August 14, 2018 by bck1402
Moving ahead with episodes 7-12 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex DVDs. First part here.
After the trio of “complex” episodes, the series goes back to the police procedural nature of the concept, with specific episodes looking a little into the backgrounds of some characters. Only two episodes are listed as “complex”, those being episode 9 “Chat Chat Chat” – the chat-room episode where a bunch of ‘netizens’ gather to discuss the reappearance of The Laughing Man, his possible origins, motivations, methodologies, philosophies, et al. I mentioned last time that it’s an episode where nothing actually happens, but it is an info-dump getting the audience up to speed.
The other “complex” episode is “Portraitz” (11) which has Togusa infiltrating a sort of reeducation centre where kids who appear to have a disconnect with their cyberbrain are treated. The centre is the source of a massive security hack, something that Section 9 would look into, but instead, we – the viewers – get a little more about The Laughing Man.
These two episodes are not quite the deep-dives into the overall arc, but meant to give us a sense of who The Laughing Man is, or rather his influence on society and certain individuals. Again, given the time the show came out, it’s rather prescient in some areas, like the nature of the chat room or the participants, how some people seem to like to cite sources without actually giving any legitimacy to said sources. Then at that reeducation centre, there’s the sense the children can’t seem to function properly in reality, being overly obsessed with being active in the virtual world, and then being used to create, test or break virtual barriers.
I’m trying to keep things as light and simple as possible, so please excuse the lack of details.
Of the other “stand alone” episodes, episode 7 plays with the technology of the era again; episode 8 gives a little background on Motoko as Section 9 investigates an illegal organ replacement black market; episode 10 delves into Batou’s past as Section 9 hunts a human monster; episode 12 is the one where Batou’s Tachikoma manages to get out and have an adventure, stumbling onto a mysterious cyberbrain. It also touches on the development of the Tachikoma’s AI (capable of getting creative in a certain situation) and the concerns it raises within certain members and crew of Section 9.
In a way, we get a s sense of what drives these characters, mainly Motoko and Batou.
The animation, from Production IG heading the other companies involved (including PA Works being at the top of the list), is top notch, from the design of the world and characters to the action such as the gunfights and car chases. The fight scenes are really impressive with some extended takes and smart edits. Then there’s the pulse pounding music by Yoko Kanno which takes a cheeky and playful turn with the Tachikoma episode, a real stand-out.
Series Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
Stars (vocally) Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ohtsuka, Kōichi Yamadera, Osamu Saka, Taimei Suzuki, Takashi Onozuka, Tarô Yamaguchi, Toru Ohkawa, Sakiko Tamagawa, Kōichi Yamadera