In the not so distant future, mankind has advanced to a state where the transplant of the complete body from flesh to machine is possible. This has blurred the lines between physical and technological worlds. Unfortunately, criminals can also make use of this technology, which led to the rise of Sector 9, a government agency that operates independently and deals with this new kind of cyber crime.
Section 9, led by Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi, Section 9 deals with crimes typically with success, until they find themselves faced with the rise of a new hacker who goes by the nickname The Laughing Man.
The relationship between man and machine is ripe for storytelling, and in the anime world, there are few stories that can compare to how it is done in Ghost in the Shell. If you’re looking for anime recommendations that will compare with a classic, then you will find yourself hard pressed.
For Fans of Technologically-Enhanced People
The domed city of Romdo is the last bastion of civilization. Inside, humans are assisted by AutoReiv androids in their daily life. However, when the AutoReivs start going haywire, Re-l is sent to investigate. Elsewhere, an immigrant called Vincent Law is blamed for the virus causing the AutoReivs to go haywire. Through circumstance, the pair of forced together and strike out into the wasteland looking for answers.
When Ergo proxy started, it had all the signs that it might be able to capture the same spirit of Ghost in the Shell, but somewhere along the line, it got a little lost in its own philosophy. However, that is exactly what they have in common. Ghost in the Shell is a touch more action-packed and keeps things pretty concise, but Ergo Proxy does well to create atmosphere.
Yuuko Okonogi and her family move to Daikoku City, the technological center for the new augmented reality technology. There she joins an investigation agency with other children equipped with powerful virtual tools. Here she encounters a hacker named Yuuko Amasawa that seeks to unlock the mystery behind a computer virus that cut off a portion of the virtual world.
Glancing at any particular picture of Denno Coil, you probably would never equate it to Ghost in the Shell, but Denno Coil is proof that not all heavily technologically-integrated worlds need be dark dystopian futures. Both feature worlds where technology is heavily intertwined with humanity, but one is dark and the other is light.
Heat Guy J
In the city of Judoh, the Bureau of Urban Safety created the Special Services Division to keep the ever-busy crime syndicates suppressed. Consisting of Daisuke Aurora and an android named J, they both give crime in their city little room to breathe.
Whereas Denno Coil is the light version of this genre, Heat Guy J is similarly dark to Ghost in the Shell. Both are actually about technologically enhanced individuals fighting crime as well, but the technology is probably much more advanced in GITS and the stories are a little more intellectual.
For Fans of Cyber Crimes
In the 22nd century, the justice system has changed. The Sibyl System now determines the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for criminal intent. This has become known as their Psycho-Pass. Once criminal intent has been identified, Inspectors like Akane Tsunemori, are in charge of subjugating them. However, this tough job is not without dangers. This is why Inspectors are paired with Enforcers, like Shinya Kougami, latent criminals with just the right amount of psychopath to keep other criminals in their place.
Unlike Ergo Proxy, Psycho Pass managed to succeed more in capturing the same feel and story as Ghost in the Shell, at least in its first season. While technology is heavily involved in the societies of both series, it is more advanced in GITS. However, what makes these two series both great watches is how they respect the intelligence of the viewers.
As an orphan that made his name as a street fighter, Ichise finds his way of life crushed when an angry promoter takes an arm and a leg. Before he dies, he is rescued by a scientist that uses him as a test subject. With new limbs at his disposal and a new mysterious girl that can tell the future at his side, he realizes the city is on the brink of destruction, and only he can save it.
With the noir and gritty tone that Ghost in the Shell takes throughout, it is hard to imagine something even darker, but Texhnolyze finds a way. Alongside being darker, Texhnolyze still doesn’t skimp on the ethics and the philosophy like Ghost in the Shell.
It wasn’t long after mankind created the Network society that linked people on a conscious level before people started linking data and manipulating information. To combat this, people called divers were enlisted to dive into the Network and investigate these incidents.
While they sound almost the same, right down into detectives looking into crimes in their technological realms, Real Drive isn’t about terrorist countermeasures, but rather detectives on a smaller scale trying to find out what is threatening the Network.
For Fans of Specialized Organizations
Witch Hunter Robin
Robin is a witch that has recently traveled from Italy to Japan in order to join the STN-J, an organization of witch hunters. There Robin learns that the organization tries to capture the ESP, telekinesis, or mind control-wielding witches of Japan alive in order to study them, but not all is as noble as it seems.
The major difference between these two series is their main specific sup-species of humanity. In GITS, you have androids and in Witch Hunter Robin, you have witches. Both are like humans, but not and you explore that various discrimination within.
After being raised in a conflict area and living as a child soldier Jonah hates weapons, but when he takes a job as a bodyguard to the arms dealer Koko, he is left with no choice in the matter. Alongside a number of other skilled bodyguards, Jonah must protect Koko and her idealistic goal of world peace in a vicious world.
At a glance Jormungand doesn’t have much to do with Ghost in the Shell at a glance, but what they have in common is the corruption and the political intrigue that is rife throughout GITS. However, the essence of each show is also the same, they are both about elite soldiers trying to protect people.
Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
After an earthquake levels Tokyo, artificial organic life forms called Boomers are created to act as the labor class and rebuild the city. However, these Boomers occasionally go haywire and even the specially created AD Police are having problems stopping them. This is the story of Lina Yamazaki, who travels Tokyo looking for work, but also looking to join a vigilante group called Knight Sabers who fight these rogue Boomers.
This is another series that has the same sounding plot as Ghost in the Shell, but the differences lie in how the shows play out. GITS has great pacing, visuals, and storytelling while Bubblegum Crisis can stumble in some spots. It also has an older anime feel to it, despite both series being older. Ghost in the Shell still manages to feel like new.
Got any more thrilling anime recommendations that might be the perfect follow-up to Ghost in the Shell? Then leave your opinions in the comments section below.