The figure of Bateau, the chief assistant to Major Motoko Kusanagi of Section 9, the Internal Bureau of Investigations, has several crucial roles in Ghost in the Shell. His admiration or even love for the Major implies the essential humanity of this cyborg. More importantly, he finds a new body for the merged being created by the joining of the Major and the Puppetmaster -- a body that fittingly, symbolically, takes the form of a young (pre-adolescent?) girl. Bateau means "boat" in French, and Kusanagi's sidekick does transport the ghost or spirit of the maimed cyborg into its new home -- a someone different take on the transmnigration of souls. Thinking about the name Bateau, I remembered Charon's boat, which conveys the souls of the dead to their new existence in Dante's Inferno.
In addiition, Battou, as Adam White points out, is another likely transliteration of the Japanese name of this character, for it means "Drawn Sword" in Japanese. He does in fact serve as the weapon that saves just enough of Kusanagi to allow her to survive in an new physical form.
Ghost in the Shell, Copyright 1996, Manga Entertainment, Inc.
Last modified 22 March 2005