Ghost in the Shell Series Impressions

Anime Hajime Impressions: Ghost in the Shell Arise – Border: 3 Ghost Tears

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Ghost Tears. Reader discretion is advised.***

Brief Synopsis

With her team slowly forming, Major Motoko Kusanagi (voiced by Maaya Sakamoto) is still unsure of this new idea known as Section 9. On top of that, she has to decide the best way to balance her work and her life.

Unfortunately, shadows from the Major’s past are threatening to ruin the work she has only just begun, and it is clear Section 9 isn’t quite ready to become the dominant player it is meant to be. Therefore, Motoko is instructed to seek out one final member.

The list of potential candidates is almost non-existent since the job requires the upmost talent and dedication. However, a detective by the name of Togusa (voiced by Tarusuke Shingaki) is quickly rising on the Major’s radar.

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This is the third entry in this overlook of the Ghost in the Shell: Arise series. In the previous two installments, Ghost Pain and Ghost Whispers, we saw the formation of what would become Section 9, the ultra-elite counter-terrorism task force headed by the one and only Major Motoko Kusanagi. This chapter, Ghost Tears, depicted the team with a — nearly — full roster.

I won’t lie, I was extremely curious as to what was going to happen in this story, and perhaps I was a little over-eager. Ghost Tears wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the story I thought it was going to be. But I suppose that is what I get for making assumptions.

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If you go into this installment thinking (or counting on) a depiction of the well-oiled, highly disciplined teamwork of Section 9 seen in Stand Alone Complex, it won’t happen. This series hasn’t quite reached that point yet, assuming it does so at all.

Ghost Tears focused more on two critical factors:

  1. This was the installment that fully brought Togusa on board.
  2. This was the installment that illustrated just how far the Major was from becoming the legend she would one day be.

It’s that second factor that has been making me consider Ghost Tears the hardest.

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Going back to Arise’s first installment, Ghost Pain, it was strange to see a version of Motoko who could be flustered and outplayed, and who was just getting used to (albeit quickly) to the line of work she would one day come to dominate. Seeing that was a shock, but that was nothing compared to Ghost Tears. In all the iterations of Ghost in the Shell I have seen thus far, I have never come across a love-struck Major.

Or to put it another way: I have never seen Motoko’s playful pouty face before.

On top of that, the Major has never been shown to let her emotions get so worked up that she straight-up denied what could have been (and turned out to be) the truth. Her willingness to disregard a probable possibility was unlike anything I’ve seen from her.

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Now, just because I’ve never seen this before doesn’t mean I think it was terrible. On the contrary, if this was ever going to be a situation, then it makes sense it would happen in the Arise series.

Part of what has made Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell has been Motoko trying to come to terms with what her humanity is, as well as confirming if it is even a thing at all. Ghost Tears’ version of the Major was less of her as a soldier and more of a living, breathing, feeling human. Yes, it was jarring, but it wasn’t a problem, nor was it out of character.

Ghost Tears’ story centered around a crucial moment in Motoko’s life that would go on to influence her future self. She has now seen the complications that can creep up should she allow personal feelings to get in the way of her work.

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Besides, the role of a family-oriented Section 9 member has always been filled by Togusa. The Major has her own part to play in the overall story, and Ghost Tears helped define what that part is.

And now that we have all the pieces together, a full roster Section 9, what does that mean for the next chapter, Ghost Stands Alone. Personally, I think there is a reason why the following installment’s title sounds so familiar.

I could be wrong, but I am looking forward to finding out.

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Final Thoughts

I feel it is important I make this clear:

I found this to be the most underwhelming chapter of Arise.

I know there is a bit more to go, but my gut is telling me that this should be the low point of the series. However, it is equally possible that I just want this to be the low point because I actually have been enjoying this story, and I don’t want to see it stumble at the end.

Only time will tell, I guess.

In the meantime, I do think Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Ghost Tears is worth checking out.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Ghost Tears? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and be sure to come back December 24th as Ghost in the Shell Month continues with Anime Hajime Impressions: Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Ghost Stands Alone.

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