Ghost in the Shell

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This article is about the media franchise in general. For specific works and entries in that franchise, see Ghost in the Shell (disambiguation).
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell 1995 logo.png
Ghost in the Shell logo used in the 1995 film adaptation of the series, a modified version of this logo is used in the 2004 film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence without the pyramid in the center.
Creator Masamune Shirow
Original work Kōkaku Kidōtai: The Ghost in the Shell
Print publications
  • The Ghost in the Shell
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface
  • Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor
Films and television
Television series
Video games

Ghost in the Shell (Japanese: 攻殻機動隊 Hepburn: Kōkaku Kidōtai?, "Mobile Armored Riot Police") is a Japanese media franchise originally published as a seinen manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The manga, first serialized in 1989 under the subtitle of The Ghost in the Shell, and later published as its own tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, told the story of the fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, led by protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi, in the mid-21st century of Japan.

Animation studio Production I.G has produced several different anime adaptations of Ghost in the Shell, starting with the 1995 film of the same name, telling the story of Section 9's investigation of the Puppet Master. The television series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex followed in 2002, telling an alternate story from the manga and first film, featuring Section 9's investigations of government corruption in the Laughing Man and Individual Eleven incidents. 2013 saw the start of the Ghost in the Shell: Arise original video animation (OVA) series, consisting of four episodes through mid-2014. The series was recompiled in early 2015 as a television series titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Alternative Architecture, airing with an additional two episodes.[1] An animated feature film produced by most of the Arise staff, titled Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie was released on June 20, 2015. A live-action American film of the same name is scheduled for release on March 31, 2017.


Shirow has stated that he had always wanted the title of his manga to be "GHOST IN THE SHELL", even in Japan, but his original publishers preferred Kōkaku Kidōtai (攻殻機動隊?). He had chosen "Ghost in the Shell" in homage to Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine, from which he also drew inspiration.[2]


Primarily set in the mid-twenty-first century in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama, Niihama Prefecture (新浜県新浜市 Niihama-ken Niihama-shi?),[Note 1] otherwise known as New Port City (ニューポートシティ Nyū Pōto Shiti?), the manga and the many anime adaptations follow the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. Political intrigue and counter-terrorism operations are standard fare for Section 9, but the various actions of corrupt officials, companies, and cyber-criminals in each scenario are unique and require the diverse skills of Section 9's staff to prevent a series of incidents from escalating.

In this post-cyberpunk iteration of a possible future, computer technology has advanced to the point that many members of the public possess cyberbrains, technology that allows them to interface their biological brain with various networks. The level of cyberization varies from simple minimal interfaces to almost complete replacement of the brain with cybernetic parts, in cases of severe trauma. This can also be combined with various levels of prostheses, with a fully prosthetic body enabling a person to become a cyborg. The main character of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is such a cyborg, having had a terrible accident befall her as a child that ultimately required her to use a full-body prosthesis to house her cyberbrain. This high level of cyberization, however, opens the brain up to attacks from highly skilled hackers, with the most dangerous being those who will hack a person to bend to their whims.



Original manga[edit]

The original Ghost in the Shell manga ran in Japan from April 1989 to November 1990 in Kodansha's manga anthology Young Magazine, and was released in a tankōbon volume on October 5, 1991.[3] Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface followed 1997 for 9 issues in Young Magazine, and was collected in the Ghost in the Shell: Solid Box on December 1, 2000.[4] Four stories from Man-Machine Interface that were not released in tankobon format from previous releases were later collected in Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor, and was published by Kodansha on July 23, 2003.[5] Several art books have also been published for the manga.


Animated films[edit]

Two animated films based on the original manga have been released, both directed by Mamoru Oshii and animated by Production I.G. Ghost in the Shell was released in 1995 and follows the "Puppet Master" storyline from the manga. It was re-released in 2008 as Ghost in the Shell 2.0 with new audio and updated 3D computer graphics in certain scenes.[6] Innocence, otherwise known as Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, was released in 2004, with its story based on a chapter from the first manga.

On September 5, 2014, it was revealed by Production I.G. that a new Ghost in the Shell animated film, Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (攻殻機動隊 新劇場版) in Japanese, would be released in 2015 promising to show the "further evolution [of the series]".[7] On January 8, 2015, a short teaser trailer was revealed for the project unveiling a redesigned Major more closely resembling her appearance from the older films, and a plot following the Arise continuity of the franchise.[8] The trailer listed Kazuya Nomura as the director, Kazuchika Kise as the general director and character designer, Toru Okubo as the animation director, Tow Ubukata as the screenplay writer and Cornelius as the composer. The film premiered on June 20, 2015, in Japanese theaters.[8]

Live-action film[edit]

In 2008, DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga. Avi Arad and Steven Paul were later confirmed as producers, with Jamie Moss to write the screenplay.[9] In October, 2009, it was announced that Laeta Kalogridis had replaced Moss as writer.[10] On January 24, 2014, it was reported that Rupert Sanders will direct the film, with a screenplay by William Wheeler.[11] On September 3, 2014, Margot Robbie was in early talks for the lead role, but by October 16, 2014, the lead role was instead offered to Scarlett Johansson.[12][13] On January 5, 2015, Variety confirmed that Johansson would star in the film.[14] Paramount Pictures will co-produce and co-finance the film and handle overseas distribution.[15] The film is scheduled to start production in early 2016 for a March 31, 2017, release date by Touchstone Pictures.[16][17][18] But in September 2015, it was reported that DreamWorks and Disney would not renew their distribution deal, set to expire in August 2016, with The BFG being the last film to be released under the original agreement. Due to this, Universal Studios will handle the domestic distribution for the film.[19][20] On October 23, 2015, Jonathan Herman was hired to write the script.[21] On November 10, 2015, Variety reports that Pilou Asbaek was cast as Batou.[22] On November 19, 2015, Deadline reported that Sam Riley was in talks for the role of the film's villain The Laughing Man,[23] but on February 4, 2016, Variety reported that Michael Pitt was in talks for the role.[24]


Stand Alone Complex TV series and film[edit]

In 2002, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex premiered on Animax, presenting a new telling of Ghost in the Shell independent from the original manga, focusing on Section 9's investigation of the Laughing Man hacker.[25] It was followed in 2004 by a second season titled Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG, which focused on the Individual Eleven terrorist group.[26] The primary storylines of both seasons were compressed into OVAs broadcast as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man in 2005 and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Individual Eleven in 2006.[27][28] Also in 2006, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society, featuring Section 9's confrontation with a hacker known as the Puppeteer, was broadcast, serving as a finale to the anime series.[29] The extensive score for the series and its films was composed by Yoko Kanno.

In addition to the anime, a series of published books, two separate manga adaptations, and several video games for consoles and mobile phones have been released for Stand Alone Complex.

Arise OVA and TV series[edit]

In 2013, a new iteration of the series titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise premiered, tackling an original look at the Ghost in the Shell world, set before the original manga. It was released as a series of four original video animation (OVA) episodes (with limited theatrical releases) from 2013 to 2014, then recompiled as a 10-episode television series under the title of Kōkaku Kidōtai: Arise - Alternative Architecture. An additional fifth OVA titled Pyrophoric Cult, originally premiering in the Alternative Architecture broadcast as two original episodes, will be combined and released on August 26, 2015.[30] Kazuchika Kise served as the chief director of the series, with Tow Ubukata as head writer.[31] Cornelius was brought onto the project to compose the score for the series, with the Major's new voice actress Maaya Sakamoto also providing vocals for certain tracks.

A manga adaptation was serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine, which started on March 13 and ended on August 26, 2013.[32][33]

Video games[edit]

Ghost in the Shell was developed by Exact and released for the PlayStation on July 17, 1997, in Japan by Sony Computer Entertainment.[34] It is a third-person shooter featuring an original storyline where the character plays a rookie member of Section 9. The video game's soundtrack Megatech Body features various electronica artists.[35]

Several video games were also developed to tie into the Stand Alone Complex television series, in addition to a first-person shooter by Nexon and Neople titled Ghost in the Shell: First Assault - Stand Alone Complex Online,[36] released in 2016.[37]

Bungie's famous 2001 3rd-person shooter/platformer/action/adventure game Oni draws substantial inspiration from The Ghost in the Shell setting and characters.[38][39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There is a real-world Niihama, located in Ehime Prefecture, but its name is written differently in kanji: 新居浜市.


  1. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Arise's Broadcast to Add 2 New Episodes". Anime News Network. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Official Log 1", p. 9. Young Magazine Pirate Edition, 2003.
  3. ^ 攻殻機動隊(1) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  4. ^ 攻殻機動隊SOLID BOX (in Japanese). 7net. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  5. ^ 攻殻機動隊 1.5 (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  6. ^ "Ghost in the Shell to Return to Japanese Theaters". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ "New Ghost in the Shell Film Slated for 2015". ANN. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Lovett, Jamie. "Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie Trailer Released Online". Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Siegel, Tatiana; Fleming, Michael (April 14, 2008). "DreamWorks to make 'Ghost' in 3-D". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  10. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (October 22, 2009). "Kalogridis to adapt 'Ghost in the Shell'". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ Bishop, Bryan. "Live-action 'Ghost in the Shell' movie signs the director of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 
  12. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (September 3, 2014). "'Wolf Of Wall Street's Margot Robbie Eyes 'Ghost In The Shell'". Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  13. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 16, 2014). "Will Smith & Tom Hardy Eyeing 'Suicide Squad' At Warner Bros – Update". Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 5, 2015). "Scarlett Johansson Signs On to Star in DreamWorks' 'Ghost in the Shell' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Paramount Co-Financing Scarlett Johansson's 'Ghost in the Shell'". Variety. May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ Chitwood, Adam (April 21, 2015). "Scarlett Johansson Say GHOST IN THE SHELL Movie Starts Filming Early 2016". Collider. 
  17. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 13, 2015). "Disney Dates 'Ghost In The Shell', Moves Jungle Book Back 6 Months". 
  18. ^ Perry, Spancer (April 30, 2015). "Ghost In The Shell Starring Scarlett Johansson, Moves Release Date". Coming Soon. 
  19. ^ Masters, Kim (September 2, 2015). "Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks to Split From Disney, in Talks With Universal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ McNary, Dave (September 2, 2015). "Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks to Leave Disney, Possibly for Universal". Variety. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (October 23, 2015). "'Straight Outta Compton' Writer to Tackle Scarlett Johansson Thriller 'Ghost in the Shell' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  22. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 10, 2015). "Pilou Asbaek to Co-Star with Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell' (Exclusive)". Variety. 
  23. ^ Jaafer, Ali (November 19, 2015). "Sam Riley In Talks For 'Ghost In The Shell' Opposite Scarlett johansson". Deadline. 
  24. ^ kroll, Justin (February 4, 2016). "Michael Pitt to Play Villain in Scarlett Johansson's 'Ghost in the Shell'". variety. 
  25. ^ "Animax's official GitS:SAC webpage" (in Japanese). Animax. Archived from the original on 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  26. ^ "Into the Network: The Ghost in the Shell Universe". Production I.G. Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  27. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man". Production I.G. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Individual Eleven". Production I.G. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society". Production I.G. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  30. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Arise Pyrophoric Cult Episode Slated for August on Home Video in Japan". ANN. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Arise Anime to Launch in 2013". Anime News Network. January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  32. ^ "6月22日から映画「攻殻機動隊ARISE GHOST IN THE SHELL」全4部作公開". Gigazine. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  33. ^ "「攻殻機動隊ARISE」コミカライズ 月刊ヤングマガジンで連載開始 公安9課以前を描く | アニメ!アニメ!". Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  34. ^ "攻殻機動隊 GHOST IN THE SHELL". Sony Computer Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  35. ^ "世界中で絶賛されている近未来SFコミックス「攻殻機動隊」のプレイステーション・ゲームのSound [Techno] Trax。". Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  36. ^ "First Assault is a free-to-play Ghost in the Shell FPS coming soon". PCGamer. Retrieved 2015-09-17. 
  37. ^ Prescott, Shaun. "First Assault is a free-to-play Ghost in the Shell FPS coming soon". PC Gamer. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  38. ^ Kushner, David (June 2000). "Ghost in the Machine". SPIN. 16 (6): 86. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  39. ^ Harry Al-Shakarchi. "Interview with lead engineer Brent Pease". Retrieved 2013-12-22. 

External links[edit]