Michael Pitt’s Ghost In The Shell Character Merged Three Anime Villains

Ghost In The Shell cast Michael Pitt as villain Kuze, who is a combination of three major bad guys from the various anime versions.

Michael Pitt’s Kuze from 2017’s live-action Ghost In The Shell movie merges several anime villains. Ghost In The Shell started as a manga series in 1989, created by Masamune Shirow. It eventually received an anime movie adaptation in 1995, which became something of a genre landmark. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, the movie’s beautiful artwork, intriguing themes and vivid action made it an international hit. It was praised by the filmmakers such as James Cameron and was an acknowledged influence on The Matrix.

While this anime movie remains the most popular incarnation of Ghost In The Shell, the franchise has become something of a multimedia property. In the years since it has received popular TV shows such as Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and numerous video games, including a cult PSX title. A Hollywood adaptation spent years in development hell, and after Margot Robbie passed on the lead role, Ghost In The Shell cast Scarlett Johannson as The Major.

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Related: The Ghost In The Shell PS1 Game Is Seriously Underrated

Despite borrowing liberally from the anime movie and GITS anime series Stand Alone Complex, the movie was greeted with mixed reviews and was a box office dud. Ghost In The Shell 2017 was also met with accusations of whitewashing for casting Caucasian actors in the lead roles, and an attempt to tackled this subject head on in the story itself only led to more complaints. Michael Pitt plays the movie’s villain Kuze, who has a past connection to Johansson’s Major Killian. While he’s based on the character of the same name from Ghost In The Shell: 2nd GIG, he merges parts of other villains from the franchise too.

ghost in the shell kuze anime


Given that Ghost In The Shell 2017 is largely inspired by the 1995 anime movie, it’s fitting part of Kuze’s persona is taken from The Puppet Master. In the anime, the Puppet Master was revealed to be advanced A.I. that can “ghost” hack others and take control of them, and at the end of the anime, it merges with Motoko too. Michael Pitt’s Kuze can also hack cyberbrains and force others to do his bidding. He also has elements of Stand Alone Complex season 1 villain The Laughing Man, a J.D. Salinger obsessed terrorist hacker attempting to expose a major conspiracy.

Michael Pitt’s Ghost In The Shell villain is largely taken from 2nd GIG’s Hideo Kuze, a former soldier turned member of a terrorist group dubbed the Individual Eleven. Kuze and Motoko actually knew each other as children in the anime, but the movie reveals they were both Japanese nationals who were taken and used as test subjects by the villainous Hanka Robotics, though Killian’s memories of this were erased. The movie Kuze is mostly a mash-up between Kuze and Puppet Master, with the character’s story mostly turning out the same as the latter in the 1995 anime.

Next: Ghost in the Shell’s Ending Twist Explained

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Updated: November 14, 2020 — 9:40 pm

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