Ghost in the Shell: only diversity wins in the game of evolution


The new GitS OVA (Arise) and the adventures of Edward Snowden is a good opportunity to dip the probe into holy cow of the cyberpunk genre: the "Ghost in the Shell" franchise. The franchise includes the following most notable works:
  1. [1] Angel's Egg by Mamoru Oshii (1985)
  2. [2] The original manga by Masamune Shirow (1989)
  3. [1] The original movie by Mamoru Oshii (1995)
  4. [3] The Standalone Complex TV by Kenji Kamiyama (2002)
  5. [3] The Standalone Complex TV 2nd GIG by Kenji Kamiyama (2004)
  6. [1] GitS Innocence movie by Mamoru Oshii (2004)
  7. [3] GitS SAC: Solid State Society movie by Kenji Kamiyama (2006)
  8. [1] GitS 2.0 (renewal of the original movie) by Mamoru Oshii (2008)
  9. [3] Arise OVA by Kazuchika Kise (2013)
The number in square braces is the "lineage". Although the lineages incorporate common setting and characters, they are diverse by offering totally different stories, so each lineage is a totally different work disconnected from the others. You may wonder, why I've included the "Angel's Egg" movie into the franchise, but it may be clear from the feathers at the image above. Basically, the both Oshii's GitS movies being taken together is "Ange's Egg" staged in the world of GitS, the other lineages are not connected to Angel's Egg in any way. Since the lineage #3 is made by the authors (including Dai Sato) who tend to use the straightforward filming language, there is almost nothing to discuss because everything is clear. Below I'll try to discuss mostly only Oshii's works, because Oshii prefers a complex figurative manner of expression. A lot of spoilers, of course. If you are not familiar with GitS, it's better to follow the lineage order.