First of four (Border 1: Ghost Pain) , this OVA of Ghost in the Shell takes us at the beginning of everything… before Major was even part of section 9. In the middle of a controversial affair of missiles being sold to third world country, Major is the main suspect for the murder of her superior.
While being interesting, I believe the “main” story line of this OVA to be a pretext to tell a bigger one… the real story of Arise will be the formation of section 9 and how everything came togheter. All the elements from the old Ghost in the Shell are still present in this one. From Cyber brains, to hacking, fights and the occasional nudity from our cyborg protagonist. Even Tachikoma is back, but unfortunately, he did not reach individuality yet…
The Major in Arise is not the Major we remember, she’s much younger and still part of the military. She’s often smiling and is also less powerful, but it’s probably only a question of time before she drop that smile and start to really kick ass again. When I first saw an image of her short hair I really was not a fan, but after seeing the whole thing… I think it’s is very fitting. It will be interesting seeing her evolve trough those four “movies”.
It was rather weird to see her fight with almost every single member of section 9… I guess this is how they got to know each other. I mean just look at the face of Batou pointing his gun at Major… quite a change from his face in the original series *spoilers* when he saw Major get shoot in the head.
As for the animation, it is also very different from the original series. It’s been a while since I watched it, but the color scheme of this OVA seem much smaller… instead of going for colours close to reality, they when the other way and made it much simpler. I really don’t mind this choice, i believe simpler animation makes stuff timeless… the animation of the original movie looks cheap to me only a decade after it’s release.
I also appreciated learning how she got her full cyborg and who was paying for it.
Overall, I think it’s great to get to see the beginning of everything and I really can’t wait to see what will happen next. This OVA can be enjoy by everyone, even those who did not watch the original series. And a small warning to those who did watch the original… this will make you want to go back and watch everything again.
(available as today on your favourite torrent tracker)