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Well played, Shirow

I didn't knew this the last half-dozen times I read Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface, but Stabat Mater, the name of a religious-entertainment organization whose leader is a female cyborg body operating in a crucifixion-like setup (and, really, a body avatar for another instance, copy, isotope of Motoko), is also the shorthand name of 13th-century hymn to Mary, describing her suffering during the crucifixion.

And then there's the explicit Shintoist religious references at the end, and the implication of Motoko's merge with an ontologically separate being giving birth to an arguably weakly godlike new person... (And it's not the first time she has done this!)

Aside from kickass science-fiction, this offers an awfully interesting (and somewhat Gnostic) rewrite of the traditional Christian story of the Incarnation: it's not that if (a) God merged with/touched Mary in some unspecified way to have her give birth to the (next) Savior, but their merge made Mary part of the new entity, which is ontologically superior to both of them.

From that angle, it's a deeply feminist revision; Mary's not a "holy vessel" defined by who she gives birth to, but rather becomes the human half of a new kind of godlike being. (In Motoko's case, I hasten to remark, *twice*, because that's just how badass the Major is).

The idea of what the Arian/Trinitarian/Monophysite conflict would look like in the GitS context gives me the willies. Even in the historical context it's one of those things about which I understand barely enough to know that it's cognitively impossible for me to even simulate inside my head the kind of thinking that would make me even approximately understand it.


I suck at making icons (and it shows), but I really needed a Motoko Aramaki icon.

In case you don't know her: Imagine a full-body cyborg who's a world-class badass, but also a consummate professional, a cutting-edge info-warrior, and a respectable big-picture tactician when it comes to navigating the byzantine and deadly politics involved in her job.

That's Motoko Kusanagi, The Major.

Motoko Aramaki is what you get when you cross her with a self-evolving AI that gives her access to cognitive, technological, and informational resources few other entities in the planet can match.

(In DC/Marvel terms, Motoko Aramaki is what you get when you give the Black Widow a body designed by Tony Stark, and then you make her a super-charged Oracle.)

The Major >> everybody else. Together.

I just began watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG (and, of course, plan to rewatch the first season), although at the murderously slow pace that is all my job and competing obsessions allow me. I've only seen one ep so far, and yet it has been enough to make me remember why I love Ghost in the Shell. Basically, there are few teams in the multiverse that are as kickass as Section 9 (which, to be topical, would eat Division for breakfast). That's even before you take into account the Major, who's not only the best there is in the field, but also has the big-picture awareness that sets her apart from most leaders of similar teams (she's kind of like Star-Lord in that sense), and Aramaki, who is... well, he's Aramaki. He'll get you dead if that needs to happen, but never for a stupid reason.

Speaking of eating people for breakfast, and if you'll allow me the moment of femslash barely-subtext appreciation, the way in which the (female) Prime Minister looked at the Major during her interview with Aramaki was positively *smoldering*. I kind of melted, and I wasn't even in the same universe.

(By the way, a trillion bonus points for the Tachikoma. The Tachikoma love Batou like Batou loves the Major...)

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