Ghost in the Shell: The Complete Anime Watch Order

Watching Order: Ghost in the Shell

Not long ago, we instructed you on how to watch the Bleach anime series with and without the filler episodes. Well, today, we’re going to give you the best watching order of the Ghost in the Shell animated franchise consisting of several anime series, movies, and original video animations (OVA). Although Ghost in the Shell is not nearly as long as Bleach or Naruto, it might still be confusing for new fans, which is why we’re going to explain everything about Ghost in the Shell watch order in full detail.

Ghost in the Shell Watch Order at a glance

  1. Ghost in the Shell (Movie, 1995 )
  2. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (original animal series, 2002-2005)
  3. Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG (series)
  4. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Movie, 2004 )
  5. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex − Solid State Society (tie – in movie, 2006)
  6. Ghost in the Shell: Arise (series, 2013 – 2014)
  7. Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (movie, 2015)
  8. Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 (series, 2020)

Now that you know the basics, let us give you an overview of the whole anime series and the best chronological watching order.

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Ghost in the Shell Watch Order

Now, since the whole Ghost in the Shell chronology might be a bit confusing, we’ve decided to make a proper watching order for you, so you can enjoy the narrative as it should’ve been shown:

Ghost in the Shell

The anime movie from 1995, is set in 2029; alternatively, you can start with its remake, Ghost in the Shell 2.0 from 2008.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

The original anime series (2002-2005) was set in 2030, and ran for 52 episodes; alternatively, if you don’t want to watch the whole series, you can check out The Laughing Man, a feature-length OVA summary of the S.A.C. anime’s first season, which aired in 2005.

Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG

The second season of the S.A.C. anime is set in 2032; alternatively, you can watch Individual Eleven, a feature-length OVA from 2006, which retells the events of S.A.C. 2nd GIG but altered to focus on both the notorious Individual Eleven investigation and the relationship between Hideo Kuze and Motoko Kusanagi, which wasn’t that important in the anime.

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

The famous 2004 sequel to the first movie, is likewise set in 2032.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex − Solid State Society

A series tie-in film from 2006, set in 2034; you can also check out the 3D-animated re-release from 2011.

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Ghost in the Shell: Arise

An OVA series that aired from 2013 to 2015, is set in 2027. It’s actually a prequel telling the origin story of Section 9; if you want, you can alternatively watch the Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture anime, which is a TV recompilation for the Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVA series.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

Released in 2015, is a movie set directly after the Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVA series, and is a narrative continuation of the plot of the Pyrophoric Cult episode. The original movie’s plot follows directly after this movie, so it’s set in between the OVA series and the first movie.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045

The latest installment in the franchise, is actually an original network animation (ONA) 3D series airing since April 2020. It is set in 2045 and continues the story years after Solid State Society and its plot. As of September 2020, the series is still ongoing.

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Extra Notes about Ghost in the Shell watching order

Now, we have to give a few extra notes for you to completely understand this watching order.

First of all, we’ve listed the Arise OVA and its tie-ins as something you should watch later, despite it being a prequel series.

Why? Well, simply because it’s a prequel that requires beforehand knowledge of the world of Ghost in the Shell, so it’s not actually an origin story, just a prequel that you would not understand if you did not watch everything else. This is why you should check it out later, rather than sooner.

As for the relation between S.A.C. 2nd GIG and Innocence, since they’re both set in 2032, we can only state that the first movie and Innocence follow a different narrative line than the anime, although they are part of the same universe.

This is why it might seem strange at first – since they’re set in the same year but don’t seem to have any connection between them – but once you know this fact, that they’re not within the same narrative framework, you’re good to go. These are the most important remarks that relate to our suggested watching order of the Ghost in the Shell animated franchise.

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And there you have it. This is your ultimate guide to watching Ghost in the Shell, both the movies and other tie-in anime (series, OVA). We recommend watching the series in the suggested watching order because it’s the actual in-story chronological order that will give you an optimal perception of the complete narrative.

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.