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Ghost in the Shell

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Ghost in the Shell
Logo used in the 1995 film adaptation of the series.
Created byMasamune Shirow
Original workGhost in the Shell
OwnerMasamune Shirow
Print publications
Films and television


Animated series
Video game(s)

Ghost in the Shell[a] is a Japanese cyberpunk media franchise based on the 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, and is set in mid-21st century Japan.

Animation studio Production I.G has produced several anime adaptations of the series. These include the 1995 film of the same name and its 2004 sequel, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence; the 2002 television series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and its 2020 follow-up, Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045; and the Ghost in the Shell: Arise original video animation (OVA) series. In addition, an American-produced live-action film was released on March 31, 2017.



The original editor Koichi Yuri says: At first, Ghost in the Shell came from Shirow, but when Yuri asked "something more flashy", Shirow came up with "攻殻機動隊 Koukaku Kidou Tai (Shell Squad)" for Yuri. But Shirow was attached to including "Ghost in the Shell" as well even if in smaller type.[1]


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),[b] 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 task-force consisting of various professionals skilled at solving and preventing crime, mostly with some sort of police background. 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 2, 1991.[2] Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface followed in 1997 for 9 issues in Young Magazine, and was collected in the Ghost in the Shell: Solid Box on December 1, 2000.[3] Then a standard version with modifications and new pages was published on June 26, 2001.[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 published by Kodansha on July 17, 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.

Live-action film[edit]

In 2008, DreamWorks and producer Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to a live-action film adaptation of the original Ghost in the Shell manga.[7] On January 24, 2014, Rupert Sanders was announced as director, with a screenplay by William Wheeler.[8] In April 2016, the full cast was announced, which included Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Lasarus Ratuere and Kaori Momoi, and Scarlett Johansson in the lead role;[9] the casting of Johansson drew accusations of whitewashing.[10][11][12][13] Principal photography on the film began on location in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 1, 2016. Filming wrapped in June 2016.[14] Ghost in the Shell premiered in Tokyo on March 16, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.[15] It received mixed reviews, with praise for its visuals and Johansson's performance but criticism for its script.[16][17]


Stand Alone Complex TV series, film and ONA[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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20][21] 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.[22] The extensive score for the series and its films was composed by Yoko Kanno.[23]

On April 7, 2017, Kodansha and Production I.G announced that Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki would be co-directing a new Kōkaku Kidōtai anime production.[24] On December 7, 2018, it was reported by Netflix that they had acquired the worldwide streaming rights to the original net animation (ONA) anime series, titled Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, and that it would premiere on April 23, 2020. The series will be in 3DCG and Sola Digital Arts will be collaborating with Production I.G on the project. It was later revealed that Ilya Kuvshinov will handle character designs.[25] The series had two seasons of 12 episodes each.[26]

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, TV series and film[edit]

In 2013, a new iteration of the series titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise premiered, taking 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, was released on August 26, 2015.[27] Kazuchika Kise served as the chief director of the series, with Tow Ubukata as head writer.[28] 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.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie, also known as Ghost in the Shell: Arise − The Movie or New Ghost in the Shell, is a 2015 film directed by Kazuya Nomura that serves as a finale to the Ghost in the Shell: Arise story arc. The film is a continuation to the plot of the Pyrophoric Cult episode of Arise, and ties up loose ends from that arc.

A manga adaptation was serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine, which started on March 13 and ended on August 26, 2013.[29][30]

2026 anime[edit]

On May 25, 2024, it was announced that a new anime television series adaptation will be produced by Science Saru for a 2026 premiere.[31] Saru will be a production committee with Bandai Namco Filmworks, Kodansha and Production I.G.[32]

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.[33] 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 techno artists, such as Takkyu Ishino, Scan X and Mijk Van Dijk.[34]

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: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online, released in 2016.[35]


Ghost in the Shell influenced some prominent filmmakers. The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix and its sequels, showed it to producer Joel Silver, saying, "We wanna do that for real."[36] The Matrix series took several concepts from the film, including the Matrix digital rain, which was inspired by the opening credits of Ghost in the Shell, and the way characters access the Matrix through holes in the back of their necks. Other parallels have been drawn to James Cameron's Avatar, Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates. James Cameron cited Ghost in the Shell as a source of inspiration,[37] citing it as an influence on Avatar.[38]

Bungie's 2001 third-person action game Oni draws substantial inspiration from Ghost in the Shell's setting and characters.[39][40] Ghost in the Shell also influenced video games such as the Metal Gear Solid series,[41] Deus Ex,[42] and Cyberpunk 2077.[43][44]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as Kōkaku Kidōtai (Japanese: 攻殻機動隊, lit. "Mobile Armored Riot Police")
  2. ^ 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: Stand Alone Complex Official Log 1". Young Magazine Pirate Edition. 2003. p. 9.
  2. ^ 攻殻機動隊(1) [Ghost in the Shell (1)] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ 攻殻機動隊SOLID BOX [Ghost in the Shell SOLID BOX]. Seven Net Shopping Co., Ltd. (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  4. ^ "『攻殻機動隊2』(士郎 正宗) 製品詳細 講談社コミックプラス". 講談社コミックプラス (in Japanese). Retrieved 2024-06-14.
  5. ^ 攻殻機動隊 1.5 [Ghost in the Shell 1.5] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  6. ^ "Ghost in the Shell to Return to Japanese Theaters". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  7. ^ Siegel, Tatiana; Fleming, Michael (April 14, 2008). "DreamWorks to make 'Ghost' in 3-D". Variety. Archived from the original on August 18, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  8. ^ Bishop, Bryan (January 25, 2014). "Live-action 'Ghost in the Shell' movie signs the director of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'". The Verge. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  9. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Photo Released as Production Begins". ComingSoon.net. April 14, 2016. Archived from the original on May 26, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  10. ^ Brown, Tracey (January 10, 2015). "'Ghost in the Shell': Scarlett Johansson casting called 'whitewashing'". HERO COMPLEX. Archived from the original on April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Child, Ben (January 16, 2015). "DreamWorks accused of 'whitewashing' Ghost in the Shell by casting Scarlett Johansson". The Guardian. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  12. ^ "Is Scarlett Johansson casting Hollywood 'whitewashing'?". BBC News. April 19, 2016. Archived from the original on July 19, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (April 14, 2016). "'Ghost In The Shell' Fans Not Happy About 'Whitewashed' American Remake". TheWrap. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Tsui, Stephanie (June 2, 2016). ""Ghost in the Shell" Will Film in Hong Kong—and There's Still No Asian Lead". HK Magazine. South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
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  17. ^ "Ghost in the Shell reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  18. ^ "Animax's official GitS:SAC webpage" (in Japanese). Animax. Archived from the original on 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  19. ^ "Into the Network: The Ghost in the Shell Universe". Production I.G. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  20. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex The Laughing Man". Production I.G. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Individual Eleven". Production I.G. Archived from the original on 25 November 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society". Production I.G. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  23. ^ Bull, John (2018-03-08). "Yoko Kanno: The Greatest Composer You've Never Heard Of". Medium. Archived from the original on 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  24. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Gets New Anime From Kenji Kamiyama, Shinji Aramaki". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2017-04-08. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 3DCG Anime's Characters Designed by Birthday Wonderland's Ilya Kuvshinov". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2019-06-13. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  26. ^ "New Ghost in the Shell 3DCG Anime Project to Premiere on Netflix in 2020". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2019-11-08. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Arise Pyrophoric Cult Episode Slated for August on Home Video in Japan". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2015-05-09. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Arise Anime to Launch in 2013". Anime News Network. January 15, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  29. ^ 6月22日から映画「攻殻機動隊ARISE GHOST IN THE SHELL」全4部作公開 [From June 22, the movie "Ghost in the Shell ARISE GHOST IN THE SHELL" will be released in four parts] (in Japanese). Gigazine. February 12, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  30. ^ 「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! ["Ghost in the Shell ARISE" comicalization Starts serialization in monthly Young Magazine Drawing before Public Security Section 9 - Anime! animation] (in Japanese). AnimeAnime.jp. March 13, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  31. ^ "New Ghost in the Shell Anime Announced".
  32. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Announces New TV Anime". Screen Rant. 25 May 2024.
  33. ^ 攻殻機動隊 GHOST IN THE SHELL. PlayStation (in Japanese). Sony Interactive Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  34. ^ "Ghost in the Shell - Soundtrack-" 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。 [Sound [Techno] Trax of the PlayStation game of the near future SF comic "Ghost in the Shell" acclaimed all over the world.] (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  35. ^ Prescott, Shaun (September 17, 2015). "First Assault is a free-to-play Ghost in the Shell FPS coming soon". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 2017-06-10. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
  36. ^ Joel Silver, interviewed in "Making The Matrix" featurette on The Matrix DVD.
  37. ^ Rose, Steve (19 October 2009). "Hollywood is haunted by Ghost in the Shell". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  38. ^ Schrodt, Paul (1 April 2017). "How the original 'Ghost in the Shell' changed sci-fi and the way we think about the future". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  39. ^ Kushner, David (June 2000). "Ghost in the Machine". SPIN. Vol. 16, no. 6. p. 86. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  40. ^ Al-Shakarchi, Harry. "Interview with lead engineer Brent Pease". Bungie West. Archived from the original on 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
  41. ^ Kojima, Hideo (8 April 2017). "Hideo Kojima on the Philosophy Behind 'Ghost in the Shell'". Glixel. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  42. ^ "Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Blu-ray review". What Hi-Fi?. Haymarket Media Group. August 7, 2017. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  43. ^ "Cyberpunk 2077 Devs Looked at Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell for Inspiration". GamingBolt.com. 13 January 2019. Archived from the original on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  44. ^ Conditt, Jessica (1 August 2012). "CD Projekt Red's 'Cyberpunk' inspired by System Shock, Blade Runner [Update]". Engadget. Archived from the original on 14 October 2018.

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