Ghost in the Shell

// Motoko Kusanagi "The Major"

Section Nine's tactical commander and second-in-command, Major Kusanagi suffered from a medical condition which necessitated that her brain be transplanted to a cybernetic body at a very young age. Although her proficiency with the artificial body is highly advanced, she is still haunted by the childhood memories of her own inability to master the more subtle intricacies of it's operation - emotions she hides beneath her stoic demeanor.

The Major's characterization is quite remarkable. She displays all the perfect qualities of a strong and likable protagonist. Highly dedicated to her job, she's an excellent leader, sharply intelligent, a brilliant tactician, one of the best melee fighters around, and a high level hacker. At the same time, she does have a very distinctive personality that is far from bland or generic. The Major has a fondness for philosophy, has much faith in the potential of youth, and values diversity for strategic reasons (similar to the original Laughing Man's ideology on adaptation). While she is often seen as cool and collected, she has definite expressions of humor, anger, and melancholy.

// Notable Episodes

Season 1: Ep 08 MISSING HEARTS
In this episode, Motoko sympathizes with a little girl who almost had to undergo full cyberization, since the Major struggled with that as a child herself. When they find out the organ stealing scandal is being executed by some brash medical students, the Major decides to teach them a lesson. She pretends to be the mafia and scares the boys to tears, later encouraging to turn straight and do good from now on. This episode let us see her tendency to want kids to have a good future, not just write them off as delinquents.

Season 2: Ep 11 AFFECTION
This is THE Motoko introspection and backstory episode. It doesn't tell us much, but it more than we get in any other GitS: SAC episode. The Major is running a training exercise when she gets brain hacked and transported into a mysterious little shop. Inside, she finds her former child-age body, and another of a young boys. This prompts the Major's memories of how she first came to have a cyborg body after a plane accident, her struggle to adjust, and the first boy she falls in love with. It's implied that the young boy was Kuze.

Season 2: Ep 17 RED DATA
The Major goes on a solo mission to Taiwan. While there, she befriends a young street punk who's getting into trouble with the local Yakuza and gangs. She takes care of him, cleans up the messy situation, and leaves Taiwan telling the kid that he can create a better future for himself. While there's not a lot of deep insight into Motoko, this episode stands out for giving the Major a cool side story where she shows her nurturing side and also how completely badass she is against the Yakuza, all in heels and with witty commentary.

// Voice Actresses (SAC only)

Japanese: Atsuko Tanaka
English: Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
French: Helene Bizot
German: Christin Marquitan
Hungarian: Tamara Zsigmond
Italian: Stephania Patruno