Koukaku Kidoutai: The Human Algorithm (Ghost in The Shell: The Human Algorithm) Vol. 1 Review - The Mysteries of Cybernetic Bodies

The Mysteries of Cybernetic Bodies
  • Mangaka : Shirow, Masamune (Original Concept), Fujisaku, Junichi (Story), Yoshitomo, Yuuki (Art)
  • Publisher : Kodansha
  • Genre : Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Seinen
  • Published : Nov 2019 - present

Ghost In The Shell: The Human Algorithm is written by Junichi Fujisaku, the man responsible for some of the best episodes in Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex, with modernized illustrations by Yuuki Yoshitomo. This new series strives to bring the attention of a new generation of readers into this thrilling cyberpunk franchise. Here’s our review of the first volume!

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

Ghost In The Shell: The Human Algorithm takes place between the Ghost In The Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor and Ghost In The Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface, so Major Motoko Kusanagi is still missing here. However, the threat of assassination to a mayoral candidate forced Section 9 to postpone the search for the major in order to not only protect the candidate, but also to sniff out the perpetrator.

That is, until prosthetic bodies are found in a dumpster up north. One of them is an empty shell that belongs to Major Motoko Kusanagi. A mayoral candidate who preaches about the use of cybernetic prosthetics, a cult who despise people who use the prosthetics, and the hollow prosthetic body of the Major: the team utilizes their unique expertise to find the connection between all of these things.

Why You Should Read Koukaku Kidoutai: The Human Algorithm (Ghost in The Shell: The Human Algorithm)

1. A New Chapter to a Legendary Title

This series is not a retelling of an old story or a manga adaptation of one of the famous anime movies or series. Ghost In The Shell: The Human Algorithm is a proper new story that seeks to both expand the saga, but also to introduce it to the new generation of readers.

For those of you who are familiar with the exploits of Section 9 from both the manga and the anime, then this entry should be able to quench your thirst for more Ghost In The Shell. For those of you who have never read nor seen the franchise before, The Human Algorithm could serve as the perfect entry for you.

2. Multilayered Mysteries

There are a lot of different things going on in this series at the same time, and each mystery seems to have a unique connection to the others. This first volume does a great job of laying the foundation to all of these mysteries, from the act of assassination and terrorism to mysterious murders, a complex web of politics, problems with foreign entities, and even delicate socioeconomic issues. All are intertwined into one complicated web of mystery.

3. Dynamic and Realistic Artwork

The original Ghost In The Shell trilogy, written and drawn by Masamune Shirow, has a somewhat cartoonish art style that was the trademark of how manga looked at the time. It is filled with exaggerated movements and over-the-top expressions, but it still manages to deliver quite the heavy punch.

On the contrary, the art of The Human Algorithm is what you’ve come to expect a manga to look like in the modern days: realistic illustrations with dynamic movements, subtle expressions, and highly detailed environments. With this manga, Yuuki Yoshitomo managed to bring the Ghost in The Shell franchise into the modern age.

Why You Should Skip Koukaku Kidoutai: The Human Algorithm (Ghost in The Shell: The Human Algorithm)

1. A Feeble Attempt at Comedy

Unfortunately, the places where the new manga excels are also the spots where you can see its weaknesses. As mentioned above, the original manga does have a cartoonish look to it, but that worked well because the original Ghost In The Shell had a ton of comedy etched into the story and the art style was consistent throughout.

This new one, however, tries to inject some of those nostalgic elements into the story in a way that doesn’t work very well. In the midst of a serious situation, you'll see characters like Togusa cracking jokes in simplified and exaggerated movements, like those seen in the originals. In a manga with an art style that is so focused on hyper realism, these moments feel so out-of-place and frankly quite distracting.

2. A Rehash of the Familiar Template

Also mentioned above is how The Human Algorithm brings back every element that makes the franchise so beloved. That also means there's nothing really new about the story. Yes, there are things like cyber terrorism, murders, foreign entities, socioeconomic, political intrigues, etc., but all of those story elements also appear in every iteration of the Ghost In The Shell franchise. While that is not a problem at all to the new readers, longtime fans of the franchise might find it somewhat dull and rather predictable.

Final Thoughts

Ghost In The Shell: The Human Algorithm presents a brand new storyline that seeks to tell the complex cyberpunk saga of the legendary franchise to a new generation of readers. This first volume perfectly laid out the puzzle pieces that would easily captivate those who are not familiar with the franchise.

But in doing so, the story becomes a bit formulaic to those who have followed the franchise for a long time. That being said, there are enough mysteries that need to be solved in this volume, so reading the subsequent volumes is a must.

What about you? Have you read Ghost In The Shell: The Human Algorithm yet? If you have, what do you think about it? If you haven't, would you consider picking this series up? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Koukaku-Kidoutai-The-Human-Algorithm-manga Koukaku Kidoutai: The Human Algorithm (Ghost in The Shell: The Human Algorithm) Vol. 1 Review - The Mysteries of Cybernetic Bodies


Author: Harry

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog: MangaDigest.com.

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