With the development of the live action movie as well as Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Alternative Architecture having been recently aired, people are beginning to revisit Ghost in the Shell once again. One of the most influential anime of all time with its cyberpunk setting, philosophical themes and cool action sequences, it’s no wonder why the 1995 animated movie made the impact that it did on an entire generation in the West. Teen and young adults were suddenly interested in anime as a medium for great storytelling and entertainment. But above all else, Ghost in the Shell was able to achieve lasting status not only by continuing these themes in Stand Alone Complex, but also properly developing the characters in this established world in order to draw people in even more.
In anime with a lighter tone, there’s sometimes little tension because you may feel you already know what the outcome will be. But in anime like Ghost in the Shell, there’s plenty of legitimate tension, as Section 9 defends New Port City from the likes of various hackers and terrorists. Both the good guys and bad guys fully commit to a certain choice or action in order to make ends meet, making all of them that much more kickass. Here are the top 10 kickass characters in Ghost in the Shell.
One of Section 9’s older team members, Ishikawa specializes in traditional hacking as opposed to invading someone’s cyberbrain like other members of Section 9. However, that doesn’t mean that he can’t, as evidenced by his ability to hack into multiple elderly people’s cyberbrains at his pachinko parlor in order to gather heavy data. Despite being the one whom sees combat the least as well as having few (if any) cybernetic enhancements, Ishikawa can still hold his own a fair amount in a fight, as evidenced by surviving his multiple injuries and being able to handle certain weapons (probably from his experience serving in South America with Batou). Ishikawa best assists the team overall with his explanations as to what exactly the team is getting into. With a laid-back approach, talented hacking skills, and an appearance far from the typical one of a technology expert, Ishikawa is certainly kickass in his own right.
The team sniper for Section 9, Saito is one of the members with the fewest cyber implants, possessing only a prosthetic left arm and Hawkeye, a specialized cybernetic left eye. Usually pretty stoic, Saito lets his sniping speak for him; his accuracy was already incredible even before his cybernetic eye was installed, and with the ability to sync up with satellites to determine the most accurate shot, one would have to possess incredible skill to not get hit by any of Saito’s shots. With a strong and silent demeanor, a unique past with the Major that leaves his teammates unsure of its authenticity, and an overall unmatched sniping talent, Saito is not someone to mess with.
8. Kazundo Gouda
The main antagonist in the 2nd season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Kazundo Ghoda is an extremely shady character who enjoys leaving an impression of some kind on whoever he meets. Ghoda suffered a terrible accident that resulted in half his face being scarred, yet chose to keep it that way instead of repairing it because he liked how unsettling it was for people to see him. Despite his inferiority complex and his desire to one up the Laughing Man, Ghoda is ultimately responsible for the emergence of the Individual Eleven as well as the conflict that takes place between Japan and the refugees. Ultimately his desire for chaos is his undoing, and rather than surrender to Section 9, Ghoda goes out in kickass fashion with the major having to resort to her machine gun in order to stop him once and for all.
An old-fashioned cop, Togusa is kick-ass in the sense that he does the same job as Batou and the Major without having undergone a cybernetic replacement of any kind save for the cyberbrain, putting him more at risk for injury. Being the only member with a happy family to look after, Togusa brings a different perspective to Section 9 with his by the book approach, refusal to fall to corruption, and overall positive outlook. Togusa also has a different weapon of choice from the rest of the team, favoring a Mateba Autorevolver as opposed to the standard-issue Seburo M5. Despite these differences from the rest of the team, however, Togusa can hold his own in a combat situation, especially during the Sunshine Society Massacre. Togusa is arguably the one responsible for cracking the Laughing Man case mainly due to cracking some of the key information, such as what he learns while spending time at a mental institution tied to the Laughing Man. Whatever your opinion may be, Togusa has certainly proven that he can be kickass when the time calls for it.
6. Chief Daisuke Aramaki
Despite his age and not being involved in combat himself, Chief Daisuke Aramaki knows how to get things done in order for his team to be as effective as possible in getting the job done. Throughout the series Aramaki puts his reputation on the line because of his faith in Section 9, such as telling the Prime Minsister he will be the one held responsible if Section 9 fails to succeed in rescuing the hostages at the Chinese Embassy from the Individual Eleven. With many different connections throughout the levels of government as well as a thorough knowledge of the legal and political rules and regulations, Aramaki is perfect in bending as many of them as possible and creating the best strategy no matter what the situation, even taking it upon himself to act without authority if needed. Most of all, Aramaki knows how to keep his composure in a hostile situation, as evidenced by his handling of the wine bank robbery in regard to both keeping the rest of the hostages safe as well as convincing the thieves to surrender. Definitely the most kickass character in Ghost in the Shell when it comes to authority figures in government getting things done.
A first impression one might get from an interaction with these A.I. would make you wonder whether they belong in Section 9, as they tend to sound and act like 5 year old kids with the curiosity to boot. However, that would immediately change once you see them in action. With mounted machine guns, grappling hooks, the ability to walk on walls, and an appetite for destruction (especially if you mess with Batou), the Tachikomas know how to get the job done whenever things go south. The Tachikomas also have the ability to hack satellites in order to acquire their targets and show an excellent aptitude for tracking, such as when they stalk the Major. Things only get crazier when they become self-aware of their own existence, making the scenes involving their deaths in combat as well as sacrificial deaths earn even the Major’s respect. There’s nothing more badass than cute-talking machines absolutely wiping something completely out of existence.
4. Hideo Kuze
A member of the Individual Eleven terrorist organization, Hideo Kuze’s introduction in the series couldn’t be more kickass. Attempting to assassinate the Prime Minister firmly establishes Kuze’s motivations for change as well as the beginnings of why he is more antihero than villain. Later on in the series, Kuze chooses not to participate in the Individual Eleven’s mass suicide attempt; this eventually leads to him starting a revolution among the refugees in order to help them get independence. Kuze also shares a special connection with the Major as being the only survivor from the plane crash that resulted in the Major getting her prosthetic body. He even managed to win his fight with Batou near the end of the 2nd season of SAC by slicing up Batou’s gun with his knife in a matter of seconds and literally crushing Batou’s leg with his own 2 hands. As an incredible fighter and masterful tactitician, Kuze sets himself up as one of the most kickass opponents Section 9 goes up against.
3. The Laughing Man
A hacker with incredible skills as well as antihero motivations, the Laughing Man is the primary antagonist that Section 9 goes up against in the 1st season of SAC. Even though kidnapping the CEO of Serano Genomics is the only one he carried out before the series began, the Laughing Man ended up spawning multiple imitators that performed various crimes, something he never intended to happen. In addition, the Laughing Man never found out the originator of the information he stumbled upon to perform the kidnapping in the first place. However, by taking advantage of the discovery and doing what he had to do, the Laughing Man’s hacking abilities (including of ghost bodies) as well as being able to stay one step ahead of the authorities arguably made him the toughest opponent Section 9 ever dealt with. They were even good enough for the Laughing Man to be offered a place in Section 9 if he wanted. Doesn’t get more kickass than that.
At 6’1 with a very muscular cyber body and the attitude to match, Batou is one of the most kickass characters in the series. Batout tends to be the funny man, as he usually has a quip in combat situations as well as at headquarters with the other members of Section 9. He also gets along very well with the Tachikoma, givng his own an unapproved sunthetic oil until he got caught. Howver, when things get serious, Batou couldn’t be more kickass. Batou’s fights alone tend to be pretty physical and brutal, as he’s one of the strongest members of Section 9 and can hold his own against just about anybody he comes across. Batou is also a superb agent; notmany people can infiltrate the Marines and get away with it. What makes his skills even more impressive is that his stealth is superb despite having a huge prostehetic body. With excellent combat skills and a love for guns, Batou repeatedly demonstrates why he’s such a kickass character.
1. Major Motoko Kusanagi
The main protagonist of the series for a reason, Motoko Kusanagi, or “the Major”, is the leader of Section 9 due to her skills in combat, hacking, and stealth. The Major repeatedly shows how kickass she is in almost every episode we see her, whether by how she wields a variety of weapons, disables tanks singlehandedly, and takes on multiple opponents by herself in close quarter combat. Her indomitiable spirit is incredible, especially during her fight with Gayle Yasuoka, where she not only has her entire arm obliterated, she is almost crushed to death by a ginat robot. The Major also specializes in hacking and stealth, making her a legitimate threat in multiple ways. Unlike Batou, who people would expect to be kickass based on his appearance, the Major’s kickassery is all the more impressive since her appearance doesn’t give off that exact impression. Yet her display of physical and mental skills throughout both the series and the movies cement the Major as the definitive kickass character.
Whether it’s out in the field of combat or isolated alone in a room somewhere, there are multiple characters that define the term “kickass” in multiple ways. Each of their different definitions all serve as pieces that contribute as to why Ghost in the Shell is as popular as it is. Here are the top 10 kickass characters in Ghost in the Shell. What are all of your opinions? Let us know in the comments!