If you are hearing whoops, hollers, and applause during a screening of Ghost in the Shell, it might not be for Scarlett Johansson’s the Major but instead an outpouring of love for Takeshi “Beat” Kitano as Aramaki. As the boss of Section 9, Aramaki brings subtle, Yoda-like wisdom to an action flick that sometimes searches for its moral center. In short, Aramaki is perhaps, not-so-secretly, the absolute best character in the new live-action Ghost in the Shell. As longtime fans of Ghost in the Shell sit in darkened movie theaters next to newbies, many will select their favorite character. And as this famous cyberpunk world of manga and anime comes to life, it’s possible that Beat Kitano as Aramaki is the true hero of the story. Here are four reasons he rocks in Ghost in the Shell and steals the show.
Spoilers for the new Ghost in the Shell ahead.
4. He’s Got the Best Lines
Basically, Aramaki spends the movie doling out zen-style wisdom. “Never send a rabbit to kill a fox,” is probably the high point of these types of phrases, but if there’s one character’s dialogue who you remember after the movie is over, it’s his.
3. That Scene With the Suitcase
When assassins hired by Hanka Robotics come to take out the entire Section 9 team, Aramaki gets into his car and opens a suitcase. In the next scene, it looks like the bad guys have riddled the car with bullets, rendering him dead. But no! He used his suitcase as a shield against the bullets and comes out shooting. Unlike any of the other characters, Aramaki is fine using a revolver, and when he discards the spent shell casings, it feels like you’re watching a gunslinger samurai in action.
2. He’s Legitimately a Huge Japanese Cultural Icon
Beat Kitano brings essential Japanese legitimacy to a movie that obviously has its roots in Japan. His career is crazy diverse: He’s a successful comedian, film director, poet and painter, and Beat is also the artistic center of Ghost in the Shell. He didn’t take the role because he was a fan of anime, but instead, as he told Variety last year, he liked the “particular vibe” his character Aramaki “gives off.”
1. In a World of Cyborgs, He’s a Real Human Person
Because of the nature of the story of Ghost in the Shell, many characters (mostly the Major and Kuze) struggle with their inherent humanity. This has a kind of ripple effect on the whole movie because everyone seems to be searching for their human soul. But not Aramaki! He’s about as human and real as it gets. If the Major has a “ghost” that fights her way through the movie, Aramaki is the movie’s spirit.
Ghost in the Shell is out now.