research into the franchise and found out about the OVA called Ghost in the Shell: Arise. I won’t lie, I had to ask myself if I really wanted to watch this series but the inner anime fan in me will always win these kind of debates so I went ahead and watched it. Before watching the series, I thought that Arise was part of the SAC series, not realising that it was set in an alternate reality (I was going to write Arise was a standalone but I would have felt cheesy saying that). Before I forget, Ghost in the Shell: Arise follows the story of the major as she along with her specialised unit combat the firestarter virus and those who are spreading it (that’s all I’m giving here).
I’m happy to say that all the thoughts I had about this series were completely wrong. GITS:SAC put me on edge because I’ve come to accept that I’m someone who likes his action and a story that doesn’t pause. If I had to recommend a GITS series for someone to watch it would be Arise without doubt, it has its philosophy but I don’t think this series is as heavy on the philosophy as SAC although it does have more action and it’s enjoyable as well. It’s not hard to tell that I had more of an interest in this series, seeing more intense action and the major having a personality which I think suited the need for action in this series (which I’ll get to later). At times when I watched SAC, I felt like I was going through the motions but this series made me ask why there were only 5 episodes and a movie, I could have easily watched another 5 to 10 episodes or however much Production I.G would have been willing to produce. There were points in the series that left questions in my head but that was more to do with the movie, other than that this wasn’t hard to follow, it didn’t get convoluted and that had me looking at this series like crack cocaine (or at least in comparison to SAC).
I can’t say that I kept up with everything when it came to the plot but I feel that’s more to with the watching pattern I had when viewing this and I guess I shouldn’t give that too much attention. Despite the OVAs being straight forward, it annoyed me that the last two were inconclusive even if it was a smart way to get people to watch the movie if they wanted to see a conclusion to the story. The thing is that when it got to the movie, I’m pretty sure that new things were mentioned (maybe the fact that I took my time watching this is why I feel like some intricate details might be lost in the matrix) such as a new world which was never even seen; I even became confused at the point of the firestarter virus, the final goal seemed to be explained but I couldn’t tell if this was something that was thought out from the beginning or just added as the story went along. Once again, it could just be my fault for watching irregularly and possibly forgetting some details so the things I’m saying might not be valid. There wasn’t any change between episodes which contributed to the series and ones that didn’t which benefitted the series because the story progressed more smoothly than SAC and the best part is that every episode managed to have its own story that still added to the story; the fact that the episodes were so smooth in terms of story is what made it more confusing that the OVA was inconclusive.
I liked this version of the major, this major had emotions. That’s a big thing for me because when it comes to anime, I really get annoyed by characters that don’t get rattled by any situation because I feel that it has such a negative effect on character depth. Stoics are ok at times but if a character is extremely talented then it just makes for an unnecessary attribute. In SAC, I don’t think I was very invested in any of the characters but in Arise the main group had some life in them, it didn’t bother me much in SAC but it’s nice to see that this was something that changed. In 5 episodes, I don’t expect loads of character development for any character so seeing the show delve into the major was fine with me. Just mentioning that she had relationships with others prior to the series and seeing her somewhat clash with Aramaki because she wanted a group that worked independently of section 9 created more interest and had me wondering what position the major was going to be in by the end of the series. I’m not going to lie, when watching this series I did compare it to SAC at times and that might have made me overlook a few things such as the antagonists although to be fair most antagonists were around for one episode.
I don’t think I had any ill feeling towards GITS and if I did then I definitely took it out on SAC, this series isn’t perfect but it’s the best series that I’ve watched this year. In this moment, I’m still trying to think of any purely negative things to say but I don’t think that there’s anything to say at the moment (I’ll probably have to rewatch this a couple of times). Watching a 50 plus minute episode of Arise felt shorter than watching a 20 plus minute episode of SAC which was probably because in terms of what I look for in anime, I felt like I saw more of that in Arise. I also want to say that the drawings and animation were excellent, with every anime that I watch it makes me understand why those who partake in the drugs watch anime alongside it. I don’t see people talking about Arise that they talk about SAC, maybe because I’m not looking hard enough. They’re both very different series but it doesn’t mean that Arise can’t get shown some love.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise but the truth is that if I saw another series then I’d see know harm in watching it. Usually when I don’t expect much from anything it always turns out to be good.
- I Preferred the look of the characters in this series, it took a while to grow on me but it looked better than SAC
- Batou wasn’t shown enough respect in this series, having his eyes consistently hacked and being knocked out by the major with one punch.
- The two guys at the warehouse in episode one looked like they arrived late from an akatsuki meeting
- The major had a love interest, an actual love interest! (SAC major needs to take some notes)