I am going to say something, which many will disagree with, but I felt this one is better than the first, I loved the first, but liked this one more, not because it is better draw, and great has great computer animation added in as well or even that the music is set to it perfectly, though this is all good. The reason is, I liked the story even more, it is also bit faster than first and it once again has great extra parts to story, but these are even more subtle than in first.
Also once again leaves you with new ideas and questions, which are only partly answered leaving rest to you.
However what i think makes it so great is 2 main things:
1=Batou, his drawing and voice make a more realistic person than most real actors. Also his story is there, but told as understudy to main story, rather part of it, again adding realism to it. Finally though it shows his feelings for major and how he is dealling with her loss, it is done in a brilliantly subtle human way.
2=(know I said this, but feel needs explaining)The story in first is good, but in this one it is even better, with whole detective investigation story about Robot sex toys, being interesting and well told as well once again brilliently adding in moral questions about human science, way use it, treat it and big one, should we really try to make robots??
But to this is an understory of major and Batou which amazingly put in without most even noticing it till end
Finally though a number 2, this movie does not like many seconds try to be the same as its number 1, instead it has evoled into new story about new poeple and ideas making it as original as first. But the old ideas/way of telling still there, just more evoled and different as well