Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Borders 1 & 2

| October 28, 2014

From intense, cerebral films, to an accessible TV series, Ghost in the Shell has managed to stay pretty relevant and within the anime zeitgeist since 1995. Its latest incarnation, Ghost in the Shell: Arise is the another attempt from Production I.G. drawing from Masamune Shirow’s well, but happens to bring a different spin on things. Its the directorial debut of Kazuchika Kise, a long time animator over at I.G., whose worked on many of the previous iterations of Ghost in the Shell and writer Tow Ubukata, whose works include Mardock Scramble and Le Chavalier D’Eon. The project is part re-imagining, part new cases, as we see Major Motoko Kusinagi form alliances with her various comrades, in order to create Section 9, the Special Operations unit that handles cyber crimes in Newport City.

While there are plenty of segments and imagery that Kise and Ubukata borrow from Mamoru Oshii’s films and Kenji Kamiyama’s TV series, there are plenty of new things that Arise gets right. While the TV series made it a point to show how all of the individuals in Section 9 met the Major in its second season, Arise manages to keep these interactions very different than what we’ve seen before, as well as making them intricate to the new plots hatched by Ubukata. While these entries are still full of complex plots, techno babble and plenty of twists and turns, Arise still manges to be one of the most diluted and accessible entries of Ghost in the Shell created thus far. By no means is this a bad thing and maybe the entire point of this OVA series by Production I.G. and Kise is to be an entry point into the world of Section 9 and the tasks they handle.

The video presented on the Blu-Ray of Arise from Funimation, comes in an AVC encoded, 1080p transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Production I.G. manages to show off why they’ve been one of the best animation studios and manage to create some wonderful use of new images and sequences to add to the Ghost in the Shell mythos. Kise, along with directing the series, redesigned the characters for Arise, which add much more color and flare than the previous incarnations. All of these things show up with immense clarity on the HD transfer and look absolutely stunning for both episodes. The audio on the disc comes in two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 transfers, the original Japanese language track and the English dub. The Japanese language track has an entirely new vocal cast, as well as the English one, which for fans of the existing franchise, takes some getting used to. Other than this small caveat, both surround sound mixes offer an incredible amount of depth, utilizing a fantastic amount of surround activity, as well as the punchiness of the LFE, to offer an immersive, aural experience. The extras on the discs are pretty plentiful, which include a commentary for episode 2, a slew of commercials and ad spots, interviews with the creative teams and more. The interviews and commentary are pretty insightful and the short films featuring the Logicoma’s are pretty hilarious, much like the Tachikomatic Days in Stand Alone Complex.

While some fans may not like this new approach to the Ghost in the Shell franchise, due to its recycled imagery and dilution of ideas and concepts, there’s very much to like in Arise. The plots are pretty engaging, the new interactions and introduction to the characters are pretty fun and the action’s well choreographed to keep fans plugged into this latest addition to cyberspace world of Ghost in the Shell. Highly Recommended! 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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