Another new continuity series of films for the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise, distinct from both the 1995 film and its sequel, and the “Stand Alone Complex” series.
As with “Stand Alone Complex”, this new “Arise” series waters down the philosophical bent of the original film to more diluted, generic cyberpunk, action-focused entertainment. It’s more plot-focused than the “Stand Alone Complex” films were, but less complicated, as the plot is more of a standard twisty film noir type deal, rather than a labyrinthine political scheme (as in “Stand Alone Complex”) or musings on science-fiction philosophy (as in the 1995 film).
Some of the ideas introduced in the film, like extensive memory tampering, are interesting, but they’re used more in service of the plot and its twists rather than as ideas or themes to be explored. The film works loosely as a kind of “origin story” for the Major, which helps it stand out from the previous series, as does the softer animation style.
It didn’t leave a huge impact on me, but it was a pleasant viewing experience, and seemed to find its voice quicker than “Stand Alone Complex” did, even if that voice is perhaps less interesting to me personally. I give it two and a half redesigned tachikomas, and a surprising promotion.