A Cyberpunk Epic...
Masamune Shirow's The Ghost In The Shell
'Its the near future. The world has become highly information-sensitive, with a vast corporate network covering the planet, electrons and light pulsing through it. But the nation-state and ethnic groups still survive. And on the edge of Asia, in a strange corporate conglomerate-state called "Japan"'
- Introduction To The Ghost In The Shell
Major Kusanagi on a Fuchikoma
Copyrights: Masamune Shirow, Kodansha
And thus our story begins. A political assasination introduces a female cyborg, Major Motoko Kusanagi to the scene. Major Kusanagi is the squad leader of Security Section Nine, a not so popular anti-terrorist SDF(Special Defense Force), due to the highly confidential nature of their activities. The female cyborg squad leader with her team; Batou, Togusa, and Ishikawa carries out various investigations under the directions of their Chief, Aramaki.
02: Super Spartan (10.4.2029)
The first major mission was an investigation into brainwashing at a water-filter manufacturing plant, which lands the team in hot soup. However, Aramaki manages to straighten things out and saved the squad from being disbanded by the government.
03: Junk Jungle (27.7.2029)
Investigating a 'pupeteer' who is meddling with network terminals, Batou and Aramaki stakes out a mansion, which eventually nabs a high-profile figure for cyberethics and corruption crimes. At the same time, the Foreign Minster's Translator was infiltrated with a virus, which sets Motoko and team on a high speed chase to track down the hacker responsible. They traced the source to a garbage truck man who was apparently set-up to believe he had a 'family crisis', wife seeking a divorce, but in the first place the man had no family at all (in fact it was a Simex- a software dream planted by the hacker). Although the supposed hacker was gunned down, little did they know about the 'real' source....
Lucas: this is that highly controversial chapter... Assuming you have heard that GITS stirs up quite a controversy due to 2 'inappropriate' pages (personally... I say keep the manga in its original form!)
04: Megatech Machine 1 (Revolt Of The Robots)
Drill training for the Fuchikomas. Although this chapter does not affect the continuity of the story, it enlightens readers on the progress of AI in the Fuchikomas. Motoko had programmed a 'revolution-strike' in one of the Fuchi's to observe their behavior and to draw up counter measures when the situation arises in reality. The Fuchikoma screwed up anyway... However, it did cover the issue of whether robots and AI have 'rights' as humans have.
Panels from Chapters 04 & 05
Copyrights: Masamune Shirow, Kodansha and Studio Proteus/ Dark Horse (English Ed.)
05: Megatech Machine 2 (The Making Of A Cyborg)
Again, not relevant to the continuity of the story. Here, Motoko was deployed to observe and certify the 'rights' of a Cyborg. This section explains the construction and Shirow's theories on the possibility and materials to build a cyborg. Also noted are issues such as the advantages and disadvantages of cyborgization and the dillemma of 'personality' of the cyborgs. Lesson: 'Listen, if it were possible to create robots that close to humans, they wouldn't be robots, they'd be humans! The only thing differrent would be their external appearance! Don't discriminate against robots!'- Fuchikoma.
06: Robot Rondo (1.10.2029)
Back to the story. Next came the Hanka Precision Instruments incident, when the Tomliand robots produced by the company went berserk and attacked several high-profile customers. Suspected to be the work of the 'puppeteer' this was actually a distress signal programmed by the kidnapped children who were to be the 'master copy' for mass production of Hanka's robots (This is illegal as the process kills the child involved). Section Nine manages to uncover the crime and apprehended the Hanka Precision boss (himself a funny looking robot) who is down (literally) on his luck in an escape attempt.
07: Phantom Fund (24.12.2029)
As the title suggests, Section Nine investigates Sagawa Electronics under suspect for seedy dealings at a former Soviet base in the Etorofu Government. Turns out to be a conspiracy to siphone public funds from the government under the pretext of defense for their own gain. Motoko gains the upper hand over Lt. Colonel Sohei Kagasaki, Special Op for the Far North who was also involved in the crime. Lt. Col. Sohei was dissatisfied with the low pay and non-promotion despite working so long for his government. Like Motoko said, 'Hey, Life's a bitch'.
08: Dumb Barter (2.5.2030)
Enter the terrorist Toru Soma... He is the only major terrorist Major Kusanagi failed to eliminate and is out for revenge on Motoko, who set him up to shoot his own son through a door as payback for the killing of Motoko's men. Soma started with a bomb that ripped up Motoko and her Section 1 boyfriend's apartment. A trap is set up by Soma (apparently with the help of Section 1 who needed his help to track down Anaconda, the South American Drug Lord). Motoko had to battle with Soma's German 'Think Tank' and losses some body parts in the battle before finally sending the terrorist on his way to hell. Turns out that Section Nine is already ahead of Section One with a plan to assisinate the Drug Lord...
Major Motoko Kusanagi
Copyrights: Masamune Shirow, Kodansha
09: Bye Bye Clay (15.7.2030)
A truck runs over a nude blond cyborg which is possesed by the elusive puppet master. The Puppet Master claims 'itself' to be a new form of life. One of the most extraordinary hackers in the history of the cyberbrain crime, the original Puppet Master was killed off by Section 6, but not before they dubbed him in a supposedly 'special body' which will keep the Puppet Master intact and at the same time examine him (This is the Project 2501). This proves to be a costly mistake as the 'ghost' of the hacker escapes and demands a political asylum as it claims itself to be a new life-form created from the sea of information. However, S-6 decided to pull a stunt by forcibly removing the Puppet Master from the S-9 HQ but Motoko's team cut them down. At a critical stage, Motoko 'brain-dives' into the Puppet Master to retrieve whatever information available but was instead fused with the Puppet Master's network. Revealing to Motoko his real form, Motoko saw an 'angel' before passing out...
10: Brain Drain (9.9.2030)
A momentary lapse in Motoko's concentration (and trigger-reflex) caused Motoko to shoot and killed a 'target' asassin S-9 was suppose to monitor and track to his hideout. Unfortunately, the incident was captured on the news. It sparked a political debate as S-9 has been rumoured to be a government's covert assasination-squad and the footage can only do more harm to S-9 (and the government's) reputation. Under heavy political pressure, it proves to be the end of Motoko's career. But Motoko has many enemies and now that her identity is revealed, she must plan for her own survival. She devised a kidnapping incident where she would be accidentaly 'shot' in the head by security forces when in fact her brain (and spinal cord) was removed earlier with the assistance of Batou. While Batou searches for a new body for Motoko, the Puppet Master made a proposal to Motoko. Motoko agrees to fuse with the Puppet Master and would create yet another new life form- a combination of Motoko's present system and the Puppet Master's vast network of information. Finally, Motoko discovers the meaning of life and in her new form, sets out on her new life...
Ahh... The Net is vast...
Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell, Published by Kodansha (Japan); English Editions by Dark Horse / Studio Proteus.
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