This film, or compilation of episodes rather, functions as connective tissue between the “Arise” series of “Ghost in the Shell” films, and the more ambitious 2015 film in the same continuity, bluntly named “The New Movie”.
It’s very much in the vein of the previous “Arise” films – competent enough cyberpunk storytelling, but not particular imaginative, and definitely lacking the philosophical bent of the 1995 original “Ghost in the Shell” film. It’s also clearly a work of tablesetting, setting up the actual feature-length “The New Movie” (this film itself only comes to around fifty minutes).
The plot, focusing on a virus that can alter memories, hints at interesting ideas now and again but doesn’t do an awful lot with them. I assume that’s being saved for “The New Movie”. So as the prequel-iest of a prequel-y set of films, how is it? Fine. Not that much worse than the previous entries. But it’s kind of ridiculous at this point how different these “Ghost in the Shell” films are to the original, when that was the one that garnered so much acclaim and influence. I give it two viruses, and a group of hackers.