Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War summary and ending explained

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War follows Major Kusanagi and her team in the year 2045 as they try to tackle a global threat posed by the powerful cyberbrain possessing post-humans.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

In the year 2042, the great four nations transformed war into a business. In 2044, the Global Simultaneous Default, a global scale economic crisis, resulted in turmoil and civil wars across the globe leading to the “Sustainable War” initiated by the G4 to support the economy.

The GHOST, led by Major Kusanagi, consists of a group of cyborg humans with cyber brains, who were members of the government’s unit called Section 9 which has long been disbanded. The GHOST now works as mercenaries for private companies.  

Chief Aramaki of Public Security, the former chief of Section 9, calls Togusa, a former member of Section 9, to discuss something important.

After the American-born Prime Minister takes charge of Japan, Chief Aramaki tasks Togusa with reuniting Section 9.

Meanwhile, the GHOST comes across a group of college dropouts armed with military-grade weapons provided to them by an unknown individual. Just as they neutralise them, John Smith, an agent working for the American government approaches the GHOST team.

Togusa finds out that GHOST is working for a private American military company called Obsidian. On reaching America, Obsidian’s president tells him that the Ghost disappeared after their last mission.

Togusa heads to investigate the site where he comes across the think bot Tachikoma.

John Smith tasks the GHOST with securing a high-profile individual. Chief Aramaki talks to Ms Byron about the GHOST’s location. She reveals that the GHOST is tasked with an important mission and the team will be wiped out after the mission to maintain secrecy.

The GHOST members are dropped in Los Angeles to secure Patrick Huge, the owner of Huge robotics.

After a tough fight, the GHOST neutralises the billionaire. Major Kusanagi conducts a brain dive but immediately afterwards, Patrick’s head explodes, and she realises Patrick Huge was not a human.   

Just at this moment, Chief Aramaki arrives with an executive order and takes control of the GHOST back from John Smith.

On questioning John Smith, he reveals that what they witnessed was a post-human with a cyberbrain more powerful than supercomputers. The posthumans caused the Global Simultaneous Default and not the G4’s economic policies as assumed before.

Capturing Patrick Huge alive would have allowed the Americans to find a way to tackle the powerful post-humans.

For more insights, John Smith introduces them to Gary Hert, another post-human who was captured while attacking a nuclear base. The goal of the post-humans seems to be the destruction of the current social order.

As they were discussing the possible motives of the post-humans, Gary hacks into the system and takes control of the security. Batou kills Gary, neutralising the hacked security robots.  

The Japanese Prime Minister agrees to work with the US government on the mission. John Smith from the NSA, representing the American government, joins in to inform the now reunited Section 9 about their targets.

They start tracking the post-human Sanji Yaguchi who’s been found guilty of killing people who were indulging in corrupt activities.

Meanwhile, mass hacking attacks start happening all over with humans possessing cyberbrains being killed randomly.

If you have any doubts about the ending, here’s a complete breakdown.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War ending explained in detail:

Think Pol

Chief Aramaki talks to the Prime Minister and introduces the possibility of his father-in-law being involved in a corruption scandal resulting in Yaguchi killing associated people on suspicions of them being corrupt as well.

Purin Esake, a new recruit in Section 9, tracks down Koji Kogure in connection with the hackings. She comes face to face with King from Think Pol, a program coded to bring about a just society by passing punishments democratically to those who are found guilty.

Major and the rest of the members of Section 9 trace Shinya, a school student pretending to be King using the Think Pol programme. But he clearly didn’t write the code. 

Major and her team visit the house of Takashi, another student at Shinya’s school, who fainted one day and turned into a post-human.

Togusa tries to analyse a code he found at Takashi’s house. The code was created to evoke forgotten memories. It affects Togusa’s system harshly.

The mastermind

Togusa deduces that Takashi wrote the programme to evoke a certain memory that he had lost. The memory could belong to the time when somebody gave Takashi George Orwell’s 1984, a book which had a huge impact on Takashi resulting in his actions afterwards.

Togusa accesses Takashi’s memories and he comes to know that Takashi received the book from a trooper who stayed near his uncle’s house.

It’s revealed that Takashi had lost his sister, Yuzu due to the police’s corrupt actions, leaving him traumatised and inspired to bring justice.  

He wrote the Think Pol programme to take revenge for the suicide of a girl he liked resulting in the death of the first Think Pol victim Yamada, a teacher at his school.

Togusa relives all these experiences and disappears right in front of Batou. This coincides with Togusa witnessing Takashi leave with the trooper in hopes of changing the world.

Possibly, Togusa also accompanies them in a moment when the realities get mixed.  

The post-human Yaguchi kills the Prime Minister’s father in law for being corrupt. On John Smith’s demand to keep the news about post-humans a secret, Chief Aramaki passes it off as a natural death.

The final frontier

But the Prime Minister attempts to lure the post-human out by spreading the news that he will be taking over the chairmanship of the Tokyo Rising Committee, a position previously held by his father.

He incites suspicion in the media that he could be corrupt as well. The possibility of the Prime Minister being corrupt might lure the post-human Yaguchi out.

While the PM is being escorted out, Yaguchi attacks his guards. But Yaguchi doesn’t attack the Prime Minister as the Japanese Prime Minister reveals that he has only good intentions toward the country.

A duel ensues immediately afterwards between Major Kusanagi and Yaguchi. Kusanagi, assisted by Batou, neutralises Yaguchi. John Smith takes away the post-human for further study.

In the end, Batou receives a call from Togusa. Upon asking about his location, Togusa does not reveal much, but it’s clear that Takashi has made a significant impact on him.

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