November 11, 2006
Favorite Anime Character? Motoko Blows’em Away!
In Cyberpunk Review’s most recent poll question, cyberpunk anime fans have spoken loud and clear - Major Motoko Kusanagi wins hands down! Starting off as a 10 member list, after a whopping 486 votes, the results are as follows:
- Major Motoko Kusanagi - Ghost in the Shell: 41% (198)
- Batou - Ghost in the Shell: 17% (84)
- Lain Iwakura - Serial Experiments Lain: 8% (40)
- Gally (Alita) - Battle Angel: 6% (27)
- Tetsuo Shima - Akira: 5% (26)
- Æon Flux - Æon Flux: 5% (26)
- Togusa - Ghost in the Shell1: 4% (19)
- Priscilla S. Asagiri ‘Priss’ - Bubblegum Crisis: 3% (17)
- Deunan Knute - Appleseed: 3% (16)
- Real Mayer - Ergo Proxy1: 2% (12)
- Armitage - Armitage III: 2% (11)
- Taarna - Heavy Metal: 1% (6)
- Saito - Ghost in the shell11: 0% (1)
Total Votes : 486
1 = Added by a guest
Major Motoko Kusanagi has been a cornerstone of manga and anime since the early 90s. Starting out as a manga character in Masume Shirow’s highly influential Ghost in the Shell, she was transformed to the big screen by Anime master Mamoru Oshii in an anime of the same name in 1995. Since then, she’s played a cameo in GITS: Innocence, and more recently has starred in the GITS: Stand Alone Complex OAVs. Motoko, an extreme mechanically enhanced cyborg secret operative working for Section 9 - Japan’s anti-terrorism division, is one of the most recognized characters in cyberpunk. She’s hawt, highly intellectual and a badass besides. Her musings concerning the merging of man and machine are among the best discussions in cyberpunk. Probably just as important for this poll, some people LOVE the movie, while others are just as in love with the GITS:SAC series - no doubt both voted for this choice in garnering a whopping 198 votes!
Surprisingly, our #2 choice, Batou comes in with a stron 17% vote finish. This means that the Ghost in the Shell series took in 58% of all votes cast - 62% if we add in user-added Togosa’s score! Talk about domination! Batou is also a serious badass with a complex history, but he also has an intellectual side. While he is a co-star in the first GITS movie and in GITS SAC, he is the star of GITS: Innocence. If you’ll looking for one of the finest visual feasts in anime coupled with some truly deep and interesting philosophical examinations, look no further than Batou in GITS: Innocence.
For our #3 choice, Lain Iwakura is another of the mammoths in cyberpunk anime. If you’ve seen more than 3 cyberpunk animes, chances are you’ve seen Serial Experiments Lain. Written by post-modern scriptwriter-extraordinaire, Chiaki Konaka, Lain is a character who’s mind is slowly merging with cyberspace. The series itself is one of the first post-modern anime series, and is anything but straightforward. Like most of Konaka’s stories, it will take you more than a few episodes to figure out what’s going on, but the wait is worth it! Lain is both cute and vulnerable, but also represents the cyberpunk story of a normal person thrown into technological circumstances far beyond their control. Lain’s response, and the story itself provide some wonderful grist in thinking about the influence of cyberspace on the global consciousness.
One of the all-time greats in manga, Battle Angel Alita, is also a favorite in anime. While difficult to get your hands on, if you can find a copy of Battle Angel (think “Ebay”), chances are you’ll love it. Alita is one of the all-time cool anime cyberpunk chicks. Set in a dystopic world, Alita is literally put together from spare parts in a trash heap. It turns out, however, that she’s the farthest thing from a piece of junk. Battle Angel, which is highly influenced from the trail blazed by Akira, has some terrific post-human interest stories coupled with top-quality fight scenes.
Tetsuo is one of the most influential characters in one of the most influential animes of all time - Akira. In true punk form, rebelling against the system, Tetsuo is transformed into a post-human powerhouse. The visual style provided by Katsuhiro Ôtomo and company forever transformed anime. In fact, most trace modern anime to this movie.
Created by Peter Chung, Æon Flux is one of the sexiest animated characters around. If you haven’t seen it, Æon Flux is completely post-modern cyberpunk, with seriously inverted storylines, massively wierd technological impacts, and truly strange circumstances. More interesting, in season two, Æon ends up dying virtually every episode - and the deaths are spectacular! If you’re looking for a true “don’t give a shit” sexy badass anti-heroine, nobody comes close to Æon Flux.
Color me surprised, but I really expected Priss from Bubblegum Crisis and especially, Real Mayer from Ergo Proxy to do much better. In Real’s case, perhaps most haven’t seen Ergo Proxy. For Priss, perhaps someone else here has a good theory. While I love Deunan Knute from the Appleseed animes (first & second), and especially love Armitage from Armitage III, I doubted these were going to generate much interest. But Togusa? Wow! He wasn’t even on the list, but ended up garnering 4% after being added!