Alright, so I got my disc in and have watched it. BTW Spoilers ahead.
Overall Rating - 7.5 / 10
Yep, not as high as I gave border 1. This felt a little rushed, story wise I mean. The team arrangement was fast. Though much like Batou says at the end, Motoko just recruits everyone she gets into a fire fight with that survives. It does seem like that. Though it was fun to see Saito switch sides so quickly, smiling and having a good time, very unlike all the other instances we’ve ever had him in. But yeah, it was really fast paced. Which isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just in GITS world, it is. The intro of the blonde (ultimately AI) character is a nice throwback to (or precursor to, I guess) to the first GITS movie, but she’s just there, Motoko joins up with her stupidly fast, and then gets betrayed, and we never even got to know her before she was dead, and whispering about ‘ghosts’ bofore becoming one with the… I dunno where do AI’s go when they die. Which yes, does match the rest of her team building strategy, just grabbing everyone who is skilled, but makes a Ghost fan unhappy at the level of story telling depth and character reveal. Sure I suppose I could write it off as, yes, this is a young, very aggressive Motoko, who’s going to fuck up a lot. Alright, gonna have to go with that I guess. But honestly, the story is on par with other GITS stuff, it’s just that this movie/episode felt like it should have taken twice as long to tell. To me anyway. Maybe the constraints of four 50 minute short movies was not the way to go here.
But it’s not without it’s great points. The action is great, the ‘car’ chases are good, and it’s really fucking pretty. But it better be pretty, it’s Ghost in the Shell. And, I can’t say I didn’t love to see the team that I’ve come to love back before it was ‘a team’. The Motoko and Batou fights, are good. Though I liked their fight in border 1 better than this time around. It was fun to see Ishikawa take down Paz in hand to hand combat. You never see old beardy do much in any other instance, except when he punched some asshat in a car at the end of 2nd Gig. Which was kinda funny. Saito was a wildcard, and that was fun, though the resolution was just told to us during another conversation, again, really rushed. The Logikoma (the red think tank) is finally getting witty, fun, and useful. Big plus right there. Looking forward to seeing the Logikoma path to Tachikoma, but I don’t know how much we’ll get, there wasn’t anything in the way of think tanks in the first GITS movie, other than the big one at the end that Motoko rips her arms off on. We also get a little soul (or Ghost perhaps ;p) from Batou here as well, he doesn’t just want to be a mindless military dog, he wants to be more. Borma… has just as much development as he ever has… little to none.
To try and piece it together, you could say that the addition of the AI cyborg to the team was her rounding out her numbers, and that her not being real/dying at the end opens up a spot for Togusa. Who, if you were hoping to see in this movie, you won’t. I suppose we didn’t see much of the rest of the team in the first one, so that makes sense, and since ARISE is ‘supposed’ to be leading up to the first GITS movie, Togusa probably shouldn’t be added to the team until the 4th (last) movie of the ARISE set.
It fits with everything so far. Action is good. Logikoma is getting a bit more witty and fun. Animation is great. Story is OK, and runs well against the GITS movies (but NOT the Stand Alone Complex, but SAC and the movies never really meshed well anyway, and just look at the Man Machine Interface for the 3 Motoko’s and Aramaki’s daughter, and you’ll start to piece it all together). The only real downside is the absolute rush to assemble a team and stop a cyber terrorist group implanted with false memories.
Looking forward to border 3. Ghost Tears