It seems you can’t turn a corner without seeing a remake. From America TV or theatres to even anime, older ideas are being brought back and tweaked to work for a new generation of fans. So it’s time for an anime classic like Ghost in the Shell to get it’s time to Arise (not cleaver).
(Editors Note: As this is a First Impression this is only based upon the series first episode)
Ghost in the Shell: Arise is an OVA reboot based upon the popular Ghost in the Shell series. The show follows series protagonist Motoko Kusanagi as she investigates the death of her former military commander. While she tries to sort out the mystery alone, several of her future team members intervene with investigations of their own.
The plot of Arise isn’t the only thing simplistic about the series, as much of the complex elements of the franchise, such as what it means to be human, have been dropped in lieu of a shorter running time and more action. This is even made clear in the lame ending of the episode which sees the evil looking people be the bad guys (how shocking right?). While simplicity isn’t a bad thing, it’s makes the show feel completely different from the other entries in the franchise.
That being said, the OVA does try to do other things to make up for the lack of deep storylines. The series is animated by Production IG and has many of the finer touches the company is known for. For example, the show uses a great deal of 3D animation however, and I usually complain about this type of thing, the two art styles really clash in movement. The few scenes that do look nice uses tighter angles and let the edges of the 3D models become obscured by lights and shadows.
Most of the character designs aren’t too different with the exception of our main lead. Despite the purists out their that would point out how Kusanagi looks much younger from her counter parts, this is a separate title from the past few projects and the look could be seen as a way to make the different versions stand out. Additionally, this series appears to be a prequel as well as a reboot and the characters growth could be shown more in a physical way with her different appearance.
The shows soundtrack is different as well. With some electronic trappings in the score, series composer Keigo Oyamada (aka Conrelius) makes a number of the tracks catchy and upbeat to match the change in series tone. This is an action anime and the music is made to keep the plot going quickly.
While it may have been dumbed down from the past versions, Arise clearly has a lot going for it. It’s sharp, fast and features some impressive action scenes. However, the complex issues were one of the major things the series is known for. Overall this is a solid first episode and more than interested me in what was going to come next.
Ghost in the Shell: Arise was produced by Production I.G. The title is distributed by Funimation and Madman Entertainment.