How to Watch Ghost in the Shell in Order


anime series like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the Shell is the definition of cyberpunk when it comes to anime. It is not the only entry in that particular genre, but it is definitely the first entry that you will think of. However, this series can seem kind of daunting in terms of entry considering there are many movies and series under the mantle of “Ghost in the Shell.”

In truth, Ghost in the Shell can be primarily cloaked under three different categories./ These include:

  • The movies
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • Ghost in the Shell: Arise

In truth, if you can classify the media into one of these three categories, you can really watch them in any order. The key is to watch the right movies in the right category or else you will be confused.

The Ghost in the Shell Movies

If you have even just a casual interest in Ghost in the Shell, you should start with the movies. They encompass the philosophy and cyberpunk setting that the series is known for and have very little time commitment.

When I say the “Ghost in the Shell movies,” I mean:

  • Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Technically included in this category is also Ghost in the Shell 2.0 and the live action movie. Both of these are remakes of the original 1995 movie. While the live action wasn’t necessarily bad, it is not the same. However, 2.0 is really quite clumsy considering it looks worse than the original version at many moments.

While Innocence isn’t necessarily a straight sequel to the first movie, you should watch the first movie first in order to appreciate it fully.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

You will find that the cyberpunk setting and philosophical spirit of the movies are alive and well in Stand Alone Complex. However, the series is more of a procedural cop drama than whimsical sci-fi. Of all the Ghost in the Shell series, Stand Alone Complex is the most well known and typically what people mean when they mention the series.

The watch order for Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex is as such:

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society

There are also two movies for this series – The Laughing Man and Individual Eleven. They are summary movies and not particularly worth watching. They do include some extra scenes, though. The Laughing Man is meant to be watched after season one while the Individual Eleven is meant to be watched after 2nd GIG.

Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Arise is primarily composed of movies, then they have a short TV series, and yet another movie. The TV series does have new content, but mostly it is a compilation of the movies. It makes this series the most…Frustrating of the Ghost in the Shell canon. This is not recommended for watching first. It deals with the creation of Section 9, something you will appreciate with other series, especially Stand Aloen Complex, under you belt. It also leaves behind a lot of the core themes of Ghost in the Shell.

The watch order for Ghost in the Shell: Arise is as follows:

  • Movie 1: Ghost Pain
  • Movie 2: Ghost Whispers
  • Movie 3: Ghost Tears
  • Movie 4: Ghost Stands Alone
  • Arise TV
  • Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

The above new movie times in the whole series in a very circular, oroboros type affair.


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