Arise – The Major is Back

So, it may come as no big surprise that one of the influences on the Aneka books is Ghost in the Shell. I’ve seen both movies, even read one of the Manga comics, but the animated series Stand Alone Complex is my favourite and the basis for the characters in that has always been the way I think of them. Rise and I Can’t Be Cool from the second series soundtrack are still on my playlist.

For those unfamiliar (there are any reading this?) GitS is the story of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a full-body cyborg and wizard-class hacker, and her team in Public Security Section 9. Section 9 deals with cybercrime, proactively where possible, and they do so using a lot of weaponry along with their military and hacking skills. Moyoko, “The Major,” is one of the absolutely classic kick-ass heroines, but her story is also about identity and what it means to be human when most of your body is cybernetic. Sound familiar? (Actually, Aneka and Motoko would probably not see eye-to-eye on the matter, but I think that’s a matter of perception.)

And now we have a new entry in the GitS reality: Ghost in the Shell Arise. This is a “re-imagining” of the existing universe, changing a few starting points and then running with it (a bit like the recent Star Trek reboot in a way). The aim is to show how the Major put her team together, explain the characters, etc. The first two episodes, Ghost Pain and Ghost Whispers, are out on Blue-ray and DVD and I watched them last night after Amazon delivered them into my hot little hands.

I liked them and if you’ve never tried GitS, or even Animae, then this is a pretty good place to start. The original books and films are a little on the inaccessible side, but still a bit more western in outlook than many of the genre. GitS: SAC is one of the few Japanese animated series I consistently like and re-watch and it looks like Arise is going to fit right in. Plus, since this is starting from scratch, so to speak, you don’t need to worry about knowing anything about the characters.

I’m not totally keen on some of the character redesigns, and I wish they’d got the same actor to do Aramaki’s voice as in the old versions. Motoko’s voice has changed too, though not so drastically and I can get used to that one. I liked the two episodes so far, and it’s nice to see Section 9 back in action.

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6 responses to “Arise – The Major is Back

  1. We are of like minds indeed! I have been re-watching my boxset of Standalone Complex and was thinking that it and the rest of the GITS universe must have been one of your influences. Even noting that The Major was into girls like Aneka. I’ll be getting Arise when it gets a local release in Oz next month and have seen the trailers for it.

    BTW How is the writing going. I’d like to read a new Ugly book at some point. Or are you doing that new SF story?

    • Okay, so… The next new book out is almost certainly going to be the seventh Aneka one. I spent a while trying to write something new and kept discovering that I was just rewriting Aneka. (I really liked the main character too, but unless I can create a real new setting for her she’s going to stay in limbo. I don’t have a title for that one yet, but I’m aiming to have it out at the start of February.

      After that I’m pretty sure the next Ultrahuman book, Shadows is up. However, I’ve said that before and got stuck, so I’m not going to promise it. That’s the plan.

  2. I’m very happy for a new Aneka book as well.
    Wishlist for Aneka, more background on the gene engineered humans and the civilisations on the Rim. For the Ultras story I’d be hoping for more background on just what is the source of her powers and the situation for Twilight that you alluded to at the end of the first book.

    • I am contemplating renting that one. I’ve not seen the other versions, so I’d be hitting it fresh. I’m always wary of anime simply because the storytelling style frequently makes me want to strangle the writer. Still, Christmas is coming and I’ll need something to watch.

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