Episode 2 of Ghost in the Shell: Arise, wasted no time in shifting into high gear, telling the story of an ex-soldier who, at the beginning of the story, is brought before a war crimes tribunal, and sentenced to death for a series of hideous war crimes he allegedly committed while fighting in a conflict overseas.
The soldier swears these accusations are false, but the country refuses to believe him. Therefore, in a desperate move, the soldier enlists the aid of a few former army comrades to help him hack into the city’s computer grid, shut down the systems which control all the traffic in New Port City, and direct that processing power toward opening PANDORA, a computer system which, if unlocked, will reveal all of Japan’s most precious government secrets to the world.
Motoko must race (or…y’know…move as quickly as she can considering the entire city is locked down in one giant traffic jam) to try and stop the soldier and his comrades (several of whom viewers will recognize as Motoko’s future co-workers in Section 9) before their dangerous plan to clear the soldier’s name ends up irreparably destroying Japanese national security.
I said in my review of Ghost in the Shell Arise Episode 1 that I appreciate the fact that this prequel series seems to spend much more time than other G.I.T.S. series exploring human emotions, and highlighting the fact that characters are acting based on things like loyalty, friendship, and a sense of justice than just pure calculating logic. And that dynamic certainly holds true for episode 2 as well.
Although it was a bit jarring to see some of the characters who befriended Motoko in episode 1, turn against her and try to kill her in episode 2 (Due to their pre-existing relationship with the accused soldier, and their feeling that their loyalty to him outweighed their loyalty to Motoko), the actions undertaken by the characters in this story felt emotionally genuine throughout. I was happy to see the way the characters settled their differences and reunited as friends by the end of case. I was happy to see more members end up joining Motoko’s fledgling task force. And if Ghost in the Shell Arise continues to tell stories that focus on the human side of this brave new human/android cyber-punk world, I’ll be happy to watch those too.
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.