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The cast of Section 9 is a group of extremely competent and skilled operatives:
Major Motoko Kusanagi
Usually called "The Major", she is ostensibly the protagonist, although the series gives much more time to her squadmates than the feature films and manga do. She is a full-conversion cyborg, having been fully inorganic except her brain and part of her spinal column since about age six. Her skills are exceptional, and while her body is a standard cyborg model it's modified extensively with top-of-the-line custom military cybernetics. A brilliant hacker, able to invade even the connected human mind. She has a cold demeanor and a strict devotion to her job, somewhat bordering on sociopathy.
Her last name, "Kusanagi" (literally "Grass-Cutter") is the name of the sword which is part of the Japanese Imperial Regalia, along with the Jewel and the Mirror. As the manga explicitly points out, the name is "an obvious pseudonym", roughly equivalent to a westerner going by the name "Jane Excalibur".
- Action Girl
- Anti-Hero: Type IV
- Awesome McCoolname: Her name is pretty cool, but she didn't choose it just to be so. It's because she doesn't know what her real name is anymore.
- Berserk Button: Anyone that harms children. Note that she was cyberized as a child herself.
- Bi the Way: Unclear; she doesn't have a boyfriend in this continuity, but she also doesn't have explicit lesbian VR-sex either (she's just seen talking philosophy with Kurtan in bed while Ran comes out of the shower).
- In 2nd Gig's first episode, she (jokingly) suggests the team goes to a nudie bar if they are told to stand down from their impending mission.
- Kurtan later accompanies her to hospital, checks out her new cyborg body and comments on how excited it makes her to think of what she could do with all the illegal modifications her new body has.
- In the manga, Motoko does have a boyfriend. Sugi makes a brief appearance in FAKE FOOD, even asking if Batou and Togusa knows her. However, this is not enough evidence to suggest he is her boyfriend in this continuity.
- Black Bra and Panties: What she wears when she and Batou escape to her apartment at the end of episode 25. The scene is full of Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Bob Haircut: Technically.
- By-The-Book Cop: Invoked in one episode when Togusa refers to her this way, although it's debatable how true this is.
- The Captain: She's Section 9's field leader.
- Combat Stilettos: She wears heels with her military uniform while protecting the Superintendent-General.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Drives Like Crazy: Including once while ghost-diving.
- Fair Cop
- Fearless Fool: While she doesn't do it the same way as a stereotypical Shonen hero, it becomes increasingly obvious as the series goes on that she is overconfident to the point of being suicidally brave and feels no fear in situations where ever her hardened comrades are inclined to back down. To the point it's almost a running joke that Batou tells her not to "do anything stupid" and she proceeds to do it anyway.
- Fingerless Gloves
- Genius Bruiser: Every member of Section 9 has a speciality. Motoko specializes in the leadership of her team, hacking and net-diving, stealth and infiltration, and close quarters combat, among many other things. She's not as specialized with explosives as Borma is, or sharpshooting like Saito.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Frequently seen wearing a punkish leather jacket.
- Heroic BSOD: Undergoes ones after diving into Kuze's cyberbrain. She gets better after a short while.
- Heroic RROD: Subverted. In the second episode of the series, there's a Shout-Out to the original movie, but she doesn't RROD; she's just not strong enough, and nothing happens.
- Hot Amazon: Though she's more cultured that you might think.
- Kick Chick: Watch her take out Sano with a roundhouse to the head.
- Lady of War: Her career even started in the military.
- Majorly Awesome: Still a Major Badass too.
- Ms. Fanservice: Something of an Innocent Fanservice Girl too, such as when she gets thrown in a garbage pile and has to change clothes.
- It's basically spelled out in the third novel that she has no nudity taboo because she is fully cyberized and there are thousands of others with her exact external body.
- Not So Stoic: Shown at times, such as when she involuntarily cries at a very sad movie, and she takes it personally with what the med students were doing in MISSING HEARTS.
Major: HEY SAITO! FORK OVER THAT WEAPON NOW!!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Season 2, Episode 1.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: An uncommon heroic example. Or, as heroic as anyone in this series is.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: In Cash-Eye, also with borderline Absolute Cleavage.
- Sinister Surveillance: For her enemies, at least.
- Stocking Filler: Frequently, whether under her coat or just as outerwear (see Stripperiffic).
- The Ladette
- The Stoic: The Major never laughs, involuntarily cries only once, and it takes a hell of a lot to make her angry. If you do ever manage to piss her off, be very, very afraid. She is not unsympathetic, however, or unwilling to express where her sympathies lie.
- Stripperiffic: The Major's clothes are too hot for espionage, and that's what she wears in civvies. (Some fans call it the Battle Teddy.) However, in more formal public functions, she wears a standard military uniform instead.
- She gets slightly better civvies during the 2nd Gig - still Stripperific by conventional standards, but at least includes pants. She also gets a fairly modest, and very stylish black business dress for formal occasions where military garb is unsuitable.
- This is played for laughs in one SAC episode, where a raid goes wrong and the Major's normal outfit gets trashed. At the debriefing, she's wearing a much more revealing outfit (basically workout clothes) and is visibly uncomfortable about the humiliation she just went through (thrown to a garbage heap by run-off-the-mill combat android), and Aramaki Lampshades it.
- Tranquil Fury
- Tomboyish Sidetails
- Unstoppable Rage: Episode 21 displays this very well.
- Vapor Wear: She doesn't ever seem to wear a bra. Justified in that her body is a military grade cyborg and would most likely not require one anyway.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Averted. In Season 1, she has a gun holster on the back of her waist, hidden behind her jacket (she's shown pulling it out and firing in the opening credits, as well as in some episodes.) In 2nd Gig, she carries it high up between her shoulder blades on the back of her Leotard of Power underneath her jacket, in a position and orientation that only a contortionist (or a full body replacement cyborg) could effectively draw from.
- You Gotta Have Purple Hair: The Major stands out in a cast of fairly realistic hair colors. (In the movie, she had black hair.) Justified as she is a full cyborg and probably could get any color hair she wants without much trouble.
- Further justified in 2nd Gig when you find out that she chose the option of red eyes with purple hair a long time ago. Why? She was six years old, and like most kids that age, had a fondness for bright colors. It's implied that she could have changed these options a long time ago, but didn't because they had become a part of who she was.
- Even further justified in that her face, eyes, and hair color are all part of a popular mass-produced model that only went out of style 3 years before the series takes place.
- Zettai Ryouiki
Another full cyborg (whose name is more properly spelled in the French style as Bateau). Built as a 6'1" tall muscle-man, with eyes that resemble classy shades. He's all about brute force and strength. Likes big guns. Very friendly and jocular, and harbors a deep attraction to the Major, which he hides pretty poorly. She just ignores it, except for a few key points in the series. Regardless of this, the Major considers him her best friend and confidant. Something of a Jerkass at times, but still a pretty nice guy who's had his share of Pet the Dog moments.
- All Love Is Unrequited: He has this dynamic with the Major
- Going by the Major's talk with Kuze in episode 26 of the 2nd gig, it may very well be mutual.
- Apologetic Attacker: A variation happens when he fights a heavily armed Umbozu member. He apologises for using underhanded tactics, not for killing him.
- The Big Guy
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dogged Nice Guy: To the Major.
- Drives Like Crazy
- Electronic Eyes
- Fan of the Past: Discussed when he ribs Togusa for carrying a revolver; in return, he points out that Batou loves old cars instead.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- Hardboiled Detective: Despite Togusa being the former cop, he often seems to play the resident version of this for Section 9.
- Hidden Depths: Anyone who's known him for more than five minutes assumes him to be Dumb Muscle based on his huge physique and hot-blooded, reckless personality. And then you find out that he's arguably the best hacker after the Major and Ishikawa, has a base grounding in sociology, religion, politics (even if he doesn't usually care, it's clear that he understands it when he explains things to Togusa), and is more than capable of keeping up with the Major in advanced philosophical debate, even if his stances tend to be more empirical and down-to-earth.
- Honor Before Reason: Why he doesn't shoot Marco Amoretti.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He even has one specific Tachikoma that he calls "his" and tends to spoil it which results in a rather interesting Plot Twist involving the Spider Tanks.
- The Lancer
- Men Are Uncultured: Both subverted and played with, since Batou's interests range from classical philosophy to weight training and old cars.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Togusa's blue.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: To some extent. JUNGLE CRUISE shows that Batou still has flashbacks about Project Sunset (an extremely brutal covert operation in Central America that he served in) but the end of the episode shows that he's gotten over his hatred of Marco.
- Shouting Shooter: On occasion.
- Unstoppable Rage: At times.
A regular joe Japanese beat cop with very few cybernetics. Brought into the team to balance out the skill set, basically. He's an old-fashioned guy, with a young wife and two kids (one boy and one girl). Carries an old Mateba semiautomatic revolver - almost as much of an anachronism as his teammates consider him to be, though both seem to get the job done when need be.
- Badass Longcoat: In Solid State Society.
- Badass Long Hair
- Badass Normal: Being the only member of Section 9 save for Aramaki without any major cybernetic alterations doesn't stop Togusa from holding his own in battles with other cyborgs, and getting critical data on the Laughing Man case despite getting shot in the process.
- By-The-Book Cop
- Combat Pragmatist: He's much squishier than his cybernetic colleagues so he pretty much has to be pragmatic to survive. He is.
- Eighties Hair: Sports a Solid Snake-esque action mullet.
- Eureka Moment: Often what cracks cases and gets the team going again. He once has two in five on-screen minutes.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Yamaguchi.
- Hand Cannon: His revolver, of course.
- Happily Married
- Improbable Weapon User: Subverted. When the cyborg enforcer from the social welfare facility he infiltrates in PORTRAITZ has him cornered, he pretends to fight against it with a sculpting tool. It turns out to be a ruse so he can distract it while he pulls out his revolver.
- Morality Pet / Pet the Dog: For everyone, but especially Motoko, and Batou to an extent (though half of Batou's Pet the Dog goes to the Tachikoma). Togusa is single-handedly responsible for at least a third of the moments where the audience sees that Section Nine might be a group of ruthless ex-war dogs, but they still take care of their own. And god help you if you do anything to mess with Togusa's happy family life.
- New Meat: Though by Solid State Society he's shaken off the "rookie" label to become Section 9's field commander.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Batou's red.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His Weapon of Choice. The first episode shows that he likes to go to the firing range to unwind.
- Weak but Skilled
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Shame the world he's living in is not exactly a happy place
- What makes all the more heartbreaking to watch is that even though the GITS universe is at the very bottom of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, there is never a moment where it falls into the Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids aesop. His comrades don't have any problem with his kinder view of the world and even feel it balances out the team. They do, however, get irritated when his naivety almost gets him killed. By Solid State Society, it can be argued that he's gone through something of a Break the Cutie, as he's noticeably more cynical, no longer carries his Mateba, and is considering the full-body prosthetics he rejected before. (Even more so, considering his emotional breakdown at the end of Season 1) And after all of that he still tries to kill himself to save his daughter.
Da Chief. He's the old man that does all the back door politics that need, um, politicking. Has connections at every level of the government. Trusts his people implicitly.
Voiced by William Knight in the dub.
- Anime Hair
- Bald of Awesome / Forehead of Doom
- Benevolent Boss
- Big Good
- The Chessmaster
- Cool Old Guy
- A Father to His Men: This becomes more apparent in the Umibozu arc at the end of the first season, when Section 9 is disbanded by force.
- Guile Hero
- Long-Lost Relative: His brother.
- New Old Flame: In episode 16. Although he has to leave her at the end, he still finds a way to tell her But I Would Really Enjoy It.
- Old Master
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Smart People Wear Glasses
- The Strategist: He was actually a very brilliant strategist in the military when he was young. Now he effectively applies those strategies in politics, yet he's still more than capable of turning a situation in his favor, such as using two would-be bank robbers to fool a SWAT team who were under orders to kill everyone inside, himself included.
- Urban Legend Love Life
Exceptional info-gatherer. Specializes in traditional hacking, as opposed to cyberbrain invasion. Turns any computer into a Magical Database. In a subversion of the type, he is actually a fairly old guy, being one of the oldest members of Section 9.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Bookworm
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- Hollywood Hacking
- Knowledge Broker
- Mission Control
- Non-Action Guy: While he is capable of going out in the field , he tends to see the least of combat.
- And the only member to be injured in both seasons.
- Unusual User Interface: His computer has both a traditional screen and keyboard and an apparatus that resembles a periscope.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Sometimes.
Team sniper (the name is pronounced in Japanese the same as "Sight"). Has a single cybernetic eye and cybernetic wrist. May or may not have had an... interesting first meeting with the Major.
Voiced by Dave Wittenberg in the dub.
- BFG: His anti-armour rifles.
- Big Damn Heroes: Shows up to rescue Kusanagi from Gayle in episode 21.
- Cold Sniper
- Eyepatch of Power
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Helped by his cybernetic eye.
- The Quiet One
- The Southpaw: Until the Major put a knife through it.
- The Stoic
- The Worf Effect: Anyone or anything important to the plot will outsmart Saito and his satelite targeting to show how savvy they are.
Sumo-esque backup guy. His specialty is explosives, and he often acts as transportation (pilot, driver) or assisting Ishikawa with anything computer-related, but he is so minor that his talents are mentioned only once in first season, and used once in 2nd Gig.
- Bald of Awesome
- Electronic Eyes: Seems to be a larger red variation of the same type Batou has.
- The Generic Guy: Is easily the least developed character in Section 9, and is arguably the only member of Section 9 devoid of doing anything that's really cool. All we have to go on is that he's the explosives specialist of Section 9.
- He does assassinate the lawyer going after Togusa, so one thing we know he isn't is a goody-two-shoes.
- And his explosives experience becomes relevant in one of the novels.
Another backup guy. Boasts that he "never sleeps with the same woman twice".
- The Casanova - Paz claims that he never sleeps with the same woman twice. This comes back to haunt him in 2nd Gig.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Spot the Imposter: The only clue detailing that it was the real Paz who defeated his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend, who had decided to duplicate his body and transfer her brain into it, was the lack of blood coming from the stab and slash wounds in the eye and chest. Pazu is still mostly human, while she was fully prosthetic. This is never brought up again.
- The Stoic: The most unemotional member of Section 9 by spades.
A.I. Think-Tanks (literally) and the Stand Alone Complex incarnation of the manga's "Fuchikoma", that have personalities like children and resemble blue, four-legged mechanical spiders. There are about 12 of them. Subject to regular memory synchronization, they are all supposed to be identical and interchangeable. As the most advanced A.I.s on the planet (probably), they are quite philosophical about their place in the world, to the point of surprising Section 9 at times.
Or, more succinctly: If you mushed together a puppy, a philosopher, and a machine gun, you'd get a Tachikoma. Add in the curiosity of a 5 year old child, and the zeal for destruction of a barbarian, and you get closer.
- A Day in the Limelight: Several episodes revolve almost exclusively around them.
- Back From the Dead: Twice.
- Badass Adorable: Imagine a talking puppy packing a machinegun. You are not terribly far off from how the Tachikomas behave.
- Badass Automatons
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason behind their Undying Loyalty to Batou-san.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Including the one who escapes and rescues Miki, giving a stern lecture to the police while it's at it.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: After being discharged from service, the Tachikomas who find different jobs are painted various colors including grey and yellow. This is also because they've developed distinct personalities.
- Cute Bruiser: While not humanoid, their voices and personalities are adorable enough to make them the cutest characters of the series. However, they are still advanced combat robots, and they will completely mess you up, especially if you hurt Mr. Batou.
- Cute Machines
- Do Androids Dream?
- Gatling Good : Occasionally have their grenade launchers replaced with one.
- Genki Girl: For a certain value of "girl", they do have female voices and are very excitable though.
- Grappling Hook Pistol: They have them built in for scaling buildings.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of both seasons no less
- And minor ones in some episodes, like the fight between the Major's Tachikoma and a crazy helicopter. He got better, and even talks of it with his fellows.
- Hive Mind: Although they begin to develop individual personalities as well.
- Instant AI, Just Add Water
- Just a Machine: What Section 9 tends to think of them, although they insist they are more than that.
- Made of Iron: They can take bursts of fully-automatic gunfire and still get up and fight.
- Spider Tanks
- Spanner in the Works: Their unpredictability is a huge factor in stopping Gouda's plan.
- Took a Level In Badass : In the second season, they become very efficient hackers.
The Laughing Man
A super hacker who kidnapped the C.E.O of Serano Genomics 6 years prior to the start of the series. This incident would make him a hero in the eyes of some and the entity "The Laughing Man" become a sort of cultural phenomenon.
- The Adjectival Man
- Coat, Hat, Mask: His preferred outfit of a parka with the hood pulled over his face.
- The Faceless: For most of the season, he's never seen directly, but either his face is obscured (whether by his disguise or one of his hacks) or he's ghost-hacking someone else's body.
- I Did What I Had to Do: He invokes this as his explanation to the Major.
- Memetic Mutation: An In-Universe example Aoi, the original Laughing Man, only carried out the kidnapping of Ernest Serano prior to the start of the series. However, this spawned multiple imitators who carried out crimes under the name of "The Laughing Man".
- Even in real life some people, most notably Anonymous, use his logo to make a similar statement
- Man Behind the Man: An accidental example, since he never intended to spawn imitators.
- Another example. Do you know how he originally found the information that lead to the kidnapping of Serano and all the crap that followed? No? Well neither does he. He just found a file that had the info on Serano one day, and despite years of extensively searching for the originator of that file, he never found it.
- Rage Against the Heavens: During his Motive Rant in episode 23, he expresses his hatred of God.
- Shout-Out: "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes."
- Techno Wizard
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Watch out for that deaf, dumb mute kid in the wheelchair, Togusa.
- Title Drop: The aforementioned copycat behaviour is what forms the titular "Stand Alone Complex".
- Visual Pun: While pretending to be a vegetable, Aoi carries around a left-handed catcher's mitt; slang for something which is thought to exist, but doesn't.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
Member of the Individual Eleven terrorist group, Kuze's first major action upon his introduction into the series is an attempt at the Prime Minster's life. He later becomes the lone survivor of the mass suicide the Individual Eleven partake in, and then goes on to start a revolution among the refugees in an attempt to give them independence.
- Badass: His fight with Batou late into the 2nd season cements his status as this.
- The Chessmaster
- Dark Messiah: To the refugees, he's a savior. To Section 9, he's a dangerous terrorist.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: It's later revealed that he was the other survivor in the plane crash that caused Motoko to get a prosthetic body.
- Frozen Face: He rarely shows much in the way of expression, and often doesn't even bother to move his mouth when speaking. Justified - his features are a work of art created by a talented face-sculptor, deliberately programmed with limited mobility to prevent wear and tear.
- Implacable Man: Thanks to his high-quality cyborg body designed specifically for endurance in combat.
- Not So Different: He is very similar to the Major.
- For a short while The Major and Kuze both have their own Aramaki -- Kuze meets with Daisuke's disappeared brother, who was resident in Dejima.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- White-Haired Pretty Boy
Head of data manipulation within the Cabinet Intelligence Service. An extremely shady character who quickly draws the suspicion and dislike of Section 9.
- Always Someone Better: it's outright stated that most of his actions are the result of an inferiority complex. And Batou (using the Major's external memories) even implies that his entire scheme throughout 2nd Gig was an attempt to one-up the Laughing Man. He also implies that said attempts have failed.
- Bald of Evil: Without question.
- Big Bad: Of the 2nd season
- Cutting the Knot: How he's undone at the end of the second season. The Prime Minister simply asserts her authority and gives Section 9 what more or less amounts to permission to kill him unless he surrenders (since he's convinced he's more or less untouchable by the law thanks to his scheming but that particular bit of legislation was the equivlent of the USA Patriot Act). Which they do.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half the side of his face is horribly scarred. Despite having the technology to repair it, Gouda chose to keep it the way it is because it allows him to give off more of an impression. Also, he seems to believe that the scarring of his face also caused a change to his Ghost, turning him from a boring bureaucrat dreaming of greatness into a bona fide Magnificent Bastard.
- The Chessmaster: He's the one responsible for the emergence of the Individual Eleven in the first place and is the mastermind behind the entire conflict between Japan and the refugees.
- Well, not entirely. He simply exploits trends that are already in place. He just does it extremely well.
- Mismatched Eyes
- Obviously Evil
- Red Right Hand: Gohda's got a mangled face and a bizarrely egg-shaped head. A man of his position, in this world of powerful surgical and prosthetic technology, could have easily repaired his face to look normal, but he chose not to, just because he liked the unsettling appearance he now had. A rare case where the Red Right Hand is entirely voluntary, which alone speaks volumes about his character.
- Smug Snake: Incarnate. Makes his death all the more satisfying.
Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki
Japan's first female prime minister, responsible for bringing Section 9 back into action (officially, anyway) for the second season. Appears as a Recurring Character. Well-intentioned and has a strong sense of justice, but struggles to earn respect from her cabinet due to a combination of her own naivety and the fact that they intend to use her as a puppet (and later a blame figure.)
Voiced by Yoshiko Sakakibara in the Japanese and Barbara Goodson in the English dub.
- Affirmative Action Girl
- All There in the Manual: Her first name is never mentioned once in the series or any of the accompanying reference books; it only appears briefly onscreen during a DVD interview with her voice actress.
- The Chick
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: At the end of 2nd GIG; her Take That speech to Chief Cabinet Secretary Takakura after he accuses her of being a typical Hysterical Woman is nothing short of badass.
- Distressed Damsel: Has to be rescued by Section 9 twice.
- Heroic BSOD: Experiences one of these toward the end of 2nd GIG, when her entire administration turns on her.
- Hot Chick in a Badass Suit
- Iron Lady: Subverted, although the end of 2nd GIG sees her well on her way to becoming this.
- Meaningful Name: "Kayabuki" translates to "reed thatch", though the meaning is probably easier to get if you're British.
- Older Than They Look: The series' character designer has admitted that Kayabuki looks much younger than she would be realistically; this was done deliberately so she'd have a sporting chance at becoming a popular character even with the Major stealing the show most of the time. Her true age, however, like the rest of the cast's, is unknown.
- Power Hair
- ↑ Think of the term "plain Jane" in English, since Motoko literally translates to "plain girl".