Ghost In the Shell is about a police force in a futuristic version of Japan that takes care of refugee problems and cyber terrorism.
The main character, leader and only character of the police force in my opinion that stands out at all is Major Kusanagi who along with Jo from Burst Angel is another one of the best animated women I think I have ever seen. She is very powerful, attractive and a good leader. The other characters, even Batou and Togusa, two of the more main characters don’t really seem to have a whole lot of personality. Major Kusanagi alone makes up for it all, though.
The villains are not very memorable either in the second season at least. In the first season we have an interesting villain named the Laughing Man who is a cyber terrorist. He’s an intelligent villain who makes numerous references to Catcher In the Rye. The main character from that book is similar to the Laughing Man in that they are both young people searching for something in the world.
The pace can be pretty slow at times because the characters love to philosophize and it’s much more of a thinking man’s kind of show, but when there is actual action is pretty good. There are lots of gun fights, fights with the tachikoma tanks, a knife fight with Pazu and Major Kusanagi does a lot of good martial arts moves in hand to hand fights. She takes down what appears to be a large mecha bot one time with a high powered rifle.
This anime is pretty dry when it comes to humor. It’s a very serious anime and doesn’t have a whole lot of humor in it, which makes it even more melancholy at times. One of the few more humorous episodes that I can remember from this series is when Major Kusanagi has to play the guardian for a refugee kid.
There is only prominent female character in this show, which is Major Kusanagi, but with a skanty outfit and curvaceous body, she provides all of the fan service an anime could possibly need. Like Burst Angel the main strength of this show seems to be one really great female character, although this anime offers a little more than Burst Angel does in other areas, too, such as an intelligent plot.
The futuristic society of Japan offers a pretty interesting setting that is similar to that of Burst Angel. They are both in the cyber punk genre. This allows for really melancholy, dark, gritty looking scenery, which adds a lot of the mood to the show and explores possible future technology.
The music, which is mostly very electronic, experimental music also adds a lot of the atmosphere to the show. It has a couple of great theme songs such as Living In the Shell, Lithium Flower, Inner Universe and my personal favorite animated theme song of all time called Rise. The main action theme song during many of the fight scenes called Run Rabbit Junk is a great, energetic industrial song.
This anime is the first anime I would actually call an anime, since I don’t really count the big, Americanized ones like Pokemon or Yugioh, that I have ever watched and it led to watching a dozen or so other animes, too, so it is very influential for me. While it has a very slow pace, which can make it boring at times and keeps it from being higher on the list along with some really flat, under developed characters in Section 9, it has one of my favorite animated women ever, some of my favorite animated theme songs ever and in my opinion is a great anime.