Ghost in the shell. Where do I begin?

ProtoChimp

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Everyone is telling me I need to watch Ghost in the Shell... but there is a lot of series of it. Do I start with that old film? Are there any that suck that I should miss out? Are some of the series sequels or or interconnected or anything?
 

DoPo

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ProtoChimp said:
Everyone is telling me I need to watch Ghost in the Shell... but there is a lot of series of it. Do I start with that old film? Are there any that suck that I should miss out? Are some of the series sequels or or interconnected or anything?
There are two movies that are in the same continuity.

There are two seasons of an anime, called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (SAC) that are in the same continuity relating to each other, but, and I'm going off memory here, they aren't in the same as the movies (though close).

There is a new "series" called Ghost in the Shell Arise, which I've yet to watch, but should be separate from the other two, as far as I know. It also consists of 4 movies.

There is also the manga but I've no idea how that stands with the rest.

There are also several games but I know even less about them.

So, I've watched the initial movies and SAC. The movies were OK. I liked the first one better than the second one. Not that that the second was bad, just went a bit far into some psychological/philosophical stuff. I thought it was a bit slow.

As for SAC - I liked it. I liked the second season more than the first, but overall, both I liked more than the movies. Possibly because there was just more running time, so more of the world was shown.

Actually, I'll probably watch Arise now, since I've had it, I just kept forgetting I did. I'll try to update you after I finish one of them with my thoughts.

And finally, I thing you can ignore the games. But do watch the first movie, at least, and I personally would say SAC is worth it.
 

Asclepion

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Ghost in The Shell has a few different continuities:

- The original manga by Masamune Shirow, and it's sequels.

- The movie by Mamoru Oshii, based on the manga, with it's own sequel (called Innocence).

- The anime series, Stand Alone Complex and Arise. Solid State Society is a sequel movie to SAC.

Mamoru Oshii's film and Stand Alone Complex are generally considered the best. The others have varying degrees of quality. There's also a "2.0" version of the original movie, but all it does is change the colors and add unnecessary cgi.
 

000Ronald

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ProtoChimp said:
Everyone is telling me I need to watch Ghost in the Shell... but there is a lot of series of it. Do I start with that old film? Are there any that suck that I should miss out? Are some of the series sequels or or interconnected or anything?
Start with the manga if you can. Then watch the film. Then watch stand alone complex. The sequel to the old movie is...OK, but not great.

And be wary, the anime is very...cerebral. The movie and the series both. That's not to say that the manga isn't, but it balances it out better with scenes of Batou being goofy. My personal feelings are that the anime and the series were sorely missing that, but they're good in and of themselves.

There's also a really old (as in my dad copied it back when The Sci-Fi channel ran anime as filler) anime called Tank Police that was written by the same guy. If you can find it, it's much more faithful to the source material, tone wise. I felt.
 

mad825

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DoPo said:
As for SAC - I liked it. I liked the second season more than the first
Eh, each to their own I guess, origin and romance story they shoe-horned into one season killed it for me. I mean, plot twist!
Major had a crush on a guy as a kid and so happened to be the guy they were chasing
After seeing that coming within 10 miles away I literally took the CD out and snapped it half. After watching SE1, it felt like an insult.
 

DoPo

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mad825 said:
DoPo said:
As for SAC - I liked it. I liked the second season more than the first
Eh, each to their own I guess, origin and romance story they shoe-horned into one season killed it for me. I mean, plot twist!
Major had a crush on a guy as a kid and so happened to be the guy they were chasing
After seeing that coming within 10 miles away I literally took the CD out and snapped it half. After watching SE1, it felt like an insult.
No, that it wasn't really good. But I was OK with the rest.

The season one outfit of the Major constantly bugged me, though. Part of what I liked in 2 was changing it.
 

mad825

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DoPo said:
The season one outfit of the Major constantly bugged me, though. Part of what I liked in 2 was changing it.
Yeah...In ep14 when Major gets thrown onto dirty bins then has to change her normal outfit. I found it funny how the group reacted as if the new outfit was more revealing when it wasn't.
 

Scarim Coral

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I consider these two-

Arise- This somewhat serve as a prequel to Stand Alone Complex since it start on how the Major assemble her team. I suppose this is a good set up but I will warm you be prepared for the heavy terminology used in the series (I was competely lost with the final episode as in what the hell was going on).
Now I said somewhat since while it does act like a prequel to SAC but there are a couple of contridition to SAC (like the Major origin) but it isn't that big of a deal.

Stand Alone Complex and 2nd GIG- It's pretty much the main series since the only other contunity left is the 90's movie and the manga (haven't read). To me this is the best out of the franchise with GIG being my favourite.
 

DoPo

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Right, I just finished the first Arise and...I liked it. I'm not much into reboots myself, however, Arise I liked. It does change some stuff around but I wouldn't be bothered.

On the other hand, the music isn't as awesome as in SAC


Well, it can't all be good, I guess.
 

carnex

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I would have to disagree with notion that Stand Alone Complex and ARISE belong in the same universe. Their stories contradict each other on every turn.

However Stand Alone Complex is, acorning to Shirow, legitimate sequel, or prequel, to Mangas. Actually the last scene in the second season of Stand Alone complex is the first scene in Ghost in the Shell manga so those two belong is the same universe and since movies are based on stories from manga those would be in the same continuity.

ARISE is actually only one contradicting the others.


As for the order of consuming, if we exclude manga

Ghost in the Shell (Movie)
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex PS2 game (somewhat bland gameplaz but is another long episode of SAC efectively)
Ghost in the Shell Inocence (optional, bring philosophical reference guide to watching since about 1/4 of script are quotes of famous witers, philospers etc)

ARISE is best consumed separately and is by far the weakest of them all if you ask me.
 

Alfador_VII

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ProtoChimp said:
Everyone is telling me I need to watch Ghost in the Shell... but there is a lot of series of it. Do I start with that old film? Are there any that suck that I should miss out? Are some of the series sequels or or interconnected or anything?
As far as I'm concerned you could start and end with original movie, and have a truly great experience. Thr sequel isn't bad, but cannot live up to the first.

Stand Alone Complex is in a totally separate continuity, and it's pretty good, nowhere near the amazing masterpiece that the movie is.I don't quite see how it's the same universe as the movie, despite what the creator says.
 

Kontarek

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mad825 said:
DoPo said:
The season one outfit of the Major constantly bugged me, though. Part of what I liked in 2 was changing it.
Yeah...In ep14 when Major gets thrown onto dirty bins then has to change her normal outfit. I found it funny how the group reacted as if the new outfit was more revealing when it wasn't.
Agreed. I love basically everything about the show except for that god-awful 80s crotch-pad thing she wears. I just can't take it seriously. In my mind it plays out as if she forgot to wear pants one day and no one called her out on it so she just kept forgetting to put them on every morning.
 

fezzthemonk

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Scarim Coral said:
I consider these two-

Arise- This somewhat serve as a preclude to Stand Alone Complex since it start on how the Major assemble her team. I suppose this is a good set up but I will warm you be prepared for the heavy terminology used in the series (I was competely lost with the final episode as in what the hell was going on).
Now I said somewhat since while it does act like a preclude to SAC but there are a couple of contridition to SAC (like the Major origin) but it isn't that big of a deal.

Stand Alone Complex and 2nd GIG- It's pretty much the main series since the only other contunity left is the 90's movie and the manga (haven't read). To me this is the best out of the franchise with GIG being my favourite.
Arise is not a prequal of SAC.

SAC is its own continuity same as the maga, movie, arise
 

Major_Tom

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Just start with the first movie, and then watch/read everything else.

I just realised that the only thing consistent throughout all continuities is the fact that Togusa carries a revolver.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Ghost in the Shell (1995 movie) and GitS:Innocence are in the same continuity and loosely based on the Manga (the title, character names, some themes and aesthetics are all that really keep them related).

SAC is closer to the manga, but it too is its own continuity, spanning 2 seasons and 1 movie, Solid State Society (or 3 movies depending on what you watch... more on that later).

Arise is a recent reboot. I believe it has its own continuity.

The Movies:
Personally I prefer the first 2 movies above all else. The first one is a classic,you must watch it regardless. It's a little heavy thematically and spends chunks of the narrative pondering on philosophy, but it's engrossing and the action sequences that are peppered throughout are still fantastic to watch today. The 2nd film is a love it or hate it affair among fans. It's really... strange? I loved it, but just be aware that it isn't for everyone...

Note, there is a remastered version of the 1st movie with new animations and stuff. It's good quality animation but it's a little annoying since the 1st film looked so good anway and they just ad CG sequences in place of beautiful cell animated scenes. I got both, but there is no difference in the story either way.

Here's an image for the sake of comparison:



The Mangas:
1st one is good for the most part, but is thematically all over the place, with awkward comedy mixed with intriguing sci-fi and gruesome violence. The 2nd book I found quite boring actually. Also, the artist/author, Masamune Shirow, did some erotic mangas and that aspect of his style spills over into his GitS stuff on occasion and it's pretty raunchy and a bit tasteless (especially the 2nd book, which isn't too good on it's own to let the pandering cheesecake slide). Never read the "3rd" book.

The series
First season is a bit hit and miss but still worth watching (also I hate Motokos design for that season). I thought the 2nd season was amazing (the villain was far more interesting and the story is generally better paced then the first season). You can watch condensed versions of these 2 seasons that focus solely on their respective main crises without the filler episodes. These 2 shows are called "GitS: SAC: The Laughing Man" and "GitS: SAC: 2nd Gig - Individual Eleven".

The movie isn't great... or rather, I watched it once, didn't think much of it and have now completely forgotten what it's about.

**** So to recap, the series has 5 different iterations. 2 seasons which are good and great respectively, a movie which isn't too good, and 2 remixed movies of the first and 2nd seasons. Regardless 1st season/movie, 2nd season/movie and (3rd) movie are all part of the same continuity and in that chronological order.

The Reboot:
Haven't had a chance to watch Arise, so no opinion.
 

Lightspeaker

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I think DoPo pretty much hit it with the first post.

The original film is very good. Innocence was...eh. I found it to be quite mixed honestly. I wouldn't say I disliked it but I was thoroughly confused and it didn't feel very satisfying.

The two seasons of SAC are excellent. I've seen the first part of Arise and its pretty good too but it feels a little different.

I'd definitely recommend SAC as being the best of the lot.
 

Casual Shinji

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Ragsnstitches said:
Note, there is a remastered version of the 1st movie with new animations and stuff. It's good quality animation but it's a little annoying since the 1st film looked so good anway and they just ad CG sequences in place of beautiful cell animated scenes. I got both, but there is no difference in the story either way.

Here's an image for the sake of comparison:

I don't know what the fuck they were thinking with that "remaster". Yeah, let's take the biggest reason people adore anime and replace it with fucking CGI. And while we're at it we'll take the blue/green colour scheme that gives the movie its cold and synthetic look and replace it with brown. I'm not even a big fan of this movie and it still pisses me off.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Casual Shinji said:
Ragsnstitches said:
Note, there is a remastered version of the 1st movie with new animations and stuff. It's good quality animation but it's a little annoying since the 1st film looked so good anway and they just ad CG sequences in place of beautiful cell animated scenes. I got both, but there is no difference in the story either way.

Here's an image for the sake of comparison:

I don't know what the fuck they were thinking with that "remaster". Yeah, let's take the biggest reason people adore anime and replace it with fucking CGI. And while we're at it we'll take the blue/green colour scheme that gives the movie its cold and synthetic look and replace it with brown. I'm not even a big fan of this movie and it still pisses me off.
Well it happened during a time where CG was super popular (mid 2000's) and classic cell animation was on deaths door. Also I believe they wanted GitS and Innocence to be aesthetically closer (since Innocence looks so drastically different). I think it works in Innocence case since it was made with CG in mind, but it's kind of jarring in GitS.

To be fair, the Remastered version came bundled with the original version so it wasn't like they were trying to pull a Lucas. I think they just wanted to bring the original to a newer generation (it was around the time Stand Alone Complex was airing) and trends were saying CG was needed.

Eh whatever. The classic is still available while I haven't seen the remastered in stores in a long while. Heck the classic is on Netflix with no sign of the remastered version.
 

Vlado

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I have not read the manga. Arise I heard was pretty much fanfic bs, so I haven't seen it yet.

Now, the rest of the stuff is amazing.

I suggested starting with the films (Ghost in the Shell and Innocence). It will give you an overall view of the GitS universe. The second film is a pure masterpiece, btw.

Then watch the Stand Alone Complex series. Both seasons are absolutely amazing, with strong, engaging main storylines. Ghost in the Shell is really about philosophy, albeit very well disguised as an action anime.
 

Casual Shinji

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Ragsnstitches said:
To be fair, the Remastered version came bundled with the original version so it wasn't like they were trying to pull a Lucas. I think they just wanted to bring the original to a newer generation (it was around the time Stand Alone Complex was airing) and trends were saying CG was needed.
Not on the blu-ray I bought. It just had this crappy version, which I didn't even know existed untill I popped the blu-ray in. So yeah, I was mildly disappointed to say the least.