The live-action remake is squarely tailored for audiences who require a degree of spoon-feeding. Gone is the filmic story-telling of the Anime original, replaced with an explanatory opening, detailing Major's recent history. I would definitely recommend starting with the Anime.
The effects are impressive, often mimicking hand-drawn frames of the source material, akin to the Frank Miller adaptations of recent years, and Scarlett Johansson does a worthy job. I wasn't overly impressed with her cyborg gait, though...it felt overplayed. This performance is not a touch on the likes of Under The Skin.