Motoko Kusanagi (born 2002, in Japan) is a fictional character from the Ghost in the Shell (Kōkaku Kidōtai) franchise created by Japanese manga artist Masamune Shirow. She has appeared in manga comics, anime movies, television series, TV movies, video games, hentai, and artwork. She shows the "Shirow face", a facial resemblence shared by all of the artist's female protagonists. Starting in 1989, Motoko was one of the first examples of a strong female lead in a Japanese manga, along the likes of Deunan Knute, another of Shirow's earlier creations from the Appleseed series.
Motoko is a combat model cyborg, consisting almost entirely of mechanical elements, save for her "ghost", i.e. her soul. Motoko is a Major and the unit commander of Public Security Section 9, a divison of the Japanese government set up to fight the threat of terrorism and cyber terrorism, including all aspects of the internet. She first appeared in the Ghost in the Shell manga beginning in 1989, then appeared in the feature length movie version in 1995. Following a sequel, Innocence, Motoko once again led Section 9 in the Stand Alone Complex television series and TV movie. She has also appeared in video games for the Playstation, PS2, and PSP systems. Dreamworks Pictures released a 3D live action feature film version of Ghost in the Shell on March 31, 2017 starring Scarlett Johansson as The Major.
In the early 2000s, Shirow set out to compile the Man Machine Interface manga, a serialized sequel to his original Ghost in the Shell comic series. In this version, Motoko took the appearance of Motoko Aramaki, an amalgamation of her original self, the Puppetmaster (the antagonist from the original manga and movie), as well as several other unknown entities. In this form, she has longer red hair instead of her usual black bob.
Since her inception, Motoko has become somewhat of an anime sex symbol, being the subject of several hentia, or pornographic manga, as well as in feature-sized art prints by Shirow himself.