Ghost in the Shell is an interesting franchise – particularly if you are looking to watch it in its entirety.
The series has been adapted into TV and film multiple times now and there is no set continuity that runs between them all – which actually makes it a lot easier to get a complete story without having to devote hours upon hours into it.
If you are unsure which way to watch them, here is the best way to go about it.
Note that this does not include the Scarlett Johansson starring remake, but you can read our full review of the 2017 remake for that if you want to know what we thought of it.
Best order to watch Ghost in the Shell series and movies
Ghost in the Shell movies
If you are looking for the most faithful adaptation of the source material, then it is the movie timeline that you want to watch – it is also a great place to start if you want to experience everything that Ghost in the Shell has to offer.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
The show exists in a different timeline to the movies and focuses far more on the inner workings of Section 9. The official synopsis is as follows:
The series takes place in the year 2030, where many people have become cyborgs with prosthetic bodies. Primarily set in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama, the series follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force made up of former military officers and police detectives. While the group investigates various crimes, both seasons feature ongoing investigations into two incidents that embroil the group in corruption within other branches of the Japanese government.
Buy Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on Blu-Ray for £34.99 at Amazon.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society
Stand Alone Complex is followed by a movie, Solid State Society that sees Section 9 go up against a villain named The Puppeteer who has taken out a high profile target and was also a known dictator.
Buy Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society on Blu-Ray for £7.99 at Amazon.
The Arise Series
The series gets another reboot here and now Motoko is far younger than before in the series of stories that are set before the formation of Section 9. A prequel as well as a reboot, this is a series of four movies, also called Borders, that you will want to watch in the following order.
- Ghost Pain
- Ghost Whispers
- Ghost Tears
- Ghost Stands Alone
Buy the first Ghost in the Shell Arise stories on Blu-Ray for £9.99 at Amazon. They are also currently streaming on Netflix.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045
The most recent entry on the list is a Netflix exclusive and while there is only one season on there currently, a season 2 has been confirmed and is on the way. However, the response to this latest run has been underwhelming to say the least with many fans of the franchise quickly turning their back on it. If you love Ghost in the Shell by the time you get to this point then give it a go, but it is not one to seek out if you have seen nothing the series has offered before.
Season one is currently streaming on Netflix.