While the Major in Ghost in the Shell is the field leader, calling the last-second shots and acting as Section 9’s point on most missions, she’s not the one actually running the show. That job belongs to Daisuke Aramaki, also referred to as “ape face” or “old ape,” the Chief Executive Director of Public Security Section 9.
In the upcoming American adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, which premieres March 31, Aramaki will be portrayed by Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano. And while not much is known about Aramaki’s exact role in the new film — and whether or not he’ll be utilized in the same way as he is in the original manga of the same name — he’s still, at least, present. Aramaki’s actually being in the film might lend it closer ties to Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell.
Because in Shirow’s original Ghost in the Shell, Aramaki is a force to be reckoned with. He’s a bit of a hothead, just as most of his team is, but he’s also a master manipulator and a government agent through and through. And that’s not to mention his amusing back-and-forth with the Major, who constantly feels the need to sass him and talk back whenever the chance presents itself.
When Section 9 lands itself in hot water (the kind they can’t punch their way out of) with government officials, Aramaki is the man who steps in to get things done. He’s the one with the answers.
The first issue of Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell has Aramaki being put in charge of an “international hostage rescue unit,” with 80% of the team’s budget going toward “the formation of a special power-suit assault force.” This is the beginning of the Major’s team, but Aramaki holds the real leadership role.
“I’ll have full responsibility,” Aramaki tells the Major at a bar at the end of the first issue, “reporting only to the prime minister. The unit structure’ll be based on skill and merit, with no ranks, and given top priority procurement. You’ll identify the source of criminal activity and eliminate it. It’s the sort of offensive unit you, [Major], and I both have dreamed of for years … but now it’s up to you and your men.”
The manga has “ape face” being famously drawn as just that: a half-man, half-ape looking person with an ape-shaped mouth, low brows, and squat nose. His appearance changed a bit for the anime, though the creators of the Ghost in the Shell animated film kept the crazy hair and general features.
Aramaki proves himself time and time again throughout the original series and its various spin-offs to be a fiercely loyal leader, oftentimes putting his own career and safety on the line to ensure that his team gets out of dangerous situations in one piece. He’s also one of the only fully human members of the team, a fact revealed in Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, aside from a cyberbrain that might just be hidden by that insane hair of his.
Be on the lookout for Takeshi Kitano’s Aramaki when the American adaptation of Ghost in the Shell premieres in theaters March 31.