Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Review & Characters - What is a Ghost?

  • Episodes : 10
  • Genre : Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological
  • Airing Date : April 5, 2015 - June 14, 2015
  • Producers : Production I.G., FUNimation, TOHO Animation

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Major Motoko Kusanagi is the head operative in an unregulated organization dedicated to shutting down criminal activity. This group, (Section 9), specializes in cybercrimes and robotics.

Recently there have been attacks on high ranking officials within various government departments. It seems that they are all connected to a person going by the name "Firestarter".

He or she has a created a virus capable of infiltrating a machines and "cyberized" humans. Once infected, people can have their memories wiped, false memories can be planted, and their very reality can be altered. For all intents and purposes, "Firestarter" seems to have created a virus capable of corrupting a person's "ghost".

It's up to Major Kusanagi and her special ops unit to track down this hacker, unravel a conspiracy involving the highest levels of government, and prevent any more murders from taking place.

It’s important to note that this ten episode series will put the first four Arise films (Borders 1-4) into an anime adaptation. Then episodes 9 and 10 have their own arc which ties into the new full-length feature film, Kōkaku Kidōtai Shin Gekijōban.

Who does Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture cater to?

This show definitely has a niche audience. Of course it caters to people who have seen the previous iterations of the anime or watched the Arise OVA's.

But it specifically caters to people who are interested in a story set in a futuristic world that delves into such topics as artificial intelligence, the human ghost (soul), consciousness, and individuality. The terminology and criminal activity can be hard to follow at times, but they allow the show to really sink its teeth into those eternal issues.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Alternative Architecture has a superficial appeal due to its setting of a world where cyborgs, mechas, and advanced weaponry are commonplace. The show then utilizes a "procedural" structure within that world. Crimes have been committed, or are in progress, and it's up to this team to figure out who is behind it and put a stop to them.

Just like other contemporary "procedurals" this structure is adopted early on to create situations where we get to understand our characters better. But, eventually the structure fades away as the narrative takes hold. The show becomes less hindered as the characters find themselves in the midst of several conspiracies.

But, underneath all of that, there is a more substantial appeal. The perplexing issues and complicated characters keep the viewer coming back for more. At the center of that is Major Kusanagi. She is a very strong female lead who is quite different from females in other anime. Her personality, strong leadership, and personal struggles are at the heart of every episode.

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Trailer

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Main Characters List

Major Motoko Kusanagi

Voice Actor :Sakamoto Maaya

She is a twenty something year old "cyberized" woman with unique freedoms. Because she has a prosthetic body and can hack into virtually anything connected to the Net, she should be under constant surveillance and abide by strict government regulations. However, that is not the case.

She is able to act on her own accord because of her late commanding officer. He is the one who converted her into a full cyborg and made sure she kept her autonomy even after his death. Her accomplishments as an operative for the 501 have given her respect and trust from high ranking officials.

The Major uses her unique abilities and her team to infiltrate terrorist cels and prevent hackers from wreaking havoc throughout Japan and the entire world.

Daisuke Aramaki

Voice Actor :Juku Ikkyuu

He worked with Kusanagi's late commanding officer. He trusts Kusanagi enough to provide her with all the weapons, data access, and man-power she needs to complete her missions.

His sole purpose in creating Kusanagi's Section 9 unit was to allow the good guys to take the fight to the criminals. He feels Kusanagi is the country's best chance at uncovering the conspiracies within the government and tracking down highly dangerous individuals.

Contains Spoilers

Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Review

I enjoyed this show much more than I thought I would. I've only seen a handful of episodes from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. I haven't seen any of the other anime or OVA's. Going in fresh I thought I would have a tough time following the story and have no attachment to the characters. Luckily, I was proven wrong.

There are times when terminology, character background info, and even events can be confusing. On top of that, the narrative is a bit rushed if you compare it to the OVA's it draws its source material from. After episode one there is also a flashback that takes place before the Major joined Section 9. But even with all of that, the story is still fairly straight forward. You can see how events have led up to the current situation with "Firestarter" and his completed virus.

The fighting is a personal highlight of the show. The hand to hand combat, mixed with gunplay, is a welcome change compared to watching other anime where supernatural abilities are commonplace. Somehow, seeing physical punches and kicks land feels more impactful than watching people get blasted left and right by spirit energy or magic. Close quarters combat looks gritty and exciting when done correctly... and this show does it superbly.

Another pleasant surprise is the sound throughout the show. I don't mean the soundtrack, though I instantly became enamored with the OP and various ED songs. I'm talking about the sound effects. Hearing the sound of someone getting punched in the gut or thrown into a wall has actually made me wince a few times (surprising since I know most of these people have prosthetic bodies).

Also, the sound of metal on metal or human flesh pounding on metal feels authentic. For lack of a better word, these particular interactions feel "solid". I don't know if other anime use a higher pitch or tone for their metal noises. Or maybe I've grown accustomed to shows recycling each others' sound effects over and over. But, Arise's effects sound unique and induce reactions out of me. I don't think I've ever cared nor noticed the sound effects a show used. But, I do with this one and I enjoy them thoroughly.

1.Hand to Hand Combat

Honestly, there is no particular fight I enjoyed the most. They are all pretty solid. Although, I will say that the brawls between Batou and the Major are particularly entertaining.

2. Killer Dolls

There are a few times when these killer dolls pop up throughout the show. The first was in a cool fight against Major Kusanagi in episode one. But, my favorite was when a huge wave of them showed up to take out the Major and a few others during their investigation of a suspicious warehouse.

3. Major Kusanagi Shoots Saitou

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Saitou take a rocket to the face. He had been assisting the Major during one of her operations when he was tempted with more money from an enemy. He immediately switched sides and proceeded to try and snipe Kusanagi. However, she quickly showed him why you never double-cross a woman in command.

This short ten episode series is basically a big promotion. It's meant to summarize the events of the first four Arise films and lead up to Kōkaku Kidōtai Shin Gekijōban. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

There are people out there, such as myself, that didn't really have an interest in watching the films. But, this short series allowed me to understand the events that took place in them and prepare me for the new film. I could go back and watch the four films, to watch additional character development and appreciate the story's nuances, but it's definitely not necessary.

I don't know if I enjoy the show enough to check out SAC, 2nd Gig, and all the previous GITS material. But, I'm definitely enjoyed the series for what it was and look forward to the new film being released this weekend (June 20th) in Japan.

ghost-in-the-shell-arise-alternative-architecture-dvd-300x422 Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture Review & Characters - What is a Ghost?


Author: Javier Garcia

Hey guys! I'm a huge fan of anime and video games. I used to be a competitive fighting game player (search my name in YouTube). So, I guess it was natural for me to make my way over here to Japan. I teach English, write anime articles, and put together videos when I have time. I hope you enjoy the content we've created for you here at Honey's Anime!

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