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Just as water runs downhill, the human heart also tends to revert to its basest instincts.

—Hideo Kuze

Hideo Kuze (クゼ・ヒデオ Kuze Hideo) is a major character in Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell anime series Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, initially serving as a main antagonist throughout the Individual Eleven Arc. Later in the last episodes, he plays a pivotal supporting role. A full-body cyborg, Kuze is a cyber-network architect and former JGSDF commando , who after witnessing injustice against refugee minorities, turned against the government and became the leader of the Dejima Revolution, making him a prime suspect in Section 9's investigation of the Individual Eleven virus. Beyond the anime, he is prominently featured in the 2017 live-action film Ghost in the Shell, where he is portrayed by actor Michael Pitt.

DebutEdit

First appearing in the second season as an anonymous assassin, the man who would be known as "Kuze" quickly becomes the target of Motoko Kusanagi's personal interests, sharing a curious connection with her. Among cyborgs, Kuze is particularly unique since his body, the PKF Type, is built for combat. Furthermore, he has chosen to have a sculpted face, which is far more difficult to manipulate than a standard prosthetic design. Due to this,his mouth typically remains motionless while he speaks. [1]

In comparison to the other Ghost in the Shell works, Hideo Kuze is Project 2501's counterpart for the Stand Alone Complex universe

Spoiler Warning: Spoiler details may follow.

Background Edit

Hideo Kuze is the pseudonym of a mysterious and insightful cyborg, with little to no classified information on his identity. He starts as one of the known 12 members of the terrorist group referred as the "Individual Eleven". Yet during a mass suicide by the Individual Eleven members, Kuze alone survived, leaving and hiding out in the Refugee Residential District.

Encouraged by the refugees' determination, the fugitive cyborg spearheads their revolutionary socialist independence movement in Japan, becoming a legendary hero and terrorist at the same time.

Later on, it is discovered that when he was six years old, Kuze was one of two survivors from a plane crash that occurred in the 2000's. Because trans-humanism was the only way to save him, he underwent a long procedure to become a cyborg. During this time, he established a friendship with a girl who happened to be the other survivor. This eventually grows into a mutual object of affection, yet before the two could admit their feelings for each other, they both forced themselves in their own separate ways.

This sudden loss pushes Kuze to find his disappeared friend, eventually leading him to his decisive ultimatum against the Japanese Government and Public Security Major Motoko Kusanagi.

History Edit

Childhood Edit

During his childhood years, when he was still human, Hideo Kuze was a simple boy who still went by 'Hisaragi', after his parents surname. He was unfortunately involved in a plane crash at the age of six,[2] losing his parents in this accident. He was one of two survivors found, the other being a little girl who was completely paralyzed. Hisaragi was also paralyzed, yet partially. His distant relatives came to visit him at first, but they quickly stopped because they didn't care about him anymore, and he was left all alone.

As he laid in the hospital bed, the boy looked aside and began to sympathize for the girl who laid in a bed next to his, her state worse than his. Wondering why they had to be such victims, he started building a silent friendship with the girl, seeing her as the only friend he could have in this world. Hoping she would recover one day, Hisaragi learned how to fold origami cranes with his only functional limb: his left arm. Such as in Japanese Culture, if a thousand cranes are folded, then a wish will come true. Eventually, the girl was suddenly moved out, and Hisaragi, her silent guardian, was told she had gone far away. From those words, he believed she had died, thus becoming deeply depressed by that outcome.
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Following her departure, he spent two more years continuing to fold cranes in nothingness, convinced that his purpose was to give his utmost heart for the girl, who stood by his side when no one else was. A lot of doctors and physicians had tried to convince him to undergo cyberization, but Hisaragi never answered, ever determined to fold cranes.

When efforts to help Hisaragi were to be abandoned, a physician by the name of "Kuze" brought a cyborg girl around the boy's age to visit him while he was still recovering from his injuries. Hisaragi was initially indifferent, seeing this as another attempt to strip him off from his purpose. However, the cyborg girl came to visit him often, talking to him and telling him stories even if he never spoke a word during their meetings. He was always listening silently as this new friend gradually entered his life. She tried to convince him to become a cyborg, although he never wanted to.

One day, out of nowhere, he spoke for the first time and asked his new partner if it was possible to fold cranes with a cybernetic body. If such deed was possible, then he wouldn't mind becoming prosthetic. The girl, who deeply wanted Hisaragi to become a cyborg like her, had tried many times, but kept failing to fold a complete crane.

Hideo Motoko Cranes

Hisaragi watching the cyborg trying to fold cranes

She couldn't achieve it to impress him since she was unable to adeptly manipulate the fine motor skills of her prosthetic parts. Hisaragi was crestfallen by her failures. He then told the cyborg that he would just stay human, if it meant that he kept his ability to fold cranes for his late friend, who miserably passed away. Seeing the boy's disappointment, the cyborg girl left in shame, but not before she promised to return once she was able to fold cranes for him. It instantly prompted Hisaragi to realize who she really was: the one and only girl whom he thought had died. The innocent soul he promised to protect even beyond life. Hisaragi understood that she had gone successful treatment and returned to him because she wanted to give him back the heart, love and affection he showed for her. He never saw her again, nor did he understand why she never revealed herself to him. Yet touched by her reciprocated feelings, he quickly became determined to find her, and decided to undergo the same full cyberization procedure. The transformation was painful, but when Hisaragi thought about how much she had endured, he became a cyborg with ease. At some point later, he was adopted by the physician, whose surname "Kuze" he adopted as his own.[3]

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Years later, during a visit to a university, Kuze finally found the girl's empty body in one of the laboratories. He recognized it as his friend's model and decided to bring it to an antique gallery, where he preserved it along with his childhood shell. He had the help of the shop's owner, whom he got to know well. The antique gallery served to keep memories for cyborgs who wanted to forget them, but Kuze ironically had the motivation to keep a memento of his past. However, before he could resume his search again, he was abruptly enrolled as a soldier for the Japanese Army, thus he never returned to the shop. Further more years from that, while Section 9 was testing out their new recruits, Major Kusanagi stumbled into the same neighborhood, where she caught a sentiment of familiarity: The gallery. Entering the captivating place, The Major indeed found the cybernetic body from her childhood, with her lost friend's model sitting beside hers. The owner saw that Motoko had some sort of connection, and decided to tell her the story of the souls that once rested in these two bodies, oblivious that the Major herself was the girl the boy had been searching for. As she listened to the perspective of his life, the Major unconsciously remembered the childhood she had swept away for so long, back when she was still human and sentient. The owner then revealed to Motoko that years after the girl's body was found, the boy, who was now a man, still tried to locate her, but was ever unsuccessful. He was ordered to be shipped out as a soldier, and was never seen again, with the possibility that he died in action. The Major instantly became saddened at this statement, which was a first feeling for her as a cyborg. She was tormented by the fact that she wouldn't be able to give him a second chance to see the only person who cared for him during his time of need.

Motoko Crane

"I'll bet that even now... that girl is still searching for the first boy she ever loved"

Dejected, but impressed by his unflinching determination, she decides to fold a crane for his sake with her left hand, proving that she finally arrived to his request after so many years. Leaving her handiwork just beside Hisaragi's empty body, Motoko prepares to leave, but before doing so, she alludes that he was the first person she ever loved, oblivious that he was still very well alive.

The Peninsular War Edit

When he was deployed to Korea, before joining the Individual Eleven, Kuze was a soldier for the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF). In 2024 after World War IV, The American Empire deployed United Nation (UN) troops to where internal conflict continued in North Korea. Japan was offered excavation rights if they deployed their JSDF troops, so they did it with no hesitation. Kuze, in a mechanized infantry unit,[4] was stationed with the PKF-issue hybrid cyborgs, they were ordered to circle north of Shinuiju and launch a preemptive strike on the People's Army. During the ascent of the mountain, Kuze himself had found a refugee camp along a river crossing the border. This area was not mentioned to the platoon in the intelligence report issued by the JSDF.

At the time, the camp was being looted and pillaged by the soldiers of The People's Army, whose intentions were to become bandits. Seeing this, Kuze was driven by morale and heroism, ordering his platoon to engage in combat. One by one, soldiers of the People's Army began surrendering. Kuze's men saved the remaining villagers in a very lopsided battle between crack cyborg commandos and starving People's Army soldiers, which will result as the only real combat they ever saw.

Kuze War

Kuze after battle

After fighting the People's Army, the platoon were advised to be aware of possible guerrilla attacks on the camp. A problem later arose in the platoon camp, when the soldiers began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the experience of gunning down people in their first battle. Most of the soldiers who retained most of their original body organs began drinking alcohol and using drugs smuggled in by the refugees to escape the nightmares of the massacre.

When order began breaking down in the JSDF, the Japanese media began pelting insensitive comments at the platoon. The criticism of the platoon's behavior was more severe due to censorship of the massacre which hadn't reached the media. The soldiers' freedom was later restricted due to policies designed to prevent further disgrace. Many of the soldiers were barred from returning to Japan. Some footage of the refugee camp massacre was leaked to certain broadcast stations, but created false information.

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A misleading rumor began to spread that the JSDF executed the massacre. Riots broke out demanding an explanation to the massacre, while soldiers couldn't defend themselves from an outbreak of gossip and unproven statements. On a fateful snowy day, while a journalist was commenting pejorative remarks on one of the soldiers, Kuze happened to be nearby. The commando silently approached the journalist and agreed specifically with the man's rants about foreign invasion. Kuze reveals he's tired that the Government deployed the army for the image, not caring for their soldiers nor the collateral damage. In short words, they were not taking responsibility for their actions. After stating his viewpoint, the cyborg then demanded to trade his assault rifle for the journalist's camera, taking the latter by surprise. When the journalist accepted the offer, Kuze simply walked into the refugee camp and was not seen by any of his platoon scouts again.

Refugee camps Edit

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Kuze wandered in the snow, staying in the nearest camp he came across. He began traveling around the land, observing the life of refugees by taking pictures. While travelling through the camps, the elderly became interested in Kuze and offered him drinks, children asked him to fold paper planes and origami figures. Young men and women stood in lines telling him of their life stories, while he never spoke a word. He often smiled at them and took their photographs. Quickly rising in popularity and respect because of his easygoing personality, Kuze inspired hope for the refugees as he slowly became a symbol of rallying.

Kuze Refugees

Kuze folds origami for the children

Three months later, the People's Army surrendered, the JSDF was cleared of its obligations, and the media stopped talking about the massacre. A day before the JSDF was to withdraw, Kuze disappeared from the camp, leaving behind only his dog tags. He was believed to have crossed the border and headed west into Taiwan. Interestingly, he actually did so. Just like the first camp, Kuze again became popular in the new refugee slums, and people nicknamed him "Ro", for wolf. He was a prolific idol, and was well known by the local residents thanks to his honest concerns for those in need. Criminals and opportunists often feared him, staying in the shadows when he was around. Later on, while investigating the "Individual Eleven" case and Kuze's potential culpability, Ishikawa, Section 9's info specialist, mentions he met a man who has seen Kuze in the Taiwanese refugee camps. Apparently, the informant said that Kuze was always someone who could gather a friendly crowd around him. The man Ishikawa met also noted that Kuze's hair had gone white in time, implicating that he never changed his prosthetic body.[5]

The Leigo Island Incident Edit

At some point before the Individual Eleven Events but after the closure of The Laughing Man incident as shown at the end of the SAC storyline, Kuze arrived at the Leigo Island, a privately-owned resort island electronically sequestered from the outside world. The island had the capability of providing synchronized fake sensations to any of its presumably rich vacationers by intervening into the cyberized senses of touch, taste and smell.

Kuze, who was going by the name of Hisaragi and called "Hide", was there to follow a possible lead on the terrorist Jupiter. He was currently serving as a freelance prosthetics consultant who was active in tracking down terrorists. During that time, he forged a particular friendship with Aoi, The Laughing Man. He is the one who gave Kuze the prefix pseudonym Hideo. [6]

The Individual Eleven Events Edit

After leaving the Leigo Island, Kuze was still motivated to help out the refugees. He somehow managed to join the terrorist-nationalist group known as the Individual Eleven, believing they could help the refugee program because of their ideals. In reality, he had been infected by a virus by the same name, conspired by a mysterious creator. Under such circumstances, Kuze decided to assassinate Prime Minister Kayabuki in an exhibiting way, incorporating the No theater style and the classicism of Japanese coup-d'états in his motives, sending letters of threats and menaces. He sneaked inside a Buddhist temple where Kayabuki resided, disguising himself as a delivering clerk using a truck and leaving an origami crane as a token for self-person. Since he sent a lot of threats before then, Section 9 and Motoko Kusanagi were already stationed at the temple for the Prime Minister's protection. During the night of the attempt, Kuze used his invisible camo and a katana to attack the Prime Minister, shouting "righteousness is by my side" once he revealed himself. Before the blow had landed, Kuze was interrupted by Motoko, who fired at him relentlessly. He tried to attack Kayabuki again, lifting his sword.

Kuze Vs Motoko

Major faces off the Assassin

Seeing his unflinching reaction and his resistance of her shots, Motoko engaged in a hand to hand fight against him. In response, Hideo swung his sword and they clashed, not knowing who exactly the other was. The Major warned Kuze that he was outnumbered, and then Batou surged out, assisting her by shooting multiple bullets from behind, all of which the assassin endured. Seeing the right moment, he then swiftly escaped by bashing through the rooftop, leaving the possibility that he didn't want to kill PM Kayabuki, but may just have wanted to give her a warning to help the refugees. Motoko based this possibility while noting how much of a great foe he is: Prepared, ready, equipped and most of all, lethal. There was no reason for him to back off, besides from letting the Minister live.

Kuze wasn't seen anymore for a while. Motoko continued investigating the mysterious Individual Eleven theory, and how it links with Kazundo Gouda of the Cabinet Intelligence Service. However, when the nationalist terrorists struck again, Motoko, by surveillance camera, had found the nameless man of white hair, recognizing him as the assassin. In reality, the man, who was again Kuze, had gathered with his comrades to unleash a mass suicide demonstrating their will. He arrived at their rendezvous point, where he was the last man expected. In contrast to their preferred black, Kuze donned white clothes, foreshadowing his future actions.

Individual eleven

The last man standing

During the road towards the city where the group would take action, Hideo starts to have doubts already, so he asks for a copy of the ideology book: Individual Eleven. When his co-members tell him that they all forgot their own essay, Kuze begins to think he's being played, and that the Individual Eleven is just a false idea created by someone. This is a moment where his stiff mouth only moves slightly. Seeing a difference in the preconceived ideology and his own piece of mind, Kuze manages to break off from the virus, at the last minute. The Individual Eleven members gather up at a radio station, where a member holds a speech of the false essay. Kuze simply gazes upon the rainy horizon, considering his next move wisely. After positioning, The Individual Eleven prepare to kill themselves, except for Kuze who has made his choice. Deciding to survive the suicide by watching everyone die, Kuze then quickly kills his would-be murderer during the "ceremony", and finally escapes towards Dejima, the Refugee District. Now independent from the cyberbrain virus, Kuze roams Japan as a wanted man, oblivious that Gouda, the man behind the Individual Eleven, had planned this outcome.

Motoko later finds information about Hideo's physical prowess, pseudonym and body components. This is all thanks to Ishikawa's research, but nothing can still lead to who the white-haired cyborg really is. She does take in mind that he possesses a rare physical constitution, composed of regenerative skin and a sculpted face model, which makes it hard for him to move it. All traces of Kuze's whereabouts disappear, until Ishikawa plunges into deeper investigation, which brings him to Taiwan. There, he manages to dig up the military backstory (Peninsular War) of Kuze, the very man playing an innovative role in the refugees' insurgency. Motoko begins to take a personal interest to Hideo Kuze after she eavesdropps Ishikawa's investigation report, thinking that the fugitive cyborg's story is, in fact, very interesting.

Kuze Episode 16

Kuze's emotionless stare to the sky

Meanwhile, Kazundo Gouda and his CIS have located Kuze, who finally reached Dejima. The CIS decide to keep track on him and spy his actions, in order to succeed Gouda's geopolitical plan. In the refugee island, Kuze strolls the district, where he shadows in the crowd under new garments. Crossing the light of the sun shining towards him, he gazes upon the sky just a moment, before resuming his road to his ultimate goal, disappearing yet again.

The Plutonium Deal Edit

Now at the beginning of his grand campaign, Hideo Kuze decides to give the refugees some sentiment of power. He uses his connections and strikes a deal with the Russian mafia, wanting to buy a plutonium bomb in the need to build a nuclear bomb, with which the refugees will use to coerce Japan to recognize their independence. The deal involves a meeting in Etorofu, but during the preparations, Kuze is interrupted again by Motoko Kusanagi diving straight into his cyberbrain, finding note of his mysterious activities.

Chroma Kuze Connection

Chroma connects with Kuze

From that act, The Major now learns that Kuze is filling the consciousness of 3 million people, unifying their mind with his own. However, while running through Hideo's knowledge, Motoko is suddenly detected, and despite her Chroma disguise, he sees through the infiltration with ease. Knowing everything about his attacker, he curiously warns Motoko not to interfere with his consciousness, since she will also be assimilated to his mentality. This sympathetic reaction intrigues the Major, prompting her to have contact with Kuze's mind, yet the simple touch of his net signal instantly sends her buzzing off the net due to the immense strength of his intellect. In a state of shock from what she had seen, Motoko Kusanagi gains insight into Kuze's true goals and realizes, with utmost astonishment, that she knows him.

After the encounter, Motoko manages to take information about Kuze's whereabouts, but the impact left by her connection with him makes her turn for the wrong location. Kuze used this opportunity to set a false direction for Section 9, giving him more time to get the plutonium deal over with. He warns his men to get prepared for a police pursuit, reminding them to avoid any violent and useless conflict. His wishes don't go as the refugees engage in a gunfight with Motoko and Section 9, killing Yano during the shootout. The refugees are quickly wiped out by Section 9, but the squad's operation is a failure since they couldn't locate Kuze, and lost a recruit for no good reason.

On the other side, Kuze complains about the refugees' headstrong nature, but manages to win time just like he expected. He reaches Etorofu, where he meets a group of armed rebels near the shipment docks, knowing him only by name. At first sight, the rebels somehow recognize him and are immediately motivated, ready for a revolution.

Refugees and Kuze

The armed refugees intuitively recognize Kuze

The little group gathers around Hideo, but a young man who wears a red hood recognizes him as the only Individual Eleven member who survived. Kuze explains the procedure for the deal and the rebels prepare for the transaction trade. They also gather weapons for the road to Dejima. The young boy takes an opportunity when there are no witnesses, and confronts Kuze, cornering him in one of the boat's chambers. He tells the white-haired cyborg that he joined the coalition to get weapons to defend himself.

However, the young boy adds that he wouldn't be here if he knew that Kuze, the only Individual Eleven member to survive, was the one to lead the operation. Kuze replies that if the boy isn't motivated to be led by him, he's free to leave. The boy counters by saying he won't, due to his motivation for revolution. He says that Densetsu, a rapper and the one who taught him to revolt, was killed by the Individual Eleven. He shuns Kuze for being responsible, although it was a third party attempt. The boy proceeds to show his self-armed bombs, ready to suicide to show Densetsu's teachings. Kuze is unmoved by this youngster's attitude, and so, he argues that suicide bombings only serve to soothe one's bruised ego. He tells the boy that true revolutions are not led by material desire, but by true beliefs and values. A bearded refugee wearing a beanie suddenly enters the chamber, which sends the young rebel into a panic state. Using his charisma and confidence, Kuze calms the boy and wins his trust by revealing his intent to recognize Dejima as an independent country, using the plutonium bomb to coerce Japan.

Just a moment later, the other rebels return, and so, Kuze showcases the source and origin of the Refugee Coalition's money. He insists that he uses fair money transaction in order to show the public about the refugees' struggle for freedom and human rights. When questioned about the source again, Hideo says that the source of the jackpot is simply by extracting extremely petty sums not transferred or loaded by the bank.

Plutonium Money

Kuze explains his complex method to gain easy revenue

In that case, Kuze had managed to hack the worldwide system and collect those tiny sums, which are numerous around the world, and took them in his dummy bank account. This makes him earn quick revenue for the bomb. Kuze finally admits he is aware that this system is corrupt, but exploits it with intentions to show the world of the fact that money blurs humanity from their sense of morale. Astonished by his leader's grandeur, the youngster asks what sort of man Kuze really is. He simply replies that he's just a terrorist, albeit with an inspiration of heroism. With everything settled, Kuze asks the boy to wait and get the ships ready for emergency escape. He and the other rebels head out to buy the plutonium once and for all, but unbeknownst to them, Batou, Saito and the Tachikomas from Section 9 had tracked them down. They follow a path to a tunnel leading to a mining zone.

Plutonium Deal

The Russian Cyborg meets with Hideo Kuze

Around the same time, a portion of the rebels led by Hideo arrive at the mining zone, bringing the money to the Russian cyborg who is carrying the plutonium suitcases. They seal the contract, but shortly after doing so, the refugees are betrayed by the Russian Cyborg. Out of nowhere, a group of Japanese Army mech suits ambushes the crowd, even taking Hideo by surprise. The Russian cyborg takes cover, leaving the white-haired cyborg behind as the slaughter continues. Multiple rebels are killed, and only the one wearing a beanie and another member survive the massacre.

Kuze vs Suits

Kuze scouts a path to get the suitcases back.

Kuze handles the armed suits with efficiency, but doesn't manage to get rid of them due to the risk of destroying the suitcases. Opportunely for the remaining revolutionaries, the Tachikomas arrive to intercept the armed suits, and Batou locates Kuze with infrared scanners. He and his Tachikoma are subsequently assaulted by another mech suit before they could arrest the refugees' leader. Seeing an opening, Kuze majestically leaps from his cover and seizes the suitcases, fleeing with his two remaining henchmen while Batou is forced to fight the mech suits. Saito helps Batou and they decide to split up after wiping out every armed suit. Saito rushes for the Russian cyborg while Batou catches up to Kuze on foot. Seeing Kuze, Batou holds him at gunpoint and orders him to drop the cases.

Kuze Hold It

"Kuze, hold it!"

Kuze does so, but is intrigued: Batou didn't shoot him rightaway. The ranger boasts that all he wants is beating the PKF cyborg, and doesn't give a damn for the suitcases. Kuze urges his refugees to retreat with the cases, and insists that Batou can't fight him. Due to his personal vendetta against the PKF cyborg, Batou is angered and challenges Kuze to a fight, secretly wanting to see the reason why Motoko is suddenly so affected by him.

Batou
Kuze Profile

Ranger vs PKF Commando

They stare to each other for a while, until Batou opens fire. Kuze blocks the bullets with his palm and rolls forwards to Batou, arming himself with a bayonet knife. The revolution leader strikes the blade to the gun's barrel, and with his foot, kicks off the gun from the ranger's hand. He backs off and positions against the ranger. Batou pulls out his combat knife. A short moment later, they engage in hand to hand, where Kuze disarms Batou once again with a kick. He takes a chance to lunge his knife, but Batou strikes an elbow counter which renders the revolutionary weaponless. Batou manages to get the upper hand and throws a flurry of punches straight in Kuze's face, confident that hitting the latter's brain will disable his anti-pain receptors. However, Batou underestimates his foe, and is taken by surprise when Kuze grabs his leg in the middle of a leg swing, twisting and dislocating it in a swift move. Batou falls and Hideo pins him with a metal pipe, putting Batou's left arm out of commission. Impressed by the ranger's skills, Kuze congratulates him, but imperiously tells the Public Security Agent not to follow him again. He takes the ranger's large knife and runs off, with protests from the latter. Kuze rejoins the rebels, but learns that the young boy mysteriously disappeared. With no time to waste, he orders his men to sail off, but Motoko Kusanagi arrives with Tachikoma units, attempting to intercept the rebels' escape. More rebels are killed, but Kuze's boat containing the cases reaches out of the docks.

Cranes

Motoko desperately tries to stop him, but isn't able to do so. Before the boat reaches the sea, Kuze and the Major exchange solid glares. When the refugees finally flee the port, she finds a set of folded paper cranes laying on a crate. She keeps one for herself, unbeknownst to the rest of her team. Batou however, notices the Major's strange behavior, and surmises that she has peculiar feelings for their suspect.

Kuze's Revolution Edit

Once the boat is clear of pursuit, Kuze takes a chance to verify his package. However, he discovers that the Russian Mafia had tricked him with lead bars. Keeping his composure, the cyborg holds this information to himself, since he still possesses a geopolitical influence.

Refugee A and B

Kuze's officers and friends

Heading to the ship deck, Kuze is accompanied by two survivors among his best men: a refugee with a beanie and the other with sunglasses. When they see their boss, he informs them to take separate routes in order to leave foil traces. At first, they are hesitant to leave their friend behind, but after a moment of consideration, they trust his judgment and follow his orders.

A security patrol boat later finds Hideo Kuze, with Section 9 taking hold of the situation. Yet the patrol crew enter a panic once Kuze retaliates with a heavy turret machine gun. This gives enough time for the cyborg to flee. To ensure of this, Nagasaki's electricity is suddenly shut down, which prompts the patrol crew to look away and lose sight of the fugitive.

Meanwhile, Section 9 admits that they're in a terrible situation. Gouda's pseudo-war plan appears to succeed, as Kuze potentially possesses a nuke and seems to play every nook of the Cabinet Intelligence Service's plot. Yet among the group, Motoko feels something else greater than both Gouda and the refugees: something that involves the unspoken determination of Kuze himself.

Escaping the radar of the Public Security for now, Kuze sets foot again in Dejima, where his men are expecting him. They prepare for the fight for independence and welcome new candidates who reach Dejima's bridge. Their leader remains collected and is unfazed by their excitement for battle. He hides himself with his fellow refugees, watching their behavior and studying their beliefs further than he already knows. Through his meditation, Kuze is recognized and approached by an elderly man: Yousuke Aramaki, Daisuke's long-lost brother. Yousuke invites Kuze to have a conversation over a tea drink, to which the revolutionary accepts.

When they sit together for the talk, Yousuke begins by telling Kuze they had met each other when the latter was in Taiwan (Yousuke can be briefly seen in episode 16, when Kuze is being asked if he is Japanese). After sharing each other some courtesy, Yousuke asks Kuze about his true goals, and his motivations for the revolution. The full cyborg doesn't feel like opening up completely, but reveals a bit of his truth. At first, as someone who had many experiences many pains and struggles, it was easy for him to understand the refugees' problems: lack of civil recognition, human rights, and racial equality. The cyborg wanted to stop such problems in the world, and create a peaceful community. He then used the concept of socialism and communism to give the refugees a sense of belonging, which facilitated the unification. Eventually, as a group, the refugees simply came to remember that Kuze was the one who started it all, thus they pledged loyalty to him. With a community, Kuze had expected the refugees to gain some feelings of strength, confidence and ego, resulting in them asking for war, returning to the basest natural instincts of self-righteousness. Yousuke is skeptical, and asks Kuze that if he knew such unification would cause war, then why did he pursue with the revolution to cause more chaos. He then reveals his ultimate goal: To grasp the refugees' ghosts and upload them to the Net, to somewhere beyond life. In that case, the world will avoid a nuclear war, many wasteful deaths and the success of selfish political endeavors.

Yousuke isn't convinced. He believes there are still issues with this plan. First, he implies that people who have no cyber-brains cannot go into the Net. Secondly, he insinuates that there is always joy in life, opposed as to what Kuze seems to think. The world is not just about conflict and war. Not just about ideals and delusions. And so, Yousuke pleads Kuze not to forego his plan, because the real world needs more kind and honest people like the PKF cyborg.

Meanwhile, Motoko tries to establish a connection with Kuze, since she finally knows he doesn't have a nuke in possession. She wants to capture him and make him stop the conflict, due to the lack of actual weaponry from the refugees' side, and the mass deployment of the military from Japan. However, his connection is jammed when the army supposedly launches an attack. Secretly, it was Kazundo Gouda who sent a hijacking drone, to make sure Kuze follows the CIS' pseudo-war scenario.

Back in the tea lodge, Kuze and Yousuke are suddenly interrupted by tremors and rumbles. They realize that the refugees and the army had already begun hostile activities. Heading outside to see the situation, Kuze urges Yousuke to protect and rally the refugees who don't have cyber-brains, then bids farewell to him. Before the cyborg leaves, Yousuke insists him not to die, knowing that the freedom fighter will ultimately carry out his plan. Kuze promises to buy time for Yousuke and the non-cyberized refugees. He heads right into the heart of action and gathers a group of militia against the Japanese Self-Defense Force. The final stand begins.

End of the 2nd GIG Edit

The JGSDF mobilize their army when a refugee ignites the first blood. Jigabachi type helicopters and Public Security forces are subsequently deployed, and a bloody battle ensues. Kuze survives the first wave of assault and meets with a crew of militia combatants, where his two refugee friends recognize him. The cyborg leader announces that survival is key, and demands assistance to buy time for the unarmed refugees.

During the last episode of 2nd GIG, Motoko Kusanagi and Kuze are both trapped underneath rubble together. Motoko asks Kuze if he can still make paper cranes with only his left hand. Kuze realizes that the Major was the little girl who was in a coma in the bed next to him, when he was hospitalized after being the only survivors of the plane crash which forced both of them to undergo full cyberization when they were children. Both are later rescued by Batou.

Aramaki later corners Gouda with a few Section 9 operatives. When Gouda tries to escape in an elevator, the Major is waiting for him inside with her optical camouflage activated. She shoots Gouda down and realizes that the American Empire is going to target Kuze. She rushes away and jumps out the building, desperate to get to Kuze before he is killed. She is too late to save his body from contamination by micromachines, but Kuze's last words imply that he may not have been killed after all. He says "I'll go on ahead". Adding further support to this claim is from the helicopter scene, the fact that Motoko was momentarily surprised and murmured "You..." while Kuze, incapacitated by a cyberbrain lock, is shown holding a bitten apple. A possible explanation is that Motoko was contacted by Kuze when she was engaging on the cyber-net.

Kuze's plan for a revolution was to become the master of multiple human consciousness inside a vast network, leading the refugees into cyberspace and leaving their bodies behind.[7]

Appearance Edit

As a child, Hideo Kuze had brown hair and eyes, as well as young and delicate features.

Growing up into an adult, his ultra resistant cyborg body was one of a well-built physique, with handsome facial traits because of his sculpted model. Kuze's hair was black and reached to the back of his neck, with bangs at the side of his temples, while his eyes were dark brown. He wore a winter army suit with a helmet he often discarded. After leaving the army and wandering Asia as a vagabond, Kuze's hair became white and his body's functions were outdated, such as he told the latter statement to Batou before their duel.

With the Individual Eleven, Kuze wore a white coat similar to lab smock, covering over a sporty gray tracksuit. During his assassination attempt, he wore a white tank-top and light-gray pants. This contrasts the Individual Eleven's preferred black, symbolizing Kuze's individuality and disparity in ideology.

In the final phase of the series, Kuze dons a brown military jacket over a black long-sleeve shirt with a neck collar. He also wears dark-gray pants tightened by a belt and black shoes. A bayonet knife is attached to his chest pocket on his left torso, later replaced by Batou's knife after their duel.

Personality and traits Edit

Hisaragi, as a child, was an introverted boy who cared a lot for people in his life. Conscious about the fact of his limited movements, he always did his best to inspire hope to those around him.

As an adult, Hideo matured his personality, becoming a kind, easygoing, perseverant, convincing and open man. Everyone who had met him by person admired him.

Hideo Kuze is initially presented as a moral-driven assassin with a cold-blood demeanor. Later on the series, we discover that he is a soldier who is disgusted by the State of Affairs between the countries. Seeing that people in power cannot take responsibilities for mistakes they've made, Kuze turns into a megalomaniac-socialistic person, determined to help the victims of war and give them a reason to live by their will and their humanity. During the course of his life, Kuze, despite his keen judgment and logical thinking, becomes disputed with his own humanity, knowing he had left his real body ever since childhood.

On second note, there's also his perception of being a soldier who's exploited like an expendable by politicians. Longing to find the human inside him, Kuze tries to connect with the refugees, adopting their goals, their suffering, their mentality and their spirit. However, this turns on the other side as he becomes their legend, the ideal image that the refugees want him to be. Kuze, in retaliation to every trace of humanity the world has stripped him, decides to build a revolution where he becomes master of fused multiple human consciousness inside a vast network, similar to the Puppet Master. Yet his reason behind this is to realize his own perception of the true peace for the world. Kuze believes that the egalitarian system cannot give peace due to the selfish instincts of human nature. He sees himself like a sacred figure who can lead and force everyone towards balance, transforming human subjects into pioneers from beyond who collect knowledge and live indefinitely. In short words from Motoko Kusanagi, "He's like Hitler with the intent of Gandhi".

Kuze's personality-humanity debate is finally answered when he gets stuck with Motoko under debris, finding his long-lost childhood friend after long years of search. She becomes the very person whom he needed in all his life: She asks his motives, gets to know the real man under the legend, and supports him, although indirectly. Touched by her sympathy, Kuze returns into the mind of the isolated boy who needed someone to recognize he existed as a real human being. As his true self, he accepts Motoko, the only one who could truly love him for who he was.

Abilities Edit

In Ghost in The Shell: SAC 2nd Gig, Kuze is repeatedly hinted to be a "darker" version of Major. Just like Motoko, Hideo Kuze has a lot of combat experience, shown during his duel against Motoko herself, and the one with Batou, where he managed to win by a single opening. Kuze can notably make use of his prominent hand-to-hand combat, and also wield the sword and the firearms very well. His tactical skills thanks to his army training have been useful, especially when he unified the refugees against the GSDA. A feature moment of Kuze's marksmanship was demonstrated when he shot Gouda's network-hijacking drone with a STINGER rocket launcher, predicting the device's behavior when it launched decoys. Kuze and Motoko's contrast is further exhibited by their goals and occupations: Motoko is a police officer working for the government, while Kuze is a terrorist and wanted man, fighting against the law.

Hideo is remarkably an intelligent and capable hacker, having the ability to file and influence the consciousness of 3 million people into his own cyberbrain. He can also defend himself against other software attacks, including Motoko's inflitration as Chroma.

Kuze Stats

Kuze's physical traits, located by Ishikawa in Episode 13

His body, despite being outdated, is extremely robust and can regenerate skin, as noted by Ishikawa in Episode 13: FACE Make Up. It can also become invisible just like Section 9's. Even if it is difficult to use, he's extremely adept with it due to him possessing it for many years, and knows every notch of its capacity.

Kuze's PFK-issued body is implied to be more physically powerful and durable than even the cyborg bodies of Section 9 operatives Motoko Kusagi and Batou, having been able to defeat Batou in hand-to-hand combat and Motoko remarked, "that's a reinforced cyborg" upon their first encounter. When Kuze attempted to assasinate Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki, he was shot multiple times by both Major Kusanagi and Batou without flinching. Although, this is mostly due to the fact that Kuze operates with his pain receptors turned off, contrasting members of Section 9 such as Batou who still prefer to have connections to the physical world.

While in the Oshii Ghost in the Shell movies, both Major and Batou have been known to be basically bulletproof, the cyborg bodies in the Standalone Complex universe are much less durable and can be damaged, and even destroyed by bullets. This implies that Kuze's physical strength is in a completely different class compared to all other characters within the same universe.

Strengths Edit

  • Expert hand-to-hand combat
  • Skilled marksman
  • Skilled swordsman
  • Superhuman strength
  • Enhanced senses
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Tactical awareness
  • Indomitable determination
  • Extreme durability
  • Skin regeneration
  • Familiarity and knowledge of human and cyborg concepts
  • High dexterity
  • Charisma and Management
  • Hacking and systems programming

Weaknesses Edit

  • Nigh-obsolete paraphernalia
  • Heavily limited and reduced physical properties
  • Infertility
  • Lack of adequate weaponry
  • Lack of social insurance and civil protection
  • Conflicted self-esteem
  • Media Pressure

Relationships Edit

Refugees of Dejima Edit

The refugees of Dejima are an important community for Kuze. They have long suffered the same exclusion as he did and thus he easily sympathises with them. He genuinely wants the best for their sake and tries to free them from the pains of reality. Cyborgs or human alike, races or ethnicity, Kuze doesn't judge anyone lesser than the other. The refugees look up to the rogue commando as a rallying figure, and those with true heart are willing to get to know him. Eventually, his extremist techniques create doubt, and his influence is somewhat damaged due to war casualties. He nonetheless manages to keep them into one same organization thanks to his great aptitude for unification and his cybernet hub, with which he secretly uses to absorb and store their consciousness. Using the great strength of mass population, Kuze encourages the refugees to take more action in rationality rather than in pride, especially if they are to show the world an example of social inequality.  He even manages to befriend two refugee fighters, who in turn, come to support him with passion.

In the end, Hideo's relationship with the escapees becomes strained as many of them prove to be selfish and egoist, and he is ultimately is forced to carry this heavy burden along his path to save them. Still, he doesn't falter at the face of an almost certain doom, and as a last ditch effort, creates a sub-plan to cope with the human refugees who were starting to lose trust in him. 

Motoko Kusanagi Edit

Hideo Kuze and Major Motoko Kusanagi are primarily rivals during the Dejima Revolution, fighting against the other with steadfast resolve. Yet unbeknownst to everyone and even themselves, they secretly share a story of long-lost childhood friendship and unconfessed love. Their relationship is heavily implied throughout 2nd GIG, even foreshadowed in some Season 1 episodes. Ever since his hospitalization, Kuze understood that his relatives didn't want anything to do with him. All alone, he came to view his fellow patient Motoko as the only person who would stay by his side. To keep himself company, the young Kuze did everything he could to create emotions of affection he desired: to know how it felt to be taking care of someone. And it wasn't long before he began to love her from all his heart. Eventually, when the paralyzed Motoko had successfully recovered, she also came to realize that she loved him too. However, their emotions were kept to themselves for too long, and it would inevitably cause their separation.

From that point, the two had lived their adult lives on their own, with their silent affection still hidden deep beneath their shells.

When fate finally brings them face to face once again, it is nothing but a tragedy: their lives are standing on opposing sides. As enemies, they each have their own contrasting goals, with the fate of the future being their main driving factor.  Despite this, Motoko refuses to kill the very person who gave her a reason to live, and is convinced that she can do something to avoid being at odds with the threat he had become.

To save their strained relationship, Motoko corners Kuze and urges him to relate to their former selves, making him wonder if the past can really shape the future. Ultimately, because of the Major's bias towards Kuze and vice-versa, they agree to work as one and end the ongoing conflict. This results in the refugees being safe, the foil of Gouda's plan and evidently, the reconciliation of their romance.

However, their reestablished love doesn't last long as Kuze is soon murdered by the American Empire. Yet before he passes away, he says "I'll go on ahead". This may mean that he already went into cyberspace ahead of the others in order to start the cyber revolution. If so, it explains that after the conclusion of the last episode, the ghost of Kuze exists on the net as his perceived form. It has also been speculated that the Major's failure in saving his physical body may have sparked her departure from Public Safety Security Section 9. The Major has been away from her team for 2 years in Solid State Society, possibly trying to reconnect with him. Following the public explanation of director Kenji Kamiyama, Kuze's death was definitely the crucial reason for Motoko's departure.

Many hints and aspects about their relationship are seen throughout the series. Both characters are shown folding paper cranes with their left hand in several moments: the inception of their affection explained in episode 11, season 2. In episode 5, Kuze attaches a newly folded crane in his truck's reflector glass. Motoko is seen many times in the second season folding a crane subconsciously whenever she picks up papers or wrappings. During the Laughing Man incidents, when Motoko talks about her watch and Batou's training gear, she alludes that material love isn't important, thus implying that there is always a stronger bond from beyond. This is later revealed to be her affections for Kuze. Furthermore, when she is confronting a movie director in a standalone episode, Motoko states that dreams aren't meaningful if they have no link with reality. Her dream is undoubtfully to find the first boy she loved. 

The Individual Eleven Events also give hints and allusions about Kuze's true identity as the boy who folds cranes. Firstly, Gouda, the man who created the hoax, mentions that the only ones who are infected by the virus are those who were virgins before their cyber transformation. One should then consider that the boy was unable to have sex due to his age and his paralysis. Secondly, Kuze breaks off from the virus because his motivations were not in accord with the virus' ideology. In such case, the ultra-nationalist mentality must have dropped because of Kuze's individualist mind and desire to find his lover, which had no correlation with the Individual Eleven ploy. 

After diving into Kuze's cyberbrain, the Major becomes bothered by the suspicion that she knows him from somewhere. This "somewhere" is most likely her childhood memories. In several moments of the Individual Eleven investigation, Motoko is troubled by her duties as a police officer and her feelings for Kuze. It took a lot of help from Batou to get her back on her senses. Even so, Motoko is, in the end, unrelenting with her feelings, as they justify her existence and all her reasons to have been human.

Batou Edit

Batou and Kuze share an indirect rivalry. They're both the two men who Major can relate to.

Yousuke Aramaki Edit

Kuze and Yousuke Aramaki work together to help the refugees. Although the latter doesn't agree of Kuze's extremist ways, he still helps the young man in his quest for peace.

Yoko Kayabuki Edit

Kuze seems to despise Kayabuki for her lack of concern for the refugees. He attacks her relentlessly, but leaves her alive. He knows that despite their differences, an opportunity for a second chance is always open.

Antique Shop owner Edit

The Laughing Man Edit

Quotes Edit

"Can you fold origami cranes with your prosthetic hand? If you can, then I guess I wouldn't mind getting a prosthetic body too" - The Antique Shop owner citing the young Kuze's fateful request

"...The man's prosthetic hair had gone white, but even so, it was positive that it was Kuze. The proof was obvious. Wherever "Kuze" went, a crowd of happy people always gathered around him" - Ishikawa, on Kuze, Season 2 Episode 16

"Just as water runs downhill, the human heart also tends to revert to its basest instincts" - Kuze to Yousuke, addressing the difficulties of his revolution, Season 2 Episode 23

"Since then, I've come to value their goals, I have dedicated myself into helping them fulfill their dream and made that my sole motivating principle. That's why it wasn't difficult to become leader of these people" -Season 2 Episode 23

"When people feel no sense of responsibility, no matter what intended consequences of their actions, they make poor use of the Net" -Season 2 Episode 25

"It sounds like you've endured your fair share of loneliness too. I never asked, but who are you? What's your name?" Season 2 Episode 26

"...I'll go on ahead" Season 2 Episode 26

Spoiler Warning Ends: Spoiler details end here.

Trivia Edit

  • His likeness is based on Japanese-Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro.
  • Hideo Kuze shares similarities with a lot of historical figures, even contradictory in ideologies, including Che Guevara, Stalin, Hitler, Gandhi, René Descartes and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Wanting to bring the Puppet Master in an ideal situation for the SAC continuity, Director Kenji Kamiyama decided to adapt Kuze to have more of a social impact and an intimate relationship with the Major.
  • Rikiya Koyama, Kuze's Japanese VA, has voiced many characters in anime, including Yamato from the Naruto series. He also shares a good working friendship with fellow voice actress Atsuko Tanaka, who voices Konan in Naruto.
  • Kirk Thornton, Kuze's English VA, is mostly known to be the voice of Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • Koyama and Thornton have shared the voice of the same anime character twice: Hideo Kuze and Kiritsugu Emiya from the Fate series.
  • Kuze is highly similar to Roy Batty from the movie Blade Runner. They are both ex-soldiers, combat units, and possess a great strategic mind. They also serve as the main candidates for individualist philosophy.

2017 filmEdit

Spoiler Warning: Spoiler details may follow.
MichaelPittKuze

Live-action Kuze

In the live-action adaptation, Kuze is played by Michael Pitt. The characterization in that movie also contains elements of both the Laughing Man and the Puppet Master. He is at first introduced as a mysterious terrorist who is killing prominent scientists, mostly by hacking into their cyberbrains. Once he captures Major, he reveals his plan to spread his ghost online, while also revealing that his cyborg nature is due to being part of the same project that eventually created her. Major eventually discovers Kuze was Hideo, one of the brothers in arms of her original identity Motoko Kusanagi in a rebellion against Hanka Robotics, who after suffering an identity wipe through Project 2571 became unbalanced and murderous. However, this Kuze has no link whatsoever with cranes, and does not unite people into an objective point, instead destroying properties and society alike.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. In Episode 12, viewers can see Kuze's mouth move for a short time when he was speaking to other Individual Eleven members. Also, a Section 9 forensic expert in Episode 13 comments that while his mouth remains motionless, Hideo has great difficulty in moving it.
  2. The surname of Hideo Kuze's family was revealed in the short story Soft and White by Kafka Asagiri as it appeared in the prose anthology The Ghost in the Shell: Five New Short Stories.
  3. This was confirmed in the short story Soft and White.
  4. Mentioned by Ishikawa in 2nd GIG, Episode 16 during his debriefing session with Batou and the others via cyberbrain diving kit
  5. This information led Motoko to head to Taiwan and conduct her investigation there, as seen in 2nd GIG' episode 17.
  6. The events summarized under this paragraph and the rest of the sub-heading are chronicled in the short prose story Soft and White by Kafka Asagiri, as it appeared in the collection The Ghost in the Shell: Five New Short Stories.
  7. He believed that this is a revolution that will lead humanity to a higher structure. This concept is somewhat similar to what was stated by Project 2501, better known as the Puppetmaster, in the GITS movies and manga.
Characters of Ghost in the Shell
Public Security Section 9

Motoko Kusanagi | Daisuke Aramaki | Batou | Togusa | Ishikawa | Saito | Pazu | Boma |
Proto | Azuma | Yano | Tsunagi(Algorithm) | Purin Ezaki(SAC_2045) |
Maven(First Assault) | Kuro(First Assault) | Reiko(First Assault) | Sitara(First Assault) | Ladriya(2017)


Japanese Government and Military

Kubota | Kaoru Yakushima(S.A.C.) | Prime Minister(S.A.C.) | Yoko Kayabuki(2nd GIG) |
Takakura(2nd GIG) | Kazundo Gouda(2nd GIG) | Mamuro(Arise) | Chris Otomo Tate(SAC_2045)


Other Affiliations

Puppet Master | Laughing Man(S.A.C.) | Hideo Kuze | Kurutsu(Arise) | Akira Hose(Arise) |
John Smith(SAC_2045) | Standard(SAC_2045) | Post-humans(SAC_2045)

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