Ghost in the Shell: Arise is the first in a four-part OVA series which acts as a prequel story arc in the GITS universe about Motoko Kusanagi and the formation of her team in Section 9. Subtitled Border 1: Ghost Pain, this hour-long story is closer in production value to an episode of Stand Alone Complex rather than a full theatrical release like Marmoru Oshii’s original 1995 classic. Despite that, the animation and art is solid and strong enough to support the mystery-filled espionage plot which has both geared me for part two and revitalised my interest in the series at large.
The plot of Border 1 finds Kusanagi in the middle of a murder investigation, and cleverly has her soon-to-be Section 9 comrades such as Batou following their own leads and storylines before paths are inevitably crossed. Old hands return, boasting fresh designs that add life and flavour to Arise’s look. It fits in with what’s come before though, and fans should find plenty to appreciate. Likewise, Border 1 also works as a decent jumping in point for newbies to the cyberpunk universe – the technobabble isn’t lathered on thick, the action is clever and the themes are stimulating. So long as the rest follow suit, this will be a series to watch and one that’ll likely end up a stronger experience when viewed as a collective.