Seburo Bobson

Deunan Knute's Seburo Bobson Centennial Edition. This example is a resin replica that is available for purchase.

Seburo is the name of a fictional weapons company of the future, founded in November 2024, whose products are featured prominently in nearly all of Shirow Masamune's works. They differentiate themselves from their contemporaries in that their gun lineup typically employs relatively small caliberrs (barrel diameter,) with the apparent resulting loss of firepower supplemented by an abnormally increased rate of discharge and muzzle velocity, in other words, smaller bullets, but faster ones and more of them.

Using smaller ammunition across the board allows for higher-capacity magazines, decreasing the number of them a user needs to carry, as well as reducing the frequency of magazine changes that would need to be made during an engagement; a typical magazine on the M-5 handgun, for example, carries twenty rounds. It also reduces the overall size and weight of the device, making them highly popular with urban law-enforcement officers and SWAT team members. Their submachineguns and assault rifles nearly always feature a bullpup configuration, where the magazine is mounted behind the pistol grip and trigger group of the weapon.

Once an independent company, with majority ownership by Japan's Public Security Section-9 (during the time frame of Ghost in the Shell), Seburo is now a fully-absorbed subsidiary of the leviathan Poseidon Global Industrial Technologies.

Later Seburo design feature a design motif of three or five round circles, either above the pistol grip just below the safety/decocking lever (depending on model) or on the slide, just beside the muzzle. While not confirmed, this is believed to be the company's adopted insignia, beyond its distinctive typeface.


Because cyborgs are a part of life in the 2130s, and defense against hostile ones sometimes necessary, the characteristic small bullets of the Seburo guns can often prove to be totally ineffective, despite the high rate of fire the weapons exhibit. In the case of personal defense against like machine-humans, a user does best to use HESH, or High Explosive Squash Head, ammunition. When these rounds are employed, the limitations of the Seburo design are quickly overcome. Deunan Knute often uses HESH rounds, as seen in the manga. It also explains how, in the first Appleseed trilogy films, she easily defeats four cyborgs with just a Seburo "Gong" handgun, while her comrades are butchered despite their seemingly superior assault rifles; she's presumably using HESH ammunition and they aren't.

As LASER- and microwave-based sidearms begin to debut, the bullet-centric designs of Seburo may need to be overhauled. The conclusion of Ex Machina demonstrates how a single laser sidearm in the hands of an enemy Landmate can easily destroy several of ES.W.A.T.'s members, armed to the teeth with Seburo weapons, with just a single discharge.

Notes and References[]

  • The Seburo Bobson handgun appears to have been the debut model of the company. Deunan Knute uses one frequently, but by her time, Centennial Limited Editions are already being produced. Her daily sidearm is such an example, and features the Seburo company founder's signature laser etched into the metal.
  • Other than Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell also features extensive use of Seburo guns, though the Bobson is never mentioned, replaced instead by the distinctive Seburo M-5. The upcoming Appleseed XIII television series shows Deunan Knute using an M-5 pistol in one of its press release graphics.
  • Most of the submachinegun and assault rifle Seburo designs borrow heavily from the French FAMAS assault rifle, and Belgian Fabrique Nationale FN P90 SMG, with Shirow Masamune repeatedly voicing admiration for the cosmetic appearance of the French weapon. The Moon-Net 23 paintball gun he later helped design was actually based upon a Moon-Net replica of the FAMAS.
  • The Seburo MN-23 shouldn't be confused with the similarly named Seburo M23, which is seen being used by Major Motoko Kusanagi in the first Ghost in the Shell feature film of 1995. Although both are bullpup-magazine fed submachine guns, the design of the M23 is much more similar to the P90 than the MN-23, which is clearly a futuristic design all of its own.
  • While they are little more than inoperable resin replicas, high-quality examples of the Bobson Centennial Edition handgun, as well as other Seburo designs, can be purchased for under $300 US on the independent enthusiast website Naija Blue. Be sure to check out the Adult Collectables page, however, to observe North American gun-control laws regarding these replicas.
  • A good site for a primer on the airsoft Seburo replicas is at Popular Airsoft.
  • Interestingly, in the two modern trilogy films, the many weapons seen are not always exact Seburo designs, and when they are, they are never identified. It's possible licensing conflicts prevented their appearance, as the many different franchises of Ghost in the Shell also see frequent appearances of Seburo weapons, such as the M-5, for example. For a brief look at the non-Seburo weapons seen in the films, check out the Other Weapons page.
  • The 2004 episode of Appleseed features three notable Seburo appearances. In the introduction, during Deunan's fight with the four cyborg ambushers, she uses a "Gong" handgun to defeat them, while later at Hitomi's house, Briareos hands Deunan her father's old military handgun, which appears to be a Colt M1911, as it is much larger than the Bobson Centennial (although the manga depicted his sidearm to be a Steyr-Mannlicher G8). Eventually, she uses this loaded and useful "memento" to kill Col. Hades with a single headshot. Closer to the conclusion of the movie, Nike destroys the switch controlling the D-Tank, using a faithfully recreated Seburo CX pistol.
  • While 2007's Ex Machina features almost no Seburo-inspired weapons, relying more on real-world examples like Glocks, the standard-issue ES.W.A.T. submachinegun looks to be some sort of variation on the earlier-mentioned M23, even going so far as discreetly having the triple-circle Seburo motif inscribed on the stock of the weapon, near the muzzle.

HANDGUNS: Bobson Centennial · CX · "Woodpecker" · Gava
SUBMACHINEGUNS: MN-23 · M-23 · Cento-Master
RIFLES: Enigma