The Major's Body
August 24, 2014 5:07 AM Subscribe
The Major, or Motoko Kusanagi, is the protagonist of each incarnation of the Ghost in the Shell manga-anime-merchadise franchise. If you care to google, Motoko Kusanagi is autocompletes to “a man” and “is hot,” then “in bed with a boy” and “in bed.” For a science-fiction philosophy character named for her military position, we (the audience — although I don’t limit this to those who have experienced the fiction, as the Major is iconic) sure are caught up in thinking about her gender and sexual status. Why could that be?In a still ongoing series, Claire Napier looks at the Major's body throughout the various Ghost in the Shell mangas and anime series. NSFW, some spoilers.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence:
I adore Batou. He does not understand; he tries to be so kind. My first viewing of this film was almost entirely caught up in sympathising with Batou’s sadness — the Major’s status as post-individual disembodied lifeform alarmed me, and her presence as a Bellmer-style physicality registered, lightly, as repellant. I tried to ignore her. Her on-screen presence in the film is brief — she has only come back as a cameo, for Batou.Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
Biology is not destiny; we’re all free to change our bodies to fit our self-image. A cyborg has almost no biology and is all destiny (how long might they live?). The Major’s ghost, presumably, tells her she’s a woman. What are the bodily choices she’s given? All of the female prostheses, cyborgs, and androids seen in the franchise are similarly babely along a very narrow template: long-limbed, slim, toned. Pert and rounded breasts and buttocks; pretty, low-detail face. Elegant.the original Ghost in the Shell manga:
Panels focus on crotch-level views. Occasionally these scenes have the feeling of trying to illustrate how female bodes are used by a patriarchy (check out the “made in Japan” stamp on the gynoid’s buttock to the left)… but they do nothing to defuse what they are observing. The Puppetmaster’s appearances are little altered between the manga and Oshii’s film, and so many earlier observations may be repeated here. Think your own thoughts about the difference in nipple-deliniation.Ghost in the Shell: Arise:
Within an illustration, or character design (a world of symbols that may or may not be helpful to real people), these breasts are less aggressive than their predecessors. They don’t project as intensely, they don’t “jut”. They’re unsupported, unemphasised; they appear more “natural” (of course, they’re not: she’s fully prosthetic). They’re not sexualised breasts! But: aren’t they?
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