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From reading threads here, I gather there are separate continuities in (all) Ghost in the Shell animes, including TV and movies. I had a lot of questions about continuity and the separate contuity answers most of them, as there are things that don't make sense if we put all the animes in order. So trying to separate the continuities, my understanding is the following. Can someone help and see if this makes sense?

Continuity 1
Arise serves as a prequel on explaining how Major and Section 9 comes together
Major went missing after first movie
Major still missing and helps Batou in second movie
2027- Arise
2029 - Ghost in the Shell
2032 - Innocence

Continuity 2
Arise serves as a prequel on explaining how Major and section 9 comes together
Crime solving storyline. Major stayed with Section 9 all the way through end of S.A.C. 2nd GIG.
Beginning of Solid State Society mentioned Major left for "a couple of years". This matches the timeline of S.A.C. 2nd GIG end, assuming Major's departure is unmentioned in S.A.C. 2nd GIG.
2027- Arise
2030 - Stand Alone Complex
2032 - S.A.C. 2nd GIG
2034- S.A.C. Solid State Society

Continuity 3
Arise serves as a prequel on explaining how Major and section 9 comes together
Major looks the same between the two shows.
One thing uncertain is in Arise, Major and team reports to Section 9. But in The New Movie, Major/team and Section 9 seem to be separate entities.
2027- Arise
2030 - The New Movie

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They are all really not related... If you watch closely you'll notice that they each take liberties in different directions. In Stand Alone Complex (S.A.C.) they have stories regarding the past of various characters that is in direct contradiction to the Arise media. Both Arise and SAC have contradictory information with the original movies. Continuity wise; I think it's really best to group them by production era.

1) Original Movies:
a) Ghost in the Shell (1995)
b) Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (2001?)

2) S.A.C. Story Arcs (Alternate Universe / reboot):
a) S.A.C. Laughing Man arc
b) S.A.C. 2nd gig Kuze / Individual Eleven arc
c) S.A.C. Solid State Society (SSS) movie

3) Arise (Prequel Reboot):
a) Arise OVA
b) Arise: Alternative Architecture (AA) (Edited version of Arise with 2 new episodes)
c) Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Arise AA Series Conclusion)

If I were suggesting a watch order, I would probably recommend the above ordering. I would also recommend not watching the laughing man or individual eleven movies, as they are hacked up versions of the TV series. I personally think the SAC TV series are probably the best GitS media, but the original movies are good.

One thing to note is that they all have very different story arcs. it's really just that they recreate the Section 9 team in various states to tell different stories. They all share the same basic themes of cyberpunk, [spy|detective] thriller, with a hefty dose of philosophy (of the Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler style).

If you want to pretend they are share the same universe watch them in reverse order by era, and skip the Arise OVA

1) Arise Alternative Architecture (AAA)
2) The New Movie
3) S.A.C. The Laughing Man arc
4) S.A.C. The Individual Eleven arc
5) S.A.C. SSS
6) The 1995 original movie
7) Innocence

This way, you're watching the prequel -> some stuff where The Major comes and goes (She leaves in the 2nd gig, then comes back in SSS) -> then you see the story line where she is changed and leaves at the end. Followed by the Batou Blade Runner detective movie where she is pretty much gone.

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It’s all timed by years and fits together.

The order is:

Arise, New Movie, Original movie, Innocence, SAC, SAC 2nd Gig, Solid State Society, and SAC_2045

That’s the literal timeline. They are all dated in their own respected series and all make sense time wise.

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