Review Date: 11/10/14
After being treated to an action heavy outing in Arise 2, the series settles back into its techno-political roots with this overly confusing entry. Opposing political factions are fighting in the streets, and someone from Public Security appears to be leaking information to a terrorist group that's led by a super-hacker who is supposedly dead. Major Kusanagi's team is assembled, but Aramaki won't fund her until she recruits one more member. As luck would have it, Togusa happens to be investigating a murder, and Motoko's new boyfriend is high on his list of suspects. None of it makes much sense, as the subtitles are so dense and go by so quickly, but the main gist is that terrorist bombs are being smuggled in the guise of prosthetic limbs, and Kusanagi unwittingly owns a pair of explosive legs that could go off at any time.
The action is disappointingly light, although there is a nice combat scene with a Logicoma and we get to see Motoko take down some thugs in a rather extreme manner. Otherwise, it's almost entirely talking, as the various characters attempt to piece together what's going on, and try to stop the terrorists before they make their next attack. The animation is superb, but the overly convoluted story is predictable and uninteresting. We get to see a more feminine and sensual side of the Major this time around, and while I was initially put off by her romantic behavior, I had to remind myself that the original manga also featured Kusanagi indulging in carnal pleasure vacations. Of course, the mere fact that she even has a boyfriend in this episode is an immediate indication that he's the bad guy, and there's no attempt to cover up that fact. Probably the most amusing aspect of her love life is that whenever Batou teases her about it, she hacks into his control systems and causes him to punch himself in the face. You would think he'd know better after a couple of times, but the big oaf just seems to be a glutton for punishment and can't keep his mouth shut. At the end of the episode, Kusanagi offers Togusa a job, but he's not quite ready to accept it yet. We'll have to wait for Arise 4 to see that.