The debut this morning of a new “Ghost in the Shell” trailer gives viewers a more detailed explanation of the film’s plot, and showcases more of the cast beyond star Scarlett Johannson. Not only does it provide a look at more members of Section 9, it teases the mystery of The Major’s past, as well as the threat she and her team faces.
To provide a little more context, we’ve assembled a rundown of the characters we’ve seen so far, and the roles they play in Masamune Shirow’s popular cyberpunk mnaga and the subsequent anime adaptations.
Scarlett Johannson is The Major
Johannson of course stars the manga and anime’s protagonist Major Mokoto Kusanagi, although everyone calls her simply “The Major.” A woman with a mysterious past who received a cybernetic body following an accident, she’s the field leader of Public Security Section 9, a black-ops team that deals in cyber-security and cyber-warfare. Skilled in multiple areas, from hacking to hand-to-hand combat, The Major has the respect of her fellow subordinates, who follow her orders without hesitation. In the anime, The Major’s past is one of her most intriguing qualities, as she has no memories of her life before the accident or the events that led to her body becoming what it is now.
As we see in the trailer, The Major’s fully prosthetic body allows her to perform amazing feats, whether that’s leaping from skyscrapers or dodging bullets at close range. In short, she’s not to be underestimated.
Michael Pitt is Kuze
One of the new faces prominently featured in the new trailer, Michael Pitt plays Kuze, one of the primary antagonists in “Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd GIG.” The character with the robotic voice who tells The Major she “must remember,” Kuze is the leader of a terrorist group known as the Individual Eleven, which became the center of a resistance movement cult around refugees in Japan. Kuze and his organization inject special viruses into the cyber brains of other people, which results in them committing suicide. As Individual Eleven leaves a trail of corpses in its wake, Section 9 is tasked with taking down the threat. With a past somehow linked to The Major’s, Kuze remains shrouded in mystery, and proves himself elusive for even Section 9.
A former member of the Special Defense Forces, Kuze is no stranger to military tactics, which helps him to say ahead of Section 9. Like The Major, he also possesses a fully cybernetic prosthetic body, which further ties the two together, as such bodies are only doled out in rare and extreme circumstances. While his goal in the anime was to rebel against refugee treatment, how the live-action adaptions handles his character remains to be seen.
Pilou Asbaek is Batou
The second-in-command field general of Section 9, Batou is one of its more battle-tested members, and its the second-best combatant, after The Major. In the “Stand Alone” adaptations, he’s also one of the unit’s more lighthearted members, although he can quickly become enraged if the situation calls for it and his colleagues are in danger.
Unlike The Major, Batou has full memories of his past, but he doesn’t often talk about it. He also rarely, if ever, mentions his life outside of Section 9. He and The Major have a close working relationship, and often relate to each other because of their heavy levels of cyberization, and their prosthetic bodies. Batous is imbued with strength beyond that of most normal humans, which, combined with his extensive military background, make him an invaluable asset for Section 9.
Takeshi Kitano is Chief Daisuke Aramaki
Every organization needs a political face, and Daisuke Aramaki is Section 9’s. Every member of the unit, including The Major, reports to Aramaki, who assigns them their missions, and is responsible for recruiting its members and overseeing the black-ops squad. A strict, no-nonsense leader, Aramaki deals more with the political aspects and larger implications within the larger “Ghost in the Shell” universe, while Section 9 often works in the shadows.
Despite his serious persona, as executive director of Section 9, Aramaki is loyal to its members and is always looking to ensure his team’s survival. In the anime, he often puts his own status on the line to make sure his team is successful in its missions. He’s greatly respected by the members Section 9, who always want the tough, old veteran as their director. Aramaki is one of the few members of the unit with no prosthetic or cybernetic body features, possessing only a cyber brain.
Chin Han is Togusa
One of the “human sides” of Section 9, Togusa is perhaps its most intriguing member. Like Aramaki, he has no cybernetic prosthetics, and only possesses only a cyber brain, which is standard for this society. He doesn’t have extensive military training like his colleagues, although he’s skilled in combat and firearms. A former detective with high morals, Togusa is perhaps the smartest and most tactical member of Section 9, which makes him an invaluable asset; his expertise proved crucial in solving The Laughing Man case in “Stand Alone Complex.”
In contrast with The Major, Batou and Aramaki, Togusa is portrayed as emotional and vulnerable, plagued by insecurities about his abilities and how he compares to his colleagues in Section 9. However, Togusa’s humanity, his lack of corruption and his idealistic nature are what led Section 9 to recruit him in the first place. One of the more relatable characters in the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise, Togusa frequently adds a much-needed human approach to an organization full of heavily cybernetic individuals.
Directed by Rupert Sanders (“Snow White and the Huntsman”), “Ghost in the Shell” also stars Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo. The film opens March 31.
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