As the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster, The Ghost in the Shell is set to be released to much appeal and some dismay, it is pertinent to take a look at the source for Scarlett Johanssen’s introspective and dangerous full body prosthesis femme fatale.
Major Motoko Kusanagi, or The Major as the rest of her team refers to her, is the strong-armed and even stronger willed leader of Section 9. The main lead of Masamune Shirow’s series focused on the agency tasked with handling crimes relating to ghost hacking and cyber crimes has been portrayed in more Cosplays than possibly any other female lead within anime. The strength and physical prowess of The Major combined with her tendency to look inwards into what has made her into the “person” she has become is not readily seen throughout other series especially at a time when anime has become more and more aligned with producing fan service as opposed to thoughtful stories and plots focused on reflecting many of the same problems everyone faces in life. While not totally a gender bender anime, it definitely challenges the concept of gender and what it means to be a woman.
Joining Major Motoko Kusanagi in the ranks of badass anime characters and strong female leads, Appleseed’s Deunan Knute. Deunan Knute continues the tradition of strong female characters of being able to handle herself in combat, at times more so than her male counterparts. Fans of Appleseed and Knute though are not privy as many outings with their beloved favorite as is the case with The Major. Appleseed’s full feature outings are limited to a sequel and prequel to the original anime as opposed to the many iterations and stand alone stories told within Shirow’s dismal portrayal of the future.