Ghost in the Shell Arise’s controversial decision to redesign Motoko and company and scrap all the old seiyuu seems to have been contentious even amongst the production staff – Production IG’s CEO has said he was dismayed when he first say the new Motoko, and even her new seiyuu has said she will “have to try to adapt” to the new Motoko.
Production IG CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa spoke further about Arise at a recent media event – and mentioned even he initially had his doubts:
When I first saw Kise’s new Motoko I thought it was really dicey as well. I knew he was serious. Kise’s characters come out in production, so I felt they had their work cut out there.
Kise for his part says Masamune told him to do it:
At first I wanted to have designs which were closer to Shirow’s original art, but Shirow said that as the male characters had become quite a bit more realistic in their design, he’d like to see Motoko treated the same way.
So I thought we should return to their origins – so we changed to something derived from the very first Ghost in the Shell.
Script writer and novelist Tow Ubukata, best known for his work on Mardock Scramble and Fafner, and describing himself as a fan of the series since he first encountered it at the age of 16, has been entrusted with the task of writing the script for the new series – he too is cautious:
When I first heard about it I was over the moon, but I was also rather frightened.
This is a work which has exerted a huge influence over me, so I see this as both a challenge and a chance to repay that debt, and that’s how I’m approaching it.
Maaya Sakamoto, the seiyuu now voicing Motoko (though she already voiced “Kodomotoko” – child ["kodomo"] Motoko – so technically she is reprising her role), also made an appearance as a “secret guest” and revealed she too was sensitive to the drastic changes the franchise has been subjected to:
Personally, I love the Ghost in the Shell series, so a change in the cast is definitely something I think I’ll have to try to get used to. I’ll be very happy if my previous role as Kodomotoko helps.
The new trailer causing so much fuss:
Online there is still no sign of fans accepting the changes – although with the production staff themselves apparently barely convinced this is perhaps not surprising:
“The art and cast both changed, it’s no wonder everyone is having a fit.”
“New Motoko looks like Aria…”
“The Motoko from the new PV’s only saving grace is that she is moderately cute. It doesn’t look fresh and the production budget does not feel particularly high. It looks even more old fashioned than the first one from the mid nineties too.”
“Her design ruins it.”
“I lost all hope on seeing the major’s new look. And why does the chief have black hair all of a sudden?”
“I can’t help but think all our cyberbrains have just been hacked…”
“Of everything in the franchise, it looks as though SAC will be the highpoint.”
“All the anime shows were pretty distant from the original in certain respects. I wish they had closed the gap a bit.”
“The closest to the original manga is actually the anime from the PS1 game…”
“I just watched it – it is pretty amazing.”
“They should have made the new anime like that! I would have forgiven the change in seiyuu then.”
“Really nice – would have been great if they used that. For some reason they seem to be taking Arise in a completely different direction.”
The Ghost in the Shell PSX OP for those left wondering what might have been: