You may be aware of the many Virtua Fighter references in pop culture, but did you know what influence VF had on the making of Ghost in the Shell? From the GITS director himself, Mamoru Oshii-san: "When people ask about Ghost, I actually think of VF2."
Below is an excerpt from the book Ghost in the Shell Readme: 1995-2017 (by Shirow Masamune), during a round table discussion with Kazuchika Kise-san (director of Arise and The New Movie) and Mamoru Oshii (director of Ghost in the Shell and Innocence), and the influence of VF2 on their lives during that time.
You've actually worked with Mr. Oshii since Patlabor. You helped with the layout for both Ghost and Innocence. I've heard it wasn't easy.
Kazuchika Kise: Oh, I've just about forgotten about all that now (laughs). In fact, I can almost look back on it fondly. All I recall these days is ducking out of work to go play at the arcade (laughs).
Mamoru Oshii: I lost count of the number of times he went to play Virtua Fighter 2. More than once, I went looking for him, and ended up at the arcade...
Kazuchika Kise: You just wanted to play, too (laughs)
Mamoru Oshii: We did face off once in a while (laughs). When we were doing Ghost, it was right at the height of VF2's popularity. Kise and I were both obsessed with it. When people ask about Ghost, I actually think of VF2.
Supposedly, that led to Motoko Kusanagi using a move from VF2 (laughs)
Mamoru Oshii: Well, it was always my express intention to include the Renkan Tenshinkyaku in the anime (laughs)
And I suppose it was Mr. Kise who animated it.
Kazuchika Kise: I oversaw the animation, yes. Hirotsugu Kawasaki did the key frames.
Mamoru Oshii: You'd never get the beats right, you'd never know how good it felt, unless you actually played the game. It was my own signature move, you know. That's why I think of VF2 whenever I think of Ghost.
A memo from Oshii himself about animating the timing of the Renkan Tenshinkyaku - Lau's PPPK.
Motoko strikes Kogie with the heel of her palm, rather than her fist, because of Lau Chan, the Virtua Fighter character Oshii played all the time. (Lau uses Chinese-style kenpo.) The Hollywood version contains the same move.
A still frame from the anime
And here's the scene from the anime!
Huge thanks to @noodalls for sharing the news!